With Christmas as one of the most popular times during the year for weddings, we offer the following marriage ceremony between a Christian and a non-Christian for your prayerful consideration.
Dear Friends, we have gathered here today to witness a disaster in the making. For reasons none of us can understand, Martha here has decided she wants to be married to Chester.
Martha – church-goer, hymn-singer, happy, raised right – is throwing it all away in order to marry Chet here, a smug, ungodly rascal who gets with his buddies and makes jokes about Christians. Why Chester and Martha want to lock themselves into marriage is beyond me.
You two will be unequally yoked. In Deuteronomy 22:10 God tells farmers not to do that. An ox and a donkey or a mule and a cow are different animals. They can't work together. Over in the New Testament, in II Corinthians 6:14, God tells brides and grooms not to make the same mistake; for Christians not to marry non-believers.
Now, the reason He addresses this to you, Martha, is because, as a believer, He sort of assumes that you will obey Him. He knows that Chester here doesn't pretend to do so. But if you choose not to, you shouldn't bother to call yourself a Christian. The Lord Jesus once asked some people, "Why do you call me 'Lord' and do not what I say?" He does not address this command to Chester here, because since you are an unbeliever, it wouldn't do any good anyway. You're not obeying anything else He says. Why would you obey this?
So, what am I doing here performing your wedding? I've asked myself that twenty-eight times in the last two weeks. Probably because Martha's folks are leaders in our church, and I thought it would anger them if I declined. And some people think, maybe we can reach Chester this way. Frankly, I'm not too sure disobeying the clear teaching of Scripture is a good way of reaching anybody for the Lord.
Well, let us get on with it. In a few minutes Cherry Dunn will sing the songs you have selected for this special day: Torn Between Two Lovers and the theme from Titanic. Then I'll say some religious words over you as we all pretend that somehow God is blessing what He has forbidden. You will exchange rings and vows and saliva, and leave here seeking the lowest common denominator in your values, your beliefs, and your convictions.
If this marriage works out, it may be the biggest disaster of all, because other Christian-pagan lovebirds will point to you as role models. It's a frightening thought. So you will understand if I pray for the success of your marriage, while I pull for it to be awful enough to warn away future travelers down this embattled road.
So let us pray … and pray … and pray …
The Sins of the Fathers …
Adults who were raised in troubled or broken homes are more likely to smoke, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, November 3, 1999.
Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they polled more than 9,000 adults about conditions in their homes when they were growing up. They found that "smoking was strongly associated with adverse childhood experiences," perhaps because nicotine helped them cope with their circumstances.
Topics that participants were asked about included emotional, physical and sexual abuse; having had a battered mother; divorce or separation of parents, and growing up with a substance-abusing, mentally ill or jailed household member.
The study noted nicotine's "demonstrable psychoactive" affect on regulating a person's mood. That "pharmacological coping device for the negative emotional, neurobiological and social effects of adverse childhood experiences" makes it more difficult for those smokers to kick the habit.
It also noted that the decline in smoking in the United States that had been occurring for thirty years has slowed and nearly halted.