Tag Archives: Worldview

Soul Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. Solomon was taken in by the beauty of her figure and breasts. The picture is of two young gazelles, affectionate, playful, soft – something that you want to touch and enjoy watching. Fawns are young, sleek and even graceful. But they are also very skittish. If you make a quick movement, they will bolt away in fear. Solomon is saying I want to touch those, but I don’t want to frighten her. He’s being tender. He’s moving slowly and cautiously. I don’t see him aggressively squeezing or violently treating her. It’s so important not to attack your bride.

Are you surprised that the Bible talks about breasts in such an erotic way? God is Holy. He is pure. This can’t be obscene. A man and woman married, madly in love, and having the time of their lives. It’s a playful time, a flirtatious time, a sensual time. If a woman always asks, “Am I beautiful to you? Do you notice me?” a man is always asking not just “Do I have what it takes?” but “Is life with you going to be sexual?” When a wife walks by, it builds sexual tension in the visually oriented male. He notices her curves and shape. And with every passing day since the last intimate encounter, every one of her features become more distinct and attractive to him.

Does your wife feel desired by you and does she feel beautiful to you? If not, why not? The reason she uses all the make-up and accessories is that she wants to stay in your center of vision. Does your husband feel admired, nourished, sexually alive? Why not? Why are you leveraging or holding out on this precious gift of marriage?

6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.
Now, in the flow of things, it appears that the mountain of myrrh and the hill of incense refer to the same thing. But what are they referring to? Myrrh and incense were expensive perfumes. Let the spirit speak to you on this one. If I explain this one it may get you and me both in trouble. This is a work of verbal art. There is no sterile medical language to rob it of its eroticism. But there is no crudeness or obscenity to cheapen it. Each word and phrase lets us know that Sol basked in the beauty of it all.

7 All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
It seems now, that Solomon takes a step back to get the full picture. It’s like he’s saying, “From head to toe, you are just wonderful.” Of course, her body wasn’t perfect, but it was to him. It’s not so much what she looks like, but how he feels about her. With the exception of the teeth comment and the longer hair which is implied with the goat remark, we have no idea what she physically looks like. It doesn’t matter. What does matter, is how her husband viewed her (Mahaney). Remember it’s a song, poetry. He’s making some poetry. Her body is beautiful to him. He can exaggerate for effect if he wants to. To him, it was a perfect body. It’s perfectly acceptable to exaggerate in a song. Besides great romance is trial and error. Remember, this is a polished song, suitable for publishing. I’m sure Solomon and Abishag made their mistakes. Great romance isn’t about kissing just right or touching just right or a flawless evening. Romance is not reserved for those with flawless bodies. It’s more about fumbling and bumbling around together until you laughingly stumble upon those things that bring the greatest satisfaction and joy to you both. Romance, sex and love should be a no-pressure playground where you cultivate the spirit of playfulness. That’s what I sense in all the Song of Solomon – a spirit of playfulness and fun and joy within a marital context. That’s part of the marital fun. You open the gift of your sexuality together and begin to experiment and play for a lifetime. You give each other respectful signals of what is working and what isn’t and you just keep at it for a lifetime.

To Be Continued

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Filed under Beauty, Body, Body Language, Christian Worldview, Dating, Daughters, Femininity, Love, Lust, Marriage, Masculinity, Orgasm, Pleasure, Pornography, Sex, Sexual Addiction, Women, Worldview

Soul Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

4 Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors.
Did this woman work out or what? What bride wants her neck compared to a solid, thick tower weighted down with heavy metal shields? Is Solomon messing up the poem? Is he about to spoil the romance of it all? The tower of David was a military place; it symbolized strength. The neck was a symbol of strength and inner character. She’s standing tall and straight. There is no shame. There is no disgrace. She has never been with a man, but she’s quietly confident. She was a true gift. She was not overwhelmed with embarrassment, even though she had some initial blushing. She had a tilt to her head and a sparkle in her eyes. She was ready for him to explore more.

