Category Archives: Media

Does God Really say that Sex is only for Marriage?

You want the short answer or the long answer?

Short Answer

In my estimation and understanding of the Bible, YES!!!

Long Answer

In his book Sex God, Rob Bell explains that in the ancient world, after the vows had been exchanged, the physical act of consummating the relationship was what sealed the deal

So, the bride and groom would say their vows, then retreat to the bridal chamber.

The wedding guests would wait for the deed to be done, probably enjoy a little happy hour of sliders and cocktails, and I’m sure make jokes with lots of sexual inuendos at the expense of the bride and groom.

Then, bride and groom would return, the DJ would annonce them husband and wife, and they would party with the guests.

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As a modern woman, I have to say I’m grateful we don’t expect the immediate consummation of the marriage before the celebration.  

How awkward to run upstairs to your hotel room, have sex, then return to the wedding reception to party the night away? 

And, all of the most important people in your life are just standing there, thinking the same thing, “Oh my goodness.  They just had sex.”

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!?

Good thing this tradition has been reduced to ”You may now kiss the bride“. 

But, God sees the tradition of consummating the marriage through sexual union as truth.

The Biblical Evidence

As we study the Scriptures, we see again and again that marriage and sex are one in the same.

The first reference to this is seen in Genesis 2:24

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Since Adam and Eve were the only humans at this time, there was no governing body of marriage. 

They didn’t have to go down to City Hall and get a marriage license. 

Nor did they catch the next flight to Vegas to have Elvis marry them. 

God sees their sexual union as their marriage. 

They go from man and woman to husband and wife once they “become one flesh“. 

Does it get any more rudimentary than that?

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In I Corinthians, we see that Paul admonishes the Corinthians to be married to avoid sexual immorality.  In fact, he references this same passage in Genesis when he says (6:16)

16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”

Paul furthers the discussion in chapter 7 where he encourages sexuality within marriage:

1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

What I appreciate most about this passage is the mutual relationship: that a man should fulfill this relationship to his wife, and a wife to her husband.  (We’ll get to more about that in the post about marital sex).

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In Hebrews 13:4 we see further evidence of God’s design for sex within marriage,

4Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

I interpret this verse to mean that anyone, other than your spouse, with whom you have sex is defiling the marriage bed.  So, if you’re not married, you’re defiling the marriage bed that is to come! 

Real Sex

There are actually a plethora of other verses in the Bible that speak to this subject, but I think you get the point. 

I really appreciate how Lauren Winner addresses this subject in her book Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity

What sits at the center of Christian sexual ethics is not a negative view of sex; the Christian vision of marriage is not, at its most concise, merely “no sex before marriage”.  Rather, the heart of the Christian story about sex is a vigorously positive statement: sex was created for marriage. 

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Didn’t get enough of the sex in this post?  Check out these pop parables:

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 What do you think has made the Christian view of sex so negative as opposed to vigorously positive?

Got any other Biblical references for sex as created for marriage?  The obscure ones earn you brownie points and a virtual fist bump.

 

Stories from The Shack: A LIVE Event

Here We Go Again

Every few years there is an evangelical Christian controversy that the secular media picks up on. 

This year, it’s Rob Bell and his book Love Wins.

But, in 2007, it was William P. Young’s book The Shack that had people crying heretic.

Incidentally, the same assertions made about Bell were then made about Young: that he is a universalist.  You can read an excellent review of those notions here.

Young even appeared on numerous morning shows touting his book and his reputation, much like Bell has done recently.

The Plot

A synopsis:

Mackenzie Allen Phillips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in this midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.

What follows is the story of Mack’s encounter with the Trinity here on earth. 

But, the Trinity represented in The Shack is a dinstinctly different Trinity than represented in the Bible. 

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Over 10 million copies of The Shack are in print, and it has been on the New York Times’ Best Seller List at #1 for 52 weeks.

If you read through the reviews of the book you’ll see phrases like life changing, powerful, and must read.

What’s New?

Today I caught an interesting commerical on the radio about an upcoming stage production of the book, entitled Stories from the Shack.

Apparently, the production will include “celebrities” whose lives have been changed as a result of reading The Shack, as well as Danny Gokey (of American Idol fame) as a musical guest.

The details:

May 8, 7:00 PM

WaMu Theatre

Tickets go on sale  Wednesday, April 6 through Ticketmaster

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I’m certain that the stage production will stir up some of the old controversy surrounding The Shack

Especially since Seattle area superstar pastor Mark Driscoll vehemently spoke out against the book, and a lot of people paid attention.

