Posts Tagged ‘Women’

Genesis and Antis

February 3, 2015

Is the Christian worldview a discouraging one? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, I was at our local Reasonable Faith meeting where we are getting ready to do a study through Genesis. In the midst of our discussion on it, I started pointing out that Genesis if we understand it in the way I believe that we ought, it really does dispel many of the myths that we have today. Some could argue that the Bible later on upholds these myths, but I’d like to go to the world when it was not fallen and see what we have. We’ll do this by looking at the claims of how Christianity is opposed to something good.

Christianity is anti-human.

Some of you might have seen this meme.

whichisdamaging

Yes. So is this what Christianity really says? Let’s look at Genesis 1:26-27.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Now in the account, everything else has been made and the final aspect is humanity. Only humanity is said to be in the image of God and only humanity involves dialogue in the divine council. The creation of humanity is described in poetic terms as well. If we go with John Walton’s idea from the Lost World of Genesis One, humanity is there in order to be God’s representative and to have dominion. We are to rule on His behalf. True, we are fallen later on, but we still are meant to be what we were in the garden, and even better.

But that ruling over the creation? That could lead to another charge.

Christianity is anti-environment!

I oppose the New Age movement naturally and think they can go too far with environmentalism, but many of us don’t go far enough. Christians sadly do have a reputation of wanting to destroy the environment. A lot of this has to do with some ideas that can be around that this world is not our home and we’re just passing through so why be so focused on it? God’s going to destroy this world anyway.

This is not a view I hold. I prefer the old hymn “This is my Father’s world.”

The Genesis account says in 1:28.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number;fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

We are told to rule, but we also know in Genesis 2 man is placed in a garden and given the task of controlling it and caring for it. Still, man is to recognize his place in the environment. He is not just one of the animals. Whether we came from the animals would be for the scientists to answer. The point is that we are unique in our capacities and our nature and if we hold to Christianity, we hold a special place. If you want to find a good Christian group to help you care for creation, I recommend the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

So what’s next?

Christianity is misogynistic! 

When we get to the second chapter of Genesis, we read this:

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

 Keep in mind that in the first chapter, the man and woman are both equally in the image of God. While we know that they are distinct, there is no ranking there as if one is superior to the other. A lot of people make the mistake that saying because men and women are different, that that means one is inferior to the other and the other is naturally superior. This does not follow.

“But woman is described as a helper!”

Yes. The same term is used to describe God Himself in relation to man. The woman is a helper and in fact, she is just the very helper that Adam needs. Also, the language of describing creation means that it is not just good, but it is beautiful. The woman is the last one created and as such, I interpret her to be the jewel of creation and the best representative of the beauty of God on Earth.

As we men definitely know, nothing beats the beauty of the woman. You can go to the Zoo and see several animals. You can find beautiful mountain ranges. You can find waterfalls that will hold you captive. You can watch a sunset going down in the evening. In all of this, you will not find anything that is more beautiful than the human female form. As I have told my own wife, “You are the most beautiful thing my eyes can see until I see Jesus one day.”

Woman is to be celebrated and any man who is dating or married should be treating his woman as a princess. She is to be honored. But talking about the woman leads to the next step.

Christianity is anti-sex!

Really? Seriously?

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

I know several married men. I do not know any that are anti-sex. I have heard men give sermons on sex before. They want to make it very clear they are not opposed to it and it is always hysterical when they do. They are so emphatic that the congregation definitely gets the message. Of course, we place sex within one context, that of a man and a woman united in marriage, but that is because we are pro-sex, not anti.

A man and a woman’s body are not to be viewed as cheap. They are not shared with just anyone. They are shared with people who are worthy. Putting sex in one environment is the way of honoring it by saying that you have to make a real commitment to be ready to handle it. Sex is like nuclear energy. If you use it properly and with the right procedures, you get a great result. If you misuse it, you can get Chernobyl.

So let’s lead that into the final one.

Christianity is anti-pleasure.

With all of these, we should know Christianity is not opposed to pleasure. We are opposed to some things deemed as pleasures and we are opposed to pleasure that can be good but not in the proper place, but God made us to enjoy what we do. Look at it this way. As OT scholar David Lamb has said, in the creation account, the commands given to man were simple. Eat a lot of food. Have a lot of sex. All he had to do was tend the garden and he would be cared for and there was only one tree he could not eat of.

Christianity is not a religion meant to kill one’s joy and frankly, we need to hear more about that. Sometimes we hear so much about the work that we have to do that we hear nothing about the pleasure we were meant for. When was the last time you heard a sermon about play for instance? Even a great theologian like Thomas Aquinas said play is essential so that we can recharge our minds.

In all of this, we must realize that if we have these ideas that Christianity is opposed to these things, we have a false idea. Unfortunately, we might need to watch ourselves to see if we are in fact giving out that viewpoint. Too many times, we’ve done things that fit with this stereotype. If we’re Christians, let’s seek to be living in a way where we are embracing the good things in this life, remembering another passage. This time from James 1:17.

 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

This Is A Man’s World

November 18, 2014

What goes on in the life of men? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I’m a member of a number of groups on Facebook. One is the Christian Apologetics Alliance whose main web page can be found here. The other group is a group I will not link to, but it is one for Christian men who are married, engaged, dating, or just really hoping to be married someday so we can learn how to love our wives as Christ loved the church.