I think that Solomon was undoing a necklace for her when he comments on her neck. Necklaces were made of coins and flat pieces of designer metal (Tommy Nelson and others). The clank of it all reminded Solomon of a fortress when all the soldiers would be called to battle and you could hear the whisking of swords going into their sheaths and shields bumping and clanging against the stone. “Her neck would hold much of the jewelry that a woman might wear. Such jewelry was often layered, where strands of jewelry were placed one on top of the other. This formed a layered appearance that could ascend from the shoulder and reach as far as the top of the neck.” Imagine the adrenaline rush as a soldier who was getting ready to lay it all on the line on a battlefield. Now, there is a different adrenaline rush. When he tenderly takes that necklace off her beautiful, slightly tilted neck while she was holding those long strands of black curly hair up away from her neck, he was totally lost in it all. She had this amazing body language. The way she held herself just captivated him, and yet she never said a word.

You can’t “not” communicate with others, especially a spouse. Without saying a word, you reveal your feelings and attitudes. Your smile says, “I’m happy” and a fake smile says “I’m not happy, but I want you to think I am.” Your frown and crossed arms say, “I’m mad,” and your drumming fingers and loud sighs say, “I’m impatient – get moving.” Even when you try to show nothing, your closed-off stance and refusal to speak say, “I don’t want to talk about it” or “I’m rejecting you.” You communicate non-verbally with facial expressions, gestures, and posture and you also communicate by how close you get spatially to people (McKay, Messages…). It seems that Solomon is doing most of the talking, but what I see is that her body language is awesome. He’s within 18 inches of her. He’s seeing all the nuances of her face. He sees if the eyebrows are raised or lowered, if the forehead is wrinkled or smooth, if the skin is pale or toned. She gave him all the gestures he needed to let him know that he was saying and doing the right things and that she loved it. Your face is an ever changing billboard signaling your attitudes and reactions.

All the men know what I’m talking about when I talk about “the Look.” The Look is a very useful tool for women and can accomplish many objectives. When she is upset or disapproving, “the Look” will often get him to stop doing something. When she is disappointed the Look can spur him to action (Pam Farrel). Abishag had great body language.

This is one kind, tender man, but it is also one amazing woman. He’s taking it all in. He’s being romantic. Guys, take note. He’s gazed into her eyes. He’s whispered affirming words. He’s helped her untress her hair. He’s traced her lips with his finger. He’s studies her teeth! He’s kissed her. He has tenderly removed her necklace. He’s just now getting to first base! His tempo is impeccable and it all says that he was attracted to her. He’s not even below the neck and he’s just mesmerized. And she overtures back a melody of body language that lets him know that all this feels so loving to her. She tilts her head just a little when he helps her to let her hair down, when he so delicately moves his finger along her lips. Her cheeks are a little red, but she’s confident and so alive in his presence. It all says to him, “I really like this.” Men, this is how women go about connecting. Intimacy means sharing secrets, talking things over, cuddling.

Gary Smalley wrote, “Men are microwaves, women are Crock-Pots.” He’s right. A man 3,000 years ago could jump out of a chariot and into the sheets just about any time of day or night and enjoy sexual things in just about any form. Has anything changed? God designed men to be visually oriented. This is not an excuse to be immature in how you treat or view a woman, and if you as a woman are irked, irritated, or angry about this basic wiring, your issue is with God, not your husband. A man is visually-oriented. A woman is so different. She needs time and tenderness to build rapport. If you have a problem with that, take it up with God. That’s how she’s made. But God made us both this way. It’s complimentary. If women were wired like men, nothing would ever get done. It would all be just one big romance. You’d never leave home. Tommy Nelson has suggested that if men were wired like women, we would have no over-population problems in certain parts of the world. God wired us this way so that men would always keep coming back to their wives and so that women would always reach out for him when he arrived.

Solomon is disrobing his bride. He expressed appreciation for everything he saw. The eyes were pure. Her hair was tranquil. Her teeth mature. Her lips loyal. Her cheeks were modest. Her neck showed integrity and confidence. Now, we see desirability. He’s worked down to the neck, what’s next?

-To Be Continued-

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Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, and Jesus Have It Right | Religion and the Hermeneutic of Suspicion at Christmas

Atheist Richard Dawkins offers a description of God in 23 adjectives: “jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynist, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal…, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Dawkins doesn’t just disbelieve in God; he detests Him. Dawkins has bought the hermeneutic of suspicion.

In 1976, faith was “a blind trust that goes against the evidence”. Then in 1989, faith is “a mental illness”. Now, in recent years, faith according to the new breed of atheists, is “one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate” (Alister McGrath). Dawkins even suggested that faith in God is morally reprehensible. The hermeneutic of suspicion.

