My friend Dave Brown who heads the Washington Area Coalition of Men’s Ministries just published an interesting article in his newsletter. Perhaps you will find it encouraging, especially if if you believe that men are getting a raw deal these days. Anyway, here it is along with a link to the speech by Senator Josh Hawley which is the subject of Dave’s article. RMF
At a recent national conference Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri addressed the future of the American man and highlighted the need to strengthen and empower American men so that they can serve as an “unrivaled force for good in the world.” Several things struck us about the speech. First, how rare, almost never, does a sitting U.S. Senator publicly support and defend men, especially in today’s toxic culture against masculinity. Most politicians readily, almost incessantly, are in praise of women and their advancement but men have become the third rail of American politics. Second, while Hawley stated the obvious to many of us but its been far from obvious among the nation’s ruling class and more and more people in the popular culture, even among many who call themselves church goers. Hawley words are a wake up call to the culture that men continue in crisis with its even more dire consequences for everyone. Third, the speech sent the political and religious left into total meltdown. Hawley has been personally attacked and his views viciously ridiculed – one prominent writer warned readers he was “coming after their porn and video games.” Other pundits said he was “laugh-out-loud funny”. Another woke sage claimed he had a “bizarre, pathetic obsession with masculinity.” As inane and insane as the attacks have been, they’re not surprising. Fourth, what is surprising and deeply disconcerting is that Hawley’s bold, much needed remarks were met with silence by his colleagues, traditional values organizations, pastors and leaders of ministries to men across the country. The battle has long been joined but so many have left the hottest point of the battle for the tall grass in the rear. Pray for Senator Hawley. Read, share and engage his remarks, which are HERE
Back when I was at The George Washington University working on my Masters in Forensic Science I was exposed to terribly gruesome crime scenes during an evidences course. I learned that what I saw with my eyes had a way of continuing to inhabit and infect my memory. I saw things I did not want to remember and quickly learned the great advantage in guarding my eyes. (I’m reminded of the song often quoted by my dear friend Brett Andrews, Be careful Little Eyes What You See.). When the professor, a medical examiner, flashed scenes on the screen before us I simply closed my eyes and turned my head away. His oral description of the point to be made was sufficient to teach me all I needed to know – but without the haunting recollection. Since that time I have been exposed to many sexually explicit scenes in movies and on TV that have troubled me in the same sort of way. Some I was able to turn away from and others I watched but later regretted it. I discovered that even when “tastefully” portrayed they still bothered me and crept into my memory in unwelcome ways. But, praise God, He has been faithful in helping me cleanse them from my memory. My goal has been to honor God by honoring that which He has created as sacred and to keep my relationship with my dear wife pure and untainted and free from thoughts of an intimate nature of anyone else. I recognize that this may sound prudish and old-fashioned but it has worked remarkably well for me.Anyway, that is a rather long introduction to a video by one of my favorite Christian commentators and apologists, Alisa Childers. In the video link here she expresses her views on the new “Christian” movie Redeeming Love. I fully agree with her analysis of the entire plot line as being different from the Biblical account of Hosea and her rationale for choosing to not see it herself and for cautioning others to avoid it. Click HERE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKHWuUtrcaY
And here are additional links on the topic which I believe are worth checking out if you’re interested. They are:
QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE WATCHING OR RECOMMENDING REDEEMING LOVE
Number one, am I or the person I’m recommending this to strong believers in Christ with a consistent stable walk with Jesus? Two, do I or the person I’m recommending this to understand the Book of Hosea and its true meaning? Number three, do I or the person I’m recommending this to struggle with porn, fantasy, erotica, or relational discontentment? Number four, have I acknowledged that recommending this material could create a stumbling block in the life of my sister in Christ? Number five, “Do I recognize that consuming this material and books like it can change how women view their marriages, singleness, contentment, spiritual walk, and even God Himself? Number six, would I be okay with my husband or boyfriend watching the sexual scenes in this book or movie privately apart from the story? Number seven, does this produce mutual upbuilding for my sister or brother or whoever I’m recommending it to? For me, these are great questions I need to ask myself before watching Redeeming Love or anything else of this nature. And, again, for me, the questions apply not only to media of any nature with sexual content but also for movies depicting graphic gore, violence, and cruelty. The one exception I can think of is The Passion of Christ. That was a painful and disturbing movie to watch but it did draw me closer to the Risen Savior and made me more aware of the extreme cost He paid for my redemption.