I think my writing here is important for both groups. For the apologetics aspect, part of good argumentation is not just believing right, but living right, though that living starts with right beliefs, and it certainly can be difficult in our day and age to live right in this world, particularly in a period of great sexual license.

As blog readers know, I am writing this from a perspective of a Christian man, though it could just as well apply to anyone who happens to think ideas included in the Christian ethic, such as sexual fidelity within marriage and reserving sex for marriage, are good ideas worthy to be upheld. My method of handling this could be different from yours, but we agree on the idea.

What I will be describing is what it’s like for a man in this world. Some female readers could say “That’s the male side, but you have no idea what a female side is like and how temptation is for us!” That’s true. That’s why I’m not covering that side, although I would say I think I have a good idea on how the world views women and unfortunately, women can often allow themselves to be treated that way.

At the start, it’s no secret that men think about sex and think about it a lot. Does that mean we’re always actively focused on it? No. But it is always on the backburner. It is always looming there in the shadows and most anything can bring it out again immediately. Many women don’t really have a problem with doing something to attract a man or turn a man on. It’s usually pretty simple.

And that puts men in a tough situation.

In our world, there are women all around us who are wanting to do just that. Not only that, there are women who are not wanting to do that, but inevitably do so, and that’s not even just women who dress in a way that’s necessarily drawing. It could be that they just possess enough natural beauty on their own.

One illustration I’ve told men about what it is like in our world is a time that I was walking in a mall by myself. Heading towards me on my left was a female. I don’t mean she was heading towards me as in directly aiming at me, but was going my way. In order to avoid any temptation, I decided I’d to the look away that most men know about. I’ll just look to my right instead.

Which happened to be where Victoria’s Secret was….

And that’s the kind of situation a man can find himself in.

In a man’s world, when a man sees a woman, it’s quite difficult to not notice immediately that she’s a woman. We do have to work on making sure our thoughts do not wander where they shouldn’t. It is the natural male tendency I think sadly to objectify women in some way and treat them as just bodies. That’s part of the nature of the flesh and something we have to work on, and that’s something also that marriage helps you work on when done right.

It can be even more difficult especially in the way women are used in advertising. Sex sells. Many women know it and advertisers know it.

To go back to being at the mall, I was there again last Sunday. I’m looking at various tables that have been set up in an open area and there is one I pass for a spa. Perhaps I can look into something that my Mrs. might really appreciate. I think my wife is a beautiful woman, but hey, we guys all know that a lady loves to get something like a makeover.

Instead, I find a picture of a girl lying in an alluring pose and wearing a top that was leaving very very little to imagination.

You know what? We men who wish to be faithful to our wives? We hate to see something like that. We really do. We want our minds to be in only one place, but in our culture, we are constantly presented with challenges. Again, I am not denying women can face similar challenges, but this is a perspective from men.

Marriage really helps a man out in this area who is someone who burns. Still, there can also be other temptations. I tell men who are single that once you get married and you go on your honeymoon with your wife, everything changes. You never look at anything else the same way again. The way you think and align your priorities will change drastically. If you’re a man reading this and you’re single and waiting for marriage, don’t say you understand. You don’t.

Oh there are several nice things you can do before you marry. which I see as steps 1-8 on the twelve steps of intimacy. My wife and I did kiss on our first date. In fact, since I was visiting her at her parents house, we have a funny story that we were in the living room on the couch watching Beauty and the Beast. This room was adjacent to the kitchen. Her parents and her brother’s bedroom was upstairs.

We have been told that her brother was wanting to come down and go into the kitchen and get a snack. Her parents told her “Nick and Allie are downstairs on the couch and they’re cuddling. You might not want to go down there.” Of course, we weren’t doing anything immoral. Had we been, her parents would have been taking care of the problem. We can say we never saw her brother come down the whole night.

When we drove together, I would drive with one hand and hold her hand with the other. We would walk arm in arm wherever we went. If we pulled up to a red light, it was a good chance to kiss each other some more before the light turned green. In fact, I can safely say it was a time in my life when I was very thankful for red lights and bad traffic.

I encourage young men to enjoy that when they can before marriage instead of having the idea of the first kiss at the altar. We are physical creatures and we should not deny the physical entirely. Besides, I think that can be a difficult switch especially for the women to make. Just save steps 9 through 12 for the wedding.

You see, as good as all those physical pleasures are, and they certainly are, nothing beats what comes on the wedding night and that changes everything. Some women can think that a man could have a hard time adjusting and going from this not being allowed to this suddenly being allowed.

I really don’t think that’s a problem for men.

But also, this opens us up for temptation. Again, it’s not the fault of our wives! It’s the fault of our sinful nature! Once you have this great experience, a man can be tempted to wonder what else he’s missing elsewhere. Women can be the great unknown for us and the sexual union with the woman is in many ways, the ultimate validation of our masculinity for us. Women. There is no louder way for you to tell your man that he is your man than this.

And this sadly is why pornography is such a draw for men.

Again, I know there are women who struggle with pornography, but I’m talking about the men. For the man, pornography can give the feeling of being a man without the work of being a man. You don’t have to work to approach a real woman and learn how to romance and love her and sacrifice for her. Nope. You have a woman who is willing to give you everything and demand no effort on your part other than just showing up.

