The Words of the Wilson Family
Reply to the responses from Andrew Wilson
August 17, 2002
I am delighted that my post has elicited such responses; they are deep and well thought out. In reply, Iíd like to further flesh out my proposal in such a way that honors the divine mandate that parents select their childrenís spouses, which I think is extremely significant.
I also donít want my proposal to be construed as a step backward to the days of unlimited church authority over marriage; those days are gone for good. Nevertheless, I believe there might be value in setting up a partnership, in which the Church serves as a support to parents in making their choices about matching.
In traditional societies that employ matchmakers, the matchmaker does not have the authority to enforce a match. She only makes suggestions--often f several candidates--to the parents, who then decide among them or go look elsewhere. The parents are in the subject role to finally make a choice.
I could see the Church offering a similar serviceóproviding the names and addresses of several suitable matches to parents, who would then contact their counterparts to further investigate whether the match would work for their child.
This proposal affirms the best aspects of the matching:
The objectivity of the church elder/matchmaker to see the potential matches from Godís viewpoint, to thereby find the best matches
The broad scope of the church to connect people of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds whose parents may not know each other, and thereby strengthening the unity of the Chun Il Guk
To help those parents who lack the confidence to choose a match r are not adequately networked to find one
To support the parentsí role as ultimate arbiter of matching, particularly for those parents who might be so daunted by the task that they leave it up to the children to find their own matches.
But it does not propose that the Church match people with Fatherís authority or claim that this person is the one and only choice from Heaven. Rather, it should be a service to parents. Ultimately, the choice is with the parents to either use or not use such a matching service.
I believe that in the settlement age there should be a cooperative relationship between families and the church, for a supportive church community is where families thrive best. Rather than see this discussion in terms of a stark choice between a church matching and parental autonomy, Iíd like to see us look for ways that the church can enable parents to fulfill their mission in the matching, just as a vital church is so helpful to families in fulfilling their missions as tribal messiahs.
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