Author Topic: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults  (Read 1147 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2021, 11:04:54 AM »
If, Peter, a couple lives together before getting married, are you saying they are no longer Christians? Is it impossible to be a Christian if one lives together before the church “blesses” that living with a particular ceremony?
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2021, 11:24:35 AM »
So, what does one do about this?


As Carl Trueman noted in his recent book, we are experiencing the end result of a 200 year long attack on our understanding of the nature of mankind and our relationship with one another and with God.  Resolving this problem is not the work of one life time but of a consistent and focused effort to educate young people in the meaning and responsibilities associated with Western Christian civilization.

So how can we do this if we continue to send our young folks to be educated by advocates of this "I, Me and Mine" philosophy?  Better home life--sure.  Better church life--sure.  Classical education--can't hurt.  But as to resolving the problem of what we could call the "island life"--probably our Lord's return in glory.

Faithful and consistent catechesis is my first response. That said, I have a number of my former catechumens over the years who have ended up in cohabitating relationships, sometimes multiple ones with children by various partners.  The ship as sailed, as they say, and we are likely to see more, not less of this kind of living arrangement.  The reasons vary from maintaining student aid, cost of housing, saving up for the 'big' wedding celebration, to simple convenience and little concern for the institution. Perhaps a big crude, but as I have been told more than once: why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free. People use excuses such as the rate of divorce, but that only indicates that they anticipate failure before it begins and have little dedication to a lifetime commitment and the work required to keep it healthy.   
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Steven W Bohler

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2021, 11:37:10 AM »
Let me ask you directly, Pastor Bohler. How many people come to you seeking marriage who are already living together?
And it is that my generation that “screwed it up“ as you’re so charmingly suggest. It is the previous generations, plural, who imposed a certain rigidity in marriage that turned out to be harmful to many.
So how are your children, their friends, the children of your friends, the children in your congregation approaching marriage these days?

1.  Too many.
2.  You said "the generation younger than mine".  Not "the generation younger than mine and those that preceded it".  I took that as your assigning the responsibility to your generation.
3.  What you call "a certain rigidity in marriage" I call God's intention.  If you want marriage to be all loose-goosey and devil-may-care, then I guess that is your choice.  However, that is not what I see in Scripture.
4.  My wife and I have no children.  And, if we did, I could no more control their "approach" than I could that of anyone else.  All I can do is preach and teach (and practice) what the Bible says.

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2021, 11:39:01 AM »
The desire to control / resistance to being controlled are involved here.  "Common Law" marriage left the matter of life together and bearing of children to the man and woman. It was open to abuse and was abused, but by and large may have worked about as well as our formalized, legalized marriages. Extended families had something to do with that.

I think we are at a point where formality and documentation are meeting "we don't need your interference."

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Michael
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Dave Benke

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2021, 11:39:12 AM »
So, what does one do about this?


As Carl Trueman noted in his recent book, we are experiencing the end result of a 200 year long attack on our understanding of the nature of mankind and our relationship with one another and with God.  Resolving this problem is not the work of one life time but of a consistent and focused effort to educate young people in the meaning and responsibilities associated with Western Christian civilization.

So how can we do this if we continue to send our young folks to be educated by advocates of this "I, Me and Mine" philosophy?  Better home life--sure.  Better church life--sure.  Classical education--can't hurt.  But as to resolving the problem of what we could call the "island life"--probably our Lord's return in glory.

Faithful and consistent catechesis is my first response. That said, I have a number of my former catechumens over the years who have ended up in cohabitating relationships, sometimes multiple ones with children by various partners.  The ship as sailed, as they say, and we are likely to see more, not less of this kind of living arrangement.  The reasons vary from maintaining student aid, cost of housing, saving up for the 'big' wedding celebration, to simple convenience and little concern for the institution. Perhaps a big crude, but as I have been told more than once: why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free. People use excuses such as the rate of divorce, but that only indicates that they anticipate failure before it begins and have little dedication to a lifetime commitment and the work required to keep it healthy.

This is the answer I choose as well.  And I have the same results out in the world as you do, Don.  In my context the health of the marriage relationship from the past generation(s) is often visited upon the children in ways that make them so leery of marriage because of what they've experienced that they delay durable relationships and have no experience with the thick and thin of the marriage bond, just a lot of remembrance of betrayal and loud fights ending with a split.  That being said, we also take time inside the worship service and in other events to thank God for the blessing of marriage and the family.  Food, dancing (!), enjoyment and strengthening of the positive benefits. 

