To every person who has survived harassment, abuse, or violation:
I’ve been thinking about you and wanted you to hear a few things today, in case you never hear them for anyone else. I so hope this reaches you.
I imagine these days must be difficult for you.
Not that every day isn’t difficult given what you’ve endured, but I imagine these are especially painful times—
to see the headlines and the hashtags, and to be continually reminded of the personal hell you’ve walked through;
to watch people debate the veracity of accusers,
to see survivors cross-examined by strangers,
to hear supposed adults suggest a child’s consent,
to listen to professed Christians defend predatory politicians using the Bible,
to see lawmakers take the side of the victimizers,
to witness admitted offenders being rewarded.Read More »
Essay also known as “We Have No Unlimited ‘Right to Happiness'”. This title was shortened further, somewhat inaccurately, by the Evening Post. A live animation of a C.S. Lewis essay in the artistic style of my desk lamp. Is that wrong? Written to a secular audience in 1963. I
You may watch more such summaries of the ideas of CS Lewis on the C.S. Lewis Doodle Playlist.
Sexuality remains a very contentious matter in evangelicalism, as, we have to admit, is the case in other Christian traditions. Of course, nobody can deny that we live at a time of over sexualisation, even of little girls, to such an extent that media, both religious and secular is constantly warning about the serious consequences of this phenomenon. However, many evangelicals respond to this social pathology with pudibond (i.e. ‘prudish’, if you want) reactions that are reminiscent of neo-Platonism, and have no connection to Christian anthropology and the proper biblical understanding of human sexuality, which is not rooted in the fall (and, thus, inherently evil), but in the perfect plan of God for a humanity that bears, be it in ‘broken vessels’, his perfect image.
In a recent extremely well written article done for Her.meneutics, the Christianity Today‘s blog for feminine matters, Courtney Bailey Parker, a a PhD student in English at Baylor University with a concentration in Early British Literature, who blogs HERE, discusses the manifestations and implications of this distorted view of human sexuality.
I paste below a few quotes from this excellent text.
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I never gave much thought to the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show—which airs Tuesday on CBS—until the broadcast a few years ago, when my college students came to class buzzing about a new catchphrase their classmates coined: I’d rather marry a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria’s Secret model. It became an overnight sensation on social media.
These students went on to launch the Live31 Movement, encouraging women to live out the characteristics of the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31 and promoting their cause with T-shirts and hashtags. Like most online campaigns, Live31 fizzled fairly quickly, but the dichotomy the campaign endorsed—the Proverbs 31 wife vs. the Victoria’s Secret model—has stuck with me over the past few years. Why was it so easy to come up with that, to position the Victoria’s Secret model as the perfect foil to the Proverbs 31 woman?Read More »
Source of this map, The Guardian.
The Sojourners have published a very insightful article by Catherine Woodiwiss, on a very up-to-date topic: sexual violence in religious contexts.
Here the first part of this text:
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Most of us are too familiar with this story: an Upper Midwestern Baptist minister claims that “God made Christianity to have a masculine feel [and] ordained for the church a masculine ministry.” Or a Reformed Christian pastor mocks the appointment of the first female head of the Episcopal Church, comparing her to a “fluffy baby bunny rabbit.” Or a Southern Baptist megachurch pastor in California says physical abuse by one’s spouse is not a reason for divorce. Or numerous young evangelical ministers brag about their hot wives in tight leather pants.
Fewer of us are familiar with this story: Tamar is raped by her half-brother Amnon. Tamar protests her brother’s advances, citing the social code of Israel, his reputation, and her shame, to no avail. Their brother Absalom commands her to keep quiet, and their father, the great King David, turns a blind eye.
What do these contemporary statements above, delivered into cultural megaphones with conviction and certainty, have to do with the Old Testament rape and silencing of Tamar? The difficult answer is, quite a lot. The narrative dominance of these stories rests on power and control, which — whether intentional or not — speaks volumes about whom the church serves and what the church values.Read More »
The foolish statement of a Republican candidate, who argued, in the context of the fight against abortion on any conceivable grounds, that victims of ‘legitimate rape’ are rarely, if ever, getting pregnant, stired up heated debates in the US and beyond. And rightly so, as such statements are just another horrible expression of the misogyny that dominates American conservative circles.
Read below an analysis of this matter , by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, published recently by Christianity Today.
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The controversy over the Missouri congressman’s comments gives Christians a chance to understand sexual assault with wisdom and theological depth.
ited States Representative Todd Akin and U.S Senate candidates started a national discussion about sexual assault this week after Akin’s unwise choice of words in an interview Sunday night.
