I watched the film ‘Humpday‘ this afternoon and it got me thinking.
“Humpday” is about two guys, who, high on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol, decide to take part in an erotic art project and have sex with each other.
It’s a sweet indie film about friendship, marriage and the need to grow up. (I know it doesn’t sound like it)
As I said, I watched it this afternoon and it got me thinking.
The married guy tries to explain to his wife why this is a good idea. He tells her that there are many sides to him and that he doesn’t want marriage (and the prospect of being a dad) to flatten him into one personae. He’s scared about losing who he is.
I’ve been there.
I got married when I was 21. As the big day got closer, I went through a crisis of identity. I was worried that I wouldn’t be ‘me’ anymore. That I’d be known simply as a ‘husband’. That I would have to be with my wife 24/7 and I would lose my identity. I’m glad my (now) wife stuck by me and didn’t walk away from that insecure boy.
Eight years into marriage and I can look back and laugh at that naive boy. I haven’t lost who I am rather, I have added to that identity. I am now also a husband and a father (although I did go through a smaller version of that crisis when our son was born).
That’s what committing to someone is about. It’s not about losing a part of you, it’s about gaining something else.
I am the man I am today because of my marriage. I think I am a better man for it.
I just wanted to share that.
At college we were encouraged to debate different views and interpretations. For three years that’s what I did. Discussed, questioned, argued, disagreed. And it was ok. It was ok to disagree over theology and doctrine. Because that’s what you were there to do.
But then you finish college and get a job as youth worker in a church.
You work with people who haven’t been given that freedom to discuss, challenge and disagree. And when you bring an idea that they haven’t heard before or you choose to work by the ethos “give them all the views and help them make an informed choice” they scream heretic and tell the pastor you’re poisoning the young people with unbiblical views.
The thing is, at college they don’t prepare you for this. They don’t prepare you to have discussions with people who have only ever believed one interpretation and think any other is heresy.
The truth is, lots of people disagree and have different views but they just don’t share them.
But i’m not like that.
My mistake was wanting to debate with those who disagreed me but that only made things worse.
So what to do?
After some reflection and prayer I found a solution. We were always going to disagree on certain aspects of theology but they weren’t important. Within the Christian faith (and any faith I suppose) there are certain fundamentals that need to be held and then there is other doctrine that people can have different views on and that’s okay. We talked about what we did agree on and that helped to show that we were both starting from the same page.
And for the last few months there has been no cries of heresy! No worries about my leadership.
I’m sure other issues will arise but what I’ve learned is to focus more on the things we do agree on than the things we don’t. Focus on what brings us together rather than what tears us apart.
I hope I never forget that lesson.