Does the UMC hate Jerry Maguire?

I was reading through the United Methodist Social Principles. Yes, I do that from time to time. This time, I came across this sentence that I had not noticed before in the paragraph about women and men:

We especially reject the idea that God made individuals as incomplete fragments, made whole only in union with another.

This is arguing with Plato, right? He had the idea that people are divided wholes that only achieve full humanity when matched up with their other half. (Is that where the phrase “my better half” comes from?)

Maybe the church was not targeting Plato here. I could see this being aimed at the notion that single people are somehow missing something essential from their lives. We write about not bad mouthing singleness in other places in the Social Principles. Or is there a notion somewhere that women are incomplete without a man? I don’t know.

Maybe we just don’t like the movie Jerry Maguire.

As you can tell, I’m not sure what this sentence is doing or what evil it is trying to fend off. Whatever it is, we are “especially” opposed to it. Who can help me out? How about a biblical reference while we are at it?

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5 thoughts on “Does the UMC hate Jerry Maguire?

  1. A starting point is Psalm 139:13-16.

    But I also like the jesting in Isaiah 45:9-10: “Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, ‘What are you making’? or ‘Your work has no handles’? Woe to anyone who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?'”

    Who dares recklessly say to God, “Your work has no handles”? Love that line!

  2. It seems to me that in order to begin figuring out if marriage “completes” individuals we need to go back to the first man and woman. Adam and Eve. The first woman was removed from Adam’s side and formed. Which essentially says to me she was there when Adam walked the earth alone, but she was inside of him….not yet formed. We need to remember that she was not given the name Eve until after the fall. Prior to that God called THEM, Adam. Adam said that she was blood of his blood….bone of his bone…..she had his DNA….she was him, but different. She was more beautiful, more gentle, softer part of Adam. She was his “better half”. So in the beginning, before the fall, the man could rightly look intently into the woman’s eyes and say……”You……complete me.” with Bruce Springsteins singing “Secret Garden” in the back ground. (I still like that song…lol)

    But sin entered the world and separated, or fragmented them. Now there is “lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life” and ultimately death…..separating the man from the woman….or, if you will, the bride from the bridegroom. After the fall humanity in it’s fallen state and sinful nature has been wrestling with what marriage is and means even to the extent of redefining it in order to be all inclusive…. using the church, ironically, to substantiate it’s re-definition.

    “We especially reject the idea that God made individuals as incomplete fragments, made whole only in union with another.”

    God did not make individuals as incomplete fragments….sin’s corruption did that. However, now as individuals born into sin we are fragmented and we are only made whole in union with another…the bridegroom…our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    Perhaps the evil that sentence is protecting the church from is the belief that union with another is not sufficient to make one whole…..only union with Jesus Christ will accomplish that…..and we do not need to be married to take part in the only union that matters.

    And isn’t it wondrous that God refers to that union with His Son a marriage.

    I don’t want to get overly wordy and off topic, but I would like to share a teaching on this topic at http://escapefromnod.blogspot.com

  3. Perhaps the evil that sentence is protecting the church from is the belief that union with another is not sufficient to make one whole…..only union with Jesus Christ will accomplish that…..and we do not need to be married to take part in the only union that matters.

    “is not sufficient” should have said ….is sufficient.

    Please excuse my errors….lol.

  4. This looks like “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” translated into polite church-speak.

  5. As paragraph 161 is a part of the Nurturing Community in the Social Principles, and in relation to the other issues spoken about – marriage, divorce, singleness, etc. – I think you are correct in saying that this statement is in place to push back against the stigma placed on single persons. It might just be re-affirming what they wrote about single persons:

    “Single Persons—We affirm the integrity of single persons, and we reject all social practices that discriminate or social attitudes that are prejudicial against persons because they are single. This also includes single parents, and we recognize the extra responsibilities involved.” ~ 161(d) Book of Discipline

    I think, historically, I Corinthians 11 (neither was the man made for woman, but the woman for man) and Genesis 2 (the notion of the “help-mate”) have been among the texts used by certain groups to say women are incomplete in singleness.

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