I am constantly dancing on the periphery of pop cultural knowledge. On the one hand, I can tell you every video game that is coming out in the next month and how the reviews for them are stacking up. On the other, I have no idea who the Kardashians are, or why they are famous (I am told nobody knows). Actually, I was just told - by someone who was quite shocked at the news - that one of the Kardashians is getting a divorce after only having been married for 72 days.
It took me a minute to process this, because our culture is not shocked at all by divorce. It is ubiquitous. It is all around us. It is like pornography - it infects everyone's home (or so it is assumed), and so everyone is afraid (including many pastors) to tell the truth about it. So what is so special about this Kardashian divorce? Nothing. It is an opportunity for a jaded society to pretend it still has some qualms when in reality it just wants an opportunity to judge a beauty queen who did what they always expected, only much quicker than they expected it.
Nobody whom I have spoken to or heard on the radio is shocked that she got divorced, but they are shocked at how quickly she got divorced. While society pretends to reel at this not-so-shocking news, they secretly must acknowledge her for her efficiency at ending the marriage before it had a chance to fall apart and end in misery. Marriages today are not expected to endure. They are assumed to eventually fall apart. At your average wedding, the jaded crowd listening to the vows is not in awe that two people are uniting for life, till death. If they are honest, they will admit that they wonder what will be the now-happy couple's undoing: an affair? an emotional breakdown? failure to launch on the man's part? The crowd searches its mind for a breakdown which seems most compatible with the couple in front of them.
For years, we have been told that gay 'marriage' and gay unions will undermine marriage (and I have no doubt that in some sense they do, though I'm not trying to be political here). Has anyone considered that most straight marriages today are doing more to undermine marriage than a whole San Francisco courthouse could ever seek to do? Kim Kardashian's pathetically surface-level miming of vows is the real future of marriage.
I said earlier that I wasn't trying to be political, but in a sense I am. If this is what marriage is in the North American context, then why would the Church care two winks whether its view of marriage is what the magistrate acknowledges? Real, true, lasting marriages rooted in Christ and His intercession will never be performed by a judge, a Unitarian minister, or a ship's captain anyway. God knows if a marriage is real. God has revealed to his bride what His view is in these matters, and let us just say a 72 day marriage or a marriage that ends in divorce after even 50 years is not His will. The Church is the guardian of these truths - not Clinton or Bush or Obama or a Supreme Court or a House of Representatives. The battle lines should be drawn in our churches. The Church is the only institution with the right to chastise their members for so blatantly flouting and mocking marriage as Ms. Kardashian has done. The Church is the last battleground of marriage, not the Congress.