Budapest – Sunday

We had the morning to ourselves and used it to get some work done – I am still professor of theology and pastor of pastors. The joyful work was giving Bethany Allen input for her sermon at Bridgetown. I am eager to hear it. Amazing sermon on feelings and Sabbath, part of the BT series on Practicing the Way.

Terry and Christina Cokenour and their girls picked us up for lunch at Vak Varju – the Black Crow. If you look at the website, you can get a “taste” of our experience. There were many jokes about Russell Crow and Darth Vader, reinterpreted to be a stylized black crow with a helmet

The food was marvelous, with full time taken to prepare it which gave lots of time for conversation. But it was super hot with sun shining into the enclosed patio and four powerful heaters going full blast. I felt for the server who brought our food trying not to drip sweat on it! You can see the beauty of Sherry’s pork tenderloin dish.

Golgota 11 Church

Terry and I, along with the girls, went to the building where the church meets. Sherry and Christina went out and enjoyed some girl time over treats at a local bakery.

We did the setting up, chairs and sound equipment, practiced the songs and talked a lot about ministry in this area. Hungary is technically Christian but almost wholly unchurched. So there is a lot of work to do.

I tried to capture some of the feeling of the area: fitness center to the left, Burger King in the middle and “Com Condo” on the right. These are what we called Stalin Apartments in other eastern block countries I have ministered in: very basic solid, functional only apartments for workers in the communist economy. Now the people are updating the apartments in very attractive ways even as the exterior remains the dingy concrete.

The church, Golgota 11, Golgotha 11, the Calvary Chapel in District 11, was finishing a short series on reconciliation so I started with 2 Cor. 5:11-21 on the reconciliation that leaves the “fleshly” perception with it’s bitterness and hurt behind for the “new creation” where we don’t count tresspasses against people because of what God did making Jesus who knew no sin to be sin – meaning our sin shame and fear was absorbed by Him in some mysterious way so we can become the full Christlike righteousness He has for us.

I went to the parable of the prodigal in Luke 15, focusing on the first son who betrayed his father, shaming him, emotionally killing him. The Father does not go after the son, because in the young man’s pride, it would seem more controlling domination, perhaps. But this son’s partying ends up destroying his own life.

The key to reconciliation is first the son coming to his senses (think 2 Tim. 2:25-26) at the end of his pride and rebellion and remembering life with the Father. The other side is both the Father letting love for his son and the memory/hope of their relation overcome his hurt and shame. The son’ repentance (coming back home and to Father) and confession (I have sinned and am no longer worthy to be your son) along with the Father’s Ex. 34:6-7 compassion and love combine to produce the sweet fruit of reconciliation.

Had the son not repented, coming home with “Hey, Dad, I’m back. Kill the fatted calf so I can party” or had the Father demanded that the son earn his way back into the family with years of servanthood it would have been very different. No reconciliation would have happened. It is always a two sided work.

I spoke of an example from my pastoral life where a woman committed adultery against her husband. They went through this sort of process and were fully reconciled after both gave a ton of shame and pain to Jesus by the power of the Spirit. I heard later that a person present who, completely unknown to me, is in the process of reconciling with an adulterous spouse. Other advised never do that, it never works, you can never trust. The sermon brought hope to that marriage.

Marriage Jobs

I am speaking on marriage at Door of Hope today. The Power Point is here. The basis of marriage is in imaging the Trinity as Genesis 1:26-28 makes clear. As we unpack 1:28, 2:18 and 2:23-25, we discover four “greats” for marriage: great family, great mission, great friendship, and great passion. I noted that for our culture good sex is a pleasurable recreational activity between consenting adults. But biblically it is a whole person connection between a husband and a wife to express, confirm and deepen marital intimacy. So biblically there is no sex outside marriage — only porneia. As we move into the New Testament, exploring Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3 reveals four roles for women: submit, respect, beautiful spirit of purity, reverence, gentle and quiet, and not give into fear. The four roles for men are love by giving yourself, love by nurturing and cherishing, understand, and honor. Submission does not mean do what you are told and smile, but — following the example of Jesus in Mark 14:32-26 — give your feelings, give your desires and give your trust.

Equal Marriage should be even more equal

I am intrigued — but not at all surprised — to see Slate seriously supporting polygyny. At least I hope they are not going to be sexist and limit it only to polygamy. The article is here

Ironically, in a backward way I am sorta kinda supportive — IF it is marriage which is to publicly proclaimed life long faithful covenant partnership. I do have to say the status of women in polygamy (which is far more common than polyandry) in the world does not give me much expectation that it will be good for women or children. But the rising number of children in single parent homes or shifting partner homes is a very damaging place for children. The research is not ambiguous.

This is from the report of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Institute for American Values in New York City:

According to numerous studies, children born or raised outside of marriage are more likely to suffer from a range of emotional and social problems – including drug use, depression, attempted suicide and dropping out of high school – compared to children in intact, married families, as summarized in past reports such as “Why Marriage Matters” from the same team. While debates over same-sex marriage have filled the headlines, the rapid hollowing out of marriage in Middle America – more than half of births among women under 30 now occur outside of marriage – has received scant attention from national leaders, the report notes.

Their full report here

I do suspect that equal marriage expanded will be quite different than marriage. I suspect that it will devolve into a temporary living arrangement with one person working and the rest getting health benefits.

Poor children.