John Shelby Spong tells about Michael Goulder, who unlike Richard Dawkins, describes himself as a “non-aggressive atheist.” He asserts that God has no real work to do. It’s not so much “Is God good?” The question for Gould is “What good is He?” This God no longer fights wars and defeats enemies. This God no longer chooses a special people and works through them. This God no longer sends storms, heals the sick, spares the dying, or even judges the sinner. This God no longer rewards goodness and punishes evil. God is an unemployed deity. Goulder asserts that the church has entered exile. God now rings with a hollow emptiness. The power once ascribed to this God is now explained in countless other ways. God is irrelevant.

It’s the Nietzschean “God is dead” line all over again. Americans are really fulfilling the prophecy of a syphilitic and eventually insane German, but a brilliant philosopher. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote over 100 years ago, “God will be dead in the 20th Century.” He was a very bright man. He didn’t argue that there wasn’t a God in the Heavens. One could look at the stars and galaxies all in perfect harmony and know there was a God. What Nietzsche argued was that people would live as if God does not exist – and that’s precisely what we are doing; that they would kill God – and that’s what happened in the 20th Century and what is happening in the 21st.

Nietzsche had a hermeneutic of suspicion (Tim Keller). He suggested that religion was not just a product of wish-fulfillment (Freud); it was not just a way to control the masses (Marx); it was the suggestion that God doesn’t matter anymore. Nietzsche attacked our motives for being religious. We create religion so that we can feel good about ourselves, so that we have a system of payment for the bad things we do. And there is substantially no life difference between atheists and theists.

Rebecca Manly Pippert shares her story (Hope Has Its Reasons). A conversation with a Harvard professor went something like this: “Even though I am an atheist, I genuinely admire people like you who take faith seriously. There is no question that the human race needs help. But honestly Becky, isn’t life the same whether we believe in God or not? Don’t all of us long to be loved and understood?… Life is difficult for all of us. I don’t think cancer cells ask before entering a body, ‘Excuse me, are you a praying person?’ And don’t all of us, believers as well as skeptics, raise our children the best we can? And some make it and some don’t, leaving us with broken hearts and dashed hopes whether we believe in God or not?… And don’t believers fail morally? I grant that many of you do better in certain areas than we do. But I have met my share of religious people who were racists, gluttons, self-righteous, and full of pride, all the while mouthing religious platitudes… What possible difference does God make?”

That Harvard professor’s critique of religion is right on. Believers aren’t exempt from pain. They experience illness, sexist bosses, unemployment, violence, and marital problems just like everyone else. Christians fail morally. We are deeply flawed people.

What difference does religion make? The answer is “No difference.” It is easy to be just religious versions of the same people we’ve always been.

The atheists have it right. Religion is a power play to control others. It is the opiate of the masses. It’s a pain-killer. It’s a crutch for the weak. It’s a way to justify our behavior and allows us to feel good about ourselves. This is the way religion was perceived and what we learn is that Jesus Himself was anti-religious too and had some of the same issues that Frued, Marx, and Nietzche had with organized religion. That’s why he blasted the religious establishment guys, the Pharisees, like He did and kicked over tables and “violated their rules” like He did.

But what happened was that the ideas of these anti-religious establishment philosophers transferred over to God. Now people seem to see God one of two ways. “God does not exist, so life is meaningless.” Or, “God does exist, and here are the rules – keep them.” Jesus offers a corrective to all this and basically asserts that “I have fulfilled any requirement necessary to procure the salvation of mankind. All religion is inadequate and insufficient. And if you want to know what God is like and how He feels about humanity, then look at my life.”

Christianity goes beyond Judaism. It’s not just repackaging of the same system. Judaism (religion) could not contain it and it answers the deeper questions of life. Christianity blasts the lie that we’re OK or that we’re in charge. It shatters our religion. We can’t hide behind religion anymore. We want God without the hassle of looking at the mess we’ve become. Christianity forces you to look at the mess you’ve become.

What Nietzsche failed to consider is that in Christianity, God himself became the payment. In no other religion, do you have god or the gods becoming a payment for human evil. Stott says it best: “For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.” The tragedy is that when people turn away from God and turn to religion or man-made theories, they begin to see themselves as the center of the universe and they miss grace. We hate not being god, just like Dawkins.

