The Un-Charming Prince – “I Kissed the Frog”

Someone who I discussed these recent posts with identified with what I have written and she had a cute way of describing the situation. She said, “I kissed the frog, and he’s STILL a frog!” This is the disappointment many young wives and husbands have about their spouse.

Someone else put it this way. When a man marries a woman he doesn’t want her to change, but she does. When a woman marries a man she wants him to change, but he doesn’t. Either way, both husband and wife find themselves living with a reality that is not their ideal.

One of the traps in the process of marriage is that both the guy and the gal are transformed from one status to another. As boyfriend and girlfriend they live in the reality of being single and full of hope. However, when they become ‘man and wife’ they are both brought through from single-hood to a new personal status of husband or wife. It is almost as if in internal switch is then triggered to readjust them to this new status. Whatever their factory settings are for ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ is what they now being to operate by. So the sweet little ‘girl’ is a ‘girl’ no more. The hopeful boy is a boy no longer. They both switch into the settings which they have been programming since their child-hood, most strongly from the example of their parents and their own responses to that example.

It should never be a surprise that both the bride and groom will change their behaviour once married. So this demands two effective processes at work, for ideal results. Firstly, we should each be aware of our humanity and need to become better people. The most ideal role-model for us all is Jesus Christ and we all need to become more like him, no matter what our religious persuasion. There is no-one in all of human history who is a more worthy example to us all. Each of us should be committed to changing to be more like Jesus all the time. So, when we discover that our internal, automatic settings cause us to behave less like him we should be quick to address that.

The other effective process is for the people affected, especially the spouse, to offer grace and forgiveness to the person who proves to be less lovely than was hoped. An important reason for this grace response is that God will treat us the way we treat others. If we are unforgiving and if we despise our spouse for not being what we want, we are inviting God to refuse to forgive us and to despise who we are. Since we are all imperfect it is very dangerous to engage in despisement of others who are also imperfect.

I counsel couples who are planning to wed, to realise that they may both change in the months following the wedding – if not even in the first week. They both need to be sensitive to this process and to see that they bring themselves to God so that God can teach and heal them, perfecting who they are. They both need to be ready to love and forgive each other, even when the frog stays a frog, or the princess proves to be unworthy of that role.

For those who have chosen to make Jesus Christ their role model there should be no Un-Charming Princes and no tainted Cinderella’s. That is, of course, unless they are still a ‘work in progress’. And I guess, we are all works in progress, eh?

This post is part of a series on the Un-Charming Prince:

http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-thats-me
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/i-kissed-the-frog
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-forgiven

‘Dreaming’ About Australia

I have pointed out recently that our world now suffers from the New Dreaming, where people believe things without any basis in fact, and they try to build their life on those beliefs. At the same time there are those who exploit the ignorance of today’s dreamers with mythologies that cause phantasms to dance through dreaming heads. The stupor that is created is a threat to the very way we live.

New Dreaming is seen in Australia in the Republican debate. Strident efforts have been made now for several decades to delude the uninformed Australian citizenry into thinking our Constitution is flawed and needs to be overturned in favour of something new.

A number of deceptive notions are embedded in this debate and much of the Australian populace is too ill-informed to detect the way they are being played for fools. So let’s take a moment to consider the advice of our current Head of State, Australian Governor-General Michael Jeffery.

“What I do emphasise very strongly is that before people can make an informed decision on better ways of governing ourselves – including perhaps whether we go to a republic or not – you’ve got to have a good understanding of how your present system works, its strengths and weaknesses.”

“Without question our system has worked very well for over 100 years. That’s not to say that we can’t do better, but we won’t do better unless people understand where they have come from if they are looking at where they want to go.”

“If they’re going to take a plunge out there simply because they think it’s a good thing to do, without understanding the subtleties, nuances and the ramifications, then we have the potential to make a big mistake.” (Quoted from News.com.au, written by Doug Conway – http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23586774-1702,00.html)

Here, here. The good Major General knows only too well that Australian’s are ignorant of their own constitution and the realities of their present governmental structure. The public is ripe for exploitation and happy to be duped in this debate.

Aussies are frequently reminded that they are tied to the monarchy of England. Just about all Aussies are sure that is the case, and so some like the idea of moving away from that connection. The link to England is presented as a vestigial construct overdue for surgical removal.