And yes, many a man will do that just for the sensation of masculinity that he gets. How deep does the desire for sex run with a man? For a humorous look, consider this clip from Steve Harvey’s edition of the Family Feud. Something to consider. Every woman who is asked gets it wrong! Every time a man is asked without coaching from the women, he gets it right.

When the women are asked, they say what they would like to see the man do such as cook and clean. When the men are asked, they say to the extent of what this means to them. Now do I mean to say a loving husband will go out and kill a man just to get sex? No. What I mean is that a man will use such strong language because the desire is that strong.

And women, please realize this. Your man most often desperately wants to be the man for you. He wants to get to adore you and he wants to be yours exclusively. It is hard in a man’s world where many a woman can be locked into the visual memory banks forever.

But to get back to the men, I suspect one reason many struggle with pornography who are married can also be a lack of being grateful. I have been thinking about this more and more lately. (Not because I struggle with internet porn. I don’t.) I think it’s a privilege I have that I get to kiss my wife. I get to drive everywhere I go with her. I get to sleep in the same bed with her every night. Throughout the day, I can pull her close and just hold her. I can run my fingers through her hair. I can do so much. Note I haven’t even included sex yet! All of these things are things I am immensely grateful for!

And these are things to give thanks for in themselves. Yet when it comes to sexuality, that is something incredible to give thanks for. If your wife is faithful, she is sharing something that she shares only with you. She is doing something for you that she doesn’t do for anyone else. You also get the privilege of getting to love her in a way no one else does. She loves you in a way that no one else does.

Give thanks. Follow Proverbs 5. Draw water from your own well. Why be enchanted by another? God gave you a good gift. Enjoy it and celebrate it.

For the women, please understand how important this is. Now some of you might think “Well I can show a bit more affection to him when he starts helping me around the house.”

You know, he should do his part to help you. That’s absolutely right.

But to make a statement like that is really selfish. Marriage is about giving 100% of yourself to the other and there’s no clause in Scripture that says “You are exempted from this if your spouse does not give 100%.” In fact, I would challenge you in this. If you are willing to give to your husband and let him know he’s your man, then when you say “Sweetie. Could you please vacuum for me today?”, he’ll be running to get the vacuum.

Also, sometimes, some women, and even some men, can struggle in this area due to past situations. (Yes. There are men who struggle) Please do get counseling. Your husband will thank you for it if you do.

So have I been too hard on the women with that statement about being selfish?

Then let’s turn it on the men.

Some of you might say “I’d help out around the house if she’d show me a bit more affection!”

You’re being just as selfish.

In fact, your position could be even worse. You’re meant to lead your household biblically. Start being a leader. Part of that is being loving and giving. After all, your role model is Christ. Do you think Christ stops showing love to His church even when His church isn’t loving Him back? He doesn’t. Then you have no excuse. You are to go and do what you can to help your wife out and by the way, when you start doing this, you might find she’s also more willing to open up. Even if she isn’t, you are required to give 100% and you have no exemption clause.

But women, if this role is met in a man’s life, you can be guaranteed you will have a happy happy hubby.

But men, regardless of what happens, it is up to you to manage your thought life. There is no justification for pornography. None. Some of you can think it might spice up your marriage. It won’t. The best way to increase your love for your wife is to do just that. Love her. No other woman belongs in your bedroom, not even a virtual one. Make it your aim that all your dreams and fantasies and such are about your wife.

If you stray men, you can say others contributed perhaps to what you went through, but the ultimate blame comes with you. Sure. That other woman shouldn’t have tempted you to have an affair, but it is your fault if you are the one who does it. You do not accidentally have an affair. It is a decision on your part to break the vows that you made to your wife. If you are watching pornography, you are having a virtual affair. You need to repent and make it right. If that includes getting a filter on your computer such as one from XXXChurch, then do it. If that means counseling, do it. After your relationship with God, your marriage is the most important relationship you have.

Life in a man’s world is not easy. Again, I am not commenting on it in a woman’s world. I can’t speak to that. I am just saying what it is like for the men, at least from my perspective.

But life like this is livable and faithfulness is possible. It will start with faithfulness to Christ. Be faithful to Him, and you will be faithful to your wife as well. That I think applies to women as well. If you are being faithful to Christ, you will be faithful to your husband. Also, if any of you are unfaithful to the other, you are not being faithful to Christ.

Please take that seriously and remember, I am one often convicting myself trying to remind myself how serious I need to take matters too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 3

July 22, 2014

Is the church demeaning and subjugating women? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

We have part 3 from Allie here. Tomorrow I do plan on a book review and then Thursday will be something different. For now, here’s Allie:

We are moving into a third part of the series from the article: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0 Our next section is: 3. Demeaning and subjugating women is evil. Like the second part of the series, this should be pretty short as well. I’ll go ahead and copy what they said first:

“When it comes to dignity and equality for women, instead of acting as moral torchbearers, Bible believers have been at the back of the pack for generations, along with conservative factions from other Abrahamic traditions ranging from Islam to Mormonism. The American Quiverfull movement, “ complementarianism,” the expulsion of Southern Baptist women who were making inroads into the clergy, the Mormon Patriarchy’s threats to excommunicate women who seek equality, the Vatican’s decision to crush nuns who thought poverty was a bigger problem than abortion . . . Need I say more?”

