Tag Archives: sex

Youthful lusts, Its really not about sex

I came across 2 Timothy 2:22 in my previous writings on temptation, and wondered what Paul was talking about when he brings up youthful lusts. As such, I pulled up Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown to see what they had to say.

There are many lusts from which our greatest safety is in flight (Ge 39:12). Avoid occasions of sin. From the abstemious character of Timothy (1Ti 5:23) it is likely that not animal indulgences, but the impetuosity, rash self-confidence, hastiness, strife, and vainglory of young men (1 John 2:14-16), are what he is here warned against: though the Spirit probably intended the warning to include both in its application to the Church in general.

Which then prompted a further study on the matter. Like a lot of things contest is key… this verse is in the midst of a lot of context, none of which, even when pulled and stretched seems to connect with sexual morality, or as the commentators state animal indulgences.

It seems to be reasonably clear this section of scripture is about dysfunctions related to youthful exhuberance. Ie, jumping the gun, trying to teach before one is ready, or has earned the right to do so, being overconfident, or focusing on appearance rather than substance. Paul Penley seems to knock this out of the ballpark with his The “lust” all young people have, and how we missed it do to bad Bible interpretation. As an older guy looking back at his younger days, his post seems spot on.

Fortunately there were some exceedingly patient oldsters who pulled me aside and said hey, think about this. Had they not stepped up, I might well have become one of those Bible bashers, the ones who angrily say, the scripture clearly says…. except that the Greek to English translation is a whole lot more grey than black and white so say nothing about the bit where we see things dimly, even apart from translation issues.

Consider the ramifications of 1 Timothy 1:6 with respect to youthful lusts. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

Even beyond warning against such, 1 Tim 2:22 is also a very clear warning against lone rangering (to go it alone), rather than to study and practice Christianity in community. I think of the extreme out there conspiracy theories and strange theology types I used to run across when I co-led CF. Such folks often believe they have the absolute truth, and only theirs is the correct path even though, in most cases, such is a repeat of failed ancient beliefs or practices… Its as if the promoters of such never studied history, or perhaps worse, never had a person call them aside to say hey, you know XYZW taught something like that way back when and it didn’t work out too well.

I’ve seen related issues of overconfidence and lone-rangering play out in some deliverence ministries, where in folks get in very far over their head and get really jammed up. Its not just missing medical or psychological issues either, deliverence much less major exorcisms are nothing for the unprepared to mess around with . I even had a pastor friend who despite decades of education and experience in said arena ended up in a whole lot of hurt.

A unique aspect of studying and practice in community is challenge and engagement with failure. As a young long ranger, its pretty easy to coast along, and not get tested a whole lot. However when studying and practicing in community, ideas will get poked at prodded at. In such a model, errant theology is more likely to fall by the wayside, or at minimum, ideas will be highly scrutinized. Another aspect of study and practire in community is that its usually broken community. The temptation to power trip, to quarrel, or even to throw selected words of Jesus under the bus is a clear and present danger #churchtoo for example… but such is also where community can pick itself up and dust itself and its members off. Granted, there is a fair bit of idealism in that statement. Some communities can and do shred their must vulnerable members.

1 Cor 6:10 not popular on Christian Radio

So I’m listening to Christian Radio on the way back Friday night, and there is some radio preacher hyper focused on sexuality in 1 Cor 6:9… so much so, that the latter parts of 1 Cor 6:10 were practically obliterated from his sermon. I get the point, the last thing he needs to do is divert his audience attention. Then again, its also not telling the whle truth… and considering Jesus talked about greed a whole lot more than he talked about sex, its crazy making. Sure, no one wants to think they are coveting, thieving, or extortionist individuals, but when the majority of the world lives on under $5/day, and in the US, such is what many spend on coffee… it makes one wonder.

Granted, its not just coffee, its our economic system. Each quarter needs to have better performance from the prior one to keep investors happy. And said investors aree not just the wealthy wall street types and venture capitalists, its folks with 401K’s and retirement accounts too, its most everyone in some capacity.

