Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Good Sermon on Wisdom and Marriage

In mid-July I went to lay-led Sunday service at the Glendale New Church. Max Blair was the lay leader for that week and the sermon he picked for us to read was a sermon that Rev. Dan Goodenough preached in 1981 titled "The Rib of Man" (PDF).

As you might guess from the title, it's about the story from Genesis 2 of woman being created out of the rib of man. But it's not so much an exposition of that story as an exploration of some of the teachings about the importance of a husband developing wisdom in marriage.

Talking about the differences between men and women is a difficult thing to do without seeming to denigrate either sex but Goodenough does a good job of it. Here's one example:
Though [a husband's] rational wisdom can and should climb into a light in which his wife is not, she enjoys a wisdom of perception of states which is too deep for him to fathom. Both of these distinctive kinds of wisdom, together with the moral wisdom which husband and wife should share (Conjugial Love 163-168) are necessary for the growth of the church in them. A man's rational insights are no more infallible than a woman's intuitions; neither husband nor wife is in a position superior to the other, so as to instruct or dominate from above.
Here are a couple of other things I like about this sermon:
  • It has a good discussion of what real wisdom is and what it isn't.
  • It doesn't forget about unmarried people, as many sermons about marriage do.
  • It has a funny analogy about waiting for a man's wisdom.
  • It talks about the use of arguing.
  • And I really like the point he ends on.

2 comments:

Annika said...

Well, I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. I was excited to read a sermon that had a balance, non-woman-denigrating view of conjugial love, but I was rather disappointed. I found this sermon incredibly insulting. Not only have men taken nearly everything in the church, now, according to this minister, they want to appropriate CL as well.

I do appreciate several of this minister's points and particularly some of his definitions, but as a whole, I thoroughly disapprove of this sermon.

Anonymous said...

Annika, I agree. So sexist. BARF.