First of all, one of the sources they used (for the explusion of Southern Baptist women) was an Atheist website. If you are going to to complain about something about a religion or a politician or anything for that matter, don’t use a source that agrees with you, use the source that it actually comes from! If you’re going to complain about the Southern Baptists, use a source directly coming from the Southern Baptists. If you’re going to complain about Islam, use a source that directly comes from Muslims. If you’re going to complain about the Bible, use the Bible as a source. This irritates me to no end. But, I will let this slide because I will assume this person doesn’t properly know how to do their research. Of course, if you’re defending a position, it’s fine. For an example, in the first part when the author of the article was accusing the Bible to support child sacrifices, I used the Bible itself as a source to show that it in fact did not support child sacrifices. This is fine, but it’s also good when defending your case to use sources that support your case that may not believe the same things you do. For an example, if you are arguing whether or not Jesus actually existed, there are many people who aren’t Christians who believe Jesus did in fact exist. They may not believe he was a holy deity, but they believe he was in fact a man who was a good teacher who was crucified and did actually exist. Anyway, let’s move on from there.
So the first thing they bring up is the term “Quiverfull.” I’m pretty young and honestly not too bright, so I was like, “What in the world is Quiverfull?” Luckily, they were kind enough to provide a link to it! Basically, they don’t believe in any kind of artificial insemination, birth control, etc. Everything is natural and they have as many babies as God gives them. Their view is basically, “As arrows in the hand of the mighty man, so are the children of ones youth, happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them.”(Psalm 127:4) I guess that’s where you get the term “Quiverfull.” So, here’s my question to the author and to you, why does it matter? If they don’t want to use birth control, what difference does it make to you? If they want to have a lot of kids, what difference does that make to you? People who are for same-sex marriage say, “Why do you not want people to get married to the same gender? It’s not going to bother you!” That discussion is for another time, but I bring that up because you say something like that won’t affect us. Well, a family who chooses to not use birth control and do everything naturally and have however many kids God gives them won’t affect you either! As long as they can provide for the children and are not foolish to take on more than they should. But even then, God will help even the most foolish of people and he won’t abandon his children.
The next point they bring up is “Complementarians.” Basically, the belief that men play a more dominent role in the church than women. I know for some women this could be a little bit of a touchy subject, and I understand why too. It used to bother me how so many men were in ministry and it seemed like few women were in ministry; and if women were in ministry, it seemed like they were only in ministry because their husbands were in ministry. Even when I would read my Bible, it would upset me sometimes that it was always men preaching. All the famous prophets – men. The apostles – men. There were a few famous women in the Bible, but they weren’t famous like the men except for maybe Jesus’ mother, Mary. Most women in the Bible to me seemed more like they were in the background, and in my life I always felt like I was in the background. As someone with high anxiety problems, I didn’t mind being in the background, but at the same time, I wanted to do more than just be in the background: I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives! I wanted to show people the love and mercy Christ has for everyone, as he has shown me! So I really do understand where women come from when they want to make a difference in people’s lives for God’s kingdom. Men and women’s roles are different. But women can be involved in ministry. Like a couple, a man and a woman have to work together. The man is head of the family, but at the same time, they both submit to each other. I think in a way it’s the same way in a church. A man is the head of the church, but men aren’t the only ones in ministry, they need women to help in ministry too! They help each other out! Women can be in charge of children’s ministry for example! God gave us women a more nurturing spirit than men tend to have, and children really need that! Women’s ministry! It’d be pretty awkward for a man to lead a women’s ministry. I can just imagine my husband (we both have Asperger’s Syndrome) who’s a minister, if he had to lead a women’s ministry. All the drama us women have to face daily, men cannot handle that kind of drama! I’m sorry but men are not going to understand your periods or your menopause! He just knows that time of the month you get really cranky and he knows he’s going to be in the tenth circle of hell for a few days. Only another woman is going to understand the drama other women face. There are so many other ministries women can do: music ministry, missionary work, counceling, and so much more! You can’t just have one pastor do all the work! You need a team! Who’s going to help with the children? Who’s going to help with the youth? Who’s going to help with the music? Who’s going to help with getting the church setup? Who’s going to help with organizing the funds? Who’s going to organize the events? So much more goes into a church that one person can’t do all the work!
The author brings up the excommunication of women wanting to join the all-male priesthood of the LDS temple. As sad as it is for them to be excommunicated, the temple is still an all-male priesthood. I don’t agree with the LDS church, but if they don’t believe women should be priests for moral reasons, why should they be forced to allow women to be priests? As an Atheist (author of the article I’m responding to), how does this affect you? Isn’t it your personal mission to bring others to Atheism? To bring people to what you believe is “Reason?”
The last thing the author brings up for this part is how the Vatican is “destroying” nuns who are saying the issue of poverty is more important than other issues such as homosexuality and abortion. These are all important issues for sure. Abortion is a type of child sacrificing. Homosexuality is a type of sexual sin. We (The Church) are also commanded to take care of the poor! But we have dropped the ball and instead the government is taking over that job and I’ve gotta tell you, they do a really bad job at it. You know why they do a really bad job at it? Because it’s originally supposed to be our job! We are not perfect. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect! Name any commandment in the Bible and I’ve broken it more than a million times! The Apostle Paul calls himself the “worst of sinners” and I completely relate to him with that; I often call myself the same thing! But, poverty is not the most important issue either. It’s very important, but it’s not the most important issue. Homosexuality is not the most important issue. It’s very important, but it’s not the most important issue. I’ll even go as far as to say abortion is not the most important issue. It’s very important, but not the most important issue. We get so passionate about all these political issues going on around us, even I get really passionate about some of them. But they are not the most important. They are important, but not the most important. Here’s the most important issue, are you ready? Jesus Christ is Lord and there are people who either don’t know this or refuse it. There are people who are alone and suffering in the world who think nobody cares about them and are literally killing themselves because they have no hope. People are screaming out for help and us Christians are sitting on our butts in front of the computer or the tv all day complaining about Obama or complaining if our favorite tv stars get kicked off a show. People are going to the pits of Hell because we’re sitting here waiting for Jesus to come back! Get off your butts and go out there and do something! Bring people to the truth! Set people free with the truth of Christ’s freedom and redemption! If people reject you, remember they rejected Christ first and dust the dirt off your feet and go somewhere else where they will listen to you! We are dropping the ball! Get up and do something! Turn the tv off, get off the computer or smart phone! Change a person’s life by allowing Christ to use you!
The next part will be: 4. Obstructing humanity’s transition to more thoughtful, intentional childbearing is evil.

