A letter to a hottie

Dear Girl That Dresses Like a Hottie,

I saw you today in the CVS on Halstead.You walked by me in your skin-tight, hot pink, sleeveless dress, and I watched you stick your butt out as you strolled down the elise in your stilettos. You were buying diet coke and some cigarettes.

How can I convince you that you are beautiful?

Because you are. And it’s not because you have a tight, 19-year-old body. It’s not because you have globs of black mascara, shiny lip gloss, and highlighted hair. It has got nothing at all to do with the way you look right now, walking by me, all dolled up.

It is who you are that makes you lovely.

I want to ask you why? Why go out dressed like a club dancer? Why the low-cut, cleavage-bearing, short-skirted, skin-tight outfit? There is nothing good that this getup will bring to you.

You most certainly will attract a man, in fact, you’ll probably attract every man that passes by you (unless he is blind).  But I guarantee that those men will only be interested in your body and not your heart or mind, (and certainly not your soul).

Any guy that picks up on you while you are dressed like that will never last. He will not be the best friend, partner, and lover you long for. He will not affirm all that you need to hear. He will not be a good father to your child. He will not love you as you gain weight, turn gray, struggle with finances, get emotional on your period, or find a lump in your breast.

Perhaps you’re not looking for that man. Perhaps you want to have some fun while you’re still young and beautiful. Perhaps it feels nice to have a guy tell you that you look like America’s next top model, and perhaps you have convinced yourself that you only want one night of passion with no commitment.

I understand. But have you fully thought this through?

Just from the way you carry yourself, in your heels and short skirt, you are putting yourself at risk.

You could wind up a lover of a physical abuser. You could give your number to a convicted felon. You could find yourself alone in a bedroom where there are several guys waiting.  Your future husband could be repulsed by the way you are acting now. You could get pregnant.

You are also putting others at risk.

You are setting an example of what a woman is to every young girl who sees you walk by and thinks “I want to be loved like all the guys love her”. You are putting men who struggle with pornography and faithfulness to their wives as risk of temptation and sin. You are creating a situation where another woman may compare herself to you and feel insufficient in the way she dresses or looks. You are making it difficult for every man you pass to be a respectful, honest gentleman.

How you dress makes a statement about who you are. Especially as a woman. Because of this, I sincerely worry about you!

I am certain that you are not thinking about how lack of clothing can harm my own marriage.  I know when I was young, and even not so long ago when I was less conscious of myself, I didn’t think about these things either. Being a temptation to a married man might even be fun for you. But one day you yourself will be married, and a girl dressed like a hottie will strut in front of your man. Then you will understand.

I pray that you find the confidence and security to know that you are enough and that you deserve a loving, kind, and respectful man. I pray that you understand that you are enough to attract a good man, just as you are, without the makeup and push-up bra.

Somewhere out there is a man, who isn’t perfect, but who will adore you and cherish you and treat you the way you truly deserve to be treated.

Believe that you deserve to be treated as treasure and don’t settle for anything less.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  
With much much love (and I mean that),

Claire

Why I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey

I am not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

Recently there have been explosions of women and men(–totally weird, I know), who have become obsessed with the new novel by EL James, and, to put it bluntly, I refuse to be one of them. At the risk of sounding perfectly closed-minded, I would like to explain to you why I’m not considering reading Fifty Shades of Grey and why I think you shouldn’t either.

Reason #1: Simple. Fifty Shades of Grey is sinful. This book is classified as erotic fiction,which, along with pornography, is defined a genre which has “no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire.” That right there is enough for me to say “no thanks, I’d rather just sleep with my husband”. (Excuse my honesty)

Now i’s all very well for me to give you my opinion, but let’s look at what the Big Man says; God tells us that there is only one who should stimulate sexual desire us: our spouse.

Since God’s plan for my sexual desire involves only my own husband, then anything else that adds to my arousal is sin.

Jesus said it this way: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The same is true of a woman looking at (or reading about) a man.

