Monday, October 31, 2011

Martin Luther - Reluctant Revolutionary

It's the 31st of October; half a millennium after Martin Luther hammered his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg and sparked the Reformation. And as a big-F5 for your memory, watch this wonderful PBS production on the life and works of Martin Luther - Reluctant Revolutionary.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and The Postman

The Postman
Last night I watched a bit of The Postman before I could stop myself. The Postman, you’ll remember, was one of a few clear indications that the brilliance of Dances With Wolves was only an accident. As if Water World hadn’t convinced everybody that Kevin Costner shouldn’t be entrusted with money beyond the price of a Big Mac, a few die-hards foolishly funded Costner’s next attempt to a post-apocalyptic masterpiece, and this while the genre in its broadest sense should have been abandoned after Mad Max anyway. Perhaps we would have been saved from the Left Behind series. You can’t plant a tree if you don’t have a compost layer, after all.

The Postman tells of a world in which no formal government exists, and people live huddled together in make-shift villages, hiding from each other and especially from the movie’s primary bad-guy: General Bethlehem (whose provocative name doesn’t provoke because it’s marvelously unclear what the deal is). Enter the postman (Kevin Costner), who became the postman because he found a dead real postman and helped himself to his outfit. But the outfit made the man, and the man fell neatly in a kind of messianic role, namely that of restoring communication between the various settlements.

Enter the General, who wants to maintain chaos in which to play war, and who subsequently takes a decisive dislike to the postman, who wants to create a natural kind of order. All this is an obvious instance of the tried good-and-evil dialogue, and a clever contribution to the debate on whether Jesus of Nazareth was indeed God’s son or only some passerby who was involuntarily adopted by the architects of the Messianic legend. But alas, the movie’s daft execution and primary themes make it virtually impossible to render it any respect in aforementioned matters. So you figure that the Biblical Jesus is an elaborate hoax based on some historic hick named Jesus of Nazareth? Whose legend rose to prominence by the warring efforts of insurrectionists, whose own compass inflated in the false vacuum created by the collapsing Roman Empire? Well, hurray, that’s very deep.
Kev and the General slug it out

The Postman’s world consists of clearly distinguished good-guys (peace-loving victims who want to reestablish Pax Americana) and bad guys (war loving hoodlums who probably destroyed the US in the first place). When the bad guys kill a good guy, the rush of cello’s swells and audiences are guided into heart-felt gasps, as our hero staggers and crushes in slow motion to the earth, and dust rises like a freed soul from where the body falls. When the good guys kill a bad guy, however, none of them shows any awareness of how very awful it is to kill another human being, even if the good guys are obviously forced to do such a horrible thing because the bad guys were going to do it to them.

Even in our own present day and age, the archetype of good guys versus bad guys has been long found blasé. We now like to believe that there’s a bit of the good guy and the bad guy in all of us, and which one of the two guys wins depends on which guy you feed.

But that too is blasé. Jesus (that is: Jesus the Biblical literary character) teaches that only God is good, and since we’re not God, none of us deserves the predicate good-guy. We’re all bad-guys, so that moves things right along.

We bad guys have no clear fix on what is good, so we have no idea what to shoot for. And that brings about the strenuous notion that we shouldn’t shoot at all. Mankind is lead to wherever it must and will go, and in the mean time, we are told to love our enemies and our neighbors like ourselves, take care of the world and worship God alone.

