For the previous chapter reviews you can check them: Here, Here, Here and Here
Chapter Seven, Under the Chuppah
This chapter focuses on the idea of Chuppah a garment that is placed over the married couple in the Jewish tradition where what happens under the Chuppah is sacred and is between the couple under God the idea here is that : "We have to be very careful what we share that once we give it away, you no longer have it."
The idea here is that "There's the profound, mystical sexual union that happens under the chuppah, with God hovering over the couple, blessing them. And then there are the endless conversations and gestures and glances and discussions as two souls let their lives become enmeshed in one another."
It is an intense chapter where Rob talks about our voyeur society where we need to know who is with who and is doing what, eg. Reality Shows, that in our culture sex becomes public affair of gossip and lies. Rob also gives the idea how in the early cultures sex itself is what made the marriage official and that when this special moment is shared with many, perhaps something is lost because in the eyes of God we are promising ourselves and marrying ourselves to all these partners. Rob also captures the idea of God ultimately being the groom of the church and pursuing her and calling her back...In all this was a superb chapter and there is just too much to cover. I will leave these few quotes:
"When you take sex out from under the chuppah, all you are left with is mechanics. Go to any supermarket, stand in the checkout lane, and count how many of the women's magazines have the word technique somewhere on the cover. Or the phrase "seven easy steps" or the word instructions. There's nothing wrong with technique and mechanics and instructions, but that's rarely the real issue. The real issue is something else."
Chapter Eight, Johnny and June
Rob talks about love that is not dying but growing closer and deeper, something so great that inspires us and motivates us. He talks about different examples of people and relationships that last and inspires us.
And this can be found in the original love story of Adam and Eve:
"[God creates all and] declares that everything is good. The only thing God Declares not good is Adam's being alone...Adam has been commanded to watch over the earth and manage it and creatively order it. Adam has something to do, and its not good for him to do it alone. So God says, I will make a helper suitable for him. The word helper is the word ezer in the Hebrew language. We can find it in Psalms 121: I lift my eyes to the mountains-where does my help[ezer] come? My help comes from the LORD...To give more depth to the phrase, notice what Adam says about this woman: This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh...He's essentially saying; Where I am weak, she is strong, and where she is weak I am strong...Eve is a corresponding strength for Adam. "
Rob Continues to explain that the point of marriage isn't marriage, It's a picture a display, A window that you look through to something else.
"A marriage is designed to counter all of this [divided world]. Not to add to the brokenness of the world but to add to the oneness of the world. This man and this woman who have given themselves to each other are supposed to give the world a glimpse of hope, a display of what God is like, a bit of echad [one] on earth."
Rob continues to argue that there is so much to marriage that we don't even understand:
"It's easy to take off your clothes and have sex. People do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit and thoughts and fears and future and hopes and dreams...that is being naked."
"This why when people sleep together after they've just met, they're raising the chances significantly that the relationship will not survive. Racing ahead of the progression always costs something. When there is no common mission, no shared task, no sense of bone of bone and flesh of flesh, no bonds that take years to develop, many end up moving from relationship to relationship, having sex but never really being naked."
This chapter ends magnificently with explanation of the infinite depth that exists in this union of marriage:
"To pursue being naked, you have to believe that this person is worth getting to know for the rest of your lives. Being naked is peeling back the layers, conversations after conversation, experience after experience, year after year. It's rooted in a belief that the soul has infinite depth and you'll never get to the bottom of it. Our understanding of what it means to be naked reflects what we believe about the human soul. Is it infinite? Or can you get to the end of a person?"
Chapter Nine, Whoopee Forever
In this final chapter Rob discusses that marriage finally too is not the Christian ideal...its good its deep and magnificent, but its not for all:
"If you are single, and you've been sent messages or it's been hinted at or even said to your face that you are some how missing something, that you aren't good enough, that you don't fit-thats not true."
That ultimately its all about something bigger something more mysterious and wonderful, we are called to a deeper trust, a trust of hope and beauty. "To trust that God is actually going to make all things new." Because "Jesus knew what is coming and knew that whatever we experience here will pale with what awaits everyone. Do you long for that?"
The story of God and of Jesus is a love relationship where God pursues his bride - people - church, and wants to be married and in a relationship and in each others presence together. So he offers marriage, using language of love, knowing that very well the person can say no, be unfaithful, and yet God uses language that is familiar to us all, the language of love and relationships to be together, to restore things to the way they once were...
This book was an excellent read, it was inspiring look at mystery and beauty, about relationships and love but most importantly it was a glimpse into the Love story that we are all part of, a story where God pursues us and loves us so abundantly...In the final epilogue Rob shares a story that had all the writing of love rescued from previously failed relationships and mistakes, yet even that story ended poorly in divorce and hurt...he does this because: "I finish with this story because life is messy. Gut wrenching. Risky. Things don't always turn out well. Sometimes they don't turn out at all. Sometimes everything falls apart and we wonder if there's any point to any of it...But I have to believe that we can recover from anything....that God can put anything - anyone - back together. I have to believe that the God Jesus invites us to trust is as good as he says he is. Loving. Forgiving. Merciful. Full of Grace...