Reason #2: This book may rob of your desire for real sex. The Bible confirms that lust is hurtful and harmful. And guess what? So do modern biopsychologists. Research shows that over time your body becomes conditioned to self-stimulation and gratification. Lust can cut a literal pathway in your brain tissue. At first a little bit of erotica might give you the desire to be with your spouse, but overtime that self-stimulation and your own imagination (or porn) is not only enough to satisfy you, you actually prefer it to real sexual intercourse.

…I’m not just making this up. Check out this article in The New  Yorker  for more information.

Reason #3: This book will make it difficult for women to fully respect their husbands.

Okay, let’s be honest, women. Sadly, a few of our men have looked at porn. I mean, most guys over the age of 12 have. If you’re like me, you find this extremely sad.

You may feel like you can never compare to the perfection created by lights, camera, and Photoshop that is presented in some porn. Or maybe you just feel like you have to compete for your husband’s sexual attention.

Well, he may likewise feel like he can’t compare to the fantasized interpretation of manhood depicted in this particular book, and he may feel like he has to compete with a fictional character. Which would suck right?

If you don’t want your guy to look at other naked women, don’t read about naked men. I personally want to have more respect for my husband than that. How about you?

Reason #4: This book directly contradicts what God created sex to be. It is meant to be a union that is fuled by love and service, not pain or humiliation. Fifty Shades of Grey deals a lot with BDSM: Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism. And if you recognize what any of those words are, you can get an idea about why this book is so damaging.

It’s not just that Fifty Shades of Grey misuses sex; it redefines it into something evil and transgressive. The lead character uses dominance in a hurtful way.  In our emasculating culture, there is indeed a hunger for strong men, but this book takes the role of headship to a new level- a sinful one.

A man is supposed to lovingly and sacraficially serve his wife and lead her in the Christ-like direction. This does not involve dominating her or holding her in sexual submission. 

A woman is supposed to respect her husband and support him in his leadership. This does not involve becoming a sexual slave to him. Nor does it involve reading trashy novels about men who abuse their sexual partners just to get an arousal.

…Also. Vanilla is an ice cream flavor, not a type of sex. Ew.

 

I will never read this book. And many of you might be up in arms with me about this post because I am (for lack of a better term) ripping this book apart before even opening it. Judge away. In a way, I’m judging the book by it’s gossip.

I’m going to quote another blogger here to explain my point: “There are many things in this world I need not partake in to discern that they are going to be harmful to me. God has given me more than fifty shades of truth in His Word and when just one of them is in conflict with my entertainment choices, I choose to pass”!

I love my marriage, my God, and myself. Why put those things in jeopardy for a quick read?

If you find yourself seeing my side of the story, please take a moment today to post these words on Facebook or twitter: “I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.”

If you have friends who need help understanding why, send them to my blog. I’d be happy to explain!

“I hate the world!”

How many of you are like Linus over there and totally hate someone? Okay, maybe not hate, but how many of you “severely dislike” someone in your life? It could be a co-worker, a classmate, your boss…a member of your family…

Chances are, there will be some people in your life that you won’t really like. It’s natural right? We’re all so different and sometimes those differences just get in the way….

Okay, another question: How many of you hate all people as a whole?

… Unless you’re a moody teenager or an endangered species, you probably answered “no” to this question. I mean, how can we make a generalization like that?

All people? Well, I’m a person, so no way!”

People often times love humanity and are despicable towards individual human beings. It’s easy to love everyone as a whole because it’s a generalized notion of who people are as a species or a community. It’s a whole lot harder to love our neighbors as individuals, especially if we know them really well.

But the Bible tells us that we must hate the world and love our neighbor. We are supposed to have  great contempt for humanity as a whole, but great love for the individuals who enter into our lives.

Some may object, saying “But God loved the world didn’t he? He sent it only son here!”.

Well, that’s true… which it why it’s difficult to understand why we are called to hate the world that God loves so dearly.

A look at two passages of the Apostle John reveals this intrinsic tension.  On the one hand, as the former argument references, John writes, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16).  On the other hand, he tells us, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him” (1 John 2:15).

