Posted in Bible, C-Haze, Religion

God, Monkeys, and Swinging from Treetops

Some people are pondering the possibility that the apocalypse is near, though probably not for the reasons you may think.

No, this has nothing to do with catastrophic weather disasters, nor does it have anything to do with the rumblings of end times from the mouths of Teavangelicals.

Rather, this Horseman is much more simple.

Friends, I went to church… and I liked it.

I’ll pause a moment while you catch your breath.

Ready?

Ok. I’ll continue now.

For months, I’ve been trying to find whatever that something is that’s been missing in my life. I’m happily married, I have beautiful well-adjusted children, I’ve completed my education, I’m financially stable, I’m in good health…

… So what was it? What was this little spot- nothing more than an itch, really- that needed scratching in the center of my soul?

I’ve long considered myself a spiritual person. In fact, I’ve long considered myself a Christian. I simply chose to avoid church. I definitely had my reasons, and as a Preacher’s Kid, felt I’d had my share of  that life.

Religion, for those who have never experienced such a thing, is not for the faint of heart. Especially when one’s parent happens to be the guy in the pulpit.

I came to the conclusion, somewhere around my 19th birthday that church was not for me. I stopped attending, and approximately 14 years later, can still count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone- at all- since then.

I decided, in all my teenaged wisdom, that the sanctuary was not what its named promised to be, that its pews were filled with hypocrites, liars and all around assholes. I was right, of course, and the irony that the hypocrisy, lying and tom-foolery was exactly why we all needed to be there was lost on me for many years.

Over time, as is inevitably the case, life happened, and I stopped thinking about church altogether. I became a Fox Hole Christian- only thinking about God when I really found myself in the line of fire, in the middle of a crisis, a catastrophe- praying hard that He will get me out of whatever mess I managed to plop myself into the middle of.

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to fine tune my existence. I’m not a single mom anymore, having remarried about a year ago, and it’s amazing how much pressure we can take off of ourselves when we are no longer on our own. For the first time in my entire adulthood, I feel stable and secure. Life isn’t about surviving anymore, but is now about thriving.

I can look to the future and make plans.

It was during this process that my husband, about a week ago said, “Let’s go to church this Sunday”.

I didn’t protest, not because I thought it was a great idea, but because he sprung it on me at 7 o’clock in the morning, before I’d consumed the required amount of coffee to make my brain function properly.

He could have suggested, “Let’s join a club and pretend to be monkeys who hang from the tops of trees eating bananas and screeching at passersby all day”, and I blinkingly would have nodded, mumbling something along the lines of, “that sounds like a great idea”.

Before I knew it, Sunday was here. I overslept and almost chose not to go, but something told me I had to.

I am a skeptic by nature, but walking in the door, seeing the smiles, the welcoming faces, I somehow knew- instantly- that I was in the right place.

The message was a beautiful one, from beginning to end.

It was a lesson of love, hope, forgiveness, empowerment and personal responsibility.

All the things I stand on…

… Everything that means anything to me.

I know where I’ll be this Sunday- and I’ll be there happily.

And no, I’m not talking about eating bananas from treetops, either.

Posted in Bible, Facebook, Faith, God, Marriage, Porn, Pornography, Religion, Rex Ryan, Scripture, Sex

Who’s Your Daddy?

A pastor whom I greatly admire recently posted a question on his Facebook page. The question asked his followers to chime in on whether or not they thought watching porn with their spouses is a sin.

I found it interesting, and a little disturbing, that each and every person (save for my husband and myself) answered that yes, watching porn with one’s spouse is a sin.

Personally speaking, I don’t enjoy porn, and neither does my husband, so it’s never been a part of our relationship. However, I am constantly amazed at the willingness people demonstrate to condemn actions that other couples may enjoy in the privacy and sanctity of their own homes.

Many folks will quote various scriptural passages (such as Matthew 5:27-28) referencing the no-nos of lust (“‘You shall not commit adultery.’[a] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”), as if human behavior is cut and dry, as if intimacy within a marriage can be applied in the fashion of “one size fits all”…

… And as if Jenna Jamison and Ron Jeremy were even around back in the day when Matthew found himself putting pen to paper (or however they wrote stuff down before there were pens and paper).

I find this sad (doesn’t the Bible have a thing or two to say about standing in judgment of others?), but more importantly, I find it irresponsible.

I won’t spend too much time on the biblical context, other than to say that I hope my husband looks at me with lust. We, as humans, are lustful beings, and I better be the one he is lusting after. Within the boundaries of my own marriage, I don’t find lust itself sinful, but lust for others might be problematic.

That being said, I hesitate to flat-out condemn most behaviors that couples may utilize within their own marriages. There is the obvious- abuse and infidelity- but actions that are A) victimless and B) pleasing to both partners should be fair game. There are many behaviors that are not right for me, or for my marriage- porn is one of them. I would never participate in an open marriage, and no one will ever catch me at a swinger’s club, for example.

For the record, I also will not be video-taping skits of my husband and myself in compromising positions, a la Jets’ coach Rex Ryan, his wife, and his foot fetish (though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what he did, save for the embarrassment the tape caused himself and his family). Truly, if anything like that ever came out about my own parents, I would die on the spot. Instantly.

What I especially will not participate in is telling other couples how to operate within their own bedrooms. Not only is that a gross prospect (smacks of voyeurism, if you ask me), but couples face enough pressures on the day-to-day without having to deal with me sticking my nose into their private lives. I have my own marriage to grow and strengthen, thank you very much.

If other couples find these activities mutually enjoyable, and it helps to both keep them together and strengthen their unions, who am I to tell them their choices are wrong? As is the case in most areas of life- what works for one does not necessarily work for everyone- and vice versa.

This is especially important in times like these, when the divorce rate hovers just over 60%.

I find it difficult to imagine God, who created us as sexual beings, tsk-tsking us from the heavens, for participating in mutually enjoyable actions in our own bedrooms. My initial thought is that He (or She) likely has other things on His (or Her) mind (such as genocide, war, devastating mudslides, tsunamis, earthquakes, the categorical destruction of our planet and each other, hatred and injustice).

After perusing the comments of others on that Facebook page I earlier mentioned, I decided  to call on another pastor whose views I also greatly admire and deeply respect. In fact, this particular minister helped shape my own beliefs, as he is my father, Pastor Jon.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Dad, within the confines of marriage, is it a sin for a couple to watch porn together?

Pastor Jon: <Cough>

Me: Um… So… what do you think?

Pastor Jon: I think the answer to your question is, “Who’s your Daddy?”

Genius, I say!

My father’s point is that both individually and collectively as a couple, people must define for themselves who their “Daddy”, or Father (God) is. Once that question is answered, it is important to understand what that entity’s expectations are. Provided a person’s behavior remains true to that established figure as well as to their spouse, the answers become clear.

I view God as a parental figure, so the question of “Who’s your Daddy?” really resonates with me. Just as my own parents steer clear of my bedroom, I figure God probably stays outta there too. He’s got way too many children to be monitoring each and every harmless shenanigan I may or may not be participating in. He authorized the sexual choices my spouse and I will make when we stood before Him and said our vows, so we’re in good hands.

Remaining true to one’s beliefs, and acting in accordance with the expectations laid before us by one’s God and spouse, it would be difficult to go wrong. It is, however, a personal journey, and not every single person (or couple) will identify with the same “Daddy”. Not all Fathers have the same rules, just as not all couples have the same sexual palate.

I am thankful for my personal journey, for my God, and for my husband.

Now.

Let’s get it on!