But, you may ask, what if a guy like General Bethlehem shows up? And that’s the point we’re trying to make: it’s highly likely that a man like Bethlehem will show up and that he will gather a following. But when he does, he can only be successfully “dealt with” by non-violent opposition. Bethlehem too must and will go to where God will lead him. There’s not a single instance in world-history where a society takes up arms against tyranny, whether domestic or foreign, and not only deposes the original tyrant but frees itself from tyranny all together. Even the US today still suffers greatly from the burden of the right to bear arms in order to form a coalition against any invading force, not because there are no forces that would love to invade the US but because of the many Bethlehems that can’t wait to shoot a fellow Postman.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Girl in a mirror dimly

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I
shall know fully just as I also have been fully known" - 1 Corinthians 13:12


Friday, October 21, 2011

The Nephilim & the Curious Case of the Similarity between the Sons of Anak and the Post-Exilic Levite Gatekeepers

A Nephil (close-up)
A lot has been written (i.e. guessed and fantasized) about the enigmatic Nephilim who lived before the flood (Genesis 6:4) and managed to survive the flood somehow (Numbers 13:33 - because they were extra-terrestrial or spirit beings?). But as I looked at the name Ahiman, the plot thickens even more:

Ahiman is one of three sons of Anak, and the Anakim are a sub-class of the Nephilim (Numbers 13:33) and the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 2:10). The three sons of Anak are driven out of Hebron (previously called Kiriath-arba) by Caleb (Joshua 15:14), and Hebron, you'll remember, was the original capital of Israel under David, as decreed by God Himself (2 Samuel 2:1). Somehow, however, the Anakim made it back to Hebron, and were subsequently slain by Judah during the secondary annexation campaign, and that right after they conquered and burned Jerusalem, which can hardly be a coincidence (Judges 1:10).

After the establishment of the united monarchy under David and Solomon, the leptonic breach occurs and the united kingdom continues as Israel and Judah. Israel is deported to Assyria and Judah (and Simeon within its borders) goes off to Babylon. When the first wave of Jews returns, a rudimentary social structure is established. Possibly in anticipation of there ever being gates again, a small contingent of four Levites is assigned gate-keeping duty and is stationed at the fringes of the Levite camp (1 Chronicles 9:17). Utterly curious, however, is the undeniable symmetry between the names of the Anakim who lived in Hebron, and the Levite proto-gate-keepers:


I have no explanation for this and so far I haven't found any commentary that even touches on this phenomenon. I'm curious to learn what others think of this. Do you think it's a coincidence void of any further meaning? Or is there something fabulous going on?
Please leave a comment if you have an opinion. And while you're at it, post this article on Facebook and wherever to attract more input.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Greatness of our God!

"Let my teachings drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb.
For I proclaim the Name of the Lord;
Ascribe greatness to our God!"
- Deuteronomy 32:2-3

The original source of this photo is unknown to us here at Abarim. Do you know who made this photo? Please let us know and we'll add a link.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

J.K. Rowling and Christ.

This J.K. Rowling quote is circling the Internet and as it circled onto my screen and subsequently onto my Facebook page, a friend asked if, perhaps, Rowling’s rock bottom has anything to do with Christ. If so, it would be odd because, as my friend said, “I don't see any sort of Christian ethics in her writings. Wizards, sorcerers, magic, all things the Christians are warned to stay away from.

I don’t see anything in J.K. Rowling because I don’t read J.K. Rowling. That’s not because of some deep and meaningful reason; I just never was drawn to the whole fantasy genre. But she seems to be quite a contemplative person – has gone through the hell of divorce and clinical depression – and inadvertently expresses her complexities in her art. She grew up Christian and shows allegiance to Christianity, even though it would probably not hurt her successes to do otherwise. 

I’m guessing that part of the success of the Harry Potter books comes from its fresh reflection of a very real world, full of soul-sucking demons and nasty über-spirits and mysterious forces that we all experience but can neither place, name nor identify. I don’t think she referred to Christ as the Rock of her bottom, but I am curious to see why God chose to bless her so extravagantly anyway. I’m fearing that the Christian Christ we expect to be told of in properly elevating writing is not going to be the Christ who will be found when it’s too late to change our theologies. And while I’m waiting for it all to unfold, I quietly recall that Jesus was found first by a group of Iranian magicians who were clumping after some astral sign they saw.

"It's a pitty we're not trying for a bit of inter-House unity"

Friday, October 14, 2011

God With Us!