However, as I mentioned in a previous post, dated April 23, about Australia’s first female Governor General, the whole notion of our link to England is a furphy. It is a lie. It has no basis in fact. As far back as one year after Australia was constituted as a nation it was realised that the Australian Governor General is commissioned by the Australian Constitution to act independently of the English Monarchy. The Australian Governor General is the true, Aussie Head of State.

Australians do not need a Republic. They do not need to sever their constitutional links to the English Monarchy. Those links simply do not exist. And don’t take my word for it. Read what Sir David Smith, a retired public servant who spent many years working with Australian Governors General, has uncovered on the subject. The link to his article is: http://www.monarchist.org.au/smith3.htm

The New Dreaming includes all manner of ideas propagated as truth to people who have lost all foundation for what reality is. Arrogant people are asserting themselves upon a lost society, vying for devotees to their favoured mythology, and initiates to affirm their self-proclaimed guru status.

Truth is greater than the lie, to the degree that God is above all else and Jesus Christ is triumphant over the devil. The lie is not to be feared, but it is to be exposed and it is to be dispelled. This is best done, by exalting the person who is ‘Truth’. It is supported by building the kingdom belonging to the one bearing that title. Please join me in building the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The New Dreaming

While Dreamtime and Dreaming are part of Australia’s ancient indigenous mythology the New Dreaming represents today’s departure into fanciful thought and abandonment of facts and reason.

Australian Aboriginals refer to “Dreamtime” as the earliest times, when spirit beings formed the world. They also refer to the “Dreaming” to identify their localized myths, legends, fairytales and folklore, accounting for formation of animals, geographical features and the like.

What makes these forms of ‘dreaming’ significant is how they give a notion of ‘reality’ to a people group. Dreamtime is a mythological and magical time in which amazing supernatural processes took place to form natural phenomena. Dreaming, then, continues the process of applying imagined forces to validate current tangible reality and to assert personal value in the broader context.

It could be said that ‘dreaming’ represents the chosen beliefs of a group of people from which they gain their identify and validate their place in the world. It does not matter if the ‘dream’ is ridiculous or practical, because its role is not scientific, but personal. It often defies logic, but it speaks to the heart of a people, conferring on them a sense of identity and shared values.

So now, enter the New Dreaming. Today otherwise perfectly rational and logical people abandon their common sense to embrace a whole new set of ideas and values, without regard for reality. We live in a generation where people embrace personal and group beliefs with the fervour of a tribal community. People now find identity in their chosen mythology, even to the point of alienation from those who do not share their folklore.

Populist causes abound and are asserted and defended with zeal. Ideas have become tenets of faith. Things that defy definition and proof are taken as gospel – from big bangs, to black holes and impossible evolutionary miracles. If a mind such as that of Hawkins conceives a thing, then many take the resultant idea to be as good as proven. Meanwhile world leaders and popular figures have become high priests of ideas that informed scientists decry as folly.

Of the many reasons for such a state, one is that people have chosen to ‘dream’ rather than to live reality. “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”, has become the option of choice for the children of yesterday’s thinking populace. It is as if logic and empirical realities are deliberately abandoned in an intellectual protest movement. Intellectual suicide is the sport of the nations and a fad of compelling proportions. So allow me to make a few observations about this state of affairs.

Dreaming has never created reality. Sweet as the dream may be, we wake to the cold light of day. Those who seek the dream must lose their life to do so, for they cannot live in today’s reality and also live their dream. Reality does not bow to silly notions. Even if the entire world were to believe nonsense, that cannot make the idiot idea real. Gravity will still be gravity, human life will still be mortal and God is still God.

What makes Dreaming a matter of concern, is that the world has taken to it with enthusiasm. Those who see clearly find many around them walking in a dream. Vain people are building their lives on holographic images projected before them by people intent on beguiling the gullible. The populace has become fodder for the peddlers of peculiar ideas.

We came to this place by abandoning foundations. People have long followed the piper’s tune, lured from logic and even common sense. Now, lost in the woods of competing and un-provable notions, they have forgotten that there ever were foundations on which to stand. They apply the dream to their strained situation, as salve and solace to insecure souls.

