Tom Crouse’s theology of marriage

posted by Mike on September 28th, 2006

Radio host Tom “Mr. Hetero” Crouse writes:

[Debbie Maken] has written a book that advocates that all single people should be looking to get married. She goes so far to say that a single person who purposely chooses to not get married is in sin. While that may be a little strong, there is merit to the thesis of the book. It is God’s norm that people get married. It is the most sacred of relationships that we have on this side of eternity, as there are no others that display Christ and the Church.

Huh.

In 1 Corninthians, chapter 7, after telling husbands and wives that they should be intimate with each other, Saint Paul (who most Christians consider an authority on Christianity) goes on to say:

This I say by way of concession, however, not as a command. Indeed, I wish everyone to be as I am [unmarried], but each has a particular gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do, but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire.

For a Catholic perspective, which not surprisingly takes the advice of St. Paul into account, see the Catechism on virginity and Catholic Answers on “Is Marriage Mandatory?

Mr. Crouse’s views on marriage are silly, but also I think of some concern. When he says of the marriage relationship, “there are no others that display Christ and the Church,” he paints a picture of the universe as a small and scary place.

This contrasts with the view of Jesus, who in the parable of the sheep and the goats says that acts of kindness toward the needy are acts of kindness towards Christ Himself. When we feed the hungry, we are feeding Jesus.

All of our relationships can “display Christ and the Church.” That’s the point of being Christian! To the extent that our relationships display Christ and the Church, we lead successful Christian lives. Every moment and every gesture can be sacred. God is not present only in a few grand things (marriage, church buildings, right-wing talk shows), but everywhere and at every moment.

(I would have posted this as a comment to Mr. Crouse’s blog . . . but he turned off comments some months ago and deleted all the old ones.)

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One Comment Leave a comment.

  1. On September 28, 2006 at 08:47 Dr Kaihsu Tai (Oxford, England) said:

    (Mike B. wanted me to comment on this entry after reviewing it.)

    Dear Mike,

    I think you got it right, and so did the Catechism at s 1618: “Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social.” This is no merely Catholic understanding, but the Christian understanding:

    I have been reading St Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s book The Cost of Discipleship. He pointed out that Christ wants to be the Mediator, not just between [hu]man and God, but also between [hu]man and [hu]man, and between [hu]man and the world (that is, the rest of Creation). For me, this is insightful but the implications are hard work! Think: what does this say about marriage? Perhaps one wry way of putting it is “Christ as the third wheel.”

    Think also: what does this say about (Christian) environmentalism? How do we human beings relate to the rest of Creation, other creatures, when Christ defines and mediates that bond, that relationship?

    “And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:26–27 ≈ Luke 18:26–27 ≈ Matthew 19:25–26)

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Peace.

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