O boy! O boy! It took me three trips to the supermarket, this afternoon, to lock and load for the game tonight. I got salty sticks, killer pretzels, cheese nips and a wide rank and file of potatoes chips, mustard and dips you’d murder your neighbor for!

I got Coke, 7-Up, five kinds of beer, two bottles of locally produced wine, a pint of kamikaze sake and vodka in a bottle shaped like a Kalashnikov. At the veggie market I secured a battery of cucumbers and red paprika, pickles, tomatoes and those little bullet onions. I’m gonna cut them up and splay them on a plate like a bunch of casualties.

All my friends are coming over because I got the biggest TV and the coldest fridge. And we’re gonna cheer our guys on until they whoop those weasels something awful. We can’t help it; it’s in our blood! We’re The Partisans, or Red Star, or so I’m told, and tonight we’re going head to head with those other guys, Red Star or Partisans -- I’m not sure, it depends on who we are. All I know is that we’re great and they suck!

But apart from that, I must haste to add, it’s nevertheless cute how once meaningful and terror-striking names are now so often applied to elements of a social expression. The red star was once the venerated or abhorred emblem of communism, essentially the system that created Yugoslavia, inflated its economy and left it a smoldering hole in the ground after its demise.

The Partisans were once roaming groups of merciless militants operating in occupied Yugoslavia, fighting the enemy by means of guerilla warfare. Now one is the name of some football club and the other is the name of the best football team in the world!

And when our guys have whooped their guys, I got an even better treat for my friends. The other entertainment station we get here in Serbia, namely CNN, is showing updates and specials on an even more awesome game: Das Kapital versus The Terrorists!

O boy! O boy! I sure hope I got enough beer in the fridge.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A glowing review of Cross On Me on Amazon

A reader of Cross On Me who calls himself  Vesa S left a wonderful review on

"Cross On Me is a novel about a mad or a brilliant man. Book is hard to put down once you start and it contains many thought provoking ideas and parables that tickled my mind long time after finishing with the book.

We are following the journey of Qoe though highways and small roads of USA, Canada and Alaska, but book contains so many layers, symmetries and references that it hardly can be said to be a journey log.

I enjoyed the rich language and fast moving scenes from all over the world."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Travel to Israel

Guest post by Nisha Sharma

Each year crowds of tourists tour Israel, both as a way to discover the natural and historic beauty of this fascinating land as well as to gain greater spiritual insights. Once you have toured Israel you will certainly never read the Bible in the same way again. By following the same path as Christ and experiencing the sights that served as the backdrop for so many important Biblical events you will be able to strengthen your Christian faith and come away with a renewed spiritual understanding.

Travel to Jerusalem

While there are numerous sights and attractions to see throughout Israel, there are several holy cities that should certainly be on your must see list. These cities include Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jericho and Bethlehem. During your tour of Israel you will encounter a wide variety of well known sights and which remain important even today, including the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcre, the Garden Tomb, The Mt. of Olives, The Shepherd’s field, the Sea of Galilee, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount Jerusalem. You can also expect to see the site where Elijah took part in the contest with the false prophets of Baal, Muhraka.

Taking advantage of the chance to visit the holy land of Israel is an important opportunity that should not be missed by any Christian. There are many different types of tours of Israel available, including tours that will highlight important Biblical events and sights as well as study and seminar tours. Tours typically last between eight and twelve days, depending on the number of sights to be included in the selected tour.

Regardless of the length of your tour, you can be assured that each stop in Israel will etch a significant memory within your mind and touch your heart while providing a truly life-changing experience. A Christian tour of Israel often serves to ignite one’s faith in a way that is incomparable to any other travel experience. Your knowledge of the Bible will be enhanced while your faith is strengthened. The places included in tour itineraries are specifically chosen to help each participant develop a deeper reflection of their own personal Christian walk.

