Monday, January 30, 2012

So I ran Mr. Gungor past my mom...

A little while back, my cousin sent me a link to the website of Mark Gungor, Christian marital counselor. I read about 10 posts and it bothered me...a lot. There's quite a bit of truth in his words...unfortunately there's a lot of questionable teaching mixed in. But...he is a marital counselor, and my being single, I acknowledged that there may be bias/lack of understanding on my part, so I decided to run it past my mom...devout Christian, married once, no kids outside of the marriage, still together after 30+ years...she lives what most Christians would consider the model marriage.

Her take...same thing...there's truth in what he says (there really is), but the rest is the scary part. To keep it simple, her list of "issues"...

  • He suggests people marry at 18. (She didn't elaborate on that, and honestly, I didn't need her to, stats both inside, and outside the church are a testament to how well that works (or rather, doesn't work, out)
  • He preaches marriage as the best solution to sexual temptation--that doesn't just magically go away after marriage. 
  • He seems anti-education, with a subtle bent against college attendance in favor of marriage. She didn't understand why, if education is a problem, he didn't advocate dropping out before college. Why even finish high school and not get married even younger?
  • He favors employment within the church, and gives little to no acknowledgement of the missional responsibilities of people who work in the secular world.
I was really curious to hear the opinion of someone who's lived a different relational life than mine.  I found she picked up on things I didn't even really notice. What I did notice though...

  • He responds to criticsm with "lighten up" (and his fans follow suit). This is one of those phrases that is almost never said in love, is callous, wholly unhelpful, marginally abusive and does nothing but add fuel to the fire of a disagreement. I'm sure anyone who's been in a relationship and used that phrase knows that it does nothing to help.  
  • He uses very little scripture: Go check out his reviews on Amazon and skip the 90 that gave him five stars for being funny.  "Laugh your way to a stereotypical Christian Marriage"..."seldom if ever uses scripture"..."He makes men to be complete idiots"..."a brilliant salesman who uses stupid jokes, annoying mannerisms and SOME scripture."  Other people have noticed too that, once you stop laughing, there isn't a whole lot that points back to Biblical teaching. 
  • He makes the same argument against singleness that people make against marriage. Basically, we're all too horny to say no for an extended period of time, so we have to do something about it...he advocates marriage, other advocate never constraining yourself with marriage in the first place. Same premise, both ignoring the ability to transcend the desires of the human body (no big deal for a non-Christian, a very big deal for someone who's supposed to believe in the power of God in individual lives.)
  • His message (marry whatever random "real Christian" you can find, don't divorce and just work through your problems) is a direct benefit to his bottom line...busted marriages that don't dissolve means an increased need for marriage counseling. 
I'm all for the concept of Christian marital counseling. I also believe that laughter is good, divine even, but I wonder about Mr. Gungor's humor, its intentions and its results. 

No comments:

Post a Comment