To have a good marriage is luck. To have a great marriage requires hard work.
Becky Venable Ferguson
Two are better than one… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4: 9, 12
I am trinitarian philosophically and spiritually. Often, two choices are not enough and four or more choices are too many. I have jokingly told my wife that if we ever appear on the Newlywed Game (it won’t happen) always answer “three” for me.
I begin this essay quoting my lovely wife and scripture. These wise observations note that marriage is the best design for life, and a successful marriage requires communication and commitment.
Becky and I have two girls, who, I am happy to report, are launched, successful in marriage and have children of their own. Although the world is vastly different than when my girls were growing up, I believe the timeless wisdom of Proverbs 22:6 remains relevant.
The apostle Paul taught that we all have different gifts. That was painfully obvious to me when I tried to braid the hair of my young daughter. Becky came from a family of four girls and I came from a family of three boys. There wasn’t a lot of braiding going on in my childhood. Many times, you learn from your mistakes, and as the braids kept unraveling, Becky showed me that a third strand secures the other two just as the Teacher in Ecclesiastes taught three millennia ago. That day I learned two lessons: the secret of braiding hair, and that God’s spirit wrapped around partners completes them and makes their marriage strong.
I like movies. One often hears the quip that the movie was not as good as the book. While that may be true in some cases, I would counter that sometimes the movie is better than the book. The two are just different ways of presenting a story. The same goes for reading scripture. If you read aloud to yourself the experience is quite different than hearing scripture. Last year I “reread” the Bible using an app that read scripture aloud to me. Interestingly, Saint Augustine often read scripture silently to himself. His colleagues were shocked to see his lips moving silently because it was customary at that time to have scripture read aloud.
As most of my readers know I am a fan of science-based fiction (aka science fiction). I’m not talking about Flash Gordon shtick or fantasy genres like Harry Potter. There are many genres of science fiction including apocalyptic stories like “The Road Warrior” or sci-fi horror like the movie “Alien,” neither of which I like. And though I did not care for the dystopian fiction of the Hunger Games, I loved the book “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradberry.
My recently published novel “MANTIS” is perhaps best classified as one of future history. However, “Mantis” is unique for science fiction because there is a strong spiritual message in my novels. The book is actually a story of revelation and redemption made possible through unique means of communication. It’s quite a yarn, but you should not wait for me to be discovered by Hollywood and the movie version! Check out “Mantis” at Amazon or more reliably from my publisher, store.bookbaby.com.
Years ago, friends invited Becky and me to see the “cyberpunk” science fiction movie The Matrix. I’m not a fan of this genre, but I love my friends and Becky was a good sport. I didn’t tell our friends that early in our marriage Becky and I came to an understanding regarding cinema. She hates going to the movies because she has difficulty sitting still for more than 15 minutes at a time. As a result, we watch movies together at home where she can roam and I don’t have to secure her to a chair with duct tape.
Unfortunately, cinematic trouble ensued during the crucial moment of The Matrix film. When the protagonist is offered the red pill of truth and reality or the blue pill of contented ignorance, Becky turned to me and asked incredulously, “Do you really like this movie?”
Have you ever been in a crowded situation where you spoke up and everyone else all at once became silent? Becky’s question rang like a gunshot in the dark and silent theater. Our friends have never invited us to a movie again.
Daily, Americans are confronted with choosing reality, even if it is painful, or remaining in contented ignorance. Metaphorically, it is the red pill or blue pill conundrum because in the current politic there does not seem to be a third choice.
The 19th century philosopher George Hegel developed a form of discourse that became known as the Hegelian dialectic. One party presents a thesis or idea and a second party presents a second idea or antithesis. The parties go back and forth and finally come to a synthesis (compromise) and consequently a new thesis. This conversation is only possible when both parties treat each other with respect and dignity. None of that currently exists in our body politic.
Jesus said that we should not judge or we will be subject to judgment ourselves. However, we make observations and choices daily. To deny what we see, reason or common sense is to swallow the blue pill.
To a certain extent, I can tolerate another person’s lunacy, but I will not adopt their delusions. A simple example is the gender identity conundrum. A man is genetically XY and phenotypically a man. A woman is XX and female in form. Of course, there are variations, but I reject the notion that there are 100 genders. Numerous studies have shown that the number of LGBTQ persons is less than 5% of the population.
And in practical terms a man should not compete against a woman in sports because, even if he identifies as a woman, he has an unfair physical advantage. The current lunacy will destroy title nine and women’s sports.
I have sympathy for people who have gender dysphoria, but I cannot adopt their nonrational, nonobjective delusion. Perhaps the only possible synthesis is that we agree to disagree. And that’s fine. Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, but I will not accept the tail wagging the dog.