Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Wedding Ring: Is It Worth It? #5

I had no idea that my simple post would generate this kind of energy. I tried to carefully use words to limit my point. I directed it to those who were raised as I was raised. I condemned no one. I haven't even stated unequivocally a legal position on the issue.

I’ve been told this before, but it really comes home now.

The first impulse of most people, including me, is: think emotionally first, and then—as an afterthought—generate some rationale to support what we have already decided.

If we insist on thinking this way, we will all forever be like ships passing in the dark.

One of the nuggets of my heritage is the understanding that if we are to be Christ-like, we cannot freely follow what comes natural, and in order to “possess our vessel unto honor,” (to manage the resources of our will) we must impose discipline on the body and on the mind.

It occurs to me, as a result of this discussion, that while we have been vigorous in our promotion of disciplining the mind on what to think, we have fallen short in the discipline of how to think. Now I don’t mean this like “Hey, I know how to think and you don’t.” I’m not suggesting another standard by which to judge others inferior.

I’m suggesting that if I am to have any confidence in what I hold to be true, I must discipline my mind to not use an irrational path to what I conclude as truth.

Now you say, “That doesn’t sound very spiritual.” Well, if you think “spiritual” = “irrational,” I understand why you say that. But if by spiritual you just refer to those things pertaining to God, I disagree.

God has chosen in history to reveal Himself to us by flesh and by language. Language doesn’t work without logic.

Maybe you, like I, could use a refreshing reminder...

There is a quiet place
Far from the rapid pace
Where God can soothe my troubled mind

Sheltered by tree and flow´r
There in my quiet hour
With Him my cares are left behind

Whether a garden small
Or on a mountain tall

New strength and courage there I find
Then from this quiet place
I go prepared to face
A new day with love for all mankind
~Norman C. Brown

I'll be back.


  1. Laura, I've been away and could not respond to your posts. I am the first anonymous you responded to in bog #3.

    This subject(s) has gotten to be very interesting. It seems that most responders are as perplexed as I am about these issues. I definitely understand your initial concern: "The Wedding Ring: Is It Worth It?" I understand that you want to conserve that idea within the CHM. I also understand that seeing a (or some) fellow CHMer wear a wedding ring has greatly moved you to sadness.But, my question WAS, and STILL is: IF that really bothered you, then WHY does other issues that have been laid aside by some CHMers not bother you? It's the same principle - only some issues aren't as visible as the wedding ring. Take, for instance, divorce and remarriage. How can one keep his (her) influence with the CHM if they are guilty of being divorced, then remarry, or if they have married someone who still has a living companion. I think you will agree that most CHM people still take a stand against that. You see, that rule isn't as visible as the wedding ring, but JUST as IMPORTANT to the CHM standard. Get my point?

    I'm not throwing stones here, just trying to get something across. You can't strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

    Since you were bold enough to put yourself "out there" with your initial thoughts and what I am thinking of as inconsistencies, I believe you owe it to us (as responders) to be fair, and to respond with direct answers to our questions.

    I guess I can't understand how anyone (not only you) from the CHM can agree with your logic. Would it be because you (or they) have personally accepted other areas - such as TV, short sleeves, divorce/remarriage, Sunday work, perming hair, etc.) into your (their) life and don't want to admit you (they) have strayed from the CHM standard?

    ANYONE who has been around the CHM for any length of time knows that all of these issues (and many more)mentioned here are (or, at least, were)a part of their standard. NO DENYING THAT!!!!

    Just wondering why you chose the wedding band and nothing else. It seems as though one could lose their influence with the CHM just as easily by being guilty of these other "questionables" - I call them nonessentials.

    I would dare say that the majority of people that attended your convention would have been professing Christians. I wouldn't want to judge them otherwise. I believe it was the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked more than once for having a "holier than thou" attitude. Lord, save us from this!!

  2. I hesitate to comment as so many are making excellent comments. But here it goes.
    Your question was "Is it worth it?". The answer is Yes for so many of our best and brightest young people. So the next question is why do they think it is worth it. That is a question for the CHM to answer honestly and with much soul searching. I am encouraged because some are searching for the answer. I hope this discussion helps.

