Monday, August 8, 2011

It Takes a Family [Day One & Two]

Last weekend I got on a plane (after a crazy 4am drive to Boston) and hit the air to San Diego California.

I hardly knew what exactly I was getting myself into. All I knew was that I was going to a conference that had something to do with marriage.

Little did I know that I would learn so much from nationally known speakers, make some great friends from across the country, and become equipped to fully enter the discussion on the importance of one man and one woman marrying for life.

Here is a brief overview of my experiences.

The Ruth Institute is a sub-organization, or project, of the National Organization for Marriage. It promotes "marriage between one man and one woman as the ideal for family and childbearing" and mostly works on educating, informing, and discussing on all topics related, such as family law, redefining marriage, same sex marriage, etc. It is supported by proponents of such ideals, including those from various "faith traditions." The student conference "
It Takes a Family to Raise a Village" is for further educating and connecting young adult leaders who are passionate about leading the way in the fight for the "gold standard" of marriage.

This conference was a place to learn how to defend marriage from a political, economical, social, biological standpoint.

Arriving at 11am Thursday morning, a few of us hopped in a cab to Point Loma Nazarene University (situated ohh... five seconds from the Pacific). Being early, we decided to take a walk and find lunch. We stumbled upon seafood counter right on the water called Point Loma Seafood, serving up everything fresh and delicious. Heading back to the university we settled in our dorms (or shall I say ocean view suite's), got changed, and then went to the opening reception to mingle.

Hearing from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder of 
The Ruth Institute, we were challenged "Defending Marriage: Three Problems that Can't Be Solved With a Political Campaign." We also heard some student leaders from around the country who are making an impact on their campuses, sometimes in an uphill battle against universities trying to quell free speech.. It was awesome. The Ruth Institute is also putting on a contest called "The Reel Love Challenge" for students to make a video about what makes "life long married love possible."

Day Two consisted of four lectures throughout the day. We started off the day reminding ourselves that we were in sunny and beautiful San Diego! The sessions were lead by an intellectual group of nationally known professionals in their respected fields.

Bill Duncan, President of The Marriage Law Foundation, spoke on "Defining Marriage and the Law." He explained how the laws of marriage and parenthood interact with each other. We learned that:

·         marriage is easier to get out of than a cell phone contract
·         the political history of marriage law 
·         including the 1970's protest movement
·         the court case in Hawaii in the 1900's
·         and the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996

 He also discussed the legal arguments and political framing surrounding the issue, and that the real essential for marriage is simply a public recognition of a couple to join together for the protection of children.

Brad Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, gave a lecture entitled "What Goes Into a Successful Courtship and Marriage." He brought up information about the pitfalls of cohabitation, points about the need for society to encourage healthy dating and relating so that marriages will be healthy, and that oftentimes young people are encouraged toward career and education, but not family life. I thought it was interesting because, well, I totally agree! He also said that "Marriage is the institution that virtually every culture has used to ensure that children get the material, emotional, social, and spiritual support of their mother and father, and that marriage is essential for men and women to order their desires for emotion."

Robert Gagnon, Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, spoke on "Jesus and Marriage," bringing forth truths and wisdom from a Biblical perspective, and how Jesus always brought things back to a "Creation Model," emphasizing the twoness of a sexual bond which prohibits a revolving door of divorce. The conference was not explicitly religious, but most there were from a "faith background."

Dr. Freda Bush, senior partner with East Lakeland OB-GYN Associates in Jackson, Mississippi, and a Clinical Instructor in the Department of OB-GYN and Department of Family Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, spoke on "Frogs, Frags, and Friends: The Hormonal, Emotional, and Physical Impacts of Casual Sex." This was super interested because she literally went through different hormones in the brain such as Dopamine, Oxytocin, Vasopressin, Pheromones, Serotonin and how the brain releases them, connects to certain behaviors, and trigger "trust" circuits. She presented things from a very fascinating medical viewpoint, which often is not  considered.


We then had a faculty panel discussing "Campus Sexuality, Relationships, and Changing Culture." I was so encouraged by hearing from the faculty (listed above), and from fellow young adult leaders. There are some crazy shenanigans going on college campuses all over the world, but I am challenged to know there are others in the fight.

That night, after battling jetlag, most of us passed out early, but with full brains. 

*It Takes A Family [Day Three & Four] Here

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