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 2

July 21, 2014

What else does my wife have to say about the claims of right-wing Christians? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

For today, I am going to continue the series that my own wife has written. Enjoy:

I am continuing with debunking the arguments from the article from this page: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0 This is a pretty short section, so I’ll just go ahead a post what they said:

“The U.S. government just spent a decade and a billion dollars on failed abstinence-only education programs concocted by Bible believers who live in some delusional world where prohibition works and virginity is next to godliness. Thanks to their influence, straight-faced educators tell teens that a girl who has had sex is a licked lollipop. Instead of medically accurate information and thoughtful conversation about intimacy and childbearing, teens get promise rings and slut shame. The result? Here in the U.S., more than one in four girls gets pregnant before she turns 20, often with heartbreaking multigenerational consequences for women, children and whole communities. More than half of girls who give birth during high school drop out, permanently. Only two percent ever graduate college.”

In high school, I actually did a project once where my partner and I did a sort of debate on whether teaching “safe sex” was a better choice than teacher abstinence. I defended the side of abstinence, but I did do research on the side of “safe sex as well. If you want to see the video (it’s an old video) here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr6aZF7R3ts The reason I put quotations around “safe sex” is because to me, there is no such thing as safe sex. Even if you use contraceptives, it doesn’t always prevent unwanted pregnancies, nor does it prevent STD’s. You also deal with the emotional pain of when you break up. Sex is truly something sacred. Today we treat it so casually. We treat it as if it were the same thing as a hug or a kiss – like it were as casual as a greeting. If it’s something so casual, why do we want it so much? I’ve heard sitcoms say things like “We’ll just have meaningless sex!” We’ll laugh about it but we treat it like it is meaningless, and if it’s so meaningless, why do we want it so much? Why is the sex industry one of the top money making industries in the world? Sex is important. Now, why should we wait until we’re married? Don’t we deal with some of the same issues? People get divorced, so you still deal with the heartache of a break-up. You can still get unwanted pregnancies. It’s still possible to get some STD’s. After all, some STD’s you can get just by touching another person’s skin! I’m sure you took health class, the most common ways to get an STD are unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, and sexual activity at a young age. But if you can have these problems even if you wait until you get married, why wait? What’s the point when you can just go out and have fun now? Honestly, as much as I wanted to wait, sometimes I asked myself the same question. There were many times I came close to losing my virginity before getting married to multiple guys, and when I think back, I’m so glad I didn’t – they all turned out to be real losers! It was really hard to wait, really, I know. I made some mistakes I still regret to this day. But then when I got married, I was so glad I waited until the wedding night because I got to share that moment with the man who truly did love me and I knew he wasn’t going to leave me no matter my flaws were. It didn’t matter how heavy I was. It didn’t matter how many rolls I had or my zits or scars (physically and emotionally), it didn’t matter about my past, he was going to stick with me and still love me. Sex is sacred. God created sex to be sacred. He created it to be enjoyed, but he also created it to be very special. Read the book in the Bible “Song of Songs,” also known as “Song of Solomon.” It’s got some pretty raunchy stuff in there! It’s the king at the time, Solomon, and his lover. But, it’s also a metaphor. See, Jesus describes himself as a bridegroom, and we are his bride. He loves us so passionately and so deeply, that while sex connects a man and a woman, it also represents how we are connected with Christ. We are supposed to love our spouses as Christ loves the Church! Sex is sacred, and when we use it for any other use, it loses its sacredness. It becomes trash. It becomes an idol. Sex is meant to please the other person, not necessarily ourselves. We are to please the other person and the other person is to please us. It’s an act of giving. But we use sex as a means of getting what we want often. That’s why we look at pornography. That’s why children are sold as sex slaves. That’s why there’s prostitution. Because we are looking for our own benefits instead of the other persons. You’re only looking for receiving pleasure. Or if you’re producing/selling the product, your only interest is making money off it. You don’t care who it hurts. It’s what you get out of it. So many marriages end today because a spouse gets involved with pornography. The article talks about high percentages of teen pregnancies and an even higher percentage of them dropping out of school. If they knew how sacred sex was and that it’s worth saving until marriage, there would be less teen pregnancies. If they were encouraged to wait, they would wait. The article talks about heartbreaking consequences for teeage girls who get pregnant. There are consequences for every action we make. Some are good, some are bad. That’s how life is. Teenagers are not ready to deal with pregnancies. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but there’s no way as a teenager I would’ve ever been ready to be a mother! Teenagers are too dramatic, too emotional, and too lazy. Now some teenagers do actually work hard, but even they are not ready to be parents. How can they be ready for parenthood if they haven’t even reached adulthood yet? Of course there’s always the option of putting the baby up for adoption. But even that is difficult. I’ve heard many stories of even teenagers regretting putting their babies up for adoption. I know if I ever had a baby, I couldn’t put it up for adoption. I would NEVER recommend abortions! In the last note I discussed the issue on child sacrifices. The article accuses the Bible of promoting child sacrifices (which if you read my previous note, it doesn’t), but if anything promotes child sacrifices it’s today with abortions! We get abortions because of convenience. “We don’t want a baby” or “We’re not ready for a baby” or “We have enough kids, we don’t want another one!” It’s all convenience. People yell “Women’s Rights! It’s the woman’s right to her body!” Doesn’t the baby have any rights to their body? You are sacrificing an infant to the god of convenience! We are having more child sacrifices than any other time in history! It’s sickening! The Bible records child sacrifices that went on, but God never wanted it to happen! But I’ve already talked on that subject. Anyway, I hope this has been helpful. The next note will be on:

3. Demeaning and subjugating women is evil.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 2/22/2014: Lynn Cohick

February 21, 2014

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

We live in an age where equality is praised as a good. Today one idea that we try to value equality in is men and women. Of course, we know they’re not identical, but women are allowed to vote, to own property, to have jobs, to drive, etc. Yet if women are privileged to have such rights in our society, where did they come from?

I would contend that if we want to see the one who most helped us break down many of the barriers between male and female, we start with Jesus and how he revolutionized the world, including in his treatment of women in the society that he lived in. To discuss this, who better to bring in than a female scholar?

That’s why my guest will be Lynn Cohick out of Wheaton. Cohick is the professor of NT there and she is a highly accomplished author with numerous books and articles to her name. We’re going to be talking about the role of women in the NT and if there’s anyone who is equipped to handle it, it’s her.

Cohick has been in several peer-reviewed journals and is a member of a number of professional organizations with regards to her writing. She has writings not only on women, but on the patristics in church history and on Paul.

Cohick graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Bible and Religion from Messiah College in Grantham, PA. She went on to get her PH.D. in New Testament and Christian Origins at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

What was life like for a woman in the Greco-Roman world where Jesus lived? If you were a pagan, what could you expect being part of such a world as a woman? What rights would you have and how would you be treated?

On the other hand, if that wasn’t so good, how would it be if you were a Jew. Did Jews have a high view of women or not? We can already suspect that many did not such as by the fact that a woman’s testimony was not worth much and yet women were the first ones to witness the resurrected Jesus and the empty tomb.

So how did Jesus actually come to change the way that we view women and get us to the point in our society where women have reached the place that they are at? What about Paul? Did Paul have a view that was anti-woman or did he have a view that really lifted up women beyond where they had been before? What about problem passages in the Pauline epistles? Was Paul a misogynist or not?

These are all important questions and I will be discussing them with my guest this weekend. I hope that you will join me as we welcome Lynn Cohick to the Deeper Waters podcast. The show will air this Saturday from 3-5 PM EST. The call-in number with your questions is 714-242-5180. The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sexual Ethics Foundation: Women

August 28, 2013

Does a woman truly view sexuality different from a man? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Obviously, this account will not be a firsthand perspective.

I have made it a point to try to understand how women think. I have done this largely due to several years of seeing guys with their girlfriends at various places, such as when I worked at an arcade, and noticing mistakes in relationships. I have made it a point to learn from other marriages around me and to really listen. Some women who have been married and are married are some of my closest friends and we’ve had numerous conversations about their own thought lives and my approach and treatment of women.

I also will say that while I hope I do a good job, I am in no way a master of this. I am seeking to learn more and more how to respond better to the opposite sex, most importantly my own Allie, who I seek to love so she can be the best she can be. I take the statement “As Christ loved the Church” very seriously.

If I am wrong in any of this, I do welcome correction from women. I am sure that I will not have everything down perfectly, but I hope I get a general idea and that it will also help my fellow men know the better way that we can approach women.

I wrote yesterday that generally a man can consider sex an end in itself. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t see other benefits. He can enjoy the acceptance, affirmation, intimacy, etc. as well as the great physical pleasures, but for him the physical pleasure can be one of the greatest drives.

Of course, a woman is designed to enjoy sexuality. This is in fact why women have a clitoris. It is the way that they can enjoy the physical sensations of sexuality. Yet the woman’s appetite is not normally as strong as the man’s. I happen to like the statement I’ve seen of a marriage counselor in a video saying (paraphrased)”Some of you men are married to women who love sex. They can’t get enough of it. They want it constantly. I think I speak on behalf of all men here when I say ‘We hate you’.”

In today’s society, a woman often feels a lot of pressure to look and be her best. Now to be fair, there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to have a good appearance. She should want that. There’s something wrong with a woman putting all her identity in her appearance. I think the Dove commercial with the artist doing a sketch of women and then having a neutral observer describe the same woman is quite revealing in this regard.