  3. I've been folliowing this with much interest. So much so, that I've been doing some searching. I found an interesting article on the subject that I think you might enjoy reading:

  4. Anonymous, you say "I understand that you want to conserve that idea within the CHM"...and prove that you are still missing the point.

    As frustrating as it has been to you and others, I think I've read all the comments and have yet to see Laura take a position on whether CHM/IHC should or should not retain its position on "no wedding rings." I don't see her ever answering the "is it right or wrong?" or "is it sin?" questions. Everyone keeps trying to make it into that sort of issue, and you at least want to expand it into whether she will defend any other of the "standards."

    These attempts to remake the issue into a "where do YOU draw the line?" or "where do you think the CHM should draw the line?" prove that the kind of thinking she seems to be challenging is VERY deeply imbedded.

    I am looking forward to the next post, myself...

  5. P.E.T. - You really have yet to see the blog writer take a position? I think it's safe to say that when the author wrote:

    "As I sat watching the scene, tears filled my eyes and dripped down my cheek. A question came to my mind, a question for those who have decided that their parents, their grandparents, and the many leaders of the CHM who taught them values like this were wrong. The question keeps coming back, and it haunts me. "Was it worth it? Just to have a piece of metal wrapped around one of your fingers?"

    If you don't think anything is wrong with what someone is doing, why would you be sad about it and be in tears?

    The blog writer also said, "And those who might be considering going the same direction, I pray you will consider, "is it really worth it?"

    If you didn't think there was anything wrong with the direction someone was going, why would you pose that question? Nobody says to someone they think is making a good, or a right decision, "Is it really worth it?" the nature of the question, the context in which it is being used, and the wording of the first blog (as well as subsequent comments by the author) makes it very clear the author believes that the CHM should retain their position and those who are a part of the CHM should not put on a wedding ring.

    The blog writer need not say "I believe the CHM should continue to maintain that wearing a wedding band is wrong" when their blog post is so obvious that the author already believes that.

    Therefore, many of those leaving comments would like her to answer why that issue bothers (saddens) her so much while other issues, that the CHM has a history of also maintaining, do not seem to - and I believe, in light of the words the blog author herself used, that is a fair question.


  6. Anonymous George,

    I respectfully disagree.

    I read it as crying over the choice to reject people and relationships. She has said as much, and you refuse to believe her.

    You think that she can only think about "standards" in the same way as you think about them, that the thing is in and of itself either right or wrong, and that the answer to that matters more than the relationships. Your personal paradigm is limiting your ability to take her writings at face value.

    I am assuming she is honest.

  7. But that's the point! If it is not a matter of sin, it shouldn't damage a relationship. I don't know how else to say it.

    "One of the other Anonymous-es...."

  8. Anonymous "one of the other anonymous-es", Wow, if all the anonymous folks would just make up a name, this would be easier. :)
    Who said it was "not a matter of sin?" I don't think "sin" has been discussed. At least, I don't recall any discussion as to the nature of "sin." If you understand what I mean by a legalistic mindset, issues like this are not in themselves sin or not sin. Sin is not in matter.

  9. Laura - If your sadness is not over the ring, why did you title your post "The Wedding Ring: Is It Worth It?" That's an odd title for a post that is supposed to actually be about something else. I too am concerned about drifting, but when you narrow in on one particular thing then you alienate a lot of people. The concern should be for the hearts of fellow Believers as well as for those who no longer follow Him. I have no doubt your heart is in the right place but as you can clearly see from the majority of the responses, when one thing is chosen as a seeming measuring tool as to whether someone is in or out, as the example you used of the man who chose to put on a wedding ring - nothing else about his life was mentioned, only that - then it's pretty tough for people to swallow your post isn't really about a wedding ring, it's actually about something else.

    P.E.T.A. - you don't seem to understand that the person who put on a wedding ring did not chose to reject anyone nor did HE reject any relationships. There are some who will chose to now reject him, who will chose to no longer hold him up as a person of influence but that is not his doing - that is theirs.


