Who doesn’t love a creepy wedding photo on the cover of a book? In Breaking the Marriage Idol, evangelical professor Kutter Callaway challenges Americans to develop a new "theological anthropology” (vision of who people are and what a good life looks like).

We absorb Disney princess, pop music, and reality TV images that sell romantic love as fulfillment... and then we set up married life as the standard life for Christian adults. But Callaway challenges this, noting that we don't help folks (before or after marriage) handle what itm means to have unrealized sexual desire, read contradictory Bible stories about marriage well, or support community members who never pair bond. To counter this, he encourages us to establish rituals celebrating friendship and adult adoption, elevating other relationships alongside marriage.

(I was amused when he recommended reducing the divorce rate by encouraging more Christians to stay single.)

Callaway's influences are clear: he draws from Catholic theologians to frame sexuality as pervading all of life, from James K.A. Smith on human desire formed through imagination and social rituals, and from Wesley Hill and Christena Cleveland for their articulation of a vision for single Christian life. And in the end, he prays for his daughters that Christian communities become places "not where their dreams about marriage come true, but where their dreams about the people of God are enlarged.”

Breaking the Marriage Idol
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