What is a Marriage?

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What is marriage? Is it a wedding ceremony and a license? Is it a commitment to love honor and obey? Marriage is defined by Webster’s as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law or by the rite by which the married status is effected, an intimate or close union. No mention of love.

Marriage existed before any government was organized. For thousands of years, people were getting married without a marriage license. Even today, there are some countries that have no governmental recognition of marriage and no legal requirements for marriage. Government endorsement is usually necessary for certain benefits, however. In American history, up to around the 1920’s, there was no such thing as a marriage license. The states invented them as a way to dictate who could and could not get married. Primarily as a way to stop white people from marrying black people. Still no mention of love.

Some people believe that a man and a woman are married in God’s eyes when they have completed some kind of formal wedding ceremony. There is an event, action, covenant, vow, or proclamation that is recognized as declaring a man and woman to be married. Love may be present, maybe not.

But does the very act of getting married constitute a true partnership? Does connecting yourself to another in the bonds of marriage mean that you are equally respected, loved or wanted?

Though many of my characters that I write choose to get married, I for one do not like what marriage has become in today’s society. It is an institution that gives people carte blanche to dictate what another person can and can’t do. I consider myself an expert on how not to be a spouse and how not to preform life as a married person. I should know I have had three failed marriages. Just as it takes two to make a marriage work it takes two to destroy one as well. I know, I have been there. Usually it plays out that one person gives up sooner in the marital timeline than the other. The vow is broken, hurt happens and loss is felt. Often a marriage dies long before the participants are willing to admit it. How many times have you known people who stayed married for the sake of the children or other reason that is not that they truly liked being together? Notice I said marriage not love.

Love is a choice. Love is a promise to cherish the other person. 

You choose to love or not. There are couples who are more devoted to each other without a marriage license than others who have been married for years. It is society that has conditioned us to believe that those who are in committed relationships but are not legally married are somehow not valid partnerships. Somehow we are taught to believe that two people can’t be devoted if they do not get married or we think maybe they don’t love each other, trust each other, or care about each other enough to get married.

Marriage as ordained by God is a spiritual connection that is grounded in faith not government. Faith in God, faith in each other and faith in your choice to be together. It is not based on the human’s faulty idea of marriage that is a contract and dictated by social norms. It is the choice and promise of commitment to that one other person that is important. Love and devotion do not require a piece of paper or even a ceremony. Ultimately, that is between the couple and God. Only God knows our true heart (1 John 3:20).

A marriage license is just a piece of paper. If there is no love there is no point.

~Lori O’Gara

(Also published on Medium.com)

Sunday Thoughts: Church Door Thumpers

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Matthew 18:20 (NRSV) “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

I am wondering why some people think that every time the church door opens that they have to walk through them.  I have seen so many people who think that if they go to church then they are good with God. Then to insure that they are indeed in the good graces of the almighty, they force their children to be there every single time too.

Let me enlighten you, going to church does not make you a Christian.

I understand the keep the Sabbath Holy commandment. I respect it and I honor it. Even that doesn’t say you have to be in Church building to keep it holy.  I have read the verses that are quoted about meeting together and hearing the scriptures. I agree that it is very important to meet with other Christians, study, praise and pray together. Even so, nowhere does it say that any of those things have to be done in a church. Nor does it have to be in any sort of service format. What’s wrong with meeting at the beach or in a home? The Christians make the church not the building.

Christians, do yourself a favor, if you want to go to church go, but do not force it on others.  While you’re at it stop beating yourself up with guilt about not going.

Love God, love each other, worship, fellowship together and invite the Holy Spirit to join you. No guilt allowed.

~Lori O’Gara

 

 

Sunday Thoughts: Who is God?

George Washington Carver once said, “Our creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world. Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there.”

I have never understood why people argue about who God is. It does not matter what religion you subscribe to or what name you pin on God. The creator and the universal greater power is the same, God is still God.

When Christians try to put God in a nice neat box and say this God, our God is the only God, they are limiting the very God they claim to be all powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent.

How can an omnipresent God who speaks to each soul in a unique way for that soul go by one name or a name at all? He has no need for a name. God just is.

We Christians say, “God has a plan for your life in His perfect will.” He loves us as individuals. It only stands to reason that each of us will have a personal connection to that power of God and communicate with God in the only way our imperfect minds know how. Naming God is a human construct.

God just is. He exists. Even God himself  said to Moses, “I am” when Moses asked what His name is. The power of creation, spirit and love that is in the universe, in nature, in us is the One True God. What you call this God is insignificant to the fact that you believe in God and embrace love. The fact God exists and that we find a connection through love and we share that love with our fellow living creatures, that is what is important.

I choose Christianity to serve God. It is arrogant of me to assume that my God will not reveal Himself to a person who chooses a different way to connect with Him through their spirit. All connections to God are sacred. I will go as far to say that all other religions that worship one God are worshiping the same true God. The great Spirit, Allah, Yahweh, the Goddess, and others are different connections to God, however, there is still only one God.

I have reconciled this truth with to the part of my faith that says “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know  my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14: 6-7)  Want proof? The Quran mentions Jesus more often that Mohammad. It doesn’t stop there, I see in other religions that there are other stories of the Messiah. These facts and others appear to make the connections between one God and all religions as a simple truth, there is one God.

I believe that we Christians are making a big mistake by undermining the scope of who God is by saying God isn’t in the other religions and by the way, here is God’s name. We shall call him this. We are molding Him to our image of God, when we should be encouraging others to connect to God in whatever way the spirit is calling them as individuals.

I will continue to search for a closer relationship with God and I encourage you to do the same. Search for God with love and a sincere thirst for truth. The power of God’s Love will find you right where you are, no matter what you call Him.

~Lori O’Gara

Believe is a Verb

To believe is to act. It is not a passive thing to just believe in something. You have to act on that belief.  Before you can act on your beliefs you must have something substantial to believe in and make a commitment to it.

The Latin term notitia means “believing in the data” or the information. It’s an intellectual awareness. You can’t believe in nothing; there has to be content to the belief. Once you have decided what exactly you are going to believe in, you then have to put your trust in that belief. Once you trust something as truth you can act on the truth.

Fiducia refers to the fiduciary commitment. You can’t believe without commitment to your beliefs. Our cowboy, William Porter, who we meet in We Will Get There,  is the embodiment of commitment to a belief in God. He made a promise to God and he honors it because of his loyalty to his chosen belief. The very act of dedicating one’s self to a belief is the first action in believing.

Don’t be one of those people who say, “I believe in…” this or that and then show no devotion to that belief. This type of person’s beliefs are faltering and ever changing. No one trusts a person like that. They are the people who follow the latest trend but never stand for anything real. They are gullible and believe anything that their friends are believing. They are wishy washy and flighty. They bring stress to those around them. They them self’s find it difficult to be at peace.

Decided what it is you will believe in, make a commitment to it and then act in the best interest of that commitment.  Wrap your soul and your life around your beliefs. If it is right your institution will tell you so. If it is wrong you will know that too. Believe in goodness and in what is right.  Be a trust worthy believer.  Believe in what makes your heart happy. Listen to your soul.  Then take that belief and act on it in truth and compassion. Bring peace to your life and to those you love through your commitment of belief.

Believe in commitment to the truth.

~Lori O’Gara