A trip to Israel would certainly never be complete without visiting the city of Jerusalem. As the most popular city in the entire country, Jerusalem offers fabulous views as well as increased insight into the old and new parts of the city. The holiest site in the city, the Western Wall, is situated in the Jewish Quarter. The site where Christ was crucified, Golgotha, is another site that should not be missed during your visit. Other important sites include King David’s tomb, Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the opportunity to cross over the Sea of Galilee by cable car. Despite any amount of controversy, Israel remains one of the most sacred sites in the world and is one that each Christian should experience within their lifetime.

My name is Nisha Sharma I work as the editor for Holiday365. I have been representing the business for the last 2 years now. Holiday365 offers some great deals in the UK, please visit our website to see offers on holiday parks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stars in the heavens

"Now look towards the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them."
And He said, "So shall your descendants be." - Genesis 15:5

This magnificent photo was made by Thomas Zimmer, and retrieved from

Monday, October 10, 2011

The name Boanerges doesn't mean "Sons Of Thunder" at all!

James and John - Boanerges
For the ever-expanding Abarim Publications' Biblical Name Vault we recently had a go at the name Boanerges, which is a nickname that Jesus bestows on the brothers James and John; sons of Zebedee.

The evangelist Mark says, "And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John, the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, "Sons Of Thunder");..." (Mark 3:16-17)

We had expected to be able to effortlessly relate the name Boanerges to some Aramaic or Hebrew compound but much to our surprise, we couldn't. Some Internet searching revealed that this name has plagued scholars for centuries, and the leading theories on the etymology of this name either take a whole lot of liberties in bending Semitic verbs out of their proper compass of meaning and allowing transliterations from Aramaic to Greek that make not a lick of sense, or else, the rather bold assumptions that either Jesus had no idea what He was saying, or else that Mark was clueless about Semitic languages.

Here at Abarim Publications we rarely get nervous and we love a good challenge, so we sank our teeth in the name Boanerges and came out chewing on the other side. One thing is certain: the name Boanerges doesn't mean "Sons Of Thunder" at all.

Check out our article, and let us know if you have any objections: The amazing name Boanerges, meaning and etymology.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Halleluja in Alaska

A clip that combines Alaska AND the greatest piece of music ever made. Made my day!

See our article on the meaning of the word Halleluja

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mica’s Paradise

Once or twice a month I’ve had it with city life, and then I flee to Granny Mica (say Mitsa). Granny Mica lives about half an hour south-east of Belgrade in a cottage on the Danube. She has an enormous garden, and where her garden stops, vineyards start in all directions. Crickets chirp, and way off in the distance a dog may raise its voice, but other than that, it’s wondrously peaceful at Mica’s. She is about a hundred years old, has no running water so the toily is behind the tree in the middle of the garden, and she loves me. When I show up, with the town still buzzing in my ears, she waits for me at the gate, grabs me and presses a few big, slobbery kisses all over me. Then she sets me down next to her and sits there, watching me trying to catch my breath, while cats and dogs jump me and settle in my lap.

Granny Mica on her porch in Paradise
During the day, the trees absorb the sunlight and radiate it, glowing bright green. And in the evening a honey colored haze rises from the river. When we want to drink of cup of tea, we walk into the garden (away from the toily tree in the middle of it) and pick some nana-leaves. Pears and apples hang from trees everywhere; you can just reach out and pick one. And nothing here is ever sprayed with chemicals. Neither the tea nor the apples nor the pears nor the cherries nor the grapes that hang in big fat clusters from branches that are only disturbed by the rare passer-by.

The Dabube river is a few hundred meters away—it takes a trick or two to get there. Paths exist but they’re not marked and you have know about them, which I don’t. But that makes for wonderful walks in the cool of the afternoon, trying to find out where all the paths go.

And on my journeys I pass the occasional shed or small house, invariably occupied by ancient little ladies with brilliant, pearl white hair and the eyes of young girls. I don’t speak the language, but everybody knows I’m Mica’s guest, so they call my name from afar and wave at me, and when I approach they give me slices of pie and hands fulls of nana-leaves and cherries and pears and apples.

