Monday, June 23, 2014

The Seven Big Myths About Marriage and Making Gay Okay (Ignatius Press)

I have to admit that sometimes when I read Ignatius Press books I feel a bit dumb. Ignatius Press does a quality job in publishing books by authors (like Pope Benedict XVI) books that make you think, think really hard. That is why I always take a little bit longer to read their books, to re-read their books. They are so packed with knowledge and wisdom that you are afraid you will miss something if you speed through them. The two books I am reviewing today, The Seven Big Myths About Marriage and Making Gay Okay are no different.

The Seven Big Myths About Marriage is the second book written by Dr. Christopher Kaczor (rhymes with razor) that follows the "seven myths" approach. The first was, The Seven Big Myths About the Catholic Church. In his book on marriage (co-written with his wife, Jennifer) he begins by describing four types of people based on the happiness they pursue - the hedonist, the egoist' the altruist, and the altruist of faith. To explain them briefly, the hedonist finds happiness in bodily pleasure. The egoist is happy when "winning." The altruist seeks happiness in love of others, and the altruist of faith find their happiness "in loving and serving God and the image of God found in every human person." I never thought people could be explained so easily, but the four classifications fit. Now, we have to remember that we can be any of these four types at some point in our life, sometimes on the same day. However, the ultimate aspiration is clearly the altruist of faith.

The introduction would have been enough wisdom for me in the book, but it continues by getting to the meat of the book, which are the "seven myths about marriage." They are:
  • Love is Simple
  • Marriage is a Fifty-Fifty Contract
  • Love Alone Makes a Marriage
  • Cohabitations is Just Like Marriage
  • Premarital Sex is No Big Deal
  • Children are Irrelevant to Marriage
  • All Reproductive Choices are Equal
Each myth has its own chapter devoted to it and begins by telling you the myth, which is immediately followed by "the reality." For example, the myth "Marriage is a Fifty-Fifty Contract," is rebutted with, "Marriage is a 100 percent-100 percent covenant." Since I'm already married and a firm believer in Natural Family Planning (NFP), I was not the intended target for some chapters, i.e., cohabitation, premarital sex, or reproductive choices. The first three chapters all spoke powerfully to me though and are ones that I have considered both on a superficial level and a deeper level at varying points in my life, but they really helped make things click. His description of the different types of love and friendship in "love is simple" are a good reference point for the married and unmarried.

One could assume from the title that this book is intended only for married and soon-to-be married people, but I say this a book for all. If you are a pastor or priest, especially one involved in marriage preparation, you will find this book invaluable. If you have friends who try to argue that love is love and all types of "marriage" should be legalized, you will find great arguments on what truly makes a marriage and how it is different from some state-issued contract that people try to declare is a "marriage." If you are a parent, who has budding teenagers or soon to be college students will find useful information as well. In a nutshell, buy this book; read it; and re-read it. You won't regret it.

Making Gay Okay is a book that attempts to explain the pervasive homosexual culture that has been penetrating the United States in the past several decades. Robert Reilly begins his book by looking at the culture war. He demonstrates how people are becoming more accepting of homosexuality, gay "marriage," and the rationalization and subsequent "victimization" of homosexuals. He then looks at marriage and gay "marriage" under the lenses of nature, philosophy, biology, and morality. 

The second section of the book details all the different institutions in which homosexuality is getting a toehold. In this book, he points out the Boy Scouts, military, foreign policy, education, and parenting. As a young parent who has to raise children in this growing and changing world, these examples were poignant which made me stop and think. It's a scary climate, the children of this next generation will be growing up in, and it's even scarier the amount of things we will have to shield our children from.

This was a well-written and well-argued book. Many will try and claim this book is bigoted or hate-filled, but it is simply presented from a traditional perspective. I can't say that it was a book I sought to read, but it was enlightening to read. I feel more informed on the subject matter, and feel like I have some good counterarguments next time I am put in a situation where people are attacking me for my belief in traditional marriage. If you are interested in this topic, you will find the book fascinating. If not, you're probably better off checking the book out at the library or just ignoring it completely.

These books were provided to me for free by Carmel Communications. If you found these review helpful, please click here and/or here and hit Yes!