I just received the following from my friend Bob Skiffington. Bob and I have been friends for well over 20 years and are in a men’s group together. When Bob speaks I listen. And, in this case I believe it is important to share his words. RMF
Confession, Grace, and Healing
As somewhat of a dedicated people-pleaser, I am quite allergic to conflict. My strategy for dealing with conflict has been unwavering avoidance. Now, considering the volatile political atmosphere, that definitely seems to be the safest approach to take. But safe is not always right and maybe a hideout is not the best place to be right now, especially for followers of Christ. In preparation for a small group Bible study on grace, I was formulating discussion questions for two chapters from a book by Max Lucado. One chapter dealt with the value and need for confession and the other chapter spoke of the sufficiency of God’s grace. In a moment of revelation, I felt hope for our nation based on an application of these two foundational principles from God’s Word. Instead of keeping these insights to myself, I decided to jump right into the fray, and share them with you. The primary Bible verse came from John 1:7-9:
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Notice that this passage contains a series of “if/then” conditional statements. These are God’s promises. When looked at separately, I observed an application for a godly response to the troubles that are gripping our nation. If we walk in the light, as He is in the light – A relatively small number of people have dragged us into the dark. Although we are all sinners, there are some particularly evil people on both the right and the left who have incited heinous violence and terror. And, like a vacuum, these few people have sucked a tremendous number of otherwise reasonable people into unquestioned support and unyielding justification for their point of view while, at the same time, completely dismissing and disregarding any possibility of there being a morsel of truth in an alternate view. They have convinced us that there are two groups – Us and Them. Friends we have known for years as kind and compassionate people appear now on social media speaking shockingly harsh, insensitive, and vulgar words to each other. It is true that we can be divided into two groups of people. However, the groups are not Us vs. Them but The Humble vs. The Proud. Humble people walk in the light and actively listen to what other people have to say, even if they don’t agree with them. There can be fellowship and dialogue between people with differing opinions. We can start by identifying all of the things we can agree on. There are many values that together we share and acts that we universally condemn. But when people are hurting, and they are, we need to humbly listen to them.
If we say we have no sin –
At some level, people on both sides are equally guilty of sin by thoughts, words, actions inactions. One distinct caution sign indicating that you may be wrong is feeling undeniably right. There are so many cognitive biases of which we are completely shape and distort our thinking. It is completely normal, though not right, to see the sins others while being totally blind to those in our own lives. Or, we might acknowledge but consider them as insignificant in comparison to the sins of others. This is both the the effect of the Us vs. Them division. A culture that accepts a philosophy affirming that wrong done by one group is OK because the wrong done by the other group was worse unsustainable and leads only to the downward spiral that we are now witnessing. Even other side has a log in their eye, we still need to check our own eyes first. If we ask in God will reveal the sin in our life. If say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the not in us.
If we confess our sin –
When we are truthful and acknowledge the sin in our lives, our godly response will be confession (admitting our wrongs) and repentance (reversing our direction). These are foundational building blocks to move forward to forgiveness and reconciliation. Truthfully, when we are talking about imperfect people rather than God, forgiveness and restoration may not automatically be offered to those who confess and repent and if/when they are given, it may be so only after an extremely long and difficult process for the giver. The hurts are great and the healing painful but, if there is to be hope for our nation, people must humble themselves, admit their failures, and move forward in a better direction. God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from unrighteousness. And we can move forward. Some may prefer to hold on to their righteous anger and seek a measure of vengeance, sinking into deepening darkness, but I think most people really want things to get better. And there’s good news. God’s grace is sufficient to overcome our weaknesses and the people and powers that want to destroy us. If God is for us, who can be against us? From His fullness we have already received grace upon grace. God is willing and able to make ALL grace abound to you, so that having ALL sufficiency in ALL things at ALL times, you may abound in EVERY good work. Even the restoration of a crippled nation or a wounded soul.
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” Friends, that is the side I want to be on. A tree is known by its fruit. As author Brant Hansen notes, when the tree is shaken, you can look and see what kind of fruit falls. Is it anger, bitterness, and vengeance? Or is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Against such things there is no law.
