Saturday, June 17, 2006

Couches and Stuff

Last night Paul and I loaded up the three youngest children and hooked the trailer to the van and drove to Portland to look at some furniture we had found on Craigslist.

The first set we looked at was a dreamy Ethan Allan set that (they claimed) had cost $5000 new. You could tell it was really excellent stuff--the fabric, the weight, etc. Unfortunately it was over 8 years old and a bit pilly on the seats and faded by the sun.

So we went off to see set #2. I was a bit dubious because on the photo it looked checkered rather than plaid, but when I saw it up close it was beautiful and I fell in love with it. It was in wonderful condition.

So we bought the set. And in the process I learned the story behind it. "Jim," the owner, said that he and his ex-wife had bought it for $2500 which included a $200 stain guard. They always took really good care of it--they didn't let the kids eat on it, and he and his wife always put a blanket on the couch and sat on it if they wanted to eat in the living room.

But then they divorced and the new wife didn't want to have furniture that the first wife had chosen. "Just a girl thing, I guess," said Jim, sadly. "We tried a different color scheme, with new lampshades and stuff. Didn't work. I hate to see it go, but . . ." he shrugged.

I am happy with the furniture but the story behind it makes me so sad. Sometimes I feel like I'm the last person in America who thinks divorce is any worse than, say, having your car stolen and who bursts into tears at airports when little children get handed off to the flight attendants to (hopefully)be delivered to Mom or Dad at the other end.

Jim said his son attends a Christian school, which indicated to me that they have some sort of church affiliation. And I wonder, where was the church when this man was divorced from one woman and married to another before his child was in first grade?

The liberal writers in our newspaper often make me angry, but I have to admit that a few of them were right on when they said that it doesn't make much sense for Christians to make lots of noise about legalized gay marriage destroying the institution of marriage because Christians have almost destroyed it themselves without any help from anyone.

Meanwhile, we have "Jim" who is obviously trying to keep his new wife happy, and who never realized that one of the many costs of divorce would be selling a beautiful $2500 set of furniture for $600.

Disclaimer: I am well aware that I have never been married to a man who drank, beat me up and slept around. If you have, you have my sympathy and I am sure you responded the best you knew how. I am speaking in generalities here, that the church has somehow lost its way in this area.

Quote of the Day:
"I'm just glad it's going to a good home."
--Jim, about the furniture set


  1. Hello Dorcas,
    I promise you that you are not the only person left on earth that thinks divorce is a horrible thing. I am a child of divorce. It is wrenching. I also agree with you that the church is ineffective and hypocritical in the extreme when we point to gay marriage as the destruction of the institution of marriage. Our own selfishness and lack of discipline and (agape') love are to blame in great part for the decline in marriage. We take our eyes off Jesus and put ourselves first.
    We want all things our way all the time, and fail to consider others more important than ourselves. How can we speak with any kind of "authority" when the divorce rate in the church is even higher than that of the general population? (Sorry, guess I got on a soapbox there!)

  2. I have been reading your blog for a bit now. Your comments this time made me want to let you know that I agree with you. As a church we are failing to be a light to the world in the area of marriage. Even Mennonites don't have it all together. Amen and keep up the good work.

  3. So are you saying that because the church is inconsistent on divorce, that they should remain silent on Gay marriage? Divorce is a horrible thing... I have been there...thank God for churches that can see the through their traditions enough to provide care and nurture and love to hurting individuals...and thank god that His love and redemption extends to those caught in the Gay lifestyle...I agree the church needs consistancy..but even more we need to be a conduit of His love

  4. Anonymous: No, I am not saying the church should be silent on gay marriage. But I am wondering: if the churches in America had given marriage (general) and marriages (particular) the support and honor it/they needed and deserved, would gay marriage even be an issue in our culture?

  5. k good.. I see you point. I believe that churches in general do support and honor marriage... I feel that the problems comes too often in the church, and particularly the conservative church, that once a marriage has broken down... the church falters in caring for the ones that are victimized. (I really dislike that word) There is some connection perhaps between that failure to extend God's grace and the rise of homosexuality in society; however, I am quite sure you would agree that the gay lifestyle agenda goes far beyond the breakdown of the institution of marriage.

  6. Dorcas, I'm proud of you that you used Craigslist! Way to go!

  7. hmmm... thought provoking post.
    i am really thankful for the life and upbringing i've had..