The Missouri Congressman who attends a PCA church said to a St. Louis TV anchor that a woman’s body is capable of preventing pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.” He claimed a woman’s body can typically fend off pregnancy during such rape, as he argued against allowing abortions in cases of rape, claiming such pregnancies are uncommon in the first place.
Rep. Akin’s statement is as follows:Read More »
The article with the title above, published by Foreign Policy, raises a very important issue which, in our man-made world is most often neglected. Here is the main argument:
Using the largest extant database on the status of women in the world today, which I created with three colleagues, we found that there is a strong and highly significant link between state security and women’s security. In fact, the very best predictor of a state’s peacefulness is not its level of wealth, its level of democracy, or its ethno-religious identity; the best predictor of a state’s peacefulness is how well its women are treated. What’s more, democracies with higher levels of violence against women are as insecure and unstable as nondemocracies.Read More »
I must confess openly, I don’t like The Gospel Coalition. They are too rigidly Calvinistic and too aggressive for my taste.
And here they go again, as expected. This time by publishing a clearly chauvinistic blog post signed by Jared Wilson (in the mean time, withdrawn from the web site).
Rachel Held Evans, an author I read with pleasure, responds strongly to this text, is it was fully deserved. Here is what she says:
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Patriarchy is old—so old that the writers of Scripture include it in their creation story.
After Adam and Eve disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, the once harmonious relationship between the pair is mired: “Your desire will be for your husband,” God tells the woman, “but he will rule over you.” These words are part of a curse. And no matter how you interpret Genesis 1-3, this curse is as evident in today’s world as it was in the world of the biblical writers.Read More »
The Price of Sex is a feature-length documentary about young Eastern European women who’ve been drawn into a netherworld of sex trafficking and abuse. Intimate, harrowing and revealing, it is a story told by the young women who were supposed to be silenced by shame, fear and violence. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, takes us on a personal investigative journey, exposing the shadowy world of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Western Europe. Filming undercover and gaining extraordinary access, Chakarova illuminates how even though some women escape to tell their stories, sex trafficking thrives. Learn more HERE.Read More »
In recent elections one would have thought that homosexuality and abortion were the new litmus tests of Christianity. Where did this come from? They never were the criteria of proper membership for the first 2000 years, but reflect very recent culture wars instead—and largely from people who think of themselves as “traditionalists”! The fundamentals were already resolved in the early Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed. Note that none of the core beliefs are about morality at all. The Creeds are more mystical, cosmological, and about aligning our lives inside of a huge sacred story. When you lose the mystical level, you always become moralistic as a cheap substitute.Read More »
This is not really suitable for viewers under 18.
A troubling film about the tragedy of the nationalist conflict in former Yugoslavia and especially the extensive and premeditated use of rape as a weapon of war.
Watch HERE (in French) a very positive evaluation of the authenticity of this this movie.
In aceasta saptamina am avut sansa extraordinara de a petrece doua zile cu Walter Brueggemann. Inainte de a publica pe blog cite ceva despre aceasta intilnire, afisez din acest publicat initial acum trei ani.
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Contextul totalizant al producţiei şi consumului
Propun să înţelegem cultura de astăzi din Statele Unite ca pe un ,,totalism al productivităţii.” Prin totalism înţeleg un sistem ideologic atotcuprinzător care exclude abaterile de la regulile sale şi care îi anulează pe toţi cei care nu se supun acestei ideologii dominante. Prin productivitate înţeleg faptul că sistemul ideologic dominant din Statele Unite îi consideră valoroşi doar pe cei care participă la realizările consumiste legate de producerea şi de consumul de bunuri materiale, sistem care este guvernat de triada: bani, putere şi a sex. „Liturghiile” care susţin această ideologie sunt cele ale sportului şi ale întregii industrii de divertisment, care este specializată în chestiuni legate de putere, succes, bogăţie şi confort, livrate în proporţii nelimitate. Mijlocul de promovare al acestei liturghii este, desigur, televiziunea şi, din ce în ce mai mult, internetul care mediază o lume a vitezei, a puterii şi a dezvoltării, complet ruptă de realitatea trăită de persoane reale care-şi duc existenţa în comunităţi reale.
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Drawing from her personal story, as well as her visits with teens around the world, Pam talks about the consequences-both physical and emotional-of sex outside of marriage. It’s been her experience that, if given the facts, today’s young people are fully capable of making good, healthy decisions.
