Once again I have found myself being harassed by some thoughts in my subconscious that I have ignored in the past but cannot ignore anymore. I was at my daughter Rebekah’s on Sunday celebrating the first birthday of grandson #2. As is the case with all children just turning one year old, Caleb just kept staring at the adoring crowd wondering when they were going to go home and leave him in peace. I stood on the deck just behind the confused guest of honor, cutting the cake and scooping ice cream as Rebekah opened the gifts. I too could look out at the adoring crowd of about thirty, and it hit me just as it has hit me several times now since my daughters have married; that is my family out there in the yard. It is a Swedish crowd. I did not have much contact with the Swedish culture growing up so I have had to learn to be accepting. All of the Nordics tend to be very clean and well organized and thanks to their Protestant upbringings, they lack those outbursts of anger so characteristic of what I am used to. Coming from the South Side of Chicago, I am more inclined toward Irish, Italians, Greeks, Mexicans, African-Americans and a sprinkling of Jews. In my old age I find myself having to expand my horizons due to the institution of marriage.
Seriously though, the people who now make up my extended family were once just strangers. I had no cause to like or dislike them had I crossed their path for any reason. Now though, I am obligated by God’s design to give them a special regard I would never have considered had my daughter not married. I myself am related through marriage to nine other Danahers, their spouses, children, stepchildren, grandchildren and even their new sons and daughters-in-law. And through their new sons and daughters-in-law, I get to meet their extended families on occasion. When all of these extended members are considered, I have sixty-one family members through marriage on my husband’s side. All of the Danaher grandchildren are just getting started on their families so there is still a great expansion to occur in that clan. My daughter Rachel has married into a family of six siblings (including her husband) which has provided her with four in-law spouses, eight nieces and nephews, a widowed mother-in-law and her second husband. When I attend Rachel’s family gatherings I am again impressed by the fact that I probably never would have crossed paths with these very nice folks from a western suburbs and now they are part of my extended family. I am obligated by God’s design to regard them differently because they are the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of my grandson, Ryan. Obviously the ties that really bind are the offspring of these marriages.
To me, marriage gives everything a different perspective. By marriage, I am drawn into a new circle of relations. For the sake of family unity I am required to put myself aside and, in the words of St. Paul, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." (Romans 12:15 – 18) Of course these instructions were meant to be applied to all people, not just family. But the best training ground for life in general is the family. We can walk away from casual acquaintances that may be annoying or for whom we do not want to make time, but it is in the best interest of family harmony to heed St. Paul’s instruction. Hopefully, from the center of my family, this practice of sympathy, empathy, cooperation, humility, and patience will spread like a great web and those that are now my extended family will also apply these principles to their greater clan. To be clear, it is I who have learned from them and not the reverse.
I know that world history is littered with the bones of the victims of clan warfare, but none of those clans ever had the benefit of a national Constitution, written by men who had the full benefit of biblical literacy, both Hebrew and Greek. They also had the benefit of a classical education, which concentrated on the western cannon of history, literature, science and philosophy and were able to come to the logical application of those learned principles within the structure of a representative republic. Our Constitution is not perfect, but it goes a long way in discouraging clan warfare with the possible exception of the Hatfields and McCoys. Even when the clans of Europe were playing "steal the head off the enemy," they very often relied on intermarriage between their children to bring peace between their tribes.
Fast forward to Chicago’s recent 46th Ward "Run Amok Party," with the resident hoodlums battling on the streets in the neighborhood for all to see and some to record on video cameras. This evidence of the deterioration in the 46th Ward prompted residents to contact Alderman Helen Shiller’s ward office to beg for help in controlling rival roving gangs of young men. Ms. Shiller did not respond to her residents, so they showed up at a meeting she was attending for Chicago 2016. Their frustration with the neighborhood crime and Ald. Shiller’s perceived lack of concern boiled over into angry demands and she then scooted out and never responded to them or the media. It may be time for Ms. Shiller to retire to Vladimir’s Home for Retired Bolsheviks. But I digress.
My reason for mentioning this Chicago melee is because it is the latest example of what happens when young men have no immediate family responsibilities from which they inherit extended family responsibilities, which in turn encourage a young man to be a productive member of a community. How many of those young men seen running and fighting in broad daylight do you think were married? How many were married with children? I’m sure everyone of them have children somewhere being "raised" by the young women who allowed them into their beds, but not one of these men is married. They don’t have to be. Today’s relationships are fluid and always changing. Marriage is passe. Sex is something to be enjoyed between two or three or more people. It’s kind of like going out to lunch. Take from it what you can get and then go home. As long as our politicians continue to advocate rewarding the irresponsible with the hard earned money of the responsible, the deconstruction of the Constitutional principles of self-government will continue to bring about the kind of chaos seen in that video of the 46th Ward. The consequences of the deconstruction of the Judeo-Christian worldview by the media and the intellegensia of academia are playing out in pockets of society; but those pockets are getting larger and pretty soon they will be interlocking with each other until there will only be small pockets of Judeo-Christian advocates trying to keep the barbarians from breaking through the gate to play "steal the head off the enemy".
We can continue to preach the gospel of condoms and birth control to each generation, but none of those consequence thwarters really get to the heart of the matter and certainly they do nothing for the principle that young men are better men when they are married and gainfully employed supporting a wife and their children. I am proud to say that one of my favorite books of all time earned its author the award of Male Chauvinist Pig of the Year by the National Organization for Women. His name was George Gilder and the book was Men and Marriage. I read it maybe twenty years ago and need to read it again. At the time, however, it seemed to hit the nail on the head with every chapter.
My opinion will instigate many to protest that marriage hasn’t always served women well, which is partially true. The world is comprised of sinful human beings for whom oppression is the favorite pastime. No one should settle for a life of subjection to one’s own personal tyrant. But the answer is not the eradication of marriage or the redefining of marriage (which is really the eradication of marriage). All one has to do is view the video of young men running rampant through a neighborhood of women and children to realize that the alternative to monogamous marriage is no alternative at all.