Three millennia ago the Psalmist asked, “If the foundations be destroyed, what will the righteous do?” Today we might well ask, if the foundations are abandoned, just how far from reality can we go?

Two thousand years ago the Christian zealot, Paul the Apostle, spoke of a spiritual reality causing this very problem. He said that the God of this world, a fallen angel we call the devil, has blinded people’s minds. Paul was commissioned through a divine visitation from the resurrected Jesus Christ, to turn people from demonic blindness to the truth. The need to continue that endeavour is as real today as it has ever been.

Dreaming is a demonic seduction. It is not the next step in our evolutionary journey, but a step back to the dark ages, fostered by a spirit being that is keen to steal man’s freedom and kill our potential. Thank God Jesus has defeated the devil and Christians have authority to resist him.

In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of the Living God, I take authority over the lying and seducing spirits which pull today’s world into the stupor of dreaming sleep. I bind the power of the lie and it’s anaesthesia and I break its right to exalt itself in the nations. I declare that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and I exalt Him over the nations. I release the glorious light of the gospel over the nations of the earth and I banish all that beguiles and deceives. I break the power of the lie and I exalt the one who is the Truth, in and of His own being.

I invite you to join me in rescuing the nations of the earth from sleep walking toward the abyss. The truth sets people free, so let us proclaim it and turn people back from the brink.

Un-Charming Prince

What does a woman do when she wakes up one day and realises her Prince Charming is a dope? Or maybe he is irresponsible, opinionated, ineffective, vain, shallow, insecure, unreliable or otherwise less than charming. What does a wife do when she discovers that her hero is, in reality, an Un-Charming Prince?

I have seen at times the look of exasperation in the eyes of a young bride. I have heard the sighs of resignation. I have heard the sharp words or the hurt rebukes of a wife feeling sadly done-by as her husband heads off on some irresponsible or self-indulgent endeavour. My own sweet Susan expressed those very things herself, as she confronted my irresponsibility and general failure to be what she had hoped.

The process I am describing is, in fact, to be expected in every marriage. We all see in our beloved a range of things which are born of hope more than reality. We impose upon them our own biased view of who they are. We even overlook the evidence of their shortcomings. We may think that those things are just incidental glitches in an otherwise idyllic person. Or we may think that once we are married those negative qualities will smooth away. “She only needs someone to love her”, or, “Once I get him away from his friends he’ll be a much better person”, are the types of thoughts that can beguile us about our future spouse.

The initial phase of marriage is oft referred to as the ‘Honeymoon Phase’, where everything is seen with rose-coloured glasses. The ‘In-Love Phase’ is full of hopeful expectation. The ‘Honeymoon Phase’ is sweetened by new levels of relationship and intimacy. But eventually both the In-Love experience and the intoxication of the new intimacy must yield to the growing body of evidence. The weaknesses of the spouse continue to show up and the accumulating evidence becomes increasingly compelling. The small annoyances begin to loom as proof of deeper problems.

Just as the husband often proves to be an Un-Charming Prince, the wife equally proves to be other than her husband once hoped. As and when this happens, don’t be alarmed. This is an important step toward maturity and toward the deepening of your marriage and your joy. I don’t say that to be condescending, but I speak from sound personal experience. So in a few days I’ll share some of my own journey with you, in order for you to see that the ugly realisation of an Un-Charming Prince or a tainted Cinderella is a step toward greater blessing. Keep an eye out for further posts referring to the Un-Charming Prince – that will point you to my further discussions on this important issue.

This post is part of a series on the Un-Charming Prince:

http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-thats-me
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/i-kissed-the-frog
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-forgiven

‘This Holy Estate’ – Real Marriage

There is much fudgy thinking today and marriage is one of the areas where Christians can be as confused as anyone else. Considering that God invented marriage and it finds its greatest fulfilment as a representation of Christ and the Church (see Ephesians 5:32) Christians should be the first to have a good understanding of ‘Real Marriage’. My fourth son’s recent marriage brought to mind this subject yet again and my mind journeyed even further down some tracks it has trudged before. And I think I’m onto something that has fairly sweeping implications.