As I write this, I wonder how it sounds to you. You may be ready to applaud the effort or condemn it. I hope I did not make any of this sound easy because I know it may well be the hardest thing that Americans will have done since the Civil War. We are fighting for liberty and justice for ALL. Personally, I must confess that while trying to avoid conflict, I have not spoken up for the injustices I have witnessed and have not reached out to those around me who may be suffering injustice and pain in silence. I have been far too dismissive of people with differing opinions. Seeing the sins in my own life is why I wrote this. For these things and others, I ask for forgiveness. I still have a long way to go. But, with God’s help, I will do better.
Professor George Stanciu is a super writer who excels in various subject areas. Here is a wonderful example of his skill in defining history in terms of narrative. I believe you’ll appreciate his approach in using story to define how we got to where we are as a country. This article appeared at: The Imaginative Conservative as: How America Went to War Against Itself. Dr. Stanciu is the Academic Dean Emeritus at Magdalen College of Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. RMF
How America Went to War Against Itself
By George Stanciu
That Americans cannot reach consensus on gun control, immigration policy, and climate change are symptoms of societal collapse, not from physical causes, such as the mindless destruction of a vital resource or a colder climate, but rather the splitting of a people’s storytelling into two opposed morality plays. The stable standoff between these two stories is most likely an illusion of the moment, for nothing remains static or fixed in America.
The Grand Narrative of War
The citizens of a Nation-State are held together by storytelling, which is especially evident during wartime. On February 23, 1942, the 110th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday, my parents and millions of other Americans huddled around their radios to hear Franklin Delano Roosevelt deliver a fireside chat on the progress of the war. The President invoked how General Washington and his Continental Army overcame “formidable odds and recurring defeats,” so that “Washington’s conduct in those hard times has provided the model for all Americans ever since—a model of moral stamina.” He told his fellow Americans that “the common enemy seeks to destroy every home and every freedom in every part of our land,” and consequently each of us must “gladly sacrifice, not only his pleasures, not only his goods, not only his associations with those he loves, but his life itself.” We would show Berlin, Rome, and Tokyo that we are not “a nation of weaklings.” Ultimately, we Americans are fighting for the “whole world; disarmament of aggressors, self-determination of nations and peoples, and the four freedoms—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.”
Without the grand narrative setting the goal of the United States to “save the homes and ideals of free men from axis domination,” and then after the war to bring freedom to “all nations and peoples,”Americans would not have so readily accepted the necessities of world war—economic hardship, prolonged separation from loved ones, and the deaths of spouses, siblings, and sons in far away, foreign lands.
My parents, born in Transylvania into a peasant life founded on ancient tradition, the teaching of the Orthodox Church, and face-to-face communal relations, not the Nation-State, nevertheless heeded the directives of President Roosevelt. Their grocery store in rural Michigan joined the war effort by becoming a center for scrap drives, supplying free seeds and plants for victory gardens, and contributing to the packages assembled by neighborhood women for local boys who had enlisted in the service. Continue reading →
It is impossible to deny with a straight face that there is an abundance of hateful rhetoric, hostility, and ill will loose in our society. In fact, the disagreeableness and “party Spirit” we observe on all sides is arguably the defining characteristic of today’s public discourse. Here is a sampling of the Biblical standard for our actions and attitude toward others. We’re called to be tenderhearted and to:
“…be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” (Ephesians 4:32)
“…like-minded and sympathetic, love one another,and be compassionateand humble, not paying back evil for evilor insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing,since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing. Forthe one who wants to love life and to see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit, and let him turn awayfrom evil and do what is good. Let him seek peaceand pursue it, because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12)
“…as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved,put on compassion, kindness,humility,gentleness,and patience,bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15)
I know how far I fall short of the above standards – but I’m honestly working on it day-by-day and asking God for His grace and the Holy Spirit’s power to move ever closer to the biblical standard. And, God is good and faithful and brings into my life a continuing stream of reminders to help me improve. One such reminder landed in my inbox yesterday. It is a delightful article by Pastor Bob Russell. The article appeared first at: bob russell.org as: Kudos To Ellen DeGeneres. RMF
Kudos To Ellen DeGeneres
By Bob Russell
Ellen DeGeneres’ world-view is much different than mine. I think she’s a talented entertainer and a likeable person, but I don’t agree with her lifestyle or political beliefs. However, I really appreciated the statement the popular comedian made last week explaining why she attended an NFL game with former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura.
