Friday, October 21, 2011
My take: Why this female priest loves 'Sister Wives'
By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN
“Sister Wives” is virtually sacred time in my home. When it’s on, I refuse to answer the phone or move from the couch, and anyone who talks risks both a DVR rewind and a scornful look for interrupting the episode’s flow.
I admit that referring to any television viewing as “sacred time” is a bit sacrilegious, especially coming from an Episcopal priest. But I can’t help it — I’m so fascinated by this show that I’ve seen every episode twice (including the honeymoon special), researched fundamentalist Mormon wedding rituals, and dreamed of visiting the cake tasting bakery.
Yet many don’t appreciate my enthusiasm. Every time I confess my love for Meri, Christine, Janelle, Robyn, their flock of children and their bushy-haired husband, I tend to receive responses like:
“But you’re a woman.”
“But you’re a feminist.”
“But you’re a priest.”
“But you’re monogamous … right?”
My answers to each are “Yes,” “yes,” “yes” — and “of course!”
So how can a liberal Christian monogamist feminist female priest such as myself love a sensationalistic reality TV show about a polygamous fundamentalist Mormon family?
I think it all goes back to the meaning of marriage itself. Most adults in our society understand marriage as a special kind of intimacy, a closeness so connected that two become one—as stated by Genesis 2:24, or, if you prefer, the Spice Girls.
This relationship is defined by an imposing “till death do us part” commitment to share all that you are and all that you have with a single other person. For many couples that special love expands with time, creating space for children who will be adored, cuddled, and raised with the best of intentions.
Christians today see marriage as an institution that provides a constant and daily opportunity to practice loving well. By caring about a single other, one learns what it means to love all people well, and then take that love into the world.
This is a beautiful image, but hard to live up to. Late nights at work, dressing kids for soccer practice, dusting, cooking, vacuuming, trying to get that orange stain out of a spouse’s favorite shirt for the sixth time – it can transform marriage into a black hole.
You can read the article in its entirety at: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/28/my-take-why-this-female-priest-loves-sister-wives/