Al and Tipper Gore Divorce: Some Thoughts
I was reading Albert Mohler's blog about the public announcement of Al and Tipper Gore's divorce, and it got me thinking about the subject again. It's a subject I've posted on several times in various forums. At the outset, I'd like to make it clear that I don't think any sin, including divorce, cannot be used by God for good in the long run. And, despite what anyone may not think, I am not intolerant of divorce. But, as I have mentioned in other blogs, I simply cannot understand why modern evangelicals spend so much time and effort crusading against hot-button issues, such as homosexuality and abortion, while divorce is destroying our families, and getting relatively little attention.
Now, it seems that every time I write something like I wrote above, someone attempts to show me the error of my ways, and throws everything I've written back in my face, accusing me of being soft on homosexuals or being too intolerant of the divorced. I almost understand that: people are passionate about what they're passionate about, I guess. What I don't understand is the many ways I've heard Christians rationalize the prevalence of divorce in our society. When I've pointed out how common divorce is among committed Christians, people have told me that the numbers are skewed, because unbelievers are living together without getting married, and so when they split up, it's not considered divorce. I've had others explain to me that Jesus really wasn't condemning divorce, so much as pointing out the Pharisees' hypocrisy and hardness of heart. I've had people tell me that I've never had to deal with it myself, so how can I judge others? Excuse after excuse, rationalization after rationalization...
But the fact remains: when I was a child, just a few decades ago, I only knew a handful of children my age whose parents were divorced. Now that I have a daughter of my own, I will bet that she is in the minority when she gets to school in a couple of years. Most of her classmates will have parents who are divorced. And if you look at the numbers, the rate of divorce among Christians is exactly the same or higher than that among non-Christians. This is a horrible scandal in the Church, one that I have never once heard addressed from the puplit in any church I've ever been in! Does faith make one bit of difference in people's lives? I wonder.
The Gores identify themselves as Bible-believing Christians. (I know there will be conservative folks who read this who doubt that, but that's not my concern.) There have been plenty of conservative leaders in the Church who have gotten divorced, too. Charles Stanley is one who leaps to mind. The Gores have been married forty years! What is the point of getting a divorce now, I wonder? One person in my church, who was divorced just a few months ago, has announced that his divorce will be no hindrance in his quest for ordination. Really?
One more time, I would like to state that I am truly not trying to be judgmental in grappling with this issue. I've been married ten years, which is well above the national average now, but it's not nearly as long as some folks have managed to stay married. So some people who are divorced will tell me that I simply can't tell what will happen in the future. But this issue strikes me to the heart. That's why I HAVE to blog about it sometimes. Marriage vows are a solemn promise, a real legally and spiritually binding contract. And many people break this contract, often simply because they are no longer "happy." Or no longer "in love." Or no longer...fill in the blanks. But the point is, some people think that, because their feelings have changed, or their circumstances have changed, the marriage contract is annulled. I don't think that's the case. (I would also like to point out that I am NOT talking about those who have left their spouses because of abuse. But I would be surprised if that were the case in most divorces.) I would submit to the reader that God is not interested in our "happiness," at least not when it negates our obedience.
I'll step down from my soap box now.