For years, Pam was on the “front lines” as Director of Alpha Women’s Center, a counseling center for women undergoing crisis pregnancies. Her experiences taught her that before teen pregnancy and STD rates could decline, attitudes of teens toward sex first had to change. Desiring to bring about that change, Pam started speaking nationally full-time and is in great demand both in the U.S.A. and in other countries such as Mexico, Australia, Ireland, and Canada.
Her web page is HERE.
M.I.S.T. (MATTOO INTERNATIONAL SUMMER TOUR sau Turneul International de vara MATTOO) 2011 este un eveniment nou, fara precedent care se desfasoara in vara aceasta in 10 orase din Statele Unite si Europa, avand ca scop principal informarea si implicarea barbatilor si a publicului larg despre si in miturile si realitatile traficului de persoane.
Mai mult chiar, pe masura ce evenimente sportive de anvergura, precum Cupa Mondiala, Super Bowl si Jocurile Olimpice sunt destinatii semnificative pentru traficanti sa-si aduca victimele acolo, M.I.S.T. 2011 este un preambul la M.I.S.T. 2012 / Olimpiada, care va avea loc in orase cheie din intreaga lume, cu doua luni inainte si in timpul Jocurilor Olimpice de la Londra, precum si in timpul altor evenimente sportive de amploare de dupa.Read More »
Stanton L. Jones is provost and professor of psychology at Wheaton College. With his wife, Brenna, he has written four books in NavPress’s sex-education series for Christian families, God’s Design for Sex.
In a very interesting recent article in Christianity Today Jones discusses seven essential things that Christians ned to know about sexuality. Here they are:Read More »
Mark Regnerus is a sociologist at the University of Texas and is a student of the sexual, family, and religious behaviours of youth and young adults in America. He’s the author of two books on those topics: Forbidden Fruit (Oxford, 2007) and Premarital Sex in America (Oxford, 2011). You may find HERE his CV.
In August 2009 I have written (in Romanian) a series of posts on this blog on a theme titled ‘Economy, Marriage , and Sexuality’. If you want to make some sense of them, you may use Google Translate, for an approximate rendering; they can be found HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. They were prompted by a presentation that Brian McLaren did at a meeting in Geneva, in 2006, on the economic roots of the present day crisis in human sexuality.
The immediate opportunity for this series of reflections was an article by Mark Regnerus, published by Christianity Today, and titled ‘The Case for Early Marriage’. He explained later that his purpose in writing it was to push back against the current norm in American society, including churches, which says: ‘Slow down, keep your options open, get your career in order, figure out who you are before considering marriage.’ And he continues, explaining: ‘It’s a popular norm, but it’s a sexual disaster. I’m seeing it plenty in the church, and I think it sends a horrible message about the meaning of marriage; that it’s what you do when the best years of your life are over’. Quite sobering, isn’t it?Read More »
While Christians often bemoan the state of marriage in America and groan about shifting sexual norms, there are structural reasons—some that have nothing inherently to do with sex or marriage—that have accelerated such changes. It’s actually become socially more difficult—not just personally more challenging—to withhold sex before marriage. Recognizing the economics and market dynamics of modern romantic relationships can make all the difference. Hear how you can save marriage before it starts.
Watch this video, if you have time. It is really worth it.
I will come back with a comment later on.
Dear sisters in Christ,
Quit your porn. I’m not talking about nude pictures, i.e. the kind of porn we males have more issues with. I’m talking about emotional porn. Your stupid Twilight vampires, your Nicholas Sparks fantasies, your Brad Pitts and Johnny Depps. Quit fantasizing about them.
What’s wrong with a little harmless fiction, you say? And how dare I equate it to the abomination to intimacy that is porn? Simple: it serves the same function as porn. You’re thinking guys just look at porn because they’re “perverted.” Well, sure. But what’s the perversion? It’s a twisted cry for intimacy–a shallow, selfish expression of a deep longing for a closeness that’s too difficult to attain in real life.Read More »
Unde ne sunt bărbaţii?
Poate că una dintre cele mai importante pricini pentru slăbirea instituţiei familiei în lumea în care trăim, inclusiv în cea evanghelică, este lipsa bărbaţilor. Nu mă refer aici la acele exemplare ale regnului uman care, din întâmplare, fără vreun merit al lor anume, sunt de sex bărbătesc. Pentru aceştia termenul de „mascul” este cel mai potrivit. Pentru mine, a fi bărbat are de-a face mai degrabă cu calitatea şi caracterul unui om, decât cu sexul.
