Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Changes in marriage

One of the blogs I now read regularly is GetReligion, where several different writers analyze the (mostly American) news reports, looking at how the journalists deal with aspects of faith and religion. Some journalists do very well; many don't have much idea about the faith aspects of their stories and either ignore them, or slide past them, or make a hash of them.

In one of the most recent posts, Mollie [Hemingway, I think] discusses a recent spate of articles on the lack of marriage in middle America and the stability (mostly) of marriage in educated America. (You need to read the piece to understand these classifications.)

She ends her post this way:

There are so many more interesting angles to explore. What does this data mean for houses of worship? How are local congregations dealing with the institutional decline of marriage? How can congregations most help their communities as families struggle around them? What other stories are the mainstream media missing while they devote so many pages and stories to encouraging changes in marriage laws to include same-sex partners?

The first few questions in that paragraph caused me to prick up my (blogging) ears: these are the questions that New Zealand churches should (or must already) be asking too - the increase in the number of children born in de facto marriages here is substantial, and no doubt there are families in some churches in this situation. Twenty/thirty years ago it would have been possible to encourage the parents to get married relatively easily. Now things are considerably more difficult. Should ministers encourage parents to get married? Do the parents see a need to get married?

No doubt there are clergy already dealing with these issues. What are your approaches?

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