There are only two restrictions at Mica’s. I’m not allowed to go out exploring for a path to the river while wearing sandals and shorts. Mica and her neighbors never cease to warn me that there are snakes hiding in the grass. And then, of course I’m not allowed to eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. But who would want to do a foolish thing like that?

Me and the Toily Tree

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The love of money, and the the Wall Street fan

I was wondering why my stats were dropping over the weekend. Then I realized that everybody was watching Wall Street, and the doodoo hitting the fan over there. "The love of money is the root of all evil," the Bible says. And I think that means a lot more than simple greed. I'm guessing that the Bible insinuates that exactly where agape  generates an entire world with its causes and effects, the love-of-money does the same. Of course it’s probably bad for a person when this person is in love with cash, but I’m guessing that the love-of-money is more than just that. The love-of-money is a force, like agape. It creates structures and fills people with motivations across a wide spectrum of behaviors.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The whole world filled with fruit

"In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout;
And they will fill the whole world with fruit."
- Isaiah 27:6

Source of the photo:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Share buttons: A vote for me is a vote for you

There are several ways through which visitors may land on a site, but visitors to Abarim Publication’s main website largely come through search engines. If someone types in the search string “Chaos Theory” or “Israel meaning,” chances are excellent that they’ll end up reading our articles, but if someone types in “Julia meaning” chances are excellent that they’ll end up at any of the other popular name sites.

From one of those "other"name sites
These other name sites are largely constructed from copying each other over and over, and somewhere at the bottom of it lies one or two old baby-name books that someone, long ago, typed over and turned into a website. And that results in dozens of name-sites that simply list the commonly accepted meaning of a name, without proof or reference or even the slightest hint at how these meanings are formed. And some of them are plain wrong.

At Abarim Publications we painstakingly research the names we translate, delve into etymology and derivation structures. We list texts that use the roots of the name we’re talking about in narrative sentences, and we list possible alternative meanings. In short: our articles are much more informative and much more stimulating.

But someone who types in the search string “Julia meaning” sees an enormous list of websites that all offer articles on the meaning of that name. Search engines keep track of people’s behavior while searching. They check if a person stays on a page or moves right along, whether the person types in the same search string again (indicating that the previously viewed page didn’t satisfy) or goes somewhere else, only to return at that one really good page.

All this helps search engines to determine which page is generally accepted as a better page, and subsequently places this page higher in the search results. And sure enough, our articles on the meaning of Biblical names usually come floating to the top (that means the top 5 in search results) after some time.

But another way to determine how well a page caters to the needs of visitors is by looking at how many times this page is shared on Facebook or any other network. Google has even launched a little +1 button through which visitors can indicate that the page they’re on should be higher up in search results.

Share button scorse of the Biblical Name Vault entry-page

Here at Abarim we humbly believe that our articles serve the needs of searchers much better than those un-articles on other websites. And so we believe that we deserve lots of shares, likes, thumbs-up and plus-ones. We generally dislike shameless self-promotion, or enticement to endorse without quality in return, but we’ve taken the bold step to place a “please click here”-text underneath the submit buttons on all our name-articles. Let’s hope it’ll make a difference. We’ll leave it there for a few weeks to see if there is a positive result. If not, we’ll remove it.

But in the mean time, folks, check out our wonderful Biblical Name Vault and hammer away at those precious buttons!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Belgrade: Gay Shame, Gay Pride and the Destruction of Sodom

My hometown of Belgrade is in uproar because today the gays were supposed to have their Belgrade Gay Pride Parade. It would have been the second time; last year was the first – ever - Gay Pride Parade in Belgrade. And the whole inner city was destroyed by right-wing hooligans, but of course, the brittle relations between gays and the city became marred anyway.