The issue is clear. We are in the world, a world that God loves, and a world in which we have a purpose.  And yet we are not of this world (we were created by something divine, not the the mundane earth), and we should guard against falling in love with this world.

The New Testament often uses the word “world” (“kosmon” in Greek) to refer to culture, or the results of human activity and creativity.  Obviously these different uses also have different connotations:

1.) The first is neutral or maybe even a positive one:  World is seen as the created order, including the actual physical earth (Matthew 24:21), the people living on it (Matthew 4:8; John 12:19), human life (1 Timothy 6:7), and the target of the disciples’ mission (Matthew 5:14).  Though sin entered into this world by the Fall, it and its inhabitants are seen as God’s beautiful creation.

2.) The second usage has a negative connotation.  World consists of human things controlled by Satan, in open rebellion against God.  The earth and its inhabitants are seen as involved in a cosmic struggle between spiritual forces due to sin (Ephesians 6:12).  In this battle, the sinful world didn’t recognize Jesus as God when He came to this earth (John 1:10), so it, as a whole, is an evil place due to its imperfections.

Are things clearing up a little?

Now there are a few typical responses that occur when Christians read passages like those that I just referenced.

First response: opposition and separation.  

The history of Christianity is filled with examples of this response.  Early Christians rejected Greco-Roman culture, declaring it idolatrous and corrupt.  The monastic movement of the Middle Ages pushed for complete withdrawal from the world.  Many Protestant sectarian movements–the Brethren, Mennonites, Anabaptists, Quakers, and also the Millerites –also embraced this approach.

Those who choose this route, I am confident, do so with a sincere belief that they are living out the Word of God.  Their sincerity should be respected.

However, the Bible does not mandate a complete withdrawal and isolation from the world. We are created to be social beings, and it is within a society or a culture that we live, work, worship, and witness.  At most those who break away from the world simply develop a different culture or subculture.  More importantly, this response implies that sin is caused by the world, whereas the Bible teaches that sin begins within the mind.

Second response: assimilation.  

This position assumes that culture is basically good.

Stressing peace and love, cooperation and communication, this approach allows the gospel to be interpreted, understood, and embraced in a multitude of ways.  In the process, the essence of the gospel becomes compromised and suddenly we get Christ as the “great moral teacher” rather than the Lord of life and sole Savior of the world.  Thus, Christianity becomes an all-embracing humanitarianism;  there is blurred distinction between the realms of God and Satan, propped by a moralistic humanism which poses a case for universal salvation…. and we all should know that is NOT what the Bible teaches.

But how do we understand culture, community, and our commitment of faith? Where do we draw the line between the demands of society and the kingdom of God?

In order to engage critically with our surrounding world, we must balance four biblical approaches to it:

1. Separation from anything openly contrary to God’s revealed will.

2. Affirmation of everything that is compatible with God’s revelation and original plan for humanity.

3. Transformation of individual human beings to become unified with God’s principles.

4. Contribution to the surrounding culture through elements that benefit humanity and enhance life.

And in order to see the world this way, we must seek our wisdom from the Holy Spirit and God’s Word so we may allow God to guide us in our choices rather than let our own selfishness lead our worldly conquests.

Doing God’s will where we are

In Mark 5:1-20, Jesus frees a man from an evil spirit. Afterwards, the man wanted to follow him,  but Jesus told his new follower to return home–to his own culture–and share the good news with his family and friends.

Here is the key to a Christian understanding of culture: Be a follower of Jesus where you are. No matter the situation, no matter the people you are surrounded with (who you might dislike). We are called to love those individuals, even if we hate the torn-apart world that surrounds us and effects us.

As Reinhold Niebuhran American theologian and commentator on public affairs, noted: As Christians we “… are forever being challenged to abandon all things for the sake of God; and forever being sent back into the world to teach and practice all the things that have been commanded (us).”

 

How do you, as a follower of Christ, live in this world and survive in today’s sinful culture? Or am I way off? Is our culture not evil at all?