Archive for September 16th, 2008

16
Sep
08

All right fine, sex it is!

OK, I get the message. After putting up some decent numbers for blog visits here for well over a week, I’m hearing crickets chirp today. Thirty-five visits, and 20 of those by people who got here searching for images of “fuzzy boots” or “hot anime girls” and who probably left five seconds after realizing those posts weren’t what they hoped they’d be.

I understand. I posted another installment of my novel recently, and there are probably all of three or four science fiction fans reading that here. I posted a “drive-by scripture,” which isn’t as meaty or irreverent as some of my stuff. Then I post a Two-fer Tuesday post on a strange topic, “sorcery.” (Hey, you try coming up with good one-word topics that me and Miz Pink can tackle while mostly ensuring we won’t repeat each other.)

I get it. You’re all wondering, where’s the sex? It’s been a while. You’re saying, “Deac, damn it man. Your name is Deacon Blue. Not Deacon Blue Balls.” Or maybe not. In fact, maybe you’re all just depressed about the stock market. In any case, sex does sell, I admit. Always has. So it’s probably time, even if I have to force the issue. But, what the hell to talk about? I’ve already covered the major sex topics I can think of with a religious bent. Or, frankly, that don’t have a religious bent. But hey, let’s just flip through the lexicon of sex topics here…hey, there we go! Sex toys!

The Bible doesn’t mention sex toys. Frankly, I wouldn’t expect it to. But it does talk about “unnatural affection.”

For this reason, God delivered them to degrading passions as their females exchanged their natural sexual function for one that is unnatural. Romans chapter 1, verse 26

Frankly, I like the “God’s Word” translation a little better, as most translations do the “God delivered them” or “God gave them up to” wording, which sort of implies that God made them sin or somehow created a situation that encouraged them to sin.

And that translation goes like this:

For this reason God allowed their shameful passions to control them. Their women have exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.

Still a little odd-sounding, but closer to the idea that God let them do what they already wanted to until they might realize just how sinfully degraded they had become.

What does this have to do with sex toys? Probably nothing. Maybe they were using hand-carved cypress-wood dildos from Turkey and God didn’t like it at all. But somehow, I doubt it. But the agonizing thing is how vague “unnatural affection” is. I think it’s used elsewhere in the Bible and usually as code for homosexual sex (right after the verse above, to be honest). Some say the term means sodomy. I think it just means (at least in the context of the passage above with the women) sexually misusing your body.

Maybe the women (and the men) were just slutting around. Maybe they were committing incest or child sexual abuse. Maybe they were doing it with animals. I don’t think it was all about same-sex couplings.

Trouble is, people do get the idea that things like back door sex and use of sex toys is sinful. And I’ve seen the “unnatural affection” argument used to decry the use of vibrators, plugs, dildos and the like. I guess because they aren’t attached to your spouse’s body except by possibly some straps, so they aren’t “right” or “natural” in the eyes of the “Church Lady” types. But really, fornication is the sin. What you do to yourself, by yourself, regardless of what tool you use or what orifice you choose to put it in, isn’t sinful. I’ve been over this before, here and here, but masturbation isn’t a sin, folks. I just can’t see how it could be. So, sex toys or not, go for it. In fact, especially for the ladies, sex toys are probably just what you need for a lot of those solo sessions.

As for couples, well, the marriage bed is a place where damn near anything goes, and toys can be fun. They were fun as kids, and we’re supposed to be young at heart and remember our youthful love with our spouses throughout our lives together, so get yourself a toy box for some age-upgraded playthings.

Bottom line, there is nothing or unnatural about sex toys. I don’t think it falls into the “unnatural affection” category. Unless the Bible writers were being prophetic and referring to man-made materials like plastic, vinyl, rubber and latex. Pardon me, I think I need to go shopping now.

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16
Sep
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Sorcery by Deacon Blue

I don’t believe in the ability of a rabbit’s severed limb to increase my good fortune. Nor a horseshoe. I will quite happily walk under a ladder, as long as it isn’t a rickety one with someone on it. I don’t believe in monsters in my closet or vampires and werewolves camping out near my window at night just waiting for me to leave it open just a little too wide.

This is the 21st century after all. And I didn’t hold truck with such things in the 20th century either.

But still…

I’m not exactly willing to be so arrogantly cocky as to say that things like magic, possession, hauntings and the like are pure superstitious nonsense. I’m sure some people will say, “Of course, not Deacon, you already believe in a 2,000-year-old superstition called Christianity, which was based on a previous superstition called Judaism that started six or seven thousand years ago.”

But I digress.

It’s easy to say that something like sorcery just doesn’t exist. But science hasn’t locked down all the mysteries of the universe. Because I do operate from a position that there is an unseen God at work and a nasty piece of work named Satan working against him, I already believe that there are entities engaged in activities either outside the realm of physics or at such a high level of physics that it’s something we can only comprehend as “magic.”

I don’t think that sorcery per se is usually real. I think it’s something that is pretty rare and not something dramatic like in the movies or in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on TV. But I’m not willing to dismiss it, and I think there are people who are able to draw resources from wells that they shouldn’t be.

I try to remember the biblical precepts that tell us not to dabble in sorcery. I take that advice in the same vein I took a lot of my mom’s rules. There were some things I was willing to break rule-wise and other things I didn’t see the profit in. For example, I might grab myself a cookie when I shouldn’t or go play someplace dangerous but cool that I was barred from. But I didn’t play with matches and I didn’t take up bad habits like smoking. Because, frankly, the rules I followed to the letter all the time every time were things that didn’t strike me as fun to begin with. I didn’t see the appeal, for example, in possibly burning myself or burning down my home just to see a flame up close. The cookies had value to me, though.

