Category: Religion

Sex

It’s always fun to talk about topics that are slightly taboo, which for most Christians, sex most certainly is. It’s not because Christians don’t have sex, it’s because they are taught from birth that sex is dirty and wrong, and then that when they get married it’s magically not dirty or wrong anymore. That leaves Christians feeling weird about sex and uncomfortable discussing it, especially with any frankness or detail. In the interest of stepping wildly all over your shoes and making you squirm, here goes!

Sex is not dirty or wrong. God invented it, intended for it to rock, and didn’t only create sex to make babies, although that’s a happy natural side effect. If the only point of sex was to make babies, he wouldn’t have given us the bonding chemicals in our brain that are released during and after sex. I’ve heard all SORTS of cockamamie stuff taught in churches and in Christian books about sex within marriage.

One of my favorites perpetrated by some of the more traditional churches is that “missionary” is the only acceptable position. The idea is that being face to face is the only appropriate way to have sex, and the man should be on top because he’s, well, “the man.” I’m not knocking missionary. Eye contact is not a trivial thing. But man, that’s leaving so much good stuff off the table. Some churches teach that birth control is wrong (and in some, even “rhythm” and “retraction” are considered birth control). That leaves couples to either hope for the best or just plan on having a jillion kids. Meaning that sex can’t be for bonding or as an expression of passion or for fun between playful lovers. It’s basically just something you do to make babies (all the while hoping you don’t get pregnant every single time).

Again, this is a completely stupid construct by the church. Abortion is wrong (killing a fertilized embryo). Birth control does nothing of the sort. And then there’s oral sex (yes, some churches teach this is wrong). Many Christians feel that this is something that isn’t “natural”. I recently read an article that made me laugh snot bubbles out of my nose. It said that within marriage, frequent “genital union” is required. Now, I’m not even disagreeing with that statement, but the phrase “genital union” has got to be the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard.

But does that mean that oral sex isn’t natural? I don’t think so. And I certainly see no such restriction in the Bible. What about anal sex? Oh boy. I’m gonna get it from the Christian right-wing now. Is anal sex wrong between a husband and wife? Do both parties want to engage in it? If the answer is yes, then by all means, go right ahead. But Pete, that’s not natural….!!!! To that I say “… you’re retarded.” You find a place in the Bible that places ANY sexual restrictions on married couples. Go ahead, I’ll wait. What did you find?

WELL, if you’re being completely honest, you did find a restriction… No extra people. Sorry guys – you can’t invite another woman into the bed with your wife. Sorry wives – you can’t invite another guy (or gal) into bed with your husband. Not if you want to remain inside the bounds of a Christian marriage. Yes, I realize that this is the prevalent fantasy for most guys. Yes, I realize that some wives (even some Christian wives) are willing to allow this to make their husbands happy. But it’s wrong, so steer clear. What about other fetishes?

I have no idea what to say on this one. Here’s what I think. I’m sure you all will correct me if I’m wrong. Harming your lover is not in keeping with what God would have us do. On the other hand, some people (I hear) find that pain and other things I don’t understand increases their pleasure. Am I going to say that’s wrong? Nope. All I’d say about fetishes is that both partners should be totally on board, both partners should be open with communication, and neither partner should come out with an injury. I’m not talking about the accidental “I fell off you during sex” injury. I’m talking about – hmmm – don’t put out cigarettes on your partner. And don’t punch her in the face.

Some churches teach that a wife has “duties” which of course pretty much always means “sex.” I don’t agree with that line of thinking at all. The moment sex goes from being fun to be a job is the moment you’re in deep poop. I think that in a marriage, both partners should want to, and try to, give the other what they want and need. Often that means compromise, doing one thing when we’d rather do another, etc. That’s exactly how marriage should work. Give and take. <strong>HOWEVER</strong>, a husband demanding that his wife “perform her duties” is FAR different than a wife choosing to make love to her husband because she loves him and wants to fulfill his desires.

It is never appropriate to demand sex or insist on it. Not even if you’re married. The moment you are telling her to give you what you want when she doesn’t want to, you’ve crossed the line. Many wives, I’d imagine, would try to say yes to their husbands even in those circumstances. That doesn’t make it right, guys. She doesn’t owe you anything. You do your job (love her as Christ loves the church) and do your best to fulfill her emotional needs. If you do that, you won’t have to demand sex.

To summarize. If you and your lover absolutely adore missionary position and you’re perfectly content doing that every single time, by all means, carry on. If you and your lover are more adventurous, the go for it. God gave you to each other as lovers (assuming you’re married) and He wants that bond to be strong. He made it so that the sexual chemistry both in our hormones and in our brains would make us WANT each other and make us chemically bond when we make love. That’s not an accident. The Bible says that a husband and wife become one flesh. Think about how in tune you are with your own body, with your own thoughts, desires, fantasies, and emotions.