Cristos este pentru mine Bărbatul Suprem. Şi caracteristica lui esenţială este spiritul de sacrificiu. Asta numim noi, îndeobşte, „bărbăţie”. „Bărbaţii” noştri strălucesc doar prin purtarea pantalonilor şi prin obstinaţia cu care îşi reclamă rolul de „autorităţi”.
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Despre laşitate şi iresponsabilitate
Datele statistice, deşi în principiu pot fi manipulate, sunt extrem de folositoare şi semnificative, atunci când sunt utilizate cu responsabilitate. Iar evoluţia statisticilor legate de vârsta căsătoriei sunt îngrijorătoare. Iată ce spune Regnerus:
…the median age at first marriage… has risen from 21 for women and 23 for men in 1970 to where it stands today: 26 for women and 28 for men, the highest figures since the Census Bureau started collecting data about it. That’s five additional, long years of peak sexual interest and fertility…
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De ce nu este simpla predicare a abstinenţei soluţia problemei?
Articolul de care vorbeam în primul episod se intitulează „The Case for Early Marriage” şi este scris de Mark Regnerus, autor al cărţii Forbidden Fruit. Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers, Oxford University Press, USA, 2007.
Voi reda mai jos câteva fragmente din acest articol, însoţite de mici comentarii, în speranţa că ele vor îndemna la meditaţie pe un subiect extrem de important pentru noi toţi.
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Marx Freud Nietzsche
De cel puţin cinci ani călătoresc în diverse ţări din lumea comunistă (precum Vietnam sau Laos), postcomunistă (pe astea le ştiţi) sau precomunistă (precum Bolivia), pentru a susţine seminarii pe tema unei perspective creştine asupra comunismului şi a postcomunismului.
În cadrul acestora încerc să spun oricui este dispus să mă asculte, că, după părerea mea, multe dintre crizele cu care se confruntă Biserica în această stranie perioadă istorică pot fi explicate, cel puţin în parte prin faptul că creştinii au fost incapabili să ia în serios mesajele celor trei „profeţi” ai modernităţii: Marx – care ne-a „predicat” despre importanţa economicului, Freud – care a încercat să ne convingă de forţa teribilă a sexualităţii şi Nietzsche – care ne-a vorbit despre puterea puterii. Poate tocmai de aceea problema Bisericii contemporane ar putea fi rezumată de titlul cărţii lui Richard Foster, Money, Sex and Power.
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Crissy Moran a devenit creştină la o vârstă destul de fragedă. Apoi părinţii ei au divorţat şi lucrul acesta a dus-o la o teribilă răzvrătire împotriva lui Dumnezeu.
În 1999 a pus câteva fotografii pe un site care recruta modele. De aici până la implicarea în industria pornografică n-a fost decât un pas. Şi-a creat propriul site pornografic şi a ajuns să câştige spre finalul acestei cariere circa 15.000 de dolari pe lună.
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Astăzi 1 ianuarie 2009 se împlinesc 50 de ani de la începutul revoluţiei comuniste cubaneze.
Cu această ocazie, pentru a vă oferi o imagine necosmetizată asupra acestei ţări, vă aduc aici, mai aproape, laolaltă într-un singur post, cele cinci episoade ale interviului meu cu Voicu Bojan despre călătoria lui în Cuba, publicate anterior pe acest blog între aprilie şi iunie 2008. (Acestea, şi comentariile la ele, pot fi găsite la următoarele link-uri: episodul I, episodul II, episodul III, episodul IV, episodul V.)
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Am fost cu toţii oripilaţi, de-a lungul timpului, de relatările legate de abuzurile sexuale ai căror autori erau clerici catolici din diverse locuri din lume. Chiar şi în cursul ultimei sale vizite care a avut loc în Australia, Papa Benedict XVI a fost nevoit să-şi ceară iertare pentru asemenea acte săvârşite de preoţi catolici australieni. Poate că şi compensaţiile oferite victimelor implicate în aceste acte de violenţă sexuală sunt răspunzătoare de criza financiară în care se află acum Vaticanul.
De asemenea, media relatează din când în când cazuri de abuz sexual – cu caracter homosexual, ori împotriva femeilor şi chiar a unor copii – în care cei acuzaţi sunt preoţi ori călugări ortodocşi.
Desigur, protestanţii nu sunt imuni la asemenea comportamente deviante. Auzim uneori relatări legate de asemenea fapte, mai ales când este vorba de anumiţi lideri ai confesiunilor protestante, din Statele Unite sau din alte părţi ale lumii.
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