My book club, Bibliotherapy, read this book as one of our first reads. 

I think everyone agreed that it was a compelling story.

I don’t remember us talking much about the theology of the novel.

In some respects, it makes me want to read it again since I am at a much different place in my faith and understanding of theology. 

But, at the same time, I have way too many other books I’m reading

If you haven’t read The Shack, you can read chapter 1 here.

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Did you read The Shack?  Do you have any interest in seeing the stage production Stories from The Shack?

Do you think that a work of fiction need be theologically sound to merit your reading, specifically if it asserts to be a Christian work of fiction?

Do you struggle with explaining or understanding the Trinity?  Aside from Scripture, what has helped you to understand the Trinity?

Friday, Friday, Gettin’ Down on Friday

Last night I expected a little too much of myself.

I incorrectly assessed that after a rousing St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Mike’s fam, I would be able to return home and quickly get to work on my latest sex post

But, alas, I set the bar too high and instead welcomed this distraction from my bff Cindy,which of course turned into a late night chat

WARNING: This video may be hazardous to your health.

I’m certain inspiration for Rebecca Black’s “Friday” was drawn directy from How I Met Your Mother’s Robin Sparkles “Let’s Go to the Mall“.

I honestly could NOT stop laughing at this video.  Mike and I immediately called Cindy and serenaded her in gratitude for opening our eyes to the real days of the week and their proper order.

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This video is so ridiculously baaaaaaaaaad that I thought it was a joke, until Mike looked it up on Wikipedia

We related the important facts to Cindy, amidst my uncontrollable bouts of laughter.

But, that’s when Cindy totally Jesus Juked me and said, “Keri, you know there’s a pop parable in this right?”

All credit for this one is owed to Cindy, the secondary writer who never writes on this blog, but is almost always present at brainstorming sessions.

Famous for Being Famous

Rebecca Black’s single “Friday” was released on itunes on Monday (how’s that for irony!?), which was the day before Tuesday in case you didn’t know. 

The video went viral on YouTube, soaring from 3,000 views to over 16 million in just a week’s time.

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Here are some of the things being said about Rebecca Black around the Internet and on her Wikipedia page:

  • Matthew Perpetua from Rolling Stone magazine reviews her vocals as having a peculiar tonality that inadvertently highlights the absurdity of boilerplate pop lyrics, further stating that her sound is not entirely agreeable to listen to, and sounds like a distinct singer with an alluring sort of anti-charisma.
  • Others have said that Rebecca Black is bizarre, inept, hilariously dreadful and a YouTube laughing stock

I feel sorry for this poor 13 year old girl who was apparently ill advised

To endure such criticism on the Internet has got to be much worse than any other kind of middle school shame.

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Cindy pointed out that the worst part is that Black is gaining notoriety for precisely the things for which she does not want to be known: anti-charisma, a terrible singing voice, and absolutely no talent.

For someone seeking to break into the music business, this episode could be the kiss of death for Black.  Some have even tweeted her as the Black Plague.

What are you known for?

Are you known for the right things?

Or, is your presentation of the Gospel the complete antithesis of what a follower of Christ should look like?

Some adjectives that are often used to describe Christians and Christianity:

Self-righteous

Judgemental

Stone thrower

Useless religion

Irrelevant

exclusive

Bigot

Hateful

Hypocritical

Bible-thumpers

 

If only the word Christian could be inseparable from these terms:

hands and feet of jesus

mercy

GRACE

genuine

relationship

LOVE

humility

peacemaker

light

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13 “You are the salt of the earth.

But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?

It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.

Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others,

that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

 

Are you retaining your saltiness or have you turned into a YouTube laughing stock?

What three words would you most like others to speak about your faith?

When given the option do you prefer Kickin’ in the front seat or Sittin’ in the back seat?

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For cleansing of your auditory pallette and a little Friday morning dance party, I offer one of my boys’ favorite songs by Israel Houghton, called “Say So“….all about showing the world His Likeness.

 

Pop Parables Movie Night: Winter’s Bone

This week I watched 2 movies that were nominated for Best Picture, one of which was Winter’s Bone.

It was further vindication for me that The Social Network really wasn’t that great of a movie when compared to the other options for Best Picture!

Although Winter’s Bone has been out on DVD since October, I had avoided it because it looked like a horror film (more appropriately labeled a suspsense film.)

I’m also pretty moody when it comes to movie selection.   