A woman just as much as a man seeks to be affirmed in her beauty. If I was asked what the chief marker of a woman is, it is beauty. Everything about her is to radiate beauty from her inner character to her outward appearance. It is the focus on the outward alone that really damages women. God created women to be the representation of his beauty on Earth. The union of strength in men and beauty in women will be strong and beautiful both.

What a woman seeks to know in sexuality is if she’s beautiful or not. She wants to feel the security and acceptance of someone else. It’s not the physical sensation so much as it is the relational connection. She wants to know that she is in right relationship with a man.

Naturally, we men who aren’t as relationship oriented as women are have a hard time understanding that.

This is also why a woman can take longer to be in the mood for sex. A woman needs to fill love and have that love brimming up inside of her until she can’t take it and has to fully express it. This is also why some women have to work to do things to get set to be in the mood if they want to please their husbands that evening. I know of one woman, for instance, who on the days she planned on romancing her husband wrote T.S. on the calendar for “Think Sex.”

Note to men then. Because she is not as ready to leap at the possibility of sex as you are, it does not mean she does not love you or does not care about you. It just means that she’s wired differently and it could be that you have to try harder. Note that she wants to know you truly care about her and are interested in her and not that she’s just an object for your sexual pleasure.

Today, many women give sex in order to get love. It is the idea that if they sleep with the man, he will come to love them. He could. He might not. My thinking is such women are already treating themselves as object saying that the only way they can be loved is sexually. If they are not desired sexually, then they are not lovable and they need to know they are desired sexually.

In fact, if a man is just interested in pleasure, then he could be with you just because he sees you as easy pleasure. You want to know a man who truly cares about you? Look at the man who is willing to put everything on hold for you, who is willing to walk down that aisle with you, and who then says “Only after I have made that covenant with you will I enjoy the fruit of the garden.”

This is not to say that this happens with every couple that doesn’t wait. Some can be very loving and no doubt are. Do I still think it’s a mistake to not wait. Definitely, and I will be writing more on that later. It also doesn’t mean that even Christian couples who make a mistake are doomed to an unloving marriage. They’re not. What it does mean is that I’m convinced you’re putting up a barrier for your future.

For women, sex begins at breakfast. What does that mean? It means a man cannot do nothing all day, come home, have his wife bring him dinner while he sits and watches TV, and then give her a wink as he prepares to go to the bedroom thinking that she’ll be all gung-ho to be with him.

A man who wants a romantic evening had better be living a romantic lifestyle.

This is also why I recommend a couple getting set for marriage or already married go through a book like “The Five Love Languages.” By knowing your spouse’s love language, you can better know how to speak to them which will lead to more sex. More sex leads to more intimacy and more love. It then becomes a beautiful spiral that grows and grows.

My love languages for instance are words of affirmation and physical touch. Allie’s are gifts. One of the benefits of the book and learning it is that you realize you have to speak another language. If I get Allie a gift, it speaks far more than a word of affirmation or physical touch would. Note that this does not mean I have to buy a gift. Allie has been quite happy with me drawing a picture for her. (She studies art with a teacher on Wednesday nights, but the teacher has me learning some too. Allie thinks I have a natural talent.) On the other hand, Allie can get me great gifts and I really appreciate them, but speaking my languages is what really speaks to me. Thus, if I’m at the store, I can see if I can find something, even a small thing, I can get Allie. If we’re driving together, Allie knows she can reach over and put her hand on my leg and I immediately feel the love.

So women, I hope that I have done so far a noble attempt to try to understand where you are coming from in discussing this issue and I hope I have set a point for women who are not yet married, a point I wish to expound on later on. Please remember as much as you want to be understood, and that is a good thing, your man will also want the same thing. I honestly encourage couples to have real candid talks on sexuality and what each of them expects from the other. For couples about to get married (Advice to you is coming later), I suggest that in pre-marital counseling, you talk about this together. If you’re not married, don’t talk about it in person. Talk can too easily lead to action.

And men, keep this in mind with your women. If you want to enjoy a healthy harvest, you have to cultivate your garden very well. If you want sex, and we all do, then that means you have to treat your women well. I have often said that biblically, I think a man should lead. A man is the king of his castle. If that is the case, then that means the woman gets treated like a queen. She is not a servant.

Protect her. Cherish her. Let her know that she’s loved every single day. Set aside time for her regularly. Realize when you’re married that this woman has done something incredible. She has said she loves you enough that she wants to spend the rest of her life with you. She’s willing to put up with all of your obnoxious behavior. (This goes for me as well. I’m sure there are times Allie sees some of my crazy behavior and thinks to herself “What in the world did I get myself into?”)

The reality is both the man and woman have to learn from one another. There are times I have some insomnia and to calm my mind down, I read Philippians. I’d like my readers to consider the first four verses of chapter 2.

