Tuesday, September 13, 2005

70 Years of Marriage - Art and Lois Linkletter

Congratulations, Art and Lois Linkletter. My utmost admiration and respect for both of you is something that I cannot begin to even put into words. Not just for your honoring of vows and each other, but for the many things you have done during your lives. Watching "Kids Say the Darnedest Things" as a child is one of my many fond memories. Hearing your thoughts on AARP and your solution to them also has been inspirational, and I like your little known
United Seniors Association.

God bless you both! Well done, good and faithful servants. My prayer for you both is my favorite verses from the Bible... Numbers 6:24-26.

70 Years of Marriage - Art and Lois Linkletter

Art and Lois Linkletter will receive the Friends of the Family Award from the Center for the Family on November 9, 2005 at the Center’s fundraising gala, Savvy Chic. This award is in honor of the Linkletters’ 70 th wedding anniversary and in recognition of their courage to defend traditional family values in a society that constantly threatens to devalue them.

Art and Lois Linkletter:

A Few Words on Family From a Perspective of 70 Years

Art and Lois Linkletter

Art and Lois Linkletter could certainly be viewed as resident experts on the topic of marriage and family. They’ve earned it over almost seven decades as husband and wife, father and mother. This November, they’ll celebrate their 70 th wedding anniversary. And how appropriate that the Linkletters are Advisory Board members of Pepperdine’s Center for the Family, a Christian institute that exists to strengthen families.

Sharing the podium at the Center’s bi-annual board meeting, Art and Lois shared memories and observations of today’s family that elicited mostly laughter
(Art is a master entertainer with a comedian’s talent for timing), and some somber moments.

"I speak about 70 times a year all around the country. . .so I’m introduced a lot," began Art, who is also a Pepperdine University Board of Regents member. "But no matter who the audience is, when I tell them I’ve been married 70 years, they all applaud and stand up! People want to hear that marriages can last."

They met when Lois was a high school senior and Art was a college junior and he couldn’t resist the fact that "she could reverse pivot!" They dated for a couple of years before he proposed, married on November 25, 1935, and they continue to make their own family history together.

Using their own experience to perhaps give other parents direction, Art explained that theirs was a close-knit family when their five children were young. "Lois made our family her career," Art stated to the roomful of guests, letting these simple words carry a weight of wisdom. They spent time together daily at the dinner table. The children looked to Art and Lois for their entertainment. They took many trips together all over the world, and each child grew up actively participating in such traditions as decorating their Holmby Hills home "from top to bottom" for the holidays, providing a showcase for neighbors and friends to enjoy with them.

At Christmas, each child got to pick out their own Christmas tree and decorate it any way they wanted. Art added, "We had an award for the most beautiful, and the most original, and the most creative, and the most attractive, and the most colorful. Five awards. We had five children!"

This couple agrees that a strong marriage is the best example for today’s children, who are bombarded by very bad examples in today’s society, Art said, as he listed several troubling trends. He holds a unique perspective, beyond being a dad. For over 60 years, the Emmy Award winner has performed in such popular television and radio shows as Kids Say The Darndest Things. Pulling just one example from more than 27,000 televised interviews with 4- to 10-year olds, Art illustrated his point:

"I asked a six-year-old boy, ‘If you were going to go to heaven, what would you take along with you?’ And he said, ‘My mother and father.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because I think they’d have more time for me up there." Pausing for the Pepperdine audience to absorb the boy’s answer, the grandfather of eight and great-grandfather of 14 added, "This Center for the Family,...…at this Christian University is exactly what we need."

About Art Linkletter

A true master of the podium, Linkletter has performed in such popular television and radio shows as House Party, People Are Funny, and Kids Say the Darndest Things. The latter was based on his best-selling book of the same title. Linkletter has won one Grammy award and two Emmy awards, plus four Emmy nominations. Among numerous additional honors and recognitions, Linkletter takes particular pride in one: "Grandfather of the Year."

Among twenty-three books he’s written, Linkletter’s latest is the best-seller Old Age is Not for Sissies. Equally well-known as a businessman, Linkletter is chairman of the board of Linkletter Enterprises. He has served on the President’s National Advisory Council for Drug Abuse Prevention, the Presidential Commission to Improve Reading in the United States, the President’s Commission on Fitness and Physical Education and in other volunteer roles.

The Center for the Family gratefully acknowledges Lyn Klodt,
Associate Director of Creative Services at Pepperdine University,
for her work on this article.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Elizabeth Marquardt

My hopping around the internet on blogs tonight has led me to an excellent article by
Elizabeth Marquardt who has done much work with children of divorce. It is called
The Bad Divorce. And it turns out that I have found her blog.

After reading that article, I found that she has a new book coming out later this month, and tried a search to find it. I came across another article of hers that should be mandatory reading for any clergy counseling families.

A popular movement in mainline Protestant churches today is to write orders and prayers for clergy to use with families at the time of divorce. While these liturgies are well intended, they are written for adults and do not reflect the children's experiences. For instance, the Book of Worship of the United Methodist Church contains a prayer to be used at the time of divorce that ends with the words, "in the name of the One who sets us free from slavery to the past and makes all things new." These words may express the feelings of some adults, but children do not experience the break up of their families as being "set free from slavery to the past." Indeed, even one young woman who, as a child, witnessed her father beating her mother on numerous occasions said their subsequent divorce "made some things better and a whole lot of things worse." Divorce was a necessary remedy in this case, but divorce did not set her free.

And while she did use the words SOME adults, I know many adults who could not feel any comfort with the words of that prayer.