In companies which operate under forms of pay for performance compensation, its even the individual worker. As a business consultant years ago, I’d walk into an outfit and get the lay of the land so to speak… and if there was pay for performance systems going on, you can bet there were all sorts of games put in place to jimmy it, or in less political correct terms, steal it. And perhaps while not truly a criminal matter, things like keeping dual sets of books, bypassing automated systems, or plain and simple accounting games to make one look good at the exception of others are forms of stealing. And while one may think, hey its fine, its the way business has always been run…

Does anyone have any outrage over the following:

  • Consider teachers who either inflated test scores, or shared the answers to standardized tests with their students to make more money.
  • Consider VA employees who played accounting games with the system to make vets time to be seen numbers look really good, even if said vets were actually hung out to dry.
  • Consider the VW employees who played games with their test methods / results, in order to get their cars accepted into the US.
  • Consider Federal Pacific employees who faked UL safety testing and records to sell their electrical panels, which then burst into flames.

My guess is most folks will take issue with the above in one way or another… but if there much difference between the above folks and those who:

  • Keep a double set of books, one to provide on-demand, and one which reflects the truth? It’s not just those out to play a fast one with their taxes, consider today’s electronic trucking logs which prevent truckers from tweaking their driving time. When the electronic logs became mandatory, the outrage was incredible, truckers said they couldn’t make money, shippers said its going to cost them more, and deliveries were going to take longer, and the above has all come to pass. Pretty much most of the industry was faking logs to get by…
  • Bypass automation, by using pen and paper such that information can be tweaked to look good and make goals before being entered into the computer, even if its not really a true picture of what is going on.
  • Justify the theft of intellectual property, as its too hard or too expensive for a small church to comply it’sh the law. After all, they are using the music, print, or video to accomplish the work of God.

Such is why I tend to think 1 Cor 10 ends up being one of those hard verses to engage with. It’s everywhere, even if its not an overt thing… and the mindset that it’s not ok is a dangerous thing.

  • It can drive an audience away, and when an audience leaves, so goes one’s revenue stream, whether a pastor of a church or a Christian radio preacher. It’s easy to preach against forms of sexual immorality, as folks engaged in such will self-select out of specific churches and media audiences. Such is why it’s much easier to preach against teenage premarital sex than it is to preach against adultery in the church.
  • A culture of subtle theft and greed is seemingly impossible to change, as the economic upheaval to do something different is beyond the pale.
  • Scripture doesn’t return void. And when scripture returns, collective consciousness gets poked at, and eventually light ends up shining in places which are dangerous to the life of organizations, which include Christian radio and churches.

Consistent Ethic of Life?

Brandon stated: Dom Hélder Câmara talked about a ‘consistent ethic of life’, wherein *all* life possesses equal value, and the marked lack of a consistent ethic of life has been one of my long standing critiques of the “pro-life” (or more appropriately: “anti-abortion”) movement.
Links to http://thelewisnote.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-miscarriage-matters-if-youre-pro.html

When you spit the “anti-abortion” movement into its sexual purity vs the life aspect, the inconsistency almost completely goes away if one looks at the sexual purity side alone. 

Alas, said splitting off often leads to the heart wrenching commentary many of those ladies received post miscarriage. I’m guilty of this too, ie I would grieve for a highly promising youth group leader killed by a drunk driver on the way to church… but for someone who started out with 4 embryos via fertility treatments and only 1 took, not so much. It would be the same lack of grief for the unborn with the young couple who keeps on trying to have children, but the zygote never implants. 

The end state gets really ethically murky, as in the above situations, its no longer a natural or even probability issue… going in, its known that said actions will result in deaths, despite your hope that eventually one might survive. Its a similar murky deal as concerns environmental issues… ie we know with significant confidence that some pollutants and/or specific concentrations result in massive increases to the probability of miscarriage and/or fertility issues. We also suspect a few others, and there are many others which might lead to trouble but we turn a blind eye out of convenience / intentional ignorance. Bottom line, we as society as well as individuals have made the call either by pocket book or by voting that the cost of reducing the rate of miscarriages / infertility is too high to justify.

This then runs into the tribal values… ie a consistent ethic of life for the unborn while it sounds good is anathema to most groups who put a very high value on sexual purity. Environmental issues, reproductive science etc are not only counter to the tribal mores, they are a distraction from the bottom line issue of sexual purity… Ie, we need to stop abortion, we don’t want to splinter our efforts to save zygotes, they workaround it by stating the death of the unborn is by chance, or is natural, and its definitely not by intent… which flies in the face of observational evidence to the contrary.

If one does hold to a consistent ethic of life from conception… things get really sticky too. Ie, contraceptives prevent fertilization, but when you go off them, you now generate a bunch of zygotes of which you play the probability game for one to implant and to survive to birth, leaving who knows how many to die. Its probably a good thing that human nature overruns scientific knowledge or our species would cease to exist, at least within the confines of those who wish to ascribe to a consistent ethic of life from conception.

50 Shades of $500 Million

There is much lamenting and knashing of teeth in my universes over 50 Shades of Grey. As such, I figured this movie would go down like The Interview… but it didn’t. The first weekend box office figures were $85 million, even larger than Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. Granted, ticket prices have gong up a lot since the Passion, but still the box office shows this to be an incredibly popular movie with world wide figures pushing $500 million this week.

One interesting bit, is that 2 groups who are normally at 180 degrees (feminists and conservative Christians) out of phase with each other are lamenting this movie. Libby Anne noticed this too and has a really cool write up on it. Her summary:

“But in general, what has evangelicals up in arms over Fifty Shades of Grey is its endorsement of premarital relationships and kinky sex, while what has feminists up in arms is its glorification of abuse and its perversion of kinky sex. This disagreement is rooted in a huge divergence in the two groups’ underlying sexual ethics.”

 

Divergence in sexual ethics makes sense as to the parallel upset, but it doesn’t explain the popularity, unless the groups are much smaller than they are normally sold to be. It would be cool to have audience stats and run some analysis, but such is pretty lacking at the point in the game. I was however able to find some some presales ticket numbers relative to forecasts.

1. Mississippi: 3.9x

2. Arkansas: 2.8x

3. West Virginia: 2.7x

4. Kentucky: 2.1x

5. Alabama: 2.0x

I find this strange in that a high level of teeth knashing seems to be coming out of the evangelical Christian domain, ie the Bible belt… it doesn’t add up, or does it?

I get the forbidden fruit connection to a film derived from lit porn, but in and of itself, I seriously doubt this is the primary driver. Rather, I think despite all of the objections, the film is hitting on right on target. Jamie the Worst Missionary goes into quit a bit of detail in a missionaries position on 50 shades of grey.

The question I keep coming back to, is instead of all the lamenting and/or tsk tsking, why not do something about it? I’m not suggesting shark jumping like a sermon series on kinky sex and the Songs of Solomon, but more so to drill right down to the relationship issues at the heart of things.

I get that such would not be an easy thing… perhaps more so in some theological world views than others… but sweeping issues under the carpet as they are too hard to deal with is not a good answer either.

ELCA task force on sexuality Whats with the blogosphere and obscuration

So, I’ve been persusing blogs on all sides of the ELCA’s task force recommendations. A somewhat recurrent theme seems to be long drawn out entries, almost white papers. Granted, its a complex and lengthy document…. but when one brings up 10, 20, or more points of response within a single blog entry, its a bit of a bear to disect. On the other hand in doing so, there is an element of protection; ie its hard to gang up on an author when they have a fire hose of shooting out. Being one in the past who always volunteered to jumped into the fire so to speak, I’ve made good use of datadump obscuration. Not so much as to avoid criticism, but if I’m going to have a few hundred to a few thousand folks ticked off at me, I’d rather have them ticked off on 50 different matters than 1 or 2.

However, I’m going to try to go the other way, short of this post where I’ll ramble on a bit. I really want to come to some conclusion. As I wrote before, I dont have an opinion , and now a year and then later I still dont. By the time I get through this series of blog entries, I hopefully will have one. Its not that I’d be voting or anything, but what the document if fully implemented could do is put a congregation, a synod, and a bishop in the position to make some difficult decisions. As such, I ask myself, what would I do? What if I were a Bishop, and was presented with such? What would be my decision, such that I could sleep at night? Creating such a hypothetical, albeit impossible, situation, puts my skin in the game. It makes the task force recommendations real, not just a academic third party thing where i sit as an outside observer.