The appropriate mood for Winter’s Bone  finally struck me this past Monday.

What’s so bony about winter?

Take a gander at the haunting trailer (not suitable for children) to see what the movie’s all about:

Here’s the synopsis of the plot straight from the film’ site:

Seventeen-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) sets out to track down her father, who put their house up for his bail bond and then disappeared. If she fails, Ree and her family will be turned out into the Ozark woods. Challenging her outlaw kin’s code of silence and risking her life, Ree hacks through the lies, evasions and threats offered up by her relatives and begins to piece together the truth.  Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell.

What the Professionals are Saying

Here are a few reviews of Winter’s Bone that I found telling. 

Take your pick based on your preference:

The Quick and Dirty Review, by Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine

The Thoughtful and Lengthy Review , by David Edelstein of New York Magazine

The Focus on the Family Review, by Plugged In magazine

The Pop Parables 

I think a Bible study could easily be written based on the story of Winter’s Bone

I could derive a pop parable from just about every single scene in this film and the many correlations to the Christian life.

But, we don’t have time for that.  :( 

So, I simply offer to you the parable that immediately popped into my mind.

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I’m currently doing a study on David, so I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about David, his character, his struggles, his relationship with God.

While viewing Winter’s Bone, I just kept thinking over and over again of Psalm 27, penned by David while running for his life from King Saul.

If you’ve already seen the film, I encourage you to take the time now to read through Psalm 27 slowly and purposefully, pausing to recall specific scenes that relate to the words.

Or, you can take the guided tour below.

Pop Parable #1: Truth

This is a story about a search for truth in an effort to gain freedom,

freedom from the past,

freedom from a family’s curse,

freedom from judgement,

 freedom from the bondsman,

freedom from the law.

Jesus Himself tell us in John 8:32, Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

He explains further to a doubting Thomas in John 14:6, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

It is only by discovering the truth of her father’s whereabouts, that Ree will be able to keep her home, keep her family together, and keep her life.

Turning to Psalm 27, we can substitute David’s use of the word Lord for the word Truth.  Think of it in terms of Ree’s situation,

 1The Truth is my light and my salvation;
         Whom shall I fear?
         The Truth is the defense of my life;
         Whom shall I dread?
    2When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
         My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
    3Though a host encamp against me,
         My heart will not fear;
         Though war arise against me,
         In spite of this I shall be confident.

 

Pop Parable #2: My Family has Forsaken Me

Ree is rejected over and over again by her own family, who in all likelihood killed her father.

Jesus was rejected in his own town (Luke 4:24), and David says he was forsaken by his family (Psalm 27:9-10),

Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
         O God of my salvation!
    10For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
         But the Lord will take me up.

 

Despite being rejected, turned away, or broken by our family of origin, those who trust in the Lord will be adopted and renewed, taken up by Him into His family.

He promises that He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5-6),

for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you”

 6so that we confidently say,
         ”The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid.
         What will man do to me?”

Pop Parable #3: Take Courage

Ree could have easily become full of despair.  She could have resigned herself to being a victim of her circumstances.

But, what is so striking about Ree is that she is confident, she is courageous, she stands up against her enemies.

As Christians, we can grab hold of this same courage,the courage of David in the face of difficulty (Psalm 27: 13-14)

13I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD
         In the land of the living.
    14Wait for the Lord;
         Be strong and let your heart take courage;
         Yes, wait for the Lord.

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Maybe you’re thinking that your circumstances pale in comparison to David or even to Ree.

Certainly you’ve experienced a period when it seemed like everyone was out to get you, no one was on your side.

When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,

Surely there has been a time when you’ve felt forgotten, mistreated, or condemned by those who were supposed to love you most.

For my father and my mother have forsaken me

Chances are you have had times of depression, when it seemed as if life couldn’t get any worse and there was no hope.

I would have despaired

But, in those times, He is standing, waiting, with open arms to offer you refuge, comfort, hope, and joy:

 5For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
         In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
         He will lift me up on a rock.
    6And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
         And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
         I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

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Alisha from Unusual Passions recently told me how much she loves the song, “Run In the Night (Psalm 27)” by Jars of Clay off their latest album, The Shelter.

The joy, freedom, redemption, courage and peace expressed in this song so perfectly sums up Psalm 27 and this post that I can’t leave without sharing it.  I hope you enjoy it!

Just in case it wasn’t clear, I LOOOOOOOOOVED this movie and I hope you’ll watch it, too.

Do you get moody over movie selection?

Is there a particular Psalm that holds special meaning for you?