You should want (and try) to be just as in tune with your spouse… taking the time to understand her emotions, her thoughts, fantasies, desires, and yes, her body. That’s how you become one flesh. Ultimately whatever brings you closer to each other is what you should be doing together. That may mean you hardly ever have sex. If the way you bond and feel closer is through conversation, then you should do that. If it’s through doing activities together, then join a bowling league. And if it’s sex, then have sex. More than likely, it’s a combination of things.

So go grab your spouse and have some fun! I promise not to judge you.

Looking Down Your Nose

Judgment. That word gets thrown around a lot by Christians. And it gets thrown AT Christians by non-Christians. Every non-Christian’s favorite verse is “Judge not lest you be judged.” Taken outside of the context of the rest of the Bible, that verse means stop telling me what I’m doing is wrong, you jerk.

I have been judged by a lot of “Christians” in my lifetime. Many of them didn’t even know me or know what they were talking about. There were also times I really did screw up and they looked down their noses at me. Nothing like a little shaming to make someone want to be around church… right?

Impregnating my girlfriend at 19 was the first time in my life I felt REALLY judged. Yes, I realize that I shouldn’t have been having sex with her. I barely even liked her, let alone loved her. BUT, the people who were judging me were all doing the same thing – they just didn’t have a pregnancy to make it a public thing. This past February I moved in with Nicole. We had just gotten engaged and we had a lot of honest dialogue about what would be best for Amber since we were on fast-forward in our relationship heading toward marriage. We decided my consistent presence was the best thing for her, and that’s what we did.

MAN. People love to make assumptions about things like that. But if you were one of the ones looking down your nose at us, do you have a reason? A real reason? Are you making assumptions about what we were doing? Because you don’t actually KNOW unless you were in the house with us. The pastor of my new church dropped by the house right around when I moved in and he left feeling very good about the direction Nicole and I were taking. And this is a man who is a fundamentalist Baptist preacher who believes every word of the Bible. So why didn’t he judge us? Well, because he took the time to understand the facts, and he trusted that I wasn’t just full of crap.

People will do all sorts of perverted things behind closed doors and then act like they’re perfect. Hypocrisy is rampant in churches. The Bible says that looking at a woman other than your wife with lust is adultery. Is premarital sex worse than adultery? Or does God see them as equally bad… sin is sin? Guys that looked at my pregnant girlfriend and shook their heads were probably going home and looking at porn. Am I worse than that, or was my mistake just more obvious?

An acquaintance of Nicole who I’ve never met said a bunch of bad things about ME. I’ve never met her. Now granted, she’s probably simply jealous that Nicole’s happy. But why did I get dragged into that? Well, she made the same assumptions that a lot of people made… things were moving fast, she assumed that I must be a psycho. I really don’t think I’m creepy, in spite of the fact that I seem to attract that label. I had “friends” back in January/February who made incorrect assumptions about Nicole and our relationship and said terrible things about her. It just blows my mind.

You can discern right and wrong (judgment) without looking down your nose at them (condemnation). People confuse judgment and condemnation all of the time. I can look at a person that’s doing something wrong and say “what you’re doing is wrong” without condemning them. In fact, that’s what the Bible actually says you should do – make a RIGHT judgment.

When Christians condemn people openly or by being aloof and holier-than-thou, it literally drives people away from the church. It’s the opposite of evangelism.

To summarize – don’t make assumptions, and don’t make the mistake of thinking someone else’s sins are worse than yours… in Gods eyes, sin is sin.

Self-Control

Oh you are gonna get it today.

Self-control is a wide category. It covers things like:

Anger & Rage
Overeating
Drunkenness
Jealousy
Lust

The list goes on and on, but these are some low-hanging fruit so let’s roll.

If you lose your temper and spaz out at your friends and family, not only are you a dick, but you are not allowing the Holy Spirit to live through you, assuming it’s even there in the first place. Of all of the things in this world… of all of the elements of the human condition, an out-of-control temper is the thing I consider to be the worst. It’s the worst example of a lack of self-control because anger and rage can cause so much external harm. Spouses afraid to let their guard down around you, children who fear you instead of looking forward to seeing you, friends who won’t tell you the truth because they fear your reaction.

The surest way to insulate yourself from ever becoming a better person is to lack self-control over your temper. People will not tell the truth to you if they know you’ll freak out. Anyone that does is doing it with the knowledge that they are falling on their own sword in hopes they can help you see the light. Your spouse and children will be the most severe victims because home is where you’ll undoubtedly feel most free to be your dicky self.