Belgrade Gay Pride Parade 2010 - photo taken from the CBC news site

This morning the news reached us that the authorities decided to ban the Gay Pride Parade in Belgrade. The CNN news feed read the same and now the whole world thinks that the Serbs hate gays. Far from it. The Serbs hate to have their cities destroyed and before anyone can exercise the elsewhere ubiquitous right to congregate peacefully, those who oppose a peaceful congregation of any kind with violence against civilians and property, will have to be dealt with first. What the CNN news feed forgot to mention is that the authorities also banned the counter-demonstrations.

Our Serbian culture is very slowly transforming into a modern democracy. Perhaps capitalistic democracy isn’t the way to go but there are very few alternatives, and as long as we’re not living in a theocracy under God, capitalistic democracy seems the next best thing. Right now, Serbia is flat broke, and change is inevitable. But the large majority of us hope to God that we’ll quietly grow into something sustainable, and that there will be no more war of any kind.

I’ve been watching the news for days now – very few pro’s raise voices proclaiming sexual freedom, and very many contra’s don’t want it largely because they’re not gay and so they can’t stand the thought of it, and if they don’t like it, then nobody should.
Our Patriarch, a very wise and highly respected man, pronounced that there is no such thing as gay pride and that the parade would be a parade of shame. And then of course, there are those who remind us that Sodom was destroyed because the Sodomites practiced homosexuality.

Belgrade, we should note, was most recently destroyed by NATO bombs, not homosexuality, but it takes no great heart to sympathize with this concern. I’m usually quiet about these things because I have sufficiently studied neither the causes and effects of homosexuality, nor the range of freedoms guaranteed by the various western constitutions, to have a right to say anything about it. But we live in a democracy, and democracy, inherently, gives us freedom of religion along with the freedom to pursue happiness. And that means that if I assume the freedom to say, from a hypothetical religious platform, that homosexuality should be outlawed, I automatically insist that the practice of homosexuality must be accepted in all corners of society. Hence I find these things too complicated to comment on.

Of course, parading one’s pride while knowing for sure one will be bashed by Orthodox traditionalists or else hooligans with no sensitivities other than the desire to destroy things, seems a bit silly and ultimately counter-productive. For the same reason, the little group of Evangelicals I’m proud to belong to, doesn’t take to publically singing up-beat Jesus songs on the Wednesday mornings fruit ‘n veggie market. And perhaps it’s also the reason why the Overcharging Landlords, the Corrupt Politicians and the Underpaying Employers aren’t parading their pride in Belgrade.

But, in all humility, I have some knowledge of the Bible, and when somebody on national TV states that (a) homosexuality should be outlawed, because (b) Sodom was destroyed because of it, then I have something to say.

Sure, Sodom was destroyed (Genesis 19) but it wasn't on account of the Sodomites practicing homosexuality. The prophet Ezekiel says it this way:

"Behold, this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, abundant food and careless ease, but she didn't help the poor and the needy" (16:49).
And before anyone would want to use the Bible to condemn the matrix of behaviors that we now collectively see as expressions of homosexuality, he or she should first carefully consider the following:

In modern times the fear of being pegged as gay leads many men to live lives of emotional exile. We don't mind when our women hug or kiss each other, or even caress each other, but if guys show affection to other guys, either riots ensue or the guy in question will be helpfully moved towards what we now call the gay community. In the Bible, however, men are still allowed the celebrate intimacy without being labeled or stigmatized:

  • They weep (Jacob weeps after his first kiss with Rachel - Genesis 29:11; Jesus weeps when he sees Mary weep, even when He knows He'll raise her brother Lazarus from the dead - John 11:35).
  • They kiss each other (Absalom lavishly kisses his subjects - 2 Samuel 15:5; David and Jonathan kiss - 1 Samuel 20:41; Christian brethren ought to kiss each other by holy habit - 1 Corinthians 16:20).
  • They decline in each other's arms (the disciple who Jesus loved declined in Jesus’ arms- John 13:23)
  • They touch each other's private parts; non-sexually but intimately non the less (the word yarek literally means extremity or foundation, and commonly refers to the reproductive organs: See Ezekiel and Abraham - Genesis 24:9; and the "man" at the Jabbok and Jacob - Genesis 32:25)