Those of us who have been victims of the no fault forced, unilateral divorce, with no due process in the courts would also find those words unsatisfactory, if not totally insulting. The clergy needs to look at the truth of modern divorce and find that MOST of these divorces are completely against the will of the Respondent. In fact, a large majority of Respondents had no idea it was even being contemplated until the papers came, the money disappeared, the locks were changed or the furniture and belongings gone.

And you would not believe the number of Respondents who were also the 'recipients' of 'ONE LAST TIME' the night before those papers came, at the instigation of the one who KNEW that they were coming....the Petitioner.

Most clergy would agree that our life experience shapes the way we hear stories of the faith and how we approach our relationship with God, but there has been very little recognition of how divorce shapes children's spiritual and moral lives. In my interviews with young adults from divorced families I find they often have surprising and different interpretations of Biblical texts. For instance, children of divorce may say they do not recognize the welcoming father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, because they so frequently came home to an empty house, or because it was their father, not them, who left the home to seek his fortune elsewhere. Children of divorce also have strong reactions to the commandment to honor your father and mother. They feel confused by the commandment's implication that their parents are a unit, when they are not. They ask how they can honor their parents when their parents could not honor each other, or how to honor a parent whose failings become so apparent in the aftermath of divorce. They also struggle with whether they are "breaking" the commandment by asking these questions.

Clearly, when clergy are preaching and teaching they must be aware that children and adults who grew up in divorced families will hear some stories differently. When we teach children that God is like a parent, we must recognize that children of divorce as frequently experience a parent's absence as a parent's presence. When clergy preach on the importance of honoring one's commitments, they must recognize that some children and young adults have suffered as the consequence of their parents' loss of commitment
to each other and sometimes to their child.

I could not agree more! Well said, Elizabeth Marquardt!

There are two major life tasks that young adults must complete. The first is to find and prepare for a vocation, which in this society means obtaining a college or technical education or training. The second is to learn how to form an intimate relationship and eventually find a life partner. Any clergy members who counsel engaged couples or perform weddings have a responsibility to learn all they can about the unique challenges children of divorce face in achieving intimacy and forming a good marriage.

And she is also correct there. She goes on to talk about what happens with the death of one of the parents.

Her conclusion is interesting, but again, not written from the perspective of those who are left behind, who never wanted nor consented to a no fault divorce, who often were the victims of first, adultery, and second, divorce against our wishes with no due process, only to watch the one committing the adultery be rewarded by both the civil courts and society by total and unquestioning acceptance (and with looks of ... near 'disdain' at the one left behind while thinking that there MUST be a reason, something that person did to deserve this... while excusing the clear CHOICE of the other to violate their vows...) further
and third, further acceptance and validation of the one LEAVING the relationship (after adultery, especially) when their own Church condones it by denying the validity of the first marriage through the Nullity process in today's 'compassionate' care taking of the divorced and remarried.

One aspect that most MISS is that the respondent was often the faithful one in the marriage. That fact is not taken into consideration by most of society today. Instead, prayers and ceremonies of closure are offered to us to help us "get over it" and "accept it" and "move on with our lives", in spite of what Jesus and the Church teaches.

While the clergy must, definitely learn about the children of divorce as noted by Elizabeth Marquardt (and I really think she is right on in her findings!), the clergy must also learn the truth about no fault forced unilateral divorce and the ones left behind by abandoning spouses. To continue to 'reward' those deserting their vows for 'soul mates' is to continue to not understand what is really happening.

If one looks at marriage as simply a 'contract', one would find very quickly that contracts cannot be broken this easily in the real world, without compensation, without some recompense to the other half of the contract. Not so, in divorce, where the assumption is that the marriage is ended and everything is to be divided equally, including the children. In a broken contract, the other side is given the ability to prove their case, and may walk away with the knowledge that the deserting side did not benefit in any way from opting out. Not so in no fault divorce. The judgement is divorce granted, divide the property, divide the kids...and get off of my calendar, out of my courtroom.... and NO one cares to hear that one was guilty dessertion, adultery, whether in civil court...or, sadly, in the Church.

What part of Jesus' words do we not understand today?

Malachi 2:

[13] And this again you do. You cover the LORD's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand.

[14] You ask, "Why does he not?" Because the LORD was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. [15] Has not the one God made and sustained for us the spirit of life? And what does he desire? Godly offspring. So take heed to yourselves, and let none be faithless to the wife of his youth. [16] "For I hate divorce, says the LORD the God of Israel, and covering one's garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless."

Matthew 5:
[31] "It was also said, `Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'

[32] But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matthew 19:
[3] And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?"

[4] He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, [5] and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? [6] So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." [7] They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" [8] He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. [9] And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

Mark 10:
[2] And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"

[3] He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" [4] They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away." [5] But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. [6] But from the beginning of creation, `God made them male and female.' [7] `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, [8] and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. [9] What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
[10] And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.

[11] And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; [12] and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

Luke 16:
[18] "Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

1Corinthians 7
[10] To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband

[11] (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) -- and that the husband should not divorce his wife. [12]

To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.

[13] If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. [14] For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. [15] But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace. [16] Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

Torres Baby

In Memoria Susan Anne Catherine Torres

Aug 2, 2005 to Sept 11, 2005
With great sadness, we are asking for your prayers for the repose of the soul of 5 week old baby Susan Ann Torres. She passed away last night after surgery for a perforated intestine. Please include in your prayers a request for the peace and comfort of her family, especially Jason Torres, who has had a very difficult past several months.