It is less two weeks away from the 2009 Smarter Families Canada Conference taking place this May 8th & 9th. ACTS, the organizers of the annual conference held at Trinity Western University, is excited to announce that award-winning American author and speaker Gary Thomas will be on hand to deliver two keynote addresses, and discuss his book "Sacred Marriage."
TWU Media Relations (TWU MR) had the chance to ask Thomas some questions about his book, marriage, and the upcoming conference.
TWU MR: Why is "Sacred Marriage" changing the way church thinks about marriage?
GT: Many Christian books present a "needs based" approach to marriage: "this is what the husband needs, this is what the wife needs, this is how we meet those needs." Sacred Marriage turned this around by asking, "What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?" This changes the way we look at marriage. For instance, instead of having my needs met, marriage can help me become a better servant, teach me how to forgive, teach me to listen, etc. In all of this, it provides many opportunities to become more like Christ. Even a difficult marriage, with this perspective, can have enormous spiritual benefit as it provides so many opportunities for spiritual growth.
TWU MR: If marriage is God-ordained then why is it so hard?
GT: The question assumes that "God ordained" can't be hard! Remember, Jesus told us to take up our cross daily, and that's the difficulty of the "needs based" approach: my selfishness can't be coddled, it needs to be crucified! God uses difficult things to help me grow. If an athlete never strained her muscles, she wouldn't get stronger; if a runner never pushed himself, he wouldn't get faster or increase his endurance. How can we expect to grow spiritually if God made everything easy and comfortable?
TWU MR: What are you hoping people will take away from your presentations?
GT: My prayer is that people will leave the seminar with a new sense of awe about how and why God created marriage, a new appreciation for even the challenging aspects of marriage, and a new ability to help others see the same.
TWU MR: What advice do you have for couples that are on the brink of divorce?
GT: When we get married for trivial reasons, we get divorced for trivial reasons. Revisit why Christians should get married and reconsider why Christians should stay married. When you answer those questions first, the divorce question usually falls by the wayside.
Gary Thomas is currently an adjunct faculty member at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. In his spare time he enjoys running marathons and spending time with his wife Lisa and their three children: Allison, Graham, and Kelsey. He makes his home in Bellingham, Washington.
Event at a Glance
What: Smarter Families Canada 2009 featuring keynote speaker and author of Sacred Marriage Gary Thomas
When: May 8 & 9
Time: Various (see online schedule)
Where: Trinity Western University, Northwest Building
Cost: See website for more details www.smarterfamiliescanada.ca
Contact: Susan Mattam Tel: 604-888-7511 ext 3830 or email: email@example.com
Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C., is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers 41undergraduate majors, ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 17 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology, linguistics, and leadership, and interdisciplinary degrees in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Dead Sea Scroll Studies, Developmental Genetics and Disease, and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.
Last Updated: 2009-04-28