In our day and age, we categorize sexual preferences or practices, but in the Bible that doesn't happen. Like everything else in the Bible, sex can be done shamefully or gracefully. Graceful sex occurs between people who are bound by an economical covenant; a husband who rules the house, and his wife who runs the house. In the Old Testament, when social structures left unwedded women, widows and orphans pretty much without care or protection, and when wars frequently decimated the male population, the husband could acquire as many concubines as he could afford. These concubines were part of the household but of lower rank than the wife. Their primary function was to produce offspring. Their "reward" was protection and belonging. Although romantic love is certainly acknowledged in the Bible, it was certainly not part of the regular marriage deal.

The only restriction was that sex had to be, like everything else, hygienic. When a woman was menstruating, she could not be approached (Leviticus 18:19). The phrase "flowing of blood" is used in the Bible mainly as an indication of murder and massacres. But when a woman menstruates, she has basically "failed" to conceive, or worse, is having a miscarriage. One who bears a child adds to life. One who lets blood flow, takes from life.

Shameful sex is any kind of sexual activity conducted with anyone not part of the above mentioned structure, or not aimed at the preservation of life, whether that is by producing offspring or by producing a strong and stable household based on love.

The Bible specifies some of these activities but these lists obviously don't cover forms of recreational sex that were invented later (sex with dolls or other artifacts, SMB, pornography, fetishes, or even the use of anti-conception devices such as condoms or devices that eventuate an effective abortion, such as spirals and certain pharmaceuticals). The pet-texts of Biblical gay-bashers all occur within these pools; they describe acts of sex that are conducted only and entirely to get rid of an itch that that has the function of preserving life. Our sex drive is the psychological equivalent of physical hunger. If ancient mankind would have devised a method to undo the sensation of hunger without having to eat for it, it would have been condemned along with shameful sex.

Shameful sex covers all forms of sexual expression that will ultimately lead to the disintegration of society, and is therefore closely akin to the failure to take care of the poor and needy.

But society evolves, even in the Bible. Where in the Old Testament men could have multiple wives and concubines, in the New Testament men were only to have one wife, or no wife at all (1 Corinthians 7:1-2, 8-9). Promiscuity of any kind is still radically condemned in the New Testament, but intimacy between people certainly isn't, and neither is a life-long friendship between men who love each other. Same-sex couples should be allowed to register their covenant if their society would deprive them of certain economical rights otherwise. They certainly should be allowed to take care of abandoned orphans, because neglecting to do so brought about the destruction of Sodom in the first place.

Their level of intimacy, however, is subject to the same regulations as that of anybody else. These regulations are part of a natural law; the same law by which we were formed, and by which we all, whether consciously or not, desire to live. We're part of it and it's part of us. It's written on our hearts and we and all the world around us are subject to it. The downside of this law is that none of us can keep it. That means that we're all entirely guilty, and will all completely die. And it doesn't really matter which part of the law we broke, or how much of it. The only way out is to let Jesus Christ fulfill the law for us, and to trust Him fully, and to allow Him to lead us towards a state in which no law can condemn us to death.

Until that happens, we'll die, and as long as we die, we'll have a sex drive, and as long as we have a sex drive, we can have sex shamefully or gracefully.

And for what it’s worth: I rather have a friendly gay for a neighbor than a hooligan, or someone who drops bombs on civilians.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Carla Anne speaks of the Scarlet Cord

Carla Anne Coroy - a gifted storyteller and teacher with contagious enthusiasm for life - explains what the story of Joshua and Rahab has to do with Easter:

"Hang on! Isn’t the Easter story in the New Testament? Isn’t the Easter story about Jesus? What do Joshua and Rahab have to do with Easter?"

Check out Carla Anne's cheerful blog:
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