Friday, March 10, 2006

Marriage Counseling and Soulforce

A couple interesting bits from Crossleft:

This piece on marriage counseling was really interesting to me. I don't know for sure if I agree with it entirely (it kind of glosses over the pain of betrayal and rejection by a spouse - and not just from cheating, from anything...and it's a bit of a bible-thumper), but I'm intrigued by this notion of focusing counseling on each spouse's relationship with God first rather than with each other, and on the reminder that we don't make vows contingent upon the other person keeping them. At least not if we are trying to be like God, who, She knows, has made a whole lot of covenants that were broken by people.

So people who've had some experience: would this work? Or is it unrealistic? Will it just piss off the couple (maybe they'd go to a therapist who's better trained to help them anyway!)?

Tidbit #2 is about Soulforce, Mel White's great organization for GLBT Christians. Seems they're paying visits to a few Christian campuses (or, as CT puts it, "targeting" them - for what? Gay shooting range?), including both my and J's alma maters. Side note: CT's article, despite being on the web, doesn't hyperlink to Soulforce. Gee, could that be because it's got a bunch of stories and points that could actually disconcert good Christians?

Here's how Soulforce describes it:

"The Soulforce Equality Ride will take thirty-two young adults on a seven-week bus tour from New York to Los Angeles to confront nineteen religious schools and military academies that ban the enrollment of GLBT students. Their journey is unique - never before have young activists banded together to challenge homophobia at the institutions that are largely responsible for GLBT discrimination."

Biola is just trying to keep it all under wraps (I'm actually quite tempted to go out there in support - wish I could get J to join me, but then he'd get fired and we couldn't pay rent).

Wheaton at least is engaging the issue. Soulforce apparently has gotten a student to agree to a "coming-out" stunt, and the provost says that "concerns us." They rearranged a high schooler visit day so as not to scare the kids (and especially parents), and they are purposely changing the chapel format, splitting into many small groups so Soulforce can't disrupt the one large chapel. Chapel stunts have a long and treasured history at Wheaton, so that was probably a good move, although it's giving a lot of power to your enemy, in my opinion.

But here's where they are at least doing better than most:

"Wheaton will host six seminars in the weeks leading up to the Equality Ride visit. During the stay, Soulforce will hold two presentations with responses from Wheaton faculty members and one panel discussion. [Provost Stan] Jones said Soulforce has agreed to refrain from using civil disobedience techniques." (from CT article)

I'm sure there are Wheaties in the Soulforce group. I know we have a very unofficial GLBT alumni association. Without a doubt I know there are gay students on campus right now. There certainly were when I was there (being a theater major, I may have known more than my share). I pray this will give them a little encouragement. And the discussions will be open and loving on all sides.

But what are the chances of that happening, really?

Still. Oh, my God, if Wheaton changed on this issue...what a thought! It would change everything. I know it's gonna happen in my lifetime (well maybe not Wheaton but I think the majority of Christians will get over this issue). Kudos to White and Soulforce for their bravery.

Yeah, I think I need to go out to La Mirada. Anyone care to join me? Ya think I should hold up a sign that says "Fuller Students Support Soulforce"!?!?

I'm a naughty little mink. I mean, minx.


Mimi said...

I will be a naughty mink with you...
Maybe our signs should say "Fuller EGALITARIAN/FEMINIST Students support Soulforce" and REALLY rile 'em up!!!

JTB said...

Soulforce is also hitting an alma mater of mine, Abilene Christian University. So far there's been some interesting blog discussion ( about it. I believe ACU is making a creditable attempt to be hospitable and engaged, rather than withdrawing or ignoring Soulforce's visit. Since I won't be there I suppose I shall monitor the outcome via the inevitable blog reports...

Anonymous said...

That kind of marriage counseling would send me screaming from the building. All that talk of submission makes me twitchy.

But then, I'm struggling with my marriage right now. I know what God wants (and what my children need) but I am just so desperately unhappy. God has not been able to cure the howling loneliness of my marriage, no matter how much I've prayed about it--and my spouse just isn't willing, able, whatever to do anything about it. It's hard to honor my vows when that loneliness is like acid on my soul...

I understand that suffering can be redemptive, but right now, it just feels endless and draining. I cannot even bring myself to imagine another 30 years of this (we've been married for nearly 15). What do those men (and almost all of them seem to be male) have to say to me? That if only I were a better Christian my marriage problems would go away? Gee thanks, guys---now not only am I failing as a spouse, I'm also failing as a believer.

Stasi said...

See, this is what I was afraid of. I knew there was a dark side to this guy's theory and here it is: blaming the victim, calling faith into question when it doesn't "work" like he thinks it should. ARRRGGH!

I am so sorry for your situation.

Anonymous said...

queer, former wheatie, former seminarian, wondering what happened to wheaton gala. any ideas? thanks.

Stasi said...

Wow, it took me forever to figure out what you're talking about! Is gala the name of the Gay and Lesbian alumni group? I actually had only ever heard it existed, but unfortunately, have no idea as to the current status.

You sound cool, though. Shoot me an email if you like!

p.s. to everyone: Soulforce's Biola stop has been officially "closed to the community." What's up with that?

Anonymous said...

check out they are posting glbt wheaton stories. it is widely read by current students on campus.

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