Before I get to my latest ‘rev’ on marriage I should let you know that my fourth son, Jonathan, married the lovely Katie Gunn a week ago. He, like his father and three of his brothers before him found a ‘treasure’ and made a ‘field’ out of her (which is a pretty lame pun on the man who found a treasure in a field and bought the field to have the treasure – it wasn’t any funnier when I said it at my own wedding over 30 years ago).

Now to the matter at hand. I have met many couples who have lined up with their personally created vows, ready to pledge their troth to one another, as if they are the architect of the relationship they are about to enter into. In the past few generations western culture has shifted from the idea that marriage is an historical reality which each new generation gets to enter into, to the notion that marriage is now malleable, able to be what the couple wants it to be. Since the 1970’s in particular, there have been notable examples of couples having a ‘tricky’ wedding – such as being wed underwater, while bunji-jumping, etc. This trend brought with it the notion that marriage is what ever the couple make it to be. The Australian government, under its previous Prime Minister, John Howard, sought to rein in this self-directed notion and to restore marriage as an institution which it expects its citizens to take seriously.

The idea that marriage is in the mind of the betrothed is strong, at least at a subliminal level. Couples want to have their dream wedding, with their choice of guests, their own vows and even their own idea of what the marriage will be. One couple told me they want a 50:50 marriage. We hear tell of the ‘open marriage’, the ‘trial marriage’ and other evidences that marriage is seen as adjustable, to suit the wishes of the couple.

Ah but here’s the rub ….. Marriage was not created by man. Marriage is not a social invention, nor a relationship of convenience, nor a reflection of past economic realities. Real Marriage, which is the only true marriage, is a ‘holy estate’ created by God. That is why the traditional western wedding ceremony starts with a description of what marriage is and then announces that “into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined” (quoted from the Book of Common Prayer 1928). However this modern wording is simply an updating of ancient lyrics. The wedding ceremony text recorded in the 1549 Prayer Book of King Edward VI states the same theme in ancient verbage and spelling: “Into the whiche holy estate these two presones present come noew to be ioyned.”

Western marriage has always been understood as something instituted by God, not by man. It is ‘This Holy Estate’ – a relationship which man is privileged to access, but which man has no power to dictate. The 1892 Anglican Prayer Book accounts for marriage as Holy Matrimony which is “an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church”. Because of the supreme quality and divine nature of This Holy Estate – Real Marriage, the Prayer Book goes on to warn that it “is not by any to he entered into unadvisedly or lightly ; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God.”

The eager young couple fronting up with their carefully re-worded vows and their desire for a wedding that has the stamp of their own individuality all over it, may well fail to realise the awesome significance of what they are about to do. Their notion of having some control over what the wedding is, may tempt them to think they have some control over what marriage. They may think they can excuse their own actions and thoughts, just as readily as they can modify their own wedding program. This is not so.

Whatever vows a couple come up with and whatever personal agreement they make in the form of their own wedding commitment – that couple has no power to alter, by one iota, what they are getting themsevles into. If, for instance, they agree to have an ‘open marriage’ where infidelity is allowed, God will ignore their arrangement and judge them based on what they did with what God created as a reflection of Christ and the Church. If the couple choose, as I know of some that have, that their marriage is not subject to the cultural mores of their family, and they will enter into a secret and peculiar arrangement of their own, including pre-marital sex, God will completely ignore their arrangement and judge them based on what they did with what God created as a reflection of Christ and the Church.

A godly wedding, such as Jonathan and Katie exemplified this past week, is a joy to all who see it. Marriage is a blessed relationship and I encourage all who have opportunity to enjoy it to do so in the fear of God. I am not down on marriage or young people. I am simply recognising one evidence of man’s tendency to become his own Lord and Master, where God does not give him leave to do so.

And, in closing, let me broaden the sweep of my brush. Most westerners live as if their own life were their ‘own’. They act as lords and masters of their own destiny. This is exactly the same disease that afflicts western marriage. The implications of what I am pointing out here sweep across all those places where we disband God’s reality and make up our own. Such behaviour is vile – yet ever so culturally acceptable, in the same way that tinkering with marriage is now seen as the expected thing. Hmmmmm… Methinks this goeth a long way – and methinks I will wax lyrical about it yet again in due course.