Adventists + Dating // OVERRATED
Overrated. That’s the word I use to describe this whole discussion.
Seriously, the social club that is the SDA church has become like the English nobility of old when it comes to the topic of marriage. We’re inbred. We all go to Andrews, Oakwood, Loma Linda, Southern, Babcock, Valley View and then marry each other and inbreed. There, I said it and if you were 100% honest with yourself, you would agree that this is true on so many different levels.
As someone who is a third-generation born and bred SDA church-going sanctified saint, I have been a party to this to marital philosophy for so long and it ends today. There is only one verse in the Bible that we use to defend our position, I don’t even need to quote the whole thing, all I need to say is “Do not be unequally…,” and anyone over the age of 15 in the Adventist church will be able to finish it for me. Right about now I can almost see the blood rising to your face and the fumes coming out of your nose as you pick up a stone and try and stone me, the Adventist heretic, but hear me out.
- Bible verse: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers: What does this mean to you? The Bible does not say, “Do not marry someone who isn’t an SDA,” but it says do not yoke yourself to someone who is not a believer. A believer is not limited to SDAs, but instead is a person who BELIEVES that Jesus Christ is the son of God. End of story. Stop trying to add more to scripture, because in Revelation 22 it tells us that those who add to scripture, God will add to him the plagues described in the book of Revelation (i just had to throw that in there).
- Numbers don’t lie: The divorce rate for Christians and Non-Christians are only a couple of single digits away from each other. The General Social Society (GSS) recently released a study that puts the divorce rate outside the church at 48% and divorce rate inside of the church at 41%.1 So please stop limiting your options by stressing over a 7% window of happiness, because that is all you get if you just pick someone based on the fact that they go to your church. When it comes to percentage of actual divorces, 34 % of Christians interviewed had been divorced in comparison with 30% of atheists. So with all our bible thumping and professing, atheists have a better marriage record than we do.2
- Sabbath, who cares? The day you go to church means absolutely nothing if you are screaming at each other the remaining days of the week. Love trumps religion, if you and your spouse go to church on the same day but can’t stand each other during the week what does it really say about your relationship with Christ? You show your true love for Christ by loving those in your life so let’s stop pretending that sitting next to your spouse in church fixes your problems. If we do that we are only skirting around the major issue.
- Pretense: The social club church is a dying institution that fails to meet the challenges of the 21st century, as the numbers in the previous point show. The church is not immune to divorce, child abuse, pre-marital sex, drugs, alcohol, abortions, pornography? These all occur within the walls of our social club church, and in most situations we are too scared of being unsacred to ask for help and those who see it choose to ignore the issue until it becomes public and then our cure is to convene the BOARD to dis-fellowship the individual instead of dealing with the major issue. We wrote the book on hiding your sins so why would you want to align yourself for the rest of eternity with someone who has the same problems as you do (pretense). As a whole, we are fake so wouldn’t you want someone who doesn’t have this disease?
Wouldn’t you want to be with a person who complements your need to keep up appearances with their need to be real?
Why in the world would you want to marry someone else that would also approach your marriage like a PR event, only caring about what the outside world thinks?
- Fortress cycle: The average SDA church is like a fortress – we are adverse to the outside world and only admit a few people who have agreed to jump through our hoops. That is why we encourage our grown children (18+) to attend institutions of higher learning where they will be surrounded by people who talk exactly like them, eat like them and read the same literature. We say it’s because we want them to have a deeper relationship with Christ, but is that the whole truth? It is like on some level we are scared to allow them to mix with the world for fear of contamination and so we tell them lies that all they have to do is marry within the church in order to stay happy while ignoring the major issue.
Let me wrap this up. I know SDA pastors that married within the confines of our denomination and are miserable. I know women in our church who physically abuse their husbands. I can name 3 “aunties” right now who have their social club status but are miserable with their spouse. It really will not take me too long to tell you all their business because as a pastor’s kid, I’ve been privy to the real story that isn’t talked about within the boundaries of the sanctuary.
So here’s the conclusion of it all. The major issue, which I have been alluding to all this time, is the truth that a relationship with God isn’t osmosis. It doesn’t happen just because you marry someone in the church or go to church; this relationship with Christ isn’t defined by the label you stick on your forehead, your church attendance, or position on the church board. Our churches today are FULL of people who profess to be followers of Christ but are empty. Looking for a spouse in the world is a tad bit easier, in a sense, because those in the world don’t pretend to love the Lord or dance to our tune of pretense so it is easy to spot a genuine soul. Finding a spouse in the SDA church is harder, because we have been indoctrinated to always put up a good front and some of us are really good at it. The result? Tread softly and slowly because it is hard to distinguish the knock-off from the original. I’m almost done with this rant so I’ll stop typing soon.
Marriage is a union created by God which can only reach its full potential if the 2 major parties have a relationship with Christ and are continually seeking His will above their own. If you find this in the SDA church, congratulations but if the person isn’t a member of our social club his/her desire to be like Christ will continue to evolve as they uncover deeper truth about Christ. So men look for a women who loves God more than she loves you and ladies look for men… (oops I forgot we aren’t suppose to search ‘cuz King Solomon tells men to find a good thing, and ladies are just suppose to sit there, be cute and become the Prov. 31 lady).
Okay let me try one last time to summarize this rant. God is not concerned with the label you give yourself , but with the life you live, so marry a person whose heart is so lost in God, that you must seek Christ in order to find them. Anything else is a waste of your time.
1http://publicdata.norc.org:41000/gssbeta/aboutNORC.html, A summary of this report is available at http://www.brewright.com/research/divorce.html