The national television broadcast featured a shot of Ellen DeGeneres and President Bush laughing together. The fact that she had a good time with Mr. Bush bothered many of her fans. Some expressed anger that she would even be seen in public with a man who had been responsible for initiating the Iraq War and taking a pro-marriage, pro-life stand during his presidency. They equated her casual friendship with the Bush’s as equivalent to fraternizing with the enemy.
George W. Bush & Ellen DeGeneris
Last week on her syndicated talk show Ellen DeGeneres took considerable time to address the issue. “Some people were upset,” she admitted. “They thought, ‘Why is a gay, Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative, Republican president?’” Many angry people tweeted about the seemingly mismatched pair, DeGeneres said.
The tweet that impressed her the most, however, was a positive one: “Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again,” she read. Her audience cheered for the positivity, and DeGeneres explained she’s friends with many people who don’t share the same beliefs. “We’re all different. And I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different,” she continued. Continue reading →
The following is a series of three articles written by my online friend, Pastor Billy Long. He wrote the articles due to the serious issue of abortion and in response to the law recently enacted in New York allowing babies to be aborted even during the 3rd trimester, which would be right up until the time of birth. This law also allows the killing of the child if the aborted baby is born alive. Our Governor here in Virginia, Ralph Northam, has also endorsed this practice. These sorts of practices will bring the judgment of God upon our nation. We need to speak up about these abominations and Billy’s articles provide ample basis and rationale for us to be vocal in our condemnation and protests against abortions of convenience. We also need to be fervent in our prayers as we seek to save innocent lives and precious souls and to warn those who practice this wicked behavior to repent and seek God’s mercy and forgiveness. Finally, the articles might be useful in counseling any person considering having or participating in an abortion. Pastor Long heads Billy Long Ministries and can be contacted at:.billylongministries.com and his blog is at: http://blongandfriends.blogspot.com. RMF
Three Articles on Abortion
by Billy Long
Pastor Billy Long
THE BRUTALITY OF ABORTION
BODIES IN JARS
Excavations of pre-Israelite Canaan uncovered a large number of jars containing the remains of children sacrificed to Baal. Other excavations discovered many jars containing the remains of infants who had been sacrificed to Baal during King Ahab’s time. These jars bring to mind the photos of garbage cans filled with baby parts at abortion clinics. I showed one of these pictures to a high school girl once. Her reply was, “That’s just propaganda.” She was not able to bring herself to face the fact she was looking at actual babies dismembered and thrown away. Her political position would not allow her to accept the fact that these babies went through torture and excruciating pain as they were being killed and taken from their mother’s wombs.
The religious rites of Baal worship were noted for their sexual and immoral indulgences and for child sacrifice. Our own culture with its rampant sexual promiscuity has produced over 60 million abortions. The sexual practices of Baal worship and the promiscuity of our own current culture show that unbridled sexual activity outside of marriage leads to the death of children, whether sacrificed in religious worship to a pagan god or dismembered inside a mother’s womb to the god of convenience. In either case, the remains of infants are left behind in jars and garbage bins. Continue reading →
It has been my honor and privilege to volunteer as a greeter for two Honor Flights, each of which originated in Chicago and landed at Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC. It was thrilling. A dear friend, Bob Skiffington, and I went together on each occasion and were deeply moved at getting to greet and speak with the arriving veterans for a few moments before they boarded their buses to visit the memorials in DC. The flights brought in vets from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. An extra treat was getting to visit with my son, Thatcher, who was also there as a representative of the Fairfax County Police Department. Thatcher is a “sworn” Auxiliary Police Officer. There was a fabulous band which played the Star Spangled Banner and a nice collection of other patriotic songs and marches. The following is a neat account of the event by Bob Russell. The article appeared first at: bobrussell.org as A Thrilling Honor Flight and the One That Is to Come. RMF
APO Thatcher Furgerson with Fairfax County Police Officers
The Thrilling Honor Flight and the One That Is to Come
by Bob Russell
Pastor Bob Russell
Two weeks ago, my friend Andy Potts invited me to accompany him on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. The Honor Flights were originated in 2005 to express appreciation to World War II veterans for their sacrificial service to our country. Organizers have recently expanded their mission to include those who served in Korea and Vietnam. Andy, a Korean War veteran, asked me to accompany him since every vet on the trip is required to have a guardian.
