I had a bit of a revelation recently as I was reading Grant Horner’s book Meaning at the Movies (see my review here). I have blogged before on marriage and how I believe that human marriage was created to teach us about the relationship between God the Father and God the Son and also between Christ and His church. But up until now I would have said that the modern ideal of romance is detrimental to our understanding of God and our view of marriage. That is, that modern books and movies and music teach us an idealistic, overly romantic view of human love which sets up unrealistic expectations and steers us away from what marriage is supposed to point us to — God Himself.
I have often noted (privately in my head — I am not sure I have said it here before) that country and pop songs (and probably others as well; I am just speaking about what I know) tend to say things of the beloved which really we should only say of God. Things like “you are my everything”, “you save me”, “you complete me”, etc. Lyrics like these get their listeners thinking that another human can make them feel fulfilled and can do all the things which really only God can do for us. And I still think that is true and that songs like these (and movies and books which have the same ideas) can be quite detrimental.
But Horner’s book also opened my eyes to a new (to me) aspect of the whole issue. One of Horner’s main theses is that the truths about God that we humans don’t want to face up to we suppress and that they come out in other ways. Thus he says that:
“Romance movies contain, in scattered bits and pieces, fractured elements of the image of the true Divine Romance.” (p. 161)
Even the common rom-com plot that two people start out as enemies or rival and end up lovers, Horner sees as a version of the very true story of God’s salvation of His people; after all, don’t we start out as God’s enemies too (p. 162)?
What Horner made me see if that I have been seeing things a bit backwards. I have said “how awful that they say things about people that should only ne said of God.” And it is not that that is not true but it is better to say: “See how the truth about our need for God comes out in their romance stories no matter how they try to deny their need of Him.” Because, as Horner says, we do need Someone Else to make ourselves complete (p. 151); we know this but we deny the One who can actually do it and transfer the feelings to mere people who are not able to fulfill that need on the end.
On that note:
Happy Valentine’s Day 😉