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

In reading this last time I thought “This is the way all marriages should be.” Indeed it is. Imagine if we all in marriage strove to be of one mind, to do nothing for ourselves, to seek the interest of the other person, etc. Imagine if our marriages could indeed be a little example of the relationship of Christ and the church. (And wouldn’t you know it, Paul has that same idea in Ephesians 5)

Men need to realize that women are a treasure. We men should all be thankful we found someone who loves us. Women can realize the same thing. They’ve found someone who loves them and that is something indeed worth celebrating. By seeking to build up one another, you can make things better and better. It could be that in fact the more you love one another, your spouse will also do those loving things so you’ll get your own needs met. Suppose they don’t? Oh well. You’re still doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

Well that’s our foundation for how men and women perceive matters differently. Again, I welcome the comments from women on this. I hope with this kind of foundation laid, we can get into some ethical reasons for why Christians believe we should behave the way we do.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Objectivization of Women

April 10, 2012

Are women better off in our society? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Last night while watching TV, my wife and I came across a sitcom we hadn’t seen before but within a few minutes, I saw the usual problem I see in many sitcoms today. The whole idea was one character had been introduced to some women and was trying to do everything he could to get them to sleep with him.

At this point, I told my wife that it was really sorrowful how our society has lowered to seeing women as nothing but sex objects. A few moments passed before I added a second point that I think it’s even sadder that the women themselves in these sitcoms seem to often have the same attitude and want nothing more than to immediately get naked for the guy and every woman is instantly available.

Let’s start out with some clear points on how sex is from a Christian perspective. Sex is something that is made to be enjoyable. A husband and wife are to thoroughly enjoy the passionate love of one another. Both are intended to get pleasure from the act. While it is normally seen that men have the highest libidos, women too can have libidos. There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting sex for physical pleasure any more than there is a man wanting to have sex to get some emotional closeness.

But in all of this, men and women are not just meant to be used for their bodies. A man is not to approach a woman solely for sexual pleasure and it is a shame that this can happen in marriages even where a man wants to have his wife around so he can get in his kicks and then when he’s done with her, he is immediately absent, as if he just got out a movie, book, or video game, and after he was done playing, put it away again.

A woman meanwhile is to honor her husband sexually as well and the great danger for women is that sex can be used to get something someone wants. In both cases, neither party is focusing on the joy of the other. There is nothing wrong with finding one’s own joy, but the true lover wants when done to know that he or she has done their part to please the spouse.

As I was thinking about this, I thought about shows I used to watch. Consider for instance, the Mary Tyler Moore show. This was a show about a woman rising up in the world seeking to take her piece of the pie. Nudity did not show up on the show. There was no doubt about how many men around Mary wanted her, but they would not have been as overt as they are today. The woman was still respected and you had to win her heart and treat her honorably. Mary was a woman who was going somewhere and a man would have to rise to the occasion in order to be worthy of her.

Meanwhile, on most sitcoms today, the woman meets the man and immediately she wants to take him back home and sleep with him. There is hardly any thought of STD’s, unplanned pregnancy, family commitments, or values of any kind, other than the value to have a lot of fun.

With that is gone any idea that sex could mean something greater than just a pleasurable time. It could also be a builder of commitment between two people who have formed a covenant with each other. It could be an ever-increasing way of actually getting to know the other person. For all we know, maybe it just might be that when you stay married to one person for life, you get to know that person exceedingly well.

Keep in mind that all this is happening in a society that is supposed to have got past the oppression of women that supposedly took place in its Christian heyday. Now we are secular and we have thrown off the shackles of the past. We have embraced abortion and thus given women control over their own bodies. Truly, women are free today.

And yet, for all their freedom, they seem to be treated as objects just for the purpose of sex. Is this an upwards move? Is this any more about launching careers or being incredible mothers? Is the highest aspiration a woman can reach in this life that of giving a man a really good time in bed?

This also has an effect on the way men are. Men can grow to expect women to always want sex. Women can grow to expect that men want nothing but sex. For the Christian, sex is an important aspect of a woman, but her greatest good is not in the pleasure of men but in the pleasure of God. The opposite is true for a man. A man’s greatest good is not in pleasing the woman, but in pleasing God.

Yet this is supposed to be the age where we are free from the shackles of religion that treated women as objects. Go look at how several skeptics speak of how women are treated in the Bible. Well now you have supposedly broken free of that and what can I see regularly on TV? Women being treated as objects of sexual pleasure on TV and no other redeeming factors are mentioned. The important part of a woman on the show is what her body looks like and how good she is in bed.

As a Christian man and as a Christian husband, I do believe women are better than that. In fact, the danger for us with lust is that we will lower our wife by thinking the other woman might be “better” and in doing so, we won’t just lower our wives, but we’ll lower all women by treating that as the standard. On the other hand, if a man wants to truly love the female species, the best way he can do that is by honoring his wife and forsaking all others.

And as a married man, I have indeed made a serious commitment that I intend to honor till death do us part. Part of that commitment is that I am to have sex with no one else but my wife. I have made it a point to honor my wife sexually so much that she thinks I can be paranoid around other women because I do not want to risk giving off a wrong idea or adding an image to the rolodex that men have in their heads.

What would happen on a sitcom if a woman in response to the invitation to sleep with the leading male actor said “No. I won’t. You have to marry me first. I just believe that sex is to be reserved for marriage.” Chances are in our society, she would be immediately a prude and part of the lead’s task then would be to rid her of this concept.

Let us hope that our society will move past this stage where instead of reaching maturity, we are acting rather immature and realize the sacredness of sex and the sacredness of one another. If you ask the question “Is nothing sacred?” in a scheme without God, the answer has to be “No.” In the Christian system, the answer is all that is is sacred. The more something is like God, the more sacred it is, and thus humanity and our sexuality are incredibly sacred. Let us not treat them as cheap.

In Christ,
Nick Peters