I deeply believe that the crisis we face today is not a crisis of the economy or the stock market or health care, the real crisis in American life today is a crisis of values. What can we believe in anymore? There is only one answer. God became flesh. He became a person in the person of Jesus Christ. He’s come over from the other side of the hedge to let us know that there is a true and living God, and that an unseen world parallel to this one exists and there is a great battle raging for the minds and allegiance of creation.

Religion has been replaced by Relationship.

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Filed under Agnosticism, Atheism, Atheist, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Christmas, Hermeneutic of Suspicion, Jesus Christ, Nietzsche, Worldview

Legitimate God Questions + Cliche Answers = Atheist

Nancy Pearcey in her book Total Truth tells just a part of her story. She said she went to a church in her childhood that would never answer her questions. She had all these God Questions that she would ask, and what she got was a pat on the back and cliché statements like “Just pray about it” or “You’re just in a phase right now” or “Don’t worry, we all have doubts sometimes honey” or “Just get in the Word” or “Stop rebelling. You’re not supposed to ask questions like that!”

Since no one ever bothered to answer her deepest questions about why and how Christianity is true, she decided the best thing to do would be to reject the faith and to search out all other faith systems and that’s what she did. Several years later she encountered L’Abri in Switzerland, the residential ministry of Francis Schaeffer.

Writes Pearcey: “It was the first time I had ever encountered Christians who actually answered my questions – who gave reasons and arguments for the truth of Christianity instead of simply urging me to have faith (53).”

She recovered her faith. She writes: “No one can live without a sense of purpose or direction, a sense that his or her life has significance as part of a cosmic story. We may limp along for a while, extracting small installments of meaning from short-term goals like earning a degree, landing a job, getting married, establishing a family. But at some point, these temporal things fail to fulfill the deep hunger for eternity in the human spirit. For we were made for God, and every part of our personality is oriented toward relationship with Him. ‘Our hearts are restless, Augustine said, until we find our rest in Him’.”

But in the mean time, let’s give better answers; well thought-out, cohesive replies to those with God Questions, minus the cliches. Blogs like the De-Conversion blog is where people end up when we settle for pat answers and cliche responses.

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Says the Atheist “More information” Says the Theist “I Surrender”

The atheist will often assert, “I don’t have enough information. I need more and better evidence before I can believe in God.” But what the Bible so clearly teaches is that our biggest problem is not a “to know” problem. Our biggest problem is that we want independence, total freedom from any deity, even if that deity loves us.

Singer/songwriter Randy Stonehill in the late 70’s, early 80’s, portrayed rebellion as a marionette who, hoping to be free, cuts its own strings. The song is “Puppet Strings.” We all know that such action doesn’t result in freedom – rather it leaves just a pile on the floor. Like the marionettes who reach up and cut the strings that enable and direct them, we lay crumpled and broken on the stage of life. No, God doesn’t manipulate our every move. That’s not Stonehills point. His point is that we cut ourselves off from the One who gives life meaning, value, and hope, thinking that independence from Him is true freedom. (Randy Rowland talks about his in his book, Sins We Love)

Rebellion is like that. Rebellion doesn’t want to be dependent on anyone, be superior to everyone, and accountable to no one. Believing that we are unloved, that there is no larger story, that life is a bunch of random events strewn together, we refuse to engage a rationalistic life in an atheistic system. Nothing can truly be understood; nothing really matters in the end. All human activity is about a quest for power over others, we believe. Conceding these points, we then free ourselves of any responsibility to do something with our lives. Since life doesn’t really matter and God doesn’t really seem to care, I’ll light a joint, or pour a shot of whiskey, or go have a fling, or sleep away my life, or make myself dizzy on video games – whatever it takes to escape all the meaninglessness that I feel. We cut the strings.

“We are all foolish puppets who are desiring to be kings; now lie bended, fully crippled after cutting all our strings.” In verse three of Puppet Strings, Stonehill sings “But God said I’ll forgive you; I will face you man-to-man and win your love again. O how could there be possibly a greater gift of love than dying for a friend.”

The theist is one who surrenders to love. “I surrender.”

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Atheists and Theists Together and Equally Blessed

God, in common grace, has given us three institutions to hold back the flood-tide of evil that would otherwise overwhelm creation.

The state restrains evil so we can all live in a civilized world. The state makes laws and enforces them. Both atheists and theists can do this together and reap the beneifts of good laws.