  10. Believe me, I'm only anonymous because I have to be. :) I'd rather just say who I am.

    We're dancing around the word "sin". My head is spinning from trying to digest what you have said and what others have written. I'll try this again: Your whole point in writing the original post was to pose the question as to whether or not it's worth it to alienate oneself, lose influence, etc., over wearing a band of metal on one's finger. The point I've tried to make, and that others have stated so much better than I can, is that if it is not a matter of sin, the relationship should NOT be affected. That's all. You said that "Sin is not in matter." I beg to differ. That's the only reason a relationship, biblically speaking, should be severed. So it IS the issue.
    The CHM DOES pick and choose, and, unfortunately, outward appearance is far more important to most of them than matters of the heart and life. But I won't go there. We're beating a dead horse.
    I just wish we could all step back, take a look at why we do what we do, make a true attempt at understanding one another, and allow for Scriptural Christian Liberty. Should we throw standards away? No. I said that before. But we have to STOP drawing lines in the sand and saying, "Look, if you cross this line, you'll lose your influence in our group and it will put a strain on our relationship."
    That has been done over and over and over and over and.... You get my point. It has caused division and much hurt for many, many people. You, yourself have crossed the line that others have drawn simply by having the internet and wearing short sleeves. And those who drew the lines that you crossed have crossed the lines that others have drawn, I'm sure. It's endless, senseless, and, worst of all, destructive.
    We MUST get back to the basics and allow God to dictate what we do and stop trying to take His place.
    The CHM and the values and traditions it holds, no matter how wonderful some of those values and traditions may be, is NOT what we're living for. It's not the most important end. It's only another group. And until we stop holding up the CHM as the authority on everything, we will continue to cause confusion and division, giving a reason for bitterness, and we will keep driving honest, seeking souls away.
    I hope that made sense. This merry-go-round is getting to me.

    "One of the other anonymous-es"

  11. I by no means am attempting to 'toot my own horn' on this topic, but just a thought:

    I, as well as friends and family, have been following this conversation the past few days, and I would like to offer a cautionary suggestion. While the intentions of the initial topic are likely pure, honest, and in good meaning, the 'point' has become lost in lofty language and confusing terms. I am an advocate of thinking, research, and reading, but in posters attempting to become a modern-day C.S. Lewis of sorts in expressing opinions about such delicate topics I would ask the question: "Is it worth it?"
    This stream of posts and comments is merely 'not solving the issues,' but is also thoroughly confusing to some CHM people (such as myself). (My friends, family, and I were all raised in CHM, still are in the CHM, and are very confused, courtesy of these posts.)
    I know these topics are relevant, and should be thought through with much prayer and council, but is a blog really the best way to do those things?
    Again, I mean no offense to anyone- just thought I would share a valid concern.


  12. To the above Anonymous:
    I hope this isn't improper, but I'd just like to say that, while I think caution must be used in situations like this, blogs, facebook, etc. are very good ways to discuss issues that are underlying. Discussions like these are absolutely necessary! This is a problem in the CHM. They don't allow for many discussions like this because it means to them that the questioner is worldly-minded for questioning in the first place. As long as we all remain polite and cautious, this is an excellent way to further deeper thought and prayer about issues that we're all obviously dealing with.
    It's about time someone mentioned the elephant in the room.

  13. We may be sad to see people leaving the CHM in droves, but long do you think a movement built on man-made traditions and rules will really last?

  14. People wearing rings are not trashing their relationships...THEY are the ones being trashed.

  15. Laura -
    Much can be, and should be, discussed about walking deeper with Christ, about living careful lives, about the importance of relationships but you were the one who chose to talk about someone specific, not in general, and decided to talk about a specific issue, not something general. Then when others wanted to discuss that issue, you wanted to move on to deeper waters.

    Perhaps you would have been able to convey your ideas much better had you not chosen such a controversial title. The deeper message you are trying to communicate gets lost when you pick a hot button issue and talk about a specific person - even if your intent is to only use it as an illustration.