26 September 2011
30 August 2011
Original located here. (but the link wasn't working I think due to high volume, so I copied the entire article from google's cached copy)
Being 'hung up' about sex isn't so horrible
One of the chief objections to Christianity is that it meddles in people's personal lives. This is a curious objection, in some ways. Christianity has fairly little to say about food or drink, except to advocate moderation. And very little to say about clothing, except that modesty is appropriate. It's silent on computers and automobiles. And it generally advocates discipline couched in love where children are concerned.
What its detractors mean often comes down to this: 'Christianity has something to say about sex, and we don't like it one bit.' Typically, one hears that Christians are prudes and spoiled-sports, ranging across the earth, shutting down sexual pleasure wherever we locate it. Of course, higher birth rates among evangelical Protestants and Catholics seem to suggest either a staggering number of virgin births, or a tendency to, well, you know.
If we're hung up on sex as Christians, we're certainly no more so than a world filled with sexual images and activities. However, I think the world at large is less 'hung-up' than heedless and selfish when it comes to the thing it seems to value above all else.
I could delve into STD's and their terrible effects. But I think on some level few people really care. It's like your parents telling you about terrible car crash injuries when you drive. 'Sure, but not me!'
However, there's more than STD's to show us why we should be more careful in our valuation of sex. I read an article online recently. It was an advice column for young singles. A woman wrote about her concern that a young man whom she had met (and promptly taken to bed), had not called her for several days after their initial meeting . The columnist was aghast that she was so uptight. As if, after sleeping together, she shouldn't expect anything at all in terms of connection. Sex as a kind of post-modern handshake.
Not surprising. The idea that one can simply have a casual, sexual relationship with no emotional connection or support is a common theme in movies and television. Actress Mila Kunis, of the movie 'Friends with Benefits,' was asked if she thought such a relationship was possible. Her answer was insightful: 'It's like communism; good in theory, but in execution it fails.'
Despite the 'theory' society clings to, there has been fascinating research on the emotional and chemical connections that result from sex. Still, our society continues to treat it as a thing with no repercussion and precious little value.
I agree that the Church down the ages has sometimes done a poor job teaching about sex and sexuality. Many young people were taught nothing at all about sex, except that it was wicked. That was to their detriment and the shame of their parents and clergy. Odd teaching, since the Bible is full of sex, and not just warnings about it.
But far worse, the world at large was, and is, mindless about sex. If the church is too careful, it is only because sex is too important to be handled poorly. Sex not only produces us, as it were. It connects us. It not only connects us, it chemically addicts us to one another for good reasons.
Sex is a thing of enormous power. It has brought down kingdoms (and governorships, more close to home). It has united powerful families. Sex has caused murders and assassinations, sealed marriages and ended them. It has led to children and to the murder of children through abortion. It has given us literature and sculpture, both elevated and base. It has given us beautiful love stories and terrible song lyrics.
But it is no trifle. If the Church has been 'hung up,' the world has been reckless and irresponsible The Church has at least tried to teach us that sex has consequences more grave and wonderful than the physical, while the world has tried to teach us that it is a worthless thing, devalued and diminished once the conquest and pleasure have passed.
Some may call this right-wing, conservative clap-trap. But an epidemic of depression and anxiety in young men and women testify to the pain of connections made and broken. The markers of the dead, lost to HIV, also disagree. And generations of young, poor children with no fathers and scarcely any mothers all testify to the misuse and abuse of one of the most wonderful, and powerful, forces in the world.
Maybe it's not so bad to be 'hung-up' after all.
06 July 2011
30 June 2011
20 June 2011
24 May 2011
19 May 2011
Sent to you by tom via Google Reader:
Related: White House Snub Makes Boston Herald Gleeful. "Talk about handing your opponents a club to beat you with. . . . How foolish of the White House to play that game — and how dumb of the White House to get beaten at it."
As I have pointed out repeatedly, Obama doesn't act presidential. Presidents act presidential not because they're stuffy or out-of-touch, but because experience shows that when you don't act presidential, it often winds up handing opponents a club to beat you with. Obama might know this if he had had significant experience in national politics before running for President, but he didn't. His staff, alas, is taking its cues from him, instead of remedying his deficiencies.
Things you can do from here:
22 April 2011
12 April 2011
... as a political policy, Romneycare is nearly unparalleled in Republican history. It has destroyed one front-runner's presidential hopes (Romney's) and helped undermine an entire presidency. For, as Barack Obama's supporters keep reminding us, Romneycare was the precursor to Obamacare.
10 April 2011
31 March 2011
The union-led effort is an outgrowth of a boycott campaign by the Wisconsin Professional Police Association and other unions in which M&I Bank and Kwik Trip were targeted because either the companies themselves or their executives supported Gov. Scott Walker's budget initiatives.
What exactly does it mean when the police boycott your business?
Nothing good, I think.
And that's why police unions seem like a bad idea to me.
22 March 2011
When all was ready, an ancient marine, leaning on a cane, spoke with practiced eloquence of the nation's gratitude and of debts owed to its young men sent to foreign lands to fight for liberty. His voice was strong and his Appalachian accent made a kind of music of his speech.
A military chaplain prayed briefly and then warned us about the salute that would follow. Rifle shots echoed among the hills. Into the silence that followed poured the sound of Taps played on trumpet and bagpipes. The song was beautiful and haunting and perfect.
The two soldiers holding the flag refolded it and presented it to my Uncle. The marine who had spoken first turned the remainder of the service over to the ministers who spoke of dust and ashes and loss and peace.
And then it was over.
People stood for a moment and then gradually mingled and wandered and more gradually made their ways to cars and trucks and then away.
12 March 2011
Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
10 February 2011
Read the rest.
20 January 2011
18 January 2011
AS WE MOVE TOWARD THE BRITISH MODEL, THE BRITISH MOVE AWAY: UK Government Plans Major Health Care Reform. "The British leader, whose Conservative Party heads the country's coalition government, said he would save money and cut red tape by giving control over management to family practitioners rather than bureaucrats, and allow private companies, charities and social enterprises to bid for contracts within the public health service." Is there a lesson here?
15 January 2011
Or do what I did and google "Anti-bush signs" and then "Anti-obama signs" and compare the results. One search returns - to my mind, at least - much more violent imagery. Judge for yourself.