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Dan Fienen

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2021, 12:10:52 PM »
If, Peter, a couple lives together before getting married, are you saying they are no longer Christians? Is it impossible to be a Christian if one lives together before the church “blesses” that living with a particular ceremony?
Once again, Charles, you overreact and exaggerate. We do not say that couples who live together without being married (either in a church or civil ceremony) are no longer Christian. That living arrangement is not in accord with what after prayerful and careful study we understand God to have revealed in Scripture. Our understanding of the Simul suggests that no Christian truly and fully lives in compliance with God's will. Yet they are still forgiven Christians.


What are you suggesting? That since none of us lives the perfect Christian life we can simply ignore God's expressed will for our lives and do our own thing whatever we want?


As to your slighting reference to the church "blessing" the living arrangement with a ceremony, as you well know we Lutherans have never considered marriage to be a sacrament that must be performed by the church to be valid. In the discussions in the ELCA leading up to the decisions at the 2009 CWA the term PALMSGR was developed  as a marriage equivalent since at that time same sex marriage was not yet widely legal. The PA stood for Publically Accountable something that marriage accomplishes rather handily. Does the ELCA, or you,, no longer consider such Public Accountability important or even desirable?
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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2021, 01:24:12 PM »
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?  Even cohabitation without marriage requires a higher commitment to another person than simply "hooking up". If America is bowling alone, maybe it's also living alone. :-\


One son has usually lived with others (who were not his "partners"). For a while, he shared a townhouse with two women. When one had to leave, she was replaced with a guy. When our son moved to the other coast, he first shared a house with five others; then a smaller place with one other guy, whose girl-friend/fiancée/wife moved in with them. Our son offered to move out, but they wanted him to stay. (Partly because he helped pay the rent - and they liked him.) When he moved again, he shared a townhouse and now a 4-bedroom house with a friend from jr. high. He has "lived together" with a number of people, but not shared a bedroom with them. Where does that fit on the chart?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2021, 01:26:52 PM »
So, what does one do about this?


As Carl Trueman noted in his recent book, we are experiencing the end result of a 200 year long attack on our understanding of the nature of mankind and our relationship with one another and with God.  Resolving this problem is not the work of one life time but of a consistent and focused effort to educate young people in the meaning and responsibilities associated with Western Christian civilization.

So how can we do this if we continue to send our young folks to be educated by advocates of this "I, Me and Mine" philosophy?  Better home life--sure.  Better church life--sure.  Classical education--can't hurt.  But as to resolving the problem of what we could call the "island life"--probably our Lord's return in glory.


Isn't the "I, Me and Mine" philosophy form the background of those who insist on their own choice regarding the vaccine or gun ownership or abortion rights? It's not really a philosophy as the original sin that we are born with.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2021, 01:31:59 PM »
Terry W Culler writes:
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?

I comment:
I believe it is possible that the generation younger than mine simply concluded that the lifestyle we consider “traditional marriage,“ was not working very well, lost its divine mandate, created a tremendous amount of hypocrisy and pain, existed primarily for social and monetary reasons, and had a too narrow definition of sexuality. A good number of those concluding  this were members of our congregations, believing Christians, and, as they rejected the idea of a six-day creation, rejected some other aspects of the type of Christianity they have been taught, made their decisions about how they should live as Christians.

So, you are saying your generation screwed it up.  OK.


Or the previous generation preached a good ethic, but didn't live it; so the phoniness of their preaching was negated. Consider just how attire has changed for worship. I was chastised by some back in the 60s because I wore sandals to church. People had their "Sunday-go-to-meeting" clothes. Today, at least in Arizona, coats and ties are almost never seen on men. More often shorts and Hawaiian shirts (and sandals). Many of the "rules" (or customs) of the previous generation are no longer seen as valid for the Christian life today.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2021, 01:47:22 PM »
Terry W Culler writes:
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?

I comment:
I believe it is possible that the generation younger than mine simply concluded that the lifestyle we consider “traditional marriage,“ was not working very well, lost its divine mandate, created a tremendous amount of hypocrisy and pain, existed primarily for social and monetary reasons, and had a too narrow definition of sexuality. A good number of those concluding  this were members of our congregations, believing Christians, and, as they rejected the idea of a six-day creation, rejected some other aspects of the type of Christianity they have been taught, made their decisions about how they should live as Christians.

So, you are saying your generation screwed it up.  OK.


