News from another planet

I live on Earth, but it turns out that there is another planet very similar in appearance to Earth but very different in its thinking. For example, the people on this planet thought that they could re-invent the structure of the family, and that their reinvented families would work simply because they wanted them to work.

It hasn’t turned out very well for them. One of their stranger ideas is that procreation could be separated from marriage—no reason for married couples to have children, no reason for couples who have children to get married. But this column, by the advice columnist for one of their sophisticated, forward-thinking magazines, is unusually blunt in pointing out that this idea has been a social disaster for them. She trots out the usual demographic statistics to prove her point, but it is the quotes from letters she’s received from readers stuck in such circumstances that are especially poignant:

I get letters all the time that describe the turbulence that results from deciding marriage is archaic. Sometimes the writers start with a conflicted sense of hope. “My ex is rather immature and irresponsible. I had a recent fling with him that resulted in pregnancy. I am overjoyed with the impending arrival of my baby, but I fear that no one else in my life will feel the same way.” This is followed by more conflicted and less hopeful letters when the kids are small. “My boyfriend and I have a child who is almost 2. He also has a daughter and I have two other children. We bought a home together, but a week before we were about to move in, he left me. Now it’s four months later, and he’s bought me an engagement ring, but I found out he had a girlfriend during the time we were split.” “I have two children with my ex-boyfriend. We broke up because last year a paternity test he was ordered to have came back positive. Even though we are not together, I still want my kids to have a father in their life. I also know he is ignoring his new son because he wants nothing to do with the mom, but that little boy also deserves to have a male figure who cares.”

Perhaps it’s not so surprising that the people on this planet have walked such a self-indulgently destructive path, given that they are so unreflective about their individual circumstances:

  • “My ex is rather immature and irresponsible. I had a recent fling with him that resulted in pregnancy.”

  • “He also has a daughter and I have two other children. We bought a home together, but a week before we were about to move in, he left me.”

  • “Even though we are not together, I still want my kids to have a father in their life.”

I have to wonder if these words reflect actual thoughts, or are simply phrases cobbled together and parroted from whatever crazy propaganda they must be inundated with. How could you write such things and not immediately recognize the absurdity of your thinking?

Lord, protect me from ever having to visit this planet. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to resist the forces that seem to have swept so many away.

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5 thoughts on “News from another planet

  1. Great post Rick. I occasionally catch myself taking a step back during an interaction (usually a disagreement) between myself and my wife and I think, where did we learn to react this way to each other? Why are we using these particular phrases as though they mean something? Then I realize, we learned this from watching how characters respond/react in movies and on television, and I think to myself, this isn’t normal! This is easy to see in young adults who take in a lot of media, it has altered there thinking to a degree that is frightening.

  2. We bus in children to our small-town church for AWANAs. Many of the children are confused about the “married” part of relationships. Their mothers have not been married and have had multiple boy-friends. These children come from the planet Rick was talking about. They can be saved only through a relationship with Jesus Christ. We pray for their eternal and present salvation from their messed-up world.

  3. What scares me the most is my family members that live on that planet. I fear the impact that their lifestyle will have on my children when they’re old enough to understand what’s going on.

  4. 20-22 years ago, we lived on a military base on an island in Japan. There were man young single miltary folks there. We had the single (and unaccompanied, which is military talk for spouses not allowed on this tour) *from our church* over every weekend for a couple of years. I learned that my own children and I were the only people there who had parents who were still married to each other.

    I cannot tell you the number of times young (18-21 years old) men and women would come up to us before they left for their next duty station and say, “Thank-you for having us into your home. Until I met you two I had never seen a marriage that worked.”
    We were 23-25 years old in that time frame, we’d been married only since we were 20, and we were not Ken and Barbie. We also knew that five years was not really very much time. It was extremely unsettling to realize that where we were then was so much better than what most of those young people had ever seen, that they thought it was ‘successful’ before it had seen a full five years.

    Another planet indeed.

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