Showing posts from June, 2014

Why I Waited

I was a virgin when I got married. There was no ring or vow involved; like many normal folks, I just did what I had determined to do (or in this case, did not do). But for some, it's not enough to teach their kids how to make good decisions. This is the story of purity culture. Purity culture is not the same as simply promoting purity. The latter is a natural outgrowth of sanctification and holiness as it applies to our being. It's a very broad approach that encompasses both a blameless mind and body. In contrast, the former is a product of fear. It's a narrow approach that reduces purity to the economical (teen pregnancy) and political (abortion) ramifications of a single, physical act. In other words, teaching purity is not the primary goal of purity culture; teaching abstinence is . I'm not saying that abstinence doesn't matter and premarital sex shouldn't be a big deal. Sex is a huge deal. In fact, I've never heard a Christian say, "I&

Not Every Man's Battle

I don't look at other women. At least I don't linger long enough to let my mind wander. After a nine-year pornography addiction, this was the system I put in place upon reading Every Man's Battle . But I didn't realize at the time that I was just replacing one lie for another. On the one hand, culture tells men that sowing their cyber seed (i.e. porn) is masculine and healthy, even though now I feel like less than a man for not being able to appreciate another woman's beauty without the fear of lust. On the other hand, a Christian subculture tells men that the only way to combat lust is to never, ever, ever look at a woman--unless she's dressed in a frock--for more than a second. It sounds a lot more holy, but it puts men right back where they started: unable to fully appreciate part of God's creation. The Greeks didn't seem to have this problem. Sculpture upon sculpture was dedicated to immortalizing flesh that was considered beautiful, and

Why We Love Speeding

I love speeding. As a born and bred New Jerseyan, I had to learn that keeping up with traffic on the parkway meant doing 90 mph or better. It quickly became a drug to me. Like that X-Files episode where victims of a government experiment had to travel at increasingly faster speeds or their heads would explode, anything less than 75 makes my brain itchy. Plus, speeding feels like a game. Weaving in and out of traffic, gauging the gap between the end of a lane and an accelerating semi, all of these things make speeding one of my favorite hobbies. In case you're wondering, yes I'm a Christian and yes I'm talking about the joys of intentionally breaking the law. You're probably also wondering when such bold-faced defiance will earn me my rightful comeuppance. Wonder no more: just last weekend, I got my first ticket. I was doing 22 over, in a construction zone, with workers present. That's four points on my license and a hefty fine for a single-income famil

When I Left the Church

A few years ago, I had my first panic attack. No, I wasn't reliving some traumatic childhood experience. I didn't lose a loved one or almost lose my wife and baby. I wasn't even having my blood drawn (which has produced similar results in the past). I had a panic attack over thinking about taking a break from church. As I blogged earlier this year ( here ), I have difficulty enjoying church. In particular, I started feeling more and more uncomfortable during worship services and unable to find a point of focus and reflection. So I decided to take a sabbatical from worship team involvement after a fourteen-year run. But it wasn't enough to change what I was doing--corporate worship still felt awkward. My wife's final suggestion was to just stop attending for a while and take the opportunity for solitude. That's when it happened. My chest tightened, my tongue stammered, and my entire body gave way to involuntary sit ups in the corner of our room. I

Bible Verse Memorization is Bad for You

I once had a Sunday School teacher who underestimated me. He was trying convince me and my classmates to memorize Bible verses but wasn't having much success. Finally, he got an idea: he vowed to give each of us one dollar for every verse we memorized that fall. With a small class of half a dozen fifth-grade boys, I don't think he expected to spend much more than ten or fifteen dollars total. But I was never one to shrink back from an intellectual challenge. More importantly, money equaled Lego's. So I cleaned him out of thirty bucks in less than a month. In a sense, his incentive worked. We all tried harder, in varying degrees of enterprise, to memorize Scripture. But the downside is I don't remember a single Bible verse that I memorized as a child . I'd feel bad about that if I thought I was the only one. A recent  Barna study  revealed that while 82% of Americans think they know their Bibles, 43% couldn't even name its first five books. Clearly, the pas