I don’t see any attraction in palm readings, Ouija boards, seances or casting spells. That makes it easy for me to obey that biblical rule because I don’t see the profit in it. It doesn’t appeal to me to begin with, and I’m supposed to avoid it. Done deal. But there are other people who would see the allure or fun in such things and they risk being drawn into areas they shouldn’t, not unlike a husband who starts flirting with a co-worker and after weeks or months suddenly realizes he’s having an affair that he doesn’t much want to stop having.

Many of you will say, “OK, fair enough. You avoid it just in case. Still silly to believe in it to begin with.” Maybe. Maybe not.

I had a good friend in grad school who once told us of an experience he had in an apartment he lived in where items would go missing, and then turn up someplace else entirely. He started keeping track of items religiously to make sure it wasn’t something he was doing. Still kept happening, typically with the same items. Finally, one day, he said to the open air, “OK, I get it. You’re here. You want to be acknowledged. Whoever you are. I’ll give you some recognition and acknowledgement, and you stop taking my stuff.” He never had a problem again.

And before you tell me he was just telling us a story that he made up, this is a guy I trusted; someone who never showed anything but honesty. He was personable, popular and respected. He had a truckload of funny and entertaining anecdotes about his family and growing up in a little New Hampshire town. Am I supposed to believe that he felt the need to make up a ghost story on top of all that because that would give him some extra edge?  It’s possible, but oh so unlikely.

In my own experience, I have almost never had any signs, visions, visitations, psychic events or anything else. Whatever I have experienced has been so vanishingly infrequent or so minor it doesn’t bear mentioning. Except one thing. A few years back, my wife needed some essential oils for some aromatherapy stuff she was doing, and we went to “New Age” kind of shop in the city. I’ve been to a lot of alternative spirituality, New Age, Wiccan and other similar types of stores in my life. I actually like the places. They’re usually interesting, they have some cool stuff and there are some good books I can pick up to learn more about other belief systems.

But not this place.

My wife admitted later she felt a little weird too, but I felt more than weird in that place. I had an overwhelming sense of evil. That something had happened or regularly happened there that didn’t bear mentioning. Something spiritually wrong with the whole place. From the point at which I entered the door, all my internal alarm systems were going off. No, I didn’t fear that a demon would pop out from behind a bookcase or that I would be possessed or that the walls would begin to bleed and a hole open up beneath my feet to drop me into hell.

But all the same, what I felt was awful. A sense that I wasn’t welcome and didn’t belong. A sense that something wished it could hurt me. I don’t know what, if anything, that the shop owner dabbled in, but I never set foot in that store again and although he’s moved locations a couple times, I will not set foot in any of his other shops either.

(Come to think of it, my wife and I get a pretty funky feeling if we stay too long in the Wal-Mart. I wonder if the Walton family is using dark sorcery to keep its empire together. Hey, just throwing out theories. These are Sam Walton’s uber-greedy heartless kin, after all.)

In the end, I have to believe that forces exist that I don’t understand. The universe is a huge place and the workings of it are beyond the ability of the greatest minds on this planet to unravel. No matter how much science advances, or even spirituality for that matter, we will not know all the answers down here. I think that it is dangerous for any of us to assume an air of intellectual superiority that sorcery and the like are pure hogwash. Take a healthy grain of salt and be dubious, certainly. But don’t dismiss. It’s the purview of adolescents  and GOP presidential/vice presidential candidates for the past several election cycles to be arrogant, shallow know-it-alls.

If you feel comfortable staying just in the realm of the provable and rational, I’m not going to argue with you. But just be careful about assuming that just because you don’t believe in it, that means it doesn’t exist.

16
Sep
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Sorcery by Miz Pink

Okay I know the bible says “thou shall not suffer a witch to live” but would you please put down the wiccan. Please. “Thou shall not kill, too, remember.” “Judge not unless you want to be judged.”

Whew!

Oh hey! Just defused a nasty hostage situation. Dontcha hate it when you see an overzealous Christian dangling a pagan out a 10th story window?

I joke and truth is it doesn’t happen often, but it does seem to me that many Chrisitians I run into have a pretty unreasonable fear of witchcraft.

Myself, I figure if it does exist, I have God and the Holy Spirit to keep me safe.

yet folks go on about how they won’t let their kids participate in Halloween because its an evil pagan holiday and it’s the devil’s night and yadda yadda yadda…

They worry if their kids make friends with people who look “goth” or have too many piercings or happen to wear a pentagram around their neck.

Fact is, the only thing you should be worried about is raising your kids right and in the love of Jesus. Be warm, be nurturing and be honest, and chances are they’ll be all right. Frankly I like having friends outside of my Christian circles. Keeps things from getting too boring, gives me wider looks at the worldviews and maybe gives me a chance to help guide someone to Christ accidentally.

But parents, worry less about your kids being co-opted by the dark side. There aren’t too many wiccans or pagans out there who want to do harm, and I’m not sure there are many (if any) left who are really all that interested in possessing your kids’ souls or sacrificing a local virgin or baby. Your kids are in about the same level of “danger” from a wiccan as they are from a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness missionary or a Buddhist monk. Keep showing your kids through positive actions why they should emulate your faith in God and Jesus and you shouldn’t have much to concern yerself with.

(Incidentally, the “don’t suffer a witch to live” stuff is probably a mistranslation of not suffering a “poisoner” to live or som such thing)




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

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You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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