Thursday, January 29, 2009

Abstenence in Marriage

I know... this is a strange post... but these are strange times. I recently spoke with a christian who passionately explained to me that sex, even within the confines of marriage, is exclusively for procreation and should never be pursued for pleasure. I have heard this position before but I thought I would write out my thoughts on the subject this time...

The only conclusion to this viewpoint would be that abstinence is a valid form of birth control within marriage. This does not seem to line up with scripture.

1 Cor 7:1-5 is pretty frank regarding this matter...
"Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. "

Some of you didn't know that stuff was in the Bible, did you?
Paul says that one purpose for marriage is to protect men and women from fornication. He explicitely states that abstinence is not to be long-term, and apparently only by agreement for a time of prayer. In marriage, couples are entirely free to satisfy each other. There is nothing unspiritual about sex between marriage partners... for any reason they desire.

The Old Testament guys had something to say on the matter, also...
Proverbs 5:15-19
"Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be captivated by her love."

"satisfy you always"... "captivated by her love"... Reads like a Valentine card (or a romance novel)... Pretty racy stuff... there's no question that there is an element of pleasure intended in the intimate monogamous relationship between a husband and wife.

So, abstaining from sex within a marriage relationship is not only a bad idea, it is disobedient to God's Word. The Bible commands Christian couples not to withhold from one another sexually.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Facebook Frenzy

My name is Duke and I am a Facebook addict...

I am pretty computer savvy but this social networking thing passed me by completely. I am sure its a generational thing... I mean... my perception was that everybody doing Facebook or MySpace was somewhere between 12 and 20 years old and discussing their latest shopping spree or video game conquest. I could not imagine myself enjoying anything about it nor could I conceive of any useful purpose for joining.

A week or so ago I wanted to show off some pictures of my son, Heath, and his girlfriend. I was at work in Mississippi, 2000 miles from home, and when I said that I didn't have a picture with me one of my coworkers, who maybe has met Heath twice, says... "He has some pix on his facebook page." "WHAT!! You watch his Facebook page??????" "Yeah, we're facebook friends."

So thus began the journey... I went out in search of pictures of Heath. That's when I discovered that I couldn't look at his pictures until I joined... so I signed up. Next I discovered that I couldn't view his pictures unless he was 'my friend'... this is my son we're talking about... and here I am humbling myself and begging his permission to grant me friend status so that I can view his pictures. This is a stressful situation... all the questions... How is my relationship with my son? Really? Have I been a sufficiently 'hip and cool' father to be allowed into the inner sanctum of his online life? Apparently the keys are not that tightly guarded if my coworkers were in...! But I was anxious anyway...

He left me hanging... sleepless nights... days passed by... and then, there in my inbox... Heath confirmed you as a friend... YES!! (fist pump) I was now on the inside of the social networking revolution!

Next day my inbox is full of friend requests... I wasn't sure who some of them were but I gave them access... it was the christian thing to do. I soon learned that there is an insidious narcissistic root that takes hold pretty quickly and manifests itself in an unspoken competition to have more friends than your friends have. I found this out when Josh said, "You've already got 100 friends and you've only been doing this a week." My heart swelled with pride...

In reality this connectivity has been very useful. I am communicating with people that I have lost touch with but more importantly I am in more constant contact with many of the people in our church and local relationship groups. I don't know for sure whether it's a positive or negative thing ultimately, but the facts are that our communication has been much better online than we were experiencing even through texting, emailing or phone calls. And beside this... its been kind of fun... except for the wall updates about shopping sprees and video game conquests... from my coworkers!