Or the previous generation preached a good ethic, but didn't live it; so the phoniness of their preaching was negated. Consider just how attire has changed for worship. I was chastised by some back in the 60s because I wore sandals to church. People had their "Sunday-go-to-meeting" clothes. Today, at least in Arizona, coats and ties are almost never seen on men. More often shorts and Hawaiian shirts (and sandals). Many of the "rules" (or customs) of the previous generation are no longer seen as valid for the Christian life today.
So, do you consider the "rule" that a committed relationship ship made in a publically accountable way is a mere custom, easily dispensible? (It is that commitment made in a way that is publically accountable that is of the essence of what marriage is, the ceremony solemnizes that commitment.)
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Terry W Culler

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2021, 02:13:00 PM »
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?  Even cohabitation without marriage requires a higher commitment to another person than simply "hooking up". If America is bowling alone, maybe it's also living alone. :-\


One son has usually lived with others (who were not his "partners"). For a while, he shared a townhouse with two women. When one had to leave, she was replaced with a guy. When our son moved to the other coast, he first shared a house with five others; then a smaller place with one other guy, whose girl-friend/fiancée/wife moved in with them. Our son offered to move out, but they wanted him to stay. (Partly because he helped pay the rent - and they liked him.) When he moved again, he shared a townhouse and now a 4-bedroom house with a friend from jr. high. He has "lived together" with a number of people, but not shared a bedroom with them. Where does that fit on the chart?



This has nothing to do with the topic at hand
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Terry W Culler

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2021, 02:14:52 PM »
So, what does one do about this?


As Carl Trueman noted in his recent book, we are experiencing the end result of a 200 year long attack on our understanding of the nature of mankind and our relationship with one another and with God.  Resolving this problem is not the work of one life time but of a consistent and focused effort to educate young people in the meaning and responsibilities associated with Western Christian civilization.

So how can we do this if we continue to send our young folks to be educated by advocates of this "I, Me and Mine" philosophy?  Better home life--sure.  Better church life--sure.  Classical education--can't hurt.  But as to resolving the problem of what we could call the "island life"--probably our Lord's return in glory.


Isn't the "I, Me and Mine" philosophy form the background of those who insist on their own choice regarding the vaccine or gun ownership or abortion rights? It's not really a philosophy as the original sin that we are born with.


There are indeed many variations of this worldview self focused worldview
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Dave Likeness

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2021, 02:28:19 PM »
These are some excuses for cohabitation:

1. The couple wants to "make certain" they are a good fit for each other
before they ever think about the life-long commitment of marriage.

2. The couple has no interest in marriage.  They are good friends who
want to save money by sharing rental fees for an apartment.

3. The couple  does not believe in marriage but want to have a sexual
partner who is available to them most of the time.

It seems that men are more leery of marriage commitment than women.
We are dealing with a secular culture which rejects the 6th commandment
and has no guilt about adultery.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2021, 03:14:38 PM »
So, do you consider the "rule" that a committed relationship ship made in a publically accountable way is a mere custom, easily dispensible? (It is that commitment made in a way that is publically accountable that is of the essence of what marriage is, the ceremony solemnizes that commitment.)


What constitutes "in a publicly accountable way" has changed over the generations. I have no idea how many centuries went by when couples "married" without any formal documents filed with state officials. The "public" was their families and communities. (Often the "marriage" was arranged by the parents.)


I suspect that "common law" marriages were the norm for much of America's early history.


Most folks of my generation and younger have seen that the legal marriages are easily dispensable through no-fault divorces and extra-marital affairs. The use of a religious (or civil) ceremony and the official documents are no guarantee that a marriage will last a life-time or chaste.


Not long ago a couple, friends of our son, had said that they were not going to get married, but just live together. They had pledged their love and faithfulness to each other - and they believed (and still believe) that was enough. They eventually did have a small marriage ceremony that only a few knew about. Their reason for going through the legal steps had nothing to do with commitment or love; but the financial and other benefits that come from having that piece of paper filed in some county clerk's office.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2021, 03:15:47 PM »
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?  Even cohabitation without marriage requires a higher commitment to another person than simply "hooking up". If America is bowling alone, maybe it's also living alone. :-\


One son has usually lived with others (who were not his "partners"). For a while, he shared a townhouse with two women. When one had to leave, she was replaced with a guy. When our son moved to the other coast, he first shared a house with five others; then a smaller place with one other guy, whose girl-friend/fiancée/wife moved in with them. Our son offered to move out, but they wanted him to stay. (Partly because he helped pay the rent - and they liked him.) When he moved again, he shared a townhouse and now a 4-bedroom house with a friend from jr. high. He has "lived together" with a number of people, but not shared a bedroom with them. Where does that fit on the chart?

This has nothing to do with the topic at hand


It illustrates that there are different definitions of "living together." What answer should he put on a poll like the one in the first post?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]