Lifetime TV’s Redeeming Quality: Army Wives

I’ve shared about the soft spot in my heart for the Lutheran church.

And, also that I have a soft spot for Starbucks.

But, what’s the biggest soft spot in my heart reserved for?  

The Military (Air Force, to be exact)

I was a proud military spouse while Mike served our country for almost 8 years. 

Mike enlisted in the Air Force when we were both only 19, and at that time “just dating”.

I had always said I would “never marry a military man“.

I figured that just meant steering clear of men who were in the military.

I didn’t consider that I could fall in love with a man, who would then join the military.

Oh, Justin Bieber if only you could have advised me 13 years ago to Never say Never, I wouldn’t have to eat my words every time I tell this story.

I guess, in Brit Brit’s words I had lost ”all my senses, that is just so typically me…Oops…I did it again“. 

And, I’m sooooo glad I did. 

Besides being happy that I married Mike, military life proved to be some of the best and happiest times of my life, with some amazing experiences I would have never had if I had stayed true to my word. 

Army Wives

Even though Army Wives is now in Season 5, I only started watching late in Season 4.

I have a big, big problem with the media exploiting the current world situation and the sacrifice of our military for ratings and cash. 

So, I was pretty much morally opposed to the show and said I would never watch it.  (Again, Bieber was a few months too late.)

But, one day, I gave Army Wives a few minutes of my time and realized the show was much more about showing the world (or, at least middle aged women who watch Lifetime) the truth of the military, rather than exploiting it.

I’m not sure if Army Wives would be your speed if you don’t have a military connection, or…if you’re a guy.

Frankly, I don’t think there is really anything else worth watching on Lifetime, except for reruns of How I Met Your Mother.

But, these are the things that I think anyone would enjoy about the show.

5 Things to love about Army Wives

1. It’s Realistic…okay, mediocre acting aside, I think the producers do an awesome job of portraying military life.  And, they should because they have extensive experience in realistic portrayals of military life.  Mark Gordon (executive producer) also produced Saving Private Ryan, for which he earned an Oscar nom.  Gordon does a great job making sure the characters use lots of acronymns in their proper context, show what it’s like to live in military housing, and even slip in the occasional Polish pottery mug (because you can NEVER have enough Polish pottery, oops…I did it again.)

2.  Depicts everyday problems, but in the context of military life…even if you don’t have a military connection, you can still relate to the problems the characters face.  Things like adjusting to a new baby, putting your career on hold for your spouse, dealing with custody issues, and sending a daughter off to college.

3.  Shows the military in a positive light…a lot of people have stereotypes about military life.  But, I think Army Wives does an awesome job of blowing those out of the water.  They also don’t shy away from the issues, and have episodes “ripped from the headlines”; such as the mother/soldier who went AWOL when her unit was deploying because she had no childcare for her daughter.

4.  Family friendly guilty pleasure…although I wouldn’t let my kids watch such an adult show, it’s still “family friendly” enough and something I can enjoy without having to skip through certain scenes.

5.  Tugs at the heart strings…there’s nothing that can make me cry at the drop of a hat like a soldier coming home from war, or Skyping with his preggo wife.  Even someone as cynical as me can enjoy those moments.  (Side note: there’s a new show on Lifetime airing immediately AFTER Army Wives, entitled Coming Home, a show all about military homecomings, most of which are a surprise-grab your tissues for this one!)

Pop Parables in Army Wives

Military life as a whole is such a direct allegory to the Christian life. 

But, here are the few pop parables that I seem to catch in almost every episode of Army Wives.

1.  Community…putting the needs of others before self, just “doing life” together, knowing one another deeply because of shared experiences

2.  Mission…a greater purpose, a higher calling, something bigger than yourself

3.  Accountability…iron sharpens iron, holding eachother to the highest standard for the greater cause

4.  Authority…submitting to a higher authority, doing everything that is asked of you without complaining, fully surrendering your life for the cause

5.  Identity…first and foremost a soldier, just as first and foremost we should consider ourselves Christians, allowing each and every choice to flow from that place.

I hope you’ll give Army Wives a chance.  It’s on Sunday nights, 9/8 C on Lifetime.  Here’s a little clip from the Season 5 trailer:

Signing off now…I have catch up on episode 2!

HUAH!!!

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Do you watch Army Wives?

Anything else you’ve discovered on Lifetime that’s worth watching?

Can you share a time you have had to eat your words after not heeding to the Biebster’s sage advice to Never say Never?