Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Alec Baldwin

Last week Alec Baldwin left a scathing, vitriolic, profanity-laced, threatening answering machine message for his 11-year-old daughter Ireland.

Here is what he had to say:

Hey I want to tell you something, ok? And I want to leave a message for you right now because it is 10:30 here in New York on a Wednesday and once again I made an ass of myself trying to get to a phone to call you at a specific time. When the time comes for me to make the phone call I stop whatever I am doing and I go and I make that phone call at 11 o’clock in the morning in New York and if you don’t pick up the phone, at 10 o’clock at night. And you don’t even have the God damned phone turned on. And I want you to know something, ok? I am tired of playing this game with you. I am leaving this message to tell you: you have insulted me for the last time. You have insulted me. You don’t have the brains or the decency as a human being. I don’t give a damn that you are 12 years old or 11 years old or that you’re a child or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn’t care about what you do as far as I’m concerned. You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone. And when I come out there next week I’m going to fly out there for the day just to straighten you out on this issue. I’m going to let you know just how disappointed in you I am and how angry I am with you that you have done this to me again. You’ve made me feel like shit and you made me feel like a fool over and over and over again. And this crap you pull on me with this God damned phone situation that you would never dream of doing to your mother and you do it to me constantly and over and over again. I am going to get on a plane or I am going to come out there for the day and I am going to straighten your ass out when I see you, do you understand me? I am going to really make sure you get it. Then I’m going to turn around and I’m going to come home, so you’d better be ready Friday the 20th to meet with me because I’m going to let you know just how I feel about what a rotten little pig you are. You are a rude thoughtless little pig, ok?

Baldwin and Basinger have been locked in a brutal custody and visitation battle over Ireland for years, and it is safe to say that the nastiness is not limited to Baldwin. Basinger is using her daughter as a weapon against Baldwin. People are lining up to bash Baldwin for his horrible parenting, for his verbal abusiveness against his daughter, and even for not knowing how old she is. A few others like “Men’s News Daily” magazine are coming to Baldwin’s defense. I don’t think very highly of Alec Baldwin, who seems very arrogant, self-absorbed, and self-important, and has demonstrated an instability and inability to control his temper on a number of other occasions. The tirade reveals the depth of the Hollywood egotism, the “world revolves around me” mentality that leads him to feel so incredibly put out when he stops what he is doing to call his daughter. Can you blame her for not answering? I would have blocked his number if I was in her situation.

But this is not a men-versus-women issue or a Baldwin-versus-Basinger issue. This ugly, indefensible rant reveals the nature of divorce. Divorce is a destructive, evil practice which rips homes apart and hurts everyone involved. The worst part of divorce comes when kids are involved. The kids are not at fault for the divorce, but they are caught in the middle of a tug-of-war caused by the parent’s selfishness. I understand that there are a few cases where divorce is a necessary evil. If one spouse is physically abusing the other or abusing the kids, the other spouse has the obligation to end that situation by any means necessary, including divorce. Irreconcilable infidelity is also legitimate grounds for divorce. But even in these cases, divorce is the lesser of two evils.

In Malachi 2:16 God says “I hate divorce.” Now we know that God is love, so anything he hates he must hate out of his love for us. God’s hatred of divorce is based in his love for the people who he created in his own image. The preceding verses reveal why God hates divorce:

…because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

Marriage is a covenant instituted by God thru which God takes a man and a woman and joins them to be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24) Jesus commanded that no man should separate what God has brought together. He was not just making arbitrary rules. He was speaking in love, to prevent little 11-year-old girls from getting evil, nasty voicemails from their dads.

In Ephesians 5:28-29 Paul wrote:

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.

Selfishness is the root cause of divorce. Sometimes it is one-sided selfishness, but usually there is plenty to go around from both husband and wife. But God’s plan for a loving marriage requires that we set aside our own self-interest and instead nourish and cherish our spouse. “Nourishing” means to create an environment which promotes health and growth. If I nourish my spouse, I make sure to provide all that she needs, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Cherishing my spouse means that I value her highly, as a precious treasure. How many divorces would there be if every husband, instead of thinking first about himself, devoted himself to nourishing and cherishing his wife, and if every wife did the same for her husband?

When some Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce, he summed it up perfectly:

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

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