Andy Potts and Bob Russell
When we arrived at Louisville’s Standiford Field at 6:00 a.m., there were dozens of volunteers mingling with the veterans, answering their questions, and thanking them for their service. One young woman was dressed like “Rosie the Riveter,” the iconic poster girl representing women in the workplace during World War II. A trio of women dressed as World War II WACs (Women’s Army Corps), complete with 1940’s hats, hairdos, and stockings, circulated among the men, many of whom were over 90 years of age and in wheelchairs. Continue reading →
I’m at once fascinated and confused by quantum mechanics. The following article by George Stanciu sheds much light on the subject for me and especially as it deals with the implications it has on no less an issue than the meaning of life. When I initially received the article I forwarded a copy to my Christian friend and PhD physicist John Kershenstein, and asked him if he had any thoughts on it as regards how God and/or the Holy Spirit play into quantum mechanics and any implications regarding spirituality, Christian faith, or free will. I’ve always admired John and appreciate his insights and the way he is able to bring more light to topics like this than I would have come to on my own. Here is John’s reply:
I enjoyed the article. There’s a book I would recommend on this whole subject. Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum by Lee Smolin. [I purchased it and am plowing my way through it. rmf] I’m surprised that Stanciu didn’t reference it. Essentially it says that either quantum mechanics is wrong or at least is incomplete. Smolin doesn’t give any answers but is hoping a more complete theory is being developed. Of the two schools that Stanciu alludes to, Copenhagen Interpretation, and the non Copenhagen interpretation, Smolen is in the latter camp..
Looking for theological meaning in quantum mechanics is a rabbit hole I don’t want to go into. The more I think about it, especially when thinking about cosmology, my feeling is that God created the universe and it’s laws to leave the observer/student in absolute awe of his omnipotence I think he made the universe, etc., knowable in such a way that the more we know it the more we realize that we don’t fully know it and the more there is to understand. (He also did this to give physicists job security.) Ultimately I think this is part of what heaven is all about. We will have eternity to keep learning more and more about God. And that learning will never have an end. That’s the Kershenstein interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Ever thoughtful and thorough John sent a follow-up note based on the “coincidental” appearance of Colossians 2 in his Church’s daily reading for 9/9/19, which includes the passage:
“…for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col. 2:2,3
I think this sums it up. I wonder if Paul was a physicist in his spare time. John
The article by Professor Stanciu appeared first at: The Imaginative Conservative as: Quantum Physics and Mind. For those interested in learning more about the development and implications of quantum mechanics Dr. Stanciu’s article concludes with some wonderful references and links to applicable sources. I’m super grateful that he gave me permission to repost his article here. I have taken the liberty of adding a few photographs of scientists and physicists mentioned in the article.
PS – This article and the whole role of the observer/detector sort-of reminds of the question: If I make a statement and my wife isn’t there to hear it am I still wrong anyway?
Quantum Physics and Mind
By George Stanciu
In 1989, the double-slit experiment revolutionized understanding of matter: The universe is not deterministic as promulgated by the worldview of Newtonian physics. Surprisingly, the meaning of quantum physics, a most arcane subject, remote from human experience, in light of these discoveries, raises the most profound question a person can ask “Who am I?”
Illustration from La Vraye Histoire du Bon Roy Alixandre (The Romance of Alexander in Old French prose) by Pseudo-Callisthenes, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
I doubt that there are any of us who have not been hounded by bad thoughts at one time or another. These are the kind of thoughts that continue to reappear in the theater of our minds and rerun constantly, performance after performance; nagging, negative notions, ideas, and even temptations that refuse to leave us in peace. Malissa McLaughlin addressed the issue brilliantly in her Truthful Grace blog. The article appeared at: melissamclaughlin.org as: How Can I Get Rid of Bad Thoughts? I so appreciate the skillful way that Ms. McLaughlin uses Scripture as a powerful tool to defeat the evil thoughts that plague us. RMF
We had just arrived home after visiting my parents for a home-cooked dinner. Mom packed us a hefty bag of leftovers, our very own “goodie bag”. My mom’s special recipe crispy chicken, homemade apple sauce, mashed potatoes and creamed corn. Mmm, mmm, good! But the crowning touch was her chocolate cake. Oh my! There is no chocolate cake like my mom’s chocolate cake! Rich, moist, decadent chocolate cake topped with melted Hershey bar icing. A chocolate lover’s dream!