The family is where we learn values, shape character, and we are lovingly cared for in a personal way. Both theists and atheists can work to make their families better.

The church is where we become restored in order to make our world better, where we learn how to do life better, and provide a new beginning for people who want to live for something bigger than themselves. Both, the atheist and theist can benefit from the church: the atheist should be able to find churches who would free them up to discuss their non-belief and the theist, to learn in helpful dialog, as well to offer a compelling worldview; and both of them together, organzing to change our world into a better planet.

All people benefit from these institutions; they are gifts from God. Common grace is God’s provision for the welfare of everybody on planet earth.

As grace agents, we are called to help sustain and renew His creation, to uphold the created institutions of family and church and government because these are the tools that God uses to hold back the floodtide of evil. We are to pursue science and scholarship, to create works of art and beauty, and to heal and help those suffering from the results of the Fall (Colson, How Now… xii).

Because we (atheists and theists alike) are made in God’s image, we are capable of some great things in the area of mathematics, science, technology, philosophy, the arts, sports, medicine, construction, and serving causes that change people’s lives, and so on and so forth.

And we don’t have to be an atheist nor a theist to do this; it’s simply an expression of who He made us to be!

Commenting over on another blog where the “suffering” question is being considered, I write:

“Of course, God has done something about suffering; He created you and I. In The Fall, a flood-tide of evil was released on the human race. Without God-ordained institutions (the family, the government, and the church), this flood-tide of evil would overwhelm the Creation. Granted, all of these institutions have their flaws, but imagine living in a world where lives could be taken (and the government was not there to intervene), where children were abandoned (and the family would not nurture), and where no one stewarded the larger story (and the church failed in its primary mission – to orient the world to this story). You see, God has done something about suffering.”

And now, it’s time for us to do something about it too. Don’t just hold a belief or adhere to a worldview. Be a belief. Be a worldview. Don’t just go to a church. Be the church. Change a world – together. Debate suffering a little less and alleviate some of it – a little more.

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Atheism is a Weak Worldview (When Pushed to its Logical Ends)

It’s one thing to have evidence for a worldview. It is another thing to be logical in a worldview. And then it is absolutely imperative that a worldview be livable. Atheism fails these tests (but this post deals with only the third of these).

If you will push your beliefs to their logical ends, you will find that you cannot live with your belief; it is not existentially repugnant (livable – you can’t live with it).

As stated in some comments in another post…

Worldview:
1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.

(Yahoo! Dictionary)

A Theistic World View says that God is the Author of our universe, that we are accountable to Him, and that we have hope of being a part of His grand story to restore a broken world through Christ.

An Atheistic World View says that we have no Author, that we are not accountable to anyone, and there are no ideals or grand story’s of redemption, no meta-narratives behind all that we see. Since we are our own, accountable to no one, we should seek all the gratification and satisfaction we can now. The attitude toward important unseen values or deeper life questions is usually “Whatever?” (true to post-modernism) Each individual is free to create a belief system that works for them.”

Now, here’s how the atheistic worldview plays out:

If there is no God, then we have moral relativism – there is no set standard of right or wrong. Someone can take your things and it’s OK or commit genocide or take your life. Can you live with that?

If there is no God, then the temporal drives life – this world is all there is. When you say goodbye to your family for the last time, you never see them again. Can you live with that?

If there is no God, then history has to be deconstructed and reinterpreted without God in it (a virtual impossibility). Can you live with that?

If there is no God, then nature is all that is. Yet, virtually every human-being longs for more than just this world; we long for immortality, justice, and beauty. But atheism only offers here and now. Can you live with that?

If there is no God, then all religions are morally equivalent (this is absurd; one claim cannot be true and false at the same time). Can you live with that?

If there is no God, I will do what is convenient for me because I have made myself God. I am free to narrate my own drama and do what’s right for me. Can you live with this, especially when what’s right for someone else, happens to be executing our friends?

If there is no God, there is no hope for life beyond this world. Can you live with that?

If there is no God, plants and animal-life are equally as important as humans (we are no longer made in God’s image). It’s our moral right to do with life what we want, including exterminating your life when you are no longer deemed valuable. Can you live with that?

Atheism is not a livable worldview. Thus, it miserably fails the test of existential repugnance.

And remember, true love… true love…

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