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a heart-shaped martyr

Ah yes…Valentine’s Day…also perfectly celebrated alongside National Singleness Awareness Day. There are way too many cynical inlets to run at full speed with this day, and besides, if any holiday is going to be endeared and not just recognized, may it always be a holiday surrounding the ideals, dreams and pursuits to and of Love…even if a Love that culture defines. One can only hope Christmas inspires such a romance.

The story of St. Valentine is of a man who notoriously went down in history for being martyred for marrying off people underground who, in their government’s eyes, were not sanctioned or privvy to marrital rights. What he did unfortunately placed him in such comparative company as the Elvis impersonator standing guard at the many eloping alters lining the city of “Lost Wages” (Las Vegas).

I think it’s funny and ironic that we celebrate him so…seeing that he was in many ways a terrorist, just like William Wallace, in that he defied his government’s decrees for his own personal understandings of rights and wrongs. But hey, who doesn’t Love Wallace…and so, it´s little wonder why we ought to be able to find a spot in our heart for the guy synonymous with the symbol of it.     

I do find one thing ironic…Valentine felt it worth his life to die for the sake of marrying people…and yet, we deify him in a way in our American culture today that glorifies his cause to be bound up in even the most uncommitted of nuances to the dating relationship.

We celebrate St. Valentine and his legacy, which was binding people in marriage, and hold it fast to the non-committal accordings of the dating market of today’s culture…a culture that boasts an over 50% divorce rate.

We celebrate Valentine’s legacy, which cost him his life, by flaunting a reasoning to even undo it by way of simple, “irreconsiliable differences.”

We would celebrate his legacy, and yet, by our own statistics as a country, undo what he gave his life for simply because we no longer want to stick it out. We undo his sacrifice with not being able to provide our own…to someone we Love of all people.

I feel that on this day Senor Valentine often sees much of his life’s work passed around with all the passion of a whore tossed back and forth, neither fought for or promised  forever.

I wonder if he would say…

“when they agree, until death do you part, I wonder what they would instead ten to answer if they really knew their marriage, simply the pursuit of having it recognized, might cost them their life?”

I bet you the divorce rate would diminish greatly if we held to Valentine’s  understanding of the cost of marriage…because people simply wouldn’t get married. If you view it something you can walk away from whenever you feel like, then that speaks volumes about the sancity you held in pocket when walking into it. I would not doubt the passions that inspired such a decision…only the stuff needed to sustain it, the committment…which to me, out-does any other comparative passion leading up or through-out the marriage.

But alas, I will always try and be mindful to the precepts and original inspirations of what caused heraled men to truly do what they did…the reasoning behind why holds all the curiousity I could ever offer to something.

On a separate note, following the thinking in the blog, “Complimeant”…I would like to thank a sister in Christ of mine tonight. Tonight, and we laughed that it was on such a hallowed evening, we went to tea in a place in North Portland…AS FRIENDS.

We exchanged heartfelt depths about God and about where He’s rescued us from, where He’s re-rescued us from, and even where He might be leading us next…all very intimate stuff, but, and this is what I deem so encouraging…we mutually shared with one another a Love that night that was neither awkwardly steeped in things unsaid, or in nuances of the tensions lining the hearts and bodies of 20 somethings…no, no, no, instead we simply talked and laughed and fellowshipped the night away on what many would deem the most dangerous and intentionally marked night of the year.

I was, due in large part to her bravery and honesty, able to engage in a night full of intimacy, delicacy and bluntness about life, Love and our God without any hesitation… and what’s more, with confidence that the woman I was sitting across from was someone else’s beautiful bride to be, for just a fraction of an evening, I found myself in peace knowing I was not borrowing her affections, but hearing of her heart and getting to glimpse just how lucky her man-to-yet-be-revealed already is.

Point being…I dwelled in a Life tonight that gave fruit of a different kind…the kind that is just as life-giving and Love-filling as all others, because it was just like all others…in CHRIST…except…it was done across the tabooed gender lines.

But…on this night, I found a brave counterpart to wade with me the cultural expectations and estimations and just go and be with God, together. It was awesome! I respect her more now than I probably ever could have without this experience…and I encourage all others to be honest to their hearts and steer clear of such encounters if you either do not trust that you can rely on the Lord and the Lord in the eyes staring back at you to navigate such potentially disastrous ingredients of an evening…BUT…if you can find strength and confidence in the Spirit to enjoy your sisters in Christ men, and for you ladies, your brothers in Christ…then by all means ask God to reveal to you such a person, such a confidence and such a motivation…for the fruit from it has long been ripe and awaiting.

Thank you Amanda Paxton for being my Valentine’s Sister for the evening. I look forward to wading what culture says we ought not do again with you…for tonight I shared bubble tea as much with God as I did with you.

Thank you.


About justingunter

I'm recently 29 years old, recently married and ready to change the world for God. He has called me to be a missionary! This means more than just changing zip codes and living in countries where I struggle (for a while) speaking the language the locals dream in. It means a lifestyle of sacrifice, audacious Hope and above all, a desire for Jesus simply because He is who He is. I moved to Franklin, TN in October 15th of 2012 and expect this to be the first of many changes for the great calling on the Gunter's life. Side note...I dig being married. It helps when you're married the best woman ever! Teale and I feel called to plant churches, combat sex trafficking and be a place of refuge and Holy sojourn to all who would seek to join alongside us for good or for a season. For now, Ol' Rocky Top is our home, Zoey is our Great Dane and we, the Gunters, love Jesus with all we have.

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