G. K. Chesterton critiqued the fashionable flippancy of a popular catchphrase in his day by arguing that those who said it didn’t really believe it. “Life is not worth living,” was the phrase, but if this were true, “The world would stand on its head. Murderers would be given medals for saving men from life; firefighters would be denounced for keeping men from death; poisons would be used as medicines; doctors would be called in when people were well.”
A hundred years later, a certain phenomenon shows we are now in the opposite situation. In Chesterton’s time, people would say life is insane and hopeless and yet still live as if it was sane and hopeful. People now say that life is sane and hopeful and live as if it’s insane and empty.
The Today Show and The Wall Street Journal recently reported a phenomenon which is evidence of a real-life dystopia not far off from a world where awards are given for saving people from life and poisons are used as medicine. Across the country, revelers are gathering at festive events to celebrate the tragic desecration of a sacred vow. Divorce parties are now one of the newest avant-garde depravities. Women are getting friends together for a night of catered food and music to celebrate broken vows, faithlessness, and the narcissistic emptiness of spouses who chose me over us.
It all brings to mind a passage from Augustine’s Confessions where he describes himself before his Christian conversion: “I was going straight downhill in such thorough blindness that among boys my age I was embarrassed at having disgraced myself less than they had…I rolled in the mud as if it were cinnamon and expensive perfumes.”
Sadly, there are situations where divorce is the least bad of bad options, and there are many divorced people who faithfully kept their vows but were betrayed by an uncommitted spouse. Few things are more contrary to the spirit of Christ and the practice of the Christian life than divorce. The heart of Christ is to seek and save, to love at all costs. Reconciliation, redemption, intimacy, and security emanate from Jesus like heat from the sun.
An attitude that says to the other person in what should be the most sacred of relationships, “I don’t want you. You are not my priority. I am no longer committed to you,” is as antichristian a mindset as one would find at an atheist convention. I can’t think of anything less worthy of celebration.
Mike Mitchell holds an MA in theological studies from Asbury Seminary and a PhD in theology from Liverpool Hope University. He lives in the Mountain West with his wife and their five children. Mike also regularly writes for his Substack page at mitchell435.substack.com.