Anger and rage is how a weak, pathetic person tries to control others. They think “If I yell at my spouse about going out with friends, then they’ll stay at home with me instead.” For the rager, it’s win-win, because they get to behave however they want and still get to eat their cake, too. At least for a season. Eventually one of two things will happen. The spouse and kids will look for a way out (as soon as the kids are 18 they’ll be gone for good), OR, the spouse and kids will learn the behavior from you and will start dishing it back at you. That will really make the wheels come off.

So what do you do if you have an out-of-control temper? Well, first, talk to God. Second, beg your family and friends to forgive you for being such a selfish, pathetic ass. Third, realize that self-control is a choice. It’s a choice to think before you speak, to consider the other person, and to put duct tape over your mouth if you have to. If you aren’t in control of your emotions, the only person that can change it is you, and you are the only one to blame.

Overeating is another form of lacking self-control. The Bible says that gluttony is a sin. Where is that line? It’s actually very simple (and this is coming from someone that could afford to lose a few pounds). If food is more important to you than God, you are definitely screwed up. When food stops being about nourishment and starts becoming comfort, you’ve crossed the line.

Drunkenness is also a way people exhibit their lack of self-control. The Bible never says drinking is wrong. Jesus enjoyed some wine now and then himself. But Jesus never got wasted and acted like an idiot. You shouldn’t either. If you need to be wasted to have a good time, then there is most definitely something wrong with both your brain and your relationship with God.

Jealousy. Man this one will really cause problems. Relationships are nothing without trust. And most relationships are better off if the world doesn’t revolve around them. If you find yourself constantly suspicious and jealous of your wife or girlfriend, one of two things are true. She lacks character to the point that you SHOULDN’T trust her, or YOU lack character in the sense that you are an insecure douchebag. If she is a known whore, then you probably shouldn’t be with her. If she’s NOT, then you should stop being an insecure douchebag. It’s really that simple.

Lastly, I’ll talk about lust. If a woman’s boob shows up in a movie you’re watching, do you lose control of your thoughts? Do you fixate on that like a 12 year old with the Sears catalog? Are you over the age of 18 and still think that way? See a psychologist if so! Sheesh. But let’s be real. All guys notice when a hottie comes into the room. We’re drawn to them like moths to a flame. Part of that is just biological – we instinctively look for a mate that looks fertile and healthy. That part we truly can’t control, and we shouldn’t. God made us that way, biologically, on purpose. But if you see a hottie walk into the room and your first thought is “man, I’ve GOT to get her naked” then you’re probably out of control.

Control yourself. You’re the only one that can.

Gentleness

Again, the original texts used a word that translates as “enduring injury with patience and without resentment.” So we aren’t talking about holding a puppy carefully.

If you think about that sentence, enduring injury with patience is much easier than doing it without resentment.

It is tough to not resent someone that constantly treats you badly even when you’re treating them well. It’s up to us to make the tough decisions about when a person has used up their chances, so that we extricate ourselves from the situation before resentment starts to take hold.

Jesus was beaten and crucified and didn’t say a word. I think we can let it go when someone says something mean to us.

I’ll keep this one short, because tomorrow’s post is going to be epic both in length and in truculence.

Faithfulness

The original Hebrew text actually used the word for trustworthiness. Basically we’re talking about being steadfast, dependable, reliable, etc.

Doing what you say and saying what you do is sometimes a hard thing to do. I am personally prone to over-commitment, which often means I REALLY don’t want to do something I’ve told people I’d do. The right thing to do is to do what you said you would. It’s really not that hard.

Do you say you’ll do things and then flake? That’s not how a Christian should behave. Unless of course you committed to helping your buddy rob a bank, in which case backing out is probably still the moral high ground. You know what I mean, so stop trying to think of exceptions.

When you make a commitment to a cause, organization, or person, you are morally bound to follow through. God doesn’t really make exceptions on this.

If you tell your friend “I will be there at 7 AM to help you move” and you get there at 10 AM or not at all, you’re not faithful. It really isn’t that hard to follow this particular item, because all you have to do is NOT commit to things you know you don’t want to do! Duh.

People often think I’m non-committal. They’re right. I do NOT want to say I’ll do something and then flake out or back out. It simply isn’t right to do so. I’d rather be slow to commit and then always follow through than be quick to commit and then flake, or resent that I have to do what I said.

Usually the word Faithfulness is equated to marital fidelity. But that’s just one small example. Of course you should be faithful if you’re married – you committed to do just that at your wedding. But it’s no different than any other commitment.

Do what you say. Mean what you say.