Category Archives: Lust

Innocence and Purity

 

My diagram for a "System" of Purity

 

Our freedom allows us to make choices that determine our purity and our innocence. So, freedom always includes responsibility, and purity can be regained. It is innocence that is untried.

In the cases were guilt may plague us, we may seek healing in the spiritual discipline of life confession, and then find it our acceptance of love and forgiveness. This happens best in Community, with the support of siblings in Christ.

This is also an act of worship.

Please share you thoughts on this, or a related theme.

Or you may tackle one of the following. Thanks.

• What have been your influencers with regards to purity?

• How has the media impacted your view of purity?

• What is the biggest struggle regarding your faith and your purity?

Resource used: Pages 126-8. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us (Adele Ahlberg Calhoun -IVP Books ©2005)
For further reading: “Real Sex” -Lauren Winner

[Did you know] Mark Driscoll is Gay?

macho man: Mark Driscoll (in a flattering blouse)

Mark Driscoll is gay? Don’t kill the messenger…I didn’t come up with this.

You can find a pretty solid case here, compiled from his friend Don Miller, who–years ago–coined him, “the cussing pastor” in his best-selling book Blue Like Jazz. (When I say “case”…I mean Donald seems to describe Driscoll, in embarrassing detail, right along with [other] male leