Archive for the 'sexuality' Category

just because we have changed the primary focus of our blog does not mean that we won’t “slum it” every once in a while and see what the buzz is on our favorite odm sites.  it’s the same fascination that allows me to argue the nuances of justification AND watch shows about people driving badly… or buildings collapsing…

over at crosstalk they are offering this commentary:

Evangelical Church Tattoos Woman on Altar

In the you-just-can’t-make-this-up department, a Seattle church decided to tattoo volunteers during the “live tattoo final” to a sermon series. I predicted tattoo parlors in church some time ago and was jeered at for doing so. I was wrong. They aren’t building parlors to tattoo anyone in church. They’re doing it on the altar. Read more from the Seattle Times.

i particularly like the angst of “They’re doing it on the altar” – complete with shock value and double entendre.

our church has had artists creating works as a form of worship while a pastor delivers a sermon, but we have never had a human as the canvas.  and i’m not sure we would – but that is not the point. the point is the interesting use of the term altar, the use of a sexual double entendre, and the appeal to the slippery slope of sin.

i am not sure why crosstalk uses the term “altar” – particularly since evangelical churches usually do not have them – they do not need them.  and crosstalk ignores a great opportunity for a jab since the linked article uses the term “stage.”   i have a hunch it is used for shock value, and to make an illusion to paganism.

this latter reference, of pagan altars, plays into the use of the sexual double entendre, which i find mildly hypocritical from folks that find this abhorrent when used by others.  remember, christians should not talk about sex in public.  this is a deliberate sexual reference, i believe, because of the popularity of the  “so and so’s do it…” jokes/bumper stickers/etc….  clearly this has not eluded the editors.

the inuendo was clearly seen by truthinator who posted the follow-up comment:

First coffee shops and now tattoo parlors… can the temple prostitutes be far behind…?

i find this appeal to a slippery slope interesting for its sheer grade of the slope; from coffee to church sanctioned prostitution in three simple steps (emphasis on simple).  it seems to slip the mind of truthinator that coffee and tattoos are neither illegal, immoral, nor biblically prohibited (and only quote leviticus 19:28 if you also obey 19:13a, 16-18, 19c, and 27.)

finally, what really mystifies me is why crosstalk (and truthinato) even cares what this church in seattle does – since what they did violated no biblical injunction.  i have a hunch that it is just another objection against folks doing things different – it’s probably not coffee that is objectionable… it’s that it’s not served the way we do it.

[UPDATE: it was pointed out that the newspaper article opened with the use of "altar" - this explains crosswalk's use of the term. i should have seen this in my reading.]

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I saw this post linked to by someone recently, and the guy who wrote it says that Christian men are big sissies.  According to Mr. Daubenmire, we need man up and be more like Braveheart, John Wayne, and Clinton Eastwood.  He puts it this way:

Needless to say, I am swimming upstream on this one. All day long they are taught in school to “act like Christians.” That is the problem, I tell them. Stop ACTING like a Christian and start BEING one.

But we don’t even know what that means. WWJL…What Was Jesus Like? I promise you this. He was all MAN. He confronted evil, challenged the status quo, upset some apple-carts, and spoke what was on His mind. He was the original “Braveheart.”

Come on now. Look around at the Christian role models our young men have to look up to. Most don’t even look like men. What is the word that pop culture has given us…metrosexuals…? Modern Christian men are the ultimate metrosexuals.

So, what say you? Are Christian men too metro?  Too sensitive? Big weenies?  More importantly, what does it actually mean to be a Christian man?  How important is our masculinity as it relates to our identity in Christ?  Of course, I have my opinion, but I’d be interested in hearing what others have to say (which probably makes me a sissy for asking, of course… :-) )

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Here you will find what a few of us have expressed over the past year about how the church should handle the topic of sex.  I think the difference is that this says it more succinctly and more appropriately.  It raises the bar for the discussion and the act.

Because I know there are a lot of lazy people out there like me who can’t even click a link, here’s a snippet:

If the theology of the cross doesn’t affect every aspect of life, it isn’t properly applied.

*Sorry for the rabbit hole, but when something is said well, why change it? Click the link already.

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I linked to the three blog posts you will read about in this post by hopping over to Twenty-Two Words. I was intrigued by Piper’s title: Imagine What it’s Like to be Both Homosexual and Christian Before Offering a Fix. Well, most of us will probably say: I’ve never thought of it that way. I don’t think Piper is saying we should sit back on our comfortably Christian couches and fantasize about homosexual acts. I do think what he is saying is: How do you live, knowing you are a sinner who struggles with your own pet issue, and a Christian too? How do you live with the contradiction? How do you live as a hyphenated Christian? How do you live with the paradox? At minimum, Piper is suggesting that such a paradox is possible in the church. On this point, I believe he is correct.

Do you ask people for solutions to your voyeurism? Do you ask people for solutions to your alcoholism? Do you ask people for solutions to your pride? Do you ask people for solutions to your lust? Do you ask people for solutions to your anger? Your hatred? Your racism? Your greed? Your gluttony? And when you get answers, do you take offense at the happy, Sunday-School, answers that sound something like: “Oh, just look to Jesus and it will all go away. Then you will be all better.” If you don’t, I think you should. The struggle goes much deeper and oftentimes we are ‘out in the wilderness’ facing the devil. The nights are long; the food scarce; the temptations great. Jesus is the right direction, but sometimes we cry, “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachtani.” Sometimes we are frightfully alone.

_______________________________

Imagine what it’s like to be both racist and a Christian before offering a fix to a racist. Imagine what it’s like to be both greedy and a Christian before offering a fix to a greedy person. Imagine what it’s like to be both egomaniac and Christian before offering a fix to an arrogant person. Imagine, if you dare, replacing the word ‘homosexual’ with ‘adulterer’ or ‘drug addict’ or ‘compulsive gambler.’ However, this may not do. Misty Irons writes:

But the downside of “homosexuality is just like any other sin” is that this naturally leads people to say to someone like Wesley, “Well then, why can’t you deal with your sin the way I do? Pray for victory, seek God’s face, put off the old man and put on the new. And why do you ‘need’ love from the church body over this? Isn’t the love of God in Christ sufficient for you? And aren’t you being defeatist by calling yourself a Homosexual Christian? I don’t identify with my sin by calling myself an Angry Christian or a Lying Christian.”

For this reason, I have never completely agreed with the “homosexuality is like any other sin” approach. Among those desires and compusions [sic.] that we call sin, I believe homosexuality belongs in a unique category of its own. And while it often helps to understand the involuntary nature of homosexual attraction by comparing it with lust, anger, covetousness, and so forth, at the same time it is critical to understand homosexuality as more a condition than merely a desire or compulsion. “Condition” as in: we are all born into this world in a fallen condition in Adam, which no human effort is going to alter prior to the bodily resurrection [sic.] (Misty Irons)

Do the patented, thoroughly biblical answers work? Is it enough to pray? Is it enough to seek God’s face? Is it enough to be caught up in worship? Does this make all the cares, worries, struggles, and fears go away? Does it end your loneliness? You know as well as I do that it ends them for a day or two or less and then you are right back at it again: lusting, drinking, watching; sinning. Tell me, how do we live in victory when we know we are habitual failures? Her solution?

If every straight person were to stop for five minutes and truly consider the extent to which their own heterosexual orientation has permeated every aspect of the way they have been thinking, feeling and relating to the world since the second grade, and then imagine what it would be like to struggle to suppress every aspect of their heterosexuality all day, every day for years on end, no one would be asking homosexuals questions like, “Why can’t you get a grip on your loneliness?” “Can’t you ever get over labeling yourself ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’?” “Why can’t you just turn to God for love?”

Instead more people would be saying, “Tell me what it’s like to be you.” “What can I do to help you make it through today?” “Do you have a free evening to go grab a burger with me?” (Misty Irons)

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Mark Driscoll.

Well, that should be enough fire up this thread. Look, I think the problem is that Mark Driscoll’s church is called Mars Hill. That’s probably it. GBA. (Sex.)

What amuses me about this and this and this is the word ‘demand’ in the first link. Here’s the quote:

Because Driscoll is causing harm, I and Cathy Mickels and Deborah Dombrowski and any other women who would like to join us, are speaking out. I am demanding a response from men like Dr. Erwin Lutzer who has refused to come out against this and who will be speaking with Driscoll at an upcoming conference. You can reach Dr. Lutzer through his assistant named Lori at Moody Church. The number is [removed] or [removed]. Here is a list of speakers who will be further legitimizing instead of rebuking Mr. Driscoll. [My edits & emphasis]

Ladies, ladies, ladies. You ‘demand‘ a response? Seriously. On what grounds? (Hint, you don’t have to go to the ‘conference’.) At what point has Dr Erwin Lutzer suggested that he is accountable to you? Demand?

I’m sorry, I’m choking on the word ‘demand.’ My goodness these ADM’s like to demand. Here’s a demand of my own: I demand that Ken Silva post his picture online for everyone to see and unless he does I will continue to believe he is a fictional character. Demand! Bwwaaahhahahahaha! Demand. (Sex!)

I’m also amused by this quote:

Mark Driscoll should be shunned by decent people everywhere. There are Mormons and certainly Muslims who have more of a sense of decency and propriety in sexual matters than he does. There is a filthiness about this man that evokes a strong desire for a disinfecting bath after watching him. This is not the spirit of Christ. It is the spirit of the age.

So now, as it was pointed out by someone wiser than I: “Anyone else find it hilarious that she looks to Mormons and Muslims to show us the proper way to go, and then says that its the “spirit of the age”.” (Sex) “Shunned”? What are we now, pilgrims? Are we living in Jamestown? Demand! I demand you ladies out there start wearing really long and thick dresses again; and stay quiet at church. (Sex.)

Yes, I do. Demand? (Sex)

**ALERT** With all due respect to the sexually uninformed: If you don’t like Mark Driscoll, and you don’t like the words he uses, here is a very simple exercise for you: Turn it off. Don’t click the link. Close your ears. Turn the channel. I mean, it’s not that difficult. Seriously. It is not that difficult. No one is forcing you to pay attention to Mark Driscoll. (Sex) **END ALERT**

And, concerning the last link, the letter from ‘Derek’, I have a question: Derek, if you think Driscoll is embarrassing the name of Christ because he talks about sex, do you think the author of SOL is doing any better for the name of Christ by continually tearing apart pastors over whom she has absolutely no authority whatsoever? Seriously, ‘Derek’, from the ‘Braidwood Bible Chapel’, can you show me where in the Bible it says that the author of Slice has a right to say what she is saying about pastors whose churches she does not belong to? Can you show me where she has a theological or moral obligation to make demands of anyone?? Did you read the rest of Ephesians 4-5 where it says we are to be kind to one another and forgiving, and compassionate? And what about that crazy part where it says we are to ‘get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, and brawling, and slander, and every form of malice.’ Do the Bibles at Braidwood Bible Chapel have those verses too? (Sex.)

Oooh, oooh, ‘Derek’, don’t forget that one that says this: “…walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant sacrifice to God.” Yes, brother ‘Derek’, those verses are in there too. Do you think that the author of Slice needs another letter from you today? (Sex.)

Time to grow up kids.

PS, I happen also to think that Driscoll’s sex sermons are pathetic and embarrassing. But I do the manly thing: I don’t listen to them.

Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. (Just want to make sure we get picked up by a whole mess of porn sites.)

Here’s a link to a series of 5 sermons hosted by Driscoll at Mars Hill featuring Dr DA Carson. I wonder if perhaps the author of Slice should demand Dr Carson no longer speak at Mars Hill in Seattle? Maybe we should start suspecting Dr Carson too…

***Just having a little fun.****

(sort of: see: He said: Love One Another)

cf., Luke 23:22-24

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Friends,

I am currently engaged in a through-the-bible-in-90-days reading ‘program.’ It is a fast-paced, exhilarating, whirl-wind adventure! This week I finished Leviticus and Numbers and started Deuteronomy. Anyhow, as you know, those books are filled with plenty of sermon stuff and, interestingly enough, one of the topics is that nasty three letter word ’sex.’

Now we have discussed much around here about whether or not sex is an appropriate topic for sermons on Sunday. It’s a good conversation to have. (Ironically, whenever the subject of ’sex’ comes up we always rush to Song of Solomon and never to the book of Numbers or Leviticus, but I digress.) So, since everyone is contributing humor this week, I thought perhaps to add my own bit of humor to the posting with this piece from Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby) that I clipped about 14 years ago.

When I went to City Hall to renew my dog’s license, I told the clerk I wanted a license for Sex. He said, ‘I’d like one, too!’

I said, ‘But this is a dog.’

He said he didn’t care what she looked like. Then I said, you don’t understand. I’ve had Sex since I was 9 years old.’ He winked at me and said, ‘You must have been quite a kid.’

When I got married and went on my honeymoon, I took my dog with me. I told the hotel clerk I wanted a room for my wife and me, and a special room for Sex. He said, ‘You don’t need a special room for Sex. As long as you pay your bill, we don’t care what you do.’

I said, ‘Look, you don’t seem to understand. Sex keeps me awake at night.’

The clerk said, ‘Funny, I have the same problem.’

Well, one day, I entered Sex in a contest, but before the competition began, the dog got loose and ran away. Another contestant asked me why I was just standing there, looking disappointed. I told him I had planned to have Sex in the contest. He said, ‘Wonderful! If you sell tickets, you’ll clean up!’

‘But you don’t understand,’ I said. ‘I want to have Sex on TV.’

He said, ‘They already have that on cable. It’s not big deal anymore.’

Well, my wife and I decided to separate, so we went to court to fight for custody of the dog.

I said to the judge, ‘Your honor, I had Sex before I was married.’ The judge said, ‘The court is not a confessional. Please stick to the facts.’ Then I told him that after I was married, Sex left me. He said, “Me, too.”

Well, last night Sex ran away again, and I spent hours looking all over town for him. A cop came over to me and asked, “What are you doing in this alley at 4 o’clock in the morning?’

I said, “I’m looking for Sex.’

My case comes up on Friday.

Have a good weekend everyone.

HT: Levticus 18

jerry

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KissMark Driscoll has done it now.

For those of you unfamiliar with Mark, he’s the senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, a church which has thrived – despite its unwillingness to alter the beliefs of the church to fit its culture – in a twenty-something, pagan culture in this ultra-liberal city. While I don’t necessarily agree with parts of Driscoll’s theology (**cough** Calvinist **cough**), I have often found his teaching, his energy, his bluntness, his steadfastness and his depth something to be admired.

But now he’s walked off the map, if parts of the Armchair Discernment Media are to be believed. (Granted, they like him from time-to-time when he makes statements about their favorite targets, but those times are few and far between.) One rabid critic of Driscoll is Steve Camp (yeah, the warmed-over Christian musician from the 80’s who jumped the shark on a Christian cruise ship years ago), and Mark has him hopping mad now.

Why?

Because Driscoll has started a series on The Song of Songs. More importantly, Mark decided NOT to teach SoS as allegory, but instead as it has been treated for eons by the Jewish church and by the early Christian church, prior to Origen. Mark decided to teach a series (to a church full of twenty- and thirty-somethings) about the Biblical view of sex and sexuality, and to use the book of the Bible that explicitly addresses this topic as something non-Puritanical.

So, just to get this straight – The same folks who will declare you a heretic if you view the opening poem of Genesis as allegorical or semi-allegorical will also go into fits of apoplexy if you exegete another Biblical book literally instead of allegorically. Then, just to complete the smackdown, they’ll give you a hundred-plus-year-old Victorian exegesis from Chuck Spurgeon. OOOoooohhh, that’ll show him!

In reality, the Song of Songs is a poem, attributed to Solomon, which describes the relationship between a man and a woman. In some ways, the SoS can be treated allegorically, as love between God and Israel and as love between Jesus and the church. However, parts of it cannot really be viewed as allegory. In reality, though, these were used by Jewish families, particularly the newly married, as a way to view their own new relationship (since many were in arranged marriages, and may or may not have known their spouses before marriage).

Historically, Jewish boys were forbidden to read from the SoS until after the age of accountability, age 13, because of some of the imagery there, so I don’t see any problem in Youth Pastors in avoiding this text for lessons. However, with all of the unhealthy views of sex in society today, is this really something that our adult Christians should be ignoring – or allegorizing away?

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Someone known to be wise once wrote:

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.

There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow.

How true. One of the other writers here noted the innate sadness of this particular news story, in which a young college coed has decided to sell her virginity (”legally” through a Nevada brothel) in order to fund her schooling. In reading this, I’m reminded of a story I’ve heard several times:

A man approaches a young woman and asks “If I paid you a million dollars, would you sleep with me?” The woman thinks about it and says “A million dollars? Sure, I suppose so.” The man replies “OK, how about $20?” The woman, indignant, says “What do you think I am?” to which the man replies “We’ve already established your profession, now we’re just haggling on the price.”

In the aforementioned news story, we learn that the woman isn’t just going to go for the highest bidder:

Dylan is a bright, beautiful young woman who’s going to consider a number of factors in her decision because she wants her first time to be a positive experience. “Natalie is a very smart girl. All she wants to do is get her master’s degree in family and marriage counseling and be a psychologist. She’s selling her virginity to accomplish that, [...] She’s smart enough to sell it. This is empowering her.”

So far, hundreds of offers have already come in including some from male virgins. Natalie says she won’t give up her virginity to the highest bidder. She’s also seeking other qualities from her first lover. “I’m looking for intelligence and an overall nice person,” said Dylan.

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Friends,

“Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (Jude 1:22-23).

“My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

I feel the need to break my own self-imposed rule of minimal blogging here at CRN.info designed to give someone else the chance to get a word in edgewise. But everyone seems to be busy today and I just happen to have the majority of my work for the week finished and I don’t think I can let this post by A Little Leaven to go by without a comment or two. With all the noise surrounding the RA/KS scandal it seems perhaps it might do us some good to consider a question of with serious theological and practical implications. For the protection of CRN.info and the writers here, I will say up front that this is a serious inquiry into a post made at A Little Leaven by blogger Chris Rosebrough and in no way an accusation or slanderous statement about his faith, character or person. Here I am interacting solely with the contents of his blog post.

I want to begin by pointing out that I like Chris Rosebrough and that this post is in no way a personal attack (that seems to be a popular word these days) on his person. Here I am interacting only with the contents of the blog post linked above where he is critical of xxx.church and their new ‘Don’t Spank‘ campaign. Furthermore, while most of this blog post is of a serious nature, I have used a mild form of sarcasm in order to illustrate my point and highlight the absurdity of Chris’ commentary on said campaign by xxxchurch.

Chris asks a very important question at his blog, one that should be addressed, concerning this new campaign (it may be old, I don’t know; Chris just posted it yesterday, 25th). He writes: “What exactly does XXXChurch hope to accomplish through this particular campaign (other than offending just about everyone)?” Well, I think I’d like to take a stab at answering this question: Chris, what they hope to accomplish is that people will stop flogging their dolphin, beating their bishop, choking their chicken, spanking their monkey, and/or otherwise sexually abusing themselves while they look at porn, fantasize about porn, or surf the web searching for porn or think of creative ways to sneak porn into their minds. This really doesn’t seem to be a terribly difficult conclusion to come to given the nature of the ministry of xxx.church. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think a great deal of perception is required to understand this. I’m not sure why anyone would be offended by this at all. All they are hoping to accomplish, it seems to me, is to encourage some self-control (a fruit of the Spirit kata Paul) among Christians in particular and perhaps the population at large in general.

Second, Chris puts forth a hypothetical scenario and asks another very important question. He writes: “Let’s pretend that through the magic of this marketing piece that everyone who sees this decides to stop ‘flogging their dolphins’. Does that mean that they’ve become Christians and are now saved?” Well, again, this doesn’t seem to require a great deal of thought. Chris, the answer is no. What it means is that, through the magic of this marketing piece or self-control or the Holy Spirit or accountability to friends, those who listen will have stopped masturbating. I really think that is the whole point here. There doesn’t seem to be anything about this campaign to suggest, to me anyhow, that it is necessarily evangelistic in nature. I don’t see anything on the two-sided stickers that says ‘Jesus’ or ‘Romans Road’ or ‘Visit Paul Washer Online At…’ On the contrary, I have always been under the impression that xxx.church was a ministry designed to hold Christian brothers and sisters accountable to one another on the internet where there has been a proliferation of porn since its inception or to help those who are addicted to porn escape its clutches. I don’t see how anyone could possibly be offended by such a thing, but then again, I am not Chris R now am I? If you read this, Chris, please help me understand why this should be considered offensive.

No Chris you silly man. People don’t ‘automatically’ become Christians because they give up auto-erotic behaviors. They become Christians when loving Christians teach them about Jesus, the Gospel, and about how God will hold them accountable for their lives–you know, when we ‘talk about all the things that really matter most, like life and love and happiness and too the Holy Ghost’ (Bob Herdman)–and when God gets a hold of them and raises them up to new life in Christ (See Ephesians 2:1-10) at their baptism. This is all in the Bible and you can readily access it by turning to just about any page. Now all of this leads me to two very important questions for Chris.

First, I guess, following your logic, that Christians should do nothing to discourage any sin at all. This means, if I am understanding this properly, then Christians ought to give up any and all action against abortion, we ought to give up any and all action against homosexual nuptials, we ought to give up any and all action against serial killing, we ought to give any and all action against rape. We should never work to alleviate poverty and injustice. And so the list could go on and on and on ad infinitum. I mean, following this logic, if we work to prevent an abortion but no one becomes a Christian because of those efforts, then it was rather pointless to work against the abortion in the first place. I suppose we may as well not do anything to eradicate sin and injustice and unrighteousness in the world. We may as well just sit back and be happy that we are saved and hope that somehow God magically does something to save the rest.

Second, and here’s where it gets just a bit risky…but in opposing this new campaign by xxx.church…this new campaign designed to make people think before they, uh, flog or get them to stop flogging altogether…in opposing this campaign or at least mocking it, are you in some way advocating the behavior they wish to stop? Let’s suppose through the magic of this marketing that people do stop ‘flogging’ does this automatically mean they are Christians? No. You are right! But, it might mean there are a few less people looking at and buying porn and the ramifications of that are astronomical.

Now, to be sure, I know you are not advocating the continuation of such practice. What Christian would advocate self-abuse and lusting eyes? I know you don’t and you wouldn’t. So what are you opposed to it for? What exactly will you gain by opposing what the Lord has placed on the hearts of others? What will the pain be for the church if this campaign is a success? Why are you embarrassed that a para-church organization has taken it upon themselves to help people break these bad habits, some would say destructive sinful habits, and lead them to do something more constructive with their hands and eyes?

The problem is that for drive-by readers of your blog your post might be perceived in just such a way. There may be people who think you are advocating flogging behavior since you are opposed to a campaign to stop flogging behavior unless the only readers you have in the first place are those who implicitly agree with you already. Perhaps for just a moment you could step back and see the bigger picture of the cost and sacrifice involved in rescuing people from the sin that has so gripped their lives. In other words, let’s see if there is a way we can discuss the issue and bring or offer some grace and mercy to those who suffer the shame of such activity instead of so quickly dismissing it is as ‘offensive’.

If you have ever been saved because Chris Rosebrough posted a warning about xxx.church at his blog, please email us.

sincerely,

jerry

**UPDATE**

Turns out xxxchurch is wasting their time after all and that bro. Rosebrough was right to call them out. Link.

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Seems that the bi-monthly topic of homosexuality has come up again. Interestingly, last week’s sermon topic at my own church was specifically on this topic, with an approach likely to tick off both extremes of the spectrum on the issue.

You can listen here (sorry for the streaming link – I don’t have a downloadable one, though you can get it through iTunes here).

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