Over the past couple of weeks this video has gone viral. It portrays the surprise reunion of ex-lovers separated over the span of 30 years. The title alone is alluring. In watching the video I was honestly so moved by the raw emotion, the obvious display of recognition, connection and care these two individuals had for each other that I was seconds away from joining in on the viral share. The video it’s self just focuses on a shared moment. No back-story is given, barely even mention to the individual’s names. Innocent: a story to marvel and celebrate, right? But what was the story? What precipitated the moment gone-viral? Who were these people? I wanted to know more. Could these two really have just sat there and been contented to stare silently at one another, a brief momentary acknowledgement after so long parted? Did they talk afterwards? Re-unite? Why did they part in the first place? The romantic in me wanted to know. What I discovered however was something altogether more shocking and to me deepened the tragedy of the 30-year part, making the video seem somehow even more heartbreaking to watch than it was to begin with. As a believer what I discovered in my Google search refrained me from re-posting the video.
Really? Is it really THAT big of a deal? To me, as a follower of Christ, it kind of is, and I’ll explain why shortly. In making the decision to question the re-share I’ve been dubbed closed-minded, judgmental, and one who was missing out on life. (Completely non-judgmental comments by the way, forgive my sarcasm) The video was an innocent moment shared by two people. That is quite true, I don’t’ negate that. The opposing question centers around whether or not we should validate a moment with disregard to who the person/people are. Why question re-sharing it? What someone discovers in their own research is on them, not me as the sharer, right? To this I would pose another question. Are not our moments defined and intrinsically linked to who we are as individuals? Do moments self-exist or are they not created consequences of an action on our part? As a believer, what does the bible have to say about it? How important is it as believers to strive to be as one informed? I have a few thoughts.
So WHO are they? The ex-lovers depicted are performance artist Marina Abramović and German artist Ulay Laysipen, world-renowned for their relationship and collaboration in the 70’s on work that is startling in it’s sexual explicitness. Abramović, as an artist focuses heavily on the body as her subject and medium with the expressed purpose to explore the physical and mental limits of one’s being in the quest for mental and spiritual transformation, no-matter how shocking, uncomfortable, dangerous or explicit it may be. In fact, this videoed scene took place during one of those very performances. It’s a very new-age approach, nothing Christ-like about it in the slightest. Knowing more about the individuals and the context of the performance made me realize they were not values I could really be OK with as a believer and so I didn’t share.
While the reunion is beautiful, endearing, raw, amazing even you might say, I also find it more terribly tragic. I say that without judgment. It honestly saddens me that a separation like this between two people even had to happen in the first place. The values that shape these two people ultimately played into how the relationship dissolved in the first place. For one, the context of a sexual relationship was meant to take place between a husband and wife. Period. If that’s harsh then you’ll have to take it up with the author of the bible Himself, not me. I didn’t self-define this, God created it and I stand on His word as inerrant, without fault. I realize there is a growing trend amongst Christians today away from this and that’s a huge topic for another day. A sexual relationship in the context of marriage was meant for the long haul. What it is NOT is to be merely an emotion to celebrate, explore, and then toss aside. It’s not a dalliance but a reflection of the covenant relationship that God has established between believers and Himself. It’s a covenant. Covenants were not made to be broken. A broken relationship is tragic, not beautiful, period.
Secondly, whether we like it or not, to quote James McDonald, “One way or another we prove the Word of God. If you obey, you will be blessed. Your life is proof of that promise. If you disobey, you will be judged. Your life is proof of this consequence”. Deuteronomy 11:26-28 states, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse; the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God.” Our moments very often are consequence of one of the above in some way or other.
Thirdly, back story matters. As much as we can, believers should be informed and aware of the culture we live in. Society says we should embrace culture with open arms lest we be judgmental. The surest way to “fit-in” to the culture today and now, even more within Christian circles is to not do anything and just nod our heads in agreement. It’s easier to do nothing and fiend ignorance because we assume ignorance releases responsibility when in reality we just shirk it. I can’t consciously do that. What refrained me personally from sharing this video was not the video it’s self per say but that I became informed to the back-story, the context, the framework of the moment. That mattered to me. Why? Because the values contained there in do not depict the character of Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5: 21-23 states, “but test everything; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from evil.” Further, Ephesians 4:17 – 25 states, “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! Assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
There is SO SO much going on in our culture today that frankly is a FAR cry from the design God intended. What saddens me even more is the overwhelming number of believers willing to look the other way, do nothing, or even embrace our cultural trend, even in small ways. It’s a slippery slope. As I lamented to a good friend today because frankly my heart was really hurting over it, he reminded me of Reggie Jackson’s observation that, “The loudest boos come from those in the free seats.” He also reminded me I needed to ask the Lord for a thicker skin, and honestly I do. Things like this, as our world becomes more controversial, make it easier for me to just be quiet rather than speak up. I don’t like being attacked. It’s a huge reason why I do not write on a regular basis any longer because believe it or not, I do have a tender heart. Yet I needed the reminder that we don’t offend for offends sake, but for the truth, and the truth is salt. Salt stings. Christ knew that better than any of us. I’ll make mistakes in posting things. I know I will. I’m human. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t speak up. To quote my friend, we need to be “sanctifedely paranoid about promoting garbage. The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing.” So this is me choosing to NOT do nothing for a change. I’m resigned to the fact that it will most likely be followed by some harsh comments, so be it.
The bottom line for me, PERSONALLY, is that the video’s “moment” took place in the context of a New Age artistic exploration. I’m not OK with that. I’m not OK with free, no-consequence explorations of sexual intimacy and relationships. I don’t think the emotion here is something I would describe as amazing as more just so incredibly tragic and painful to watch. My heart breaks in a sense, and breaks that more believers would rather relish a “moment” than the context that shaped that moment into being. But then context/back-story seems to be increasingly more irrelevant today.