Sunday, March 20, 2005

Shall We Dance?

I'm not sure what I think of the following quote, which is Beverly's "non-romantic" description of why people get married in Shall We Dance with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. I'm not married ... but I also know that I'm not supposed to believe everything I see on TV ...

We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."

Like I said, I don't know much about marriage, but I do know that there's truth and falsehood in this quote.

Truth: We certainly need to have witnesses to our lives. It's amazing how alone we can feel in a crowd, and how much we need community. It's a fact of history that everybody wants to be remembered; nobody wants to be a nobody. (Simplistic Classics Geek fact: immortality for the ancient Greeks was getting your name into literature, even if it was a poet writing a vindictive limerick about you.) The theme of truth in this whole movie was that we all want to feel fulfilled, and a lot of that comes from what we learn from and give to other people.

Lie: Merely having a spouse - or anybody else for that matter - isn't going to solve the "quest for a witness." Granted, in the movie, Richard Gere is the most fulfilled when he can finally be honest about who he is. But that doesn't always happen in marriage. In fact, it is nearly impossible to truly be vulnerable with another human being, because there is always the possibility of getting hurt.

Now, the natural next step for a good Christian is to say, "God fills that void..." etc. True. But simplistic and - honestly - hardly satisfying.

God knows that we are physical beings who can only really get a glimpse of who He is through our experience in the real world. So he gives us community. We seek God together, we sharpen each other -- we learn to trust each other in spite of our sin because we see God sanctifying us and those around us.

Just like the way that the Lord's Supper was given because this is how our Lord kisses us in the flesh and gives us a physical manifestation fo the Gospel, he also lets us touch and see the Gospel because of Christ-centered community.

It's because we've felt and seen this that we can start to get a grasp on who God is and how he fills that void -- the need to have a witness in our lives, to know that this witness cares, that he's there for the good, the bad, the terrible and the mundane in our lives.

Kinds of adds a whole new dimension to the phrase, "As God is my witness," huh?

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