As I put away the leftovers, I placed the slices of chocolate cake in the cupboard for tomorrow. In order to avoid overindulging, I promised myself I would save this delightful and delectable treat for tomorrow night’s dessert.
(As a lover of chocolate anything I relate to this obsessive thought illustration. RMF)
No sooner had I set this reasonable and healthy boundary for myself, than thoughts of this chocolate cake bombarded my mind like a torrential hailstorm! Why should I wait? It would taste so good right now, even though I was already full from the meal we had just eaten. It is a homemade delicacy that I don’t often get to enjoy. Why wait? Why wait even one more second?
Like a walk in summer fields where nettles and prickers attach themselves to the very fibers of our clothing requiring concentrated effort to extract, so thoughts of the chocolate cake clung to my mind with a fierce and unyielding grip. What a war can take place in our thoughts!
I enjoyed that piece of cake the next day for dessert, savoring the flavor to the fullest, not despite having to wait, but because of having waited. Chocolate heaven!
In this case my thoughts were captivated by something good, my mom’s chocolate cake. But sometimes, our thoughts become hyper-focused on things that are not good. Continue reading →
For years I’ve appreciated the work of Gary Thomas, the author of some great books on marriage including Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? I just came across an article by Mr. Thomas which I believe is right on target for what is needed in a thriving marriage. According to the author: “This post is to unmask unhealthy relating in order to point you elsewhere toward a place of healing and redemption.” With our society’s clearly unhealthy obsession with sex it is wonderful to read some honest truth about the subject.
This article originally appeared at: www.garythomas.com as 6 Marks of Healthy Sexuality. Mr. Thomas is a writer in residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct faculty member teaching on spiritual formation at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and Houston Theological Seminary in Houston, Texas. He is the author of 18 books, other than Sacred Marriage including: Sacred Pathways, Cherish, Sacred Parenting, and Authentic Faith. He has a master’s degree from Regent College, where he studied under Dr. J.I. Packer, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity from Western Seminary. See Mr.Thomas’ latest book here. RMF
6 Marks of Healthy Sexuality
What are the marks of a healthy sexual relationship?
It’s not inappropriate to ask what is most pleasurable or most exciting for married couples, but meaningful lovemaking is so much more than creating greater sexual arousal and climaxes. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to also ask “What are the markers of a wholesome sexual experience that is accomplishing God’s relational intent?”
In my view, “healthy” protects happy pleasure; it doesn’t threaten it.
I write this post with a bit of pastoral concern: Lisa and I have met some wives (and the occasional husband) who felt tempted to compromise their faith and even their own sense of sanity because they realized after getting married that their spouse has some sexual hang-ups.
The Gary and Lisa Thomas family
At first, they thought the best thing to do was to “go along.” Going along never works; it just prolongs the inevitable crisis. Nursing an unhealthy inclination never makes things better; it just makes the way back a little longer and ultimately more difficult.
Seeking a healthy sexual relationship is a fair and good and wise and holy pursuit.
These six marks aren’t exhaustive; I’m sure there are many more, but here’s a short, non-scientific test to see how you and your spouse are doing in regards to sexual intimacy.
Healthy sex is relational
1 Christian sex is always relational sex.
Any sexual experience divorced from relational connecting isn’t healthy sex. Pornography, voyeurism, predatory touching, any form of paying for sex, exhibitionism, group sex, anonymous sex, or objectifying marital sex all have the same common denominator: sex divorced from relational connecting. Most forms of sexual deviancy include a separation between sex and emotional connection.
In a biblical view of sex, physical intimacy draws husband and wife ever closer together. After the intimacy is over they smile, hold on to a very pleasant shared memory, and their bond is deepened accordingly. Unhealthy sex further isolates an already damaged person. They “wake up” from the sexual experience, feel increased shame (making him/her a little less capable of authentic intimacy) and want to hide what just happened from everyone instead of remember it fondly with a special someone.
Healthy sex says to each (willing) participant: “You matter. You are desired. You are cherished. I am not having sex with a body but making love to you as my special 3-dimensional (body, mind mixed with emotions, and spirit) spouse. I affirm you and want to please you.”
Be wary of any form of sexual excitement or fulfillment that is separate from appropriate relational connection. If it’s not drawing husband and wife closer together, it’s not healthy. Continue reading →