Right on the heels of the Religious Addiction article I posted last night which outlined some basic symptoms, there's THIS from the Botkin sisters.
Let me go on record as saying that I hope David and Nadia have a long and happy marriage (despite my immense fears for its functional and emotional health given the super-religious nature of it), and let me also go on the record as saying I in no way question the religious sincerity of the people involved (despite sincerely believing them to be sincerely religiously askew and addicted).
There are a couple of things I see right away in this account of their wedding ceremony. First, very little, if anything at all, about emotional love. Lots of things from rigid readings of the biblical mechanics of all of it, but no real passion expressed. Just in reading their vows (which was painful), I see two people who seem to me to be entering into a religious arrangement. I don't see two people emotionally, or spiritually (in an undiluted sense), prepared for marriage.
In their vows, he says this...
I have received permission to marry you and on the 29th of March, 2011, you agreed to become my wife.
And she says this...
I have received permission to marry you and on the 29th of March, 2011, I promised to be your wife.
Permission? Really? From whom? That's a serious question. From whom? It's also a question which neither would be able to answer from any proper handling of the bible - only as an Imbibler could they begin to spin an answer. Had their fathers not granted them permission, would they have moved on with their lives and "stayed sweet"? I know what their answer to that question would be - that "God willed it". That's a nice thought, but my follow-up question would be, "Did God also 'will' all of the murders, rapes, and sexual molestations that took place today, even those that happened while your ceremony was going on?" It brings to mind the phenomenon of athletes on championship winning teams saying "I just want to thank my personal Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me this opportunity", but you never hear a guy on the losing team thanking his personal Savior, Jesus Christ, for helping him to strikeout in the bottom of the 9th inning, costing his team the World Series.
Both of them followed those statements with this identical statement...
I love you and desire to be your husband/wife and faithfully execute all my God-given duties.
That's as warm or emotional as any of it got.
Neither of these two truly understand emotional intimacy (or it would've been evident in their vows). Neither do they have a healthy, non-addictive view of marriage. The whole thing seems extremely "Old Testament" and law-driven.
This paragraph is also pretty troubling...
From the beginning, David established that he wanted to set an example of a short engagement, an inexpensive wedding and reception, and a wedding-atmosphere that pointed to real life instead of fantasy-land pageantry. He also wanted to communicate the relative jurisdictions of family and church, and remind all of us what the proper role the church plays in the forming of the marriage covenant. Big churches are great for seating many people, but so was the riding ring at our local county fairgrounds. David’s main goal (aside from getting married) was to use the day as an opportunity to teach, encourage, and exhort the attendees. The day was not meant to point to the bride and groom, but to the marriage between the Eternal Bridegroom and His Church, and the message of the gospel.
What if a person went about, let's say, a colonoscopy with that same mentality? "Hey Doc, our primary goal today isn't to make sure I have no tumors in my colon or that I'm in good health, but instead, I want to use this as an opportunity to spread the gospel while you're spreading my butt-cheeks, pumping me full of air, and running that scope up into parts unknown. I want to focus on the symbolism of the need to run a scope up the bunghole of our spiritual lives from time to time, cutting out the cancers, so, do you think it's possible that we could overdub a narration on the video of this procedure? I have some great scriptures picked out. The parallels are astounding."
I loathe over-spiritualization.
This line boggles my mind...and a wedding-atmosphere that pointed to real life instead of fantasy-land pageantry. Seriously? This wedding ceremony was modeled after real life? I now have even LESS doubt that patriarchals, particularly the royalty in the movement, live in a complete disconnect from the realities of the world around them, and I didn't think it was possible for me to doubt it less. They have no clue.
When we began to discuss our ceremony, my ex told me that she wanted "both of our fathers to proclaim a public blessing over us at our wedding", to which I responded "You want what? Why? What purpose does that serve?" At first, I conceded, but only IF my own father was willing (he actually thought it was strange, so he probably wouldn't have been comfortable with it). Once the fit hit the shan, I wouldn't have allowed MFFFIL to so much as belch at our ceremony in the spiritually and emotionally abusive, religiously drunken, emotionally disturbed state of mind he was in, so this idea was out of the question. We didn't need his blessing. At the same time, having been raised to be a religious addict, quite the junkie, actually, you can imagine the withdrawal symptoms my ex experienced in being separated from the idea that she absolutely had to have her earthly father's blessing to be "in God's will". Everything was spiritualized. Everything. I literally believe that they could find and meditate on religious parallels for just about every experience, from common colds to making a batch of Hamburger Helper to washing the car to bowel movements. It's a paralyzing way to go about life. Dealing with them certainly paralyzed mine.
A wedding ceremony should be an occasion to celebrate the intimate emotional love, and the commitment that stems from that love, between two people. Recognizing that God is love and Christ embodies love should be a given at all times to those who proclaim the Christian faith. Over-spiritualization and religious addiction are what turn a promise between two people and God into a patriarchal lecturing, legalistic masterclass as in the case of David and Nadia's ceremony, and into a patriarchal extinction-level event in the case of me and my ex. In our case, as far as the ceremony, I'd have wanted it to be about the two of us and our love for each other, with acknowledgement to God and His blessing upon us in Christ. As far as legalities, I'd have been fine with me, her, a judge, and a couple of chipmunks to serve as witnesses. The marriage itself should be founded in love (the passionate, emotional kind - not the "learn to love him/her because God loves me" kind). The promise stemming from that love is where the genuine substance is, not in the ceremony.
There's a photo in the article with the caption, "Elizabeth thanks David and Nadia for their passionate love of God’s law, word, and truth."
Note that they weren't thanked for their love for God, but rather for their love of His law, word, and truth. Brings to mind the Paschal Baute statement from my last article...
The particular Way to God becomes what is adored, not the ineffable and incomprehensible Mystery to which we give the name of God.
Bingo. It should also be noted that they weren't thanked for their genuine, emotional, passionate love for each other.
If I went by nothing more than their wedding vows, I might think they were marrying "biblical marriage", or even the bible itself, rather than each other - and that's very sad. What was with all the biblical references? Does "I promise" mean nothing to these people without attaching half the bible to it? If you're gonna base it on a scripture, what happened to being of such character that your "yes" means "yes"? Why not just "I promise"? Why go with "I promise because of Deuteronomy 71, Matthew 38, and 2nd Ralph 17"? I'll tell you why...an alcoholic goes nowhere without his bottle. Rather than marriage vows, it seemed more like a couple of alcoholics exchanging brewmaster's tips.
It was their right (or at least his) to have the wedding ceremony they wanted, but I can't muster any happiness for them. I really feel sorry for them both.