One Flesh

There is this idea that man and women are one flesh when they become married.

And one thing that is worth noticing about this, is that this is a restoration of something that happened before we fell out of the garden of Eden.  Genesis says that when God decided to create Eve, he took one of Adam’s ribs and made Eve from that.

Given what we know about biology and genetics, this has some pretty fascinating possibilities.  We know now that every single cell in the body has a blue print for the entire body.  The idea that we might take a rib—or anything—and create a new life out of it isn’t all that far fetched.  Obviously, God would have to tweak the DNA to make Eve different in all those wonderful ways that women are different than men.  But he is, after all, God.

Regardless of whether or not this speculation is correct, as a species, man and woman began as one flesh.  In quite a different way, individually, we all begin as one flesh with our mothers.  There is something profound going on, in the suggestion that we live the woman who we were once one flesh with in order to become one flesh with our spouse.

I used to think that this claim meant that the theory was marriage made it so that you’d get along.  I used to think that the belief was that something magical happened in marriage that caused the people to share one mind.

I thought this was pretty dumb based on the married couples I’d seen, until I got married.  When I got married I realized it wasn’t pretty dumb.  It was epically and unimaginably dumb.

I didn’t feel that being married made it easier to get along with my wonderful and amazing wife.  I found out I was still broken inside and did stupid hurtful things on quite a regular basis.

I had lived with other people outside my family before.  Perhaps it was the idea that we were supposed to be intimately connected.  Maybe it was the fact that this wasn’t a decision of convenience to share rent but a commitment for life.

Whatever it was, I was amazed that there were so many ways of doing things.  It’s almost embarrassing, how trivial some of those differences are.  Things like “What?  You’d clip your toe nails in here?  Nobody clips their toe nails in the ____ room.” But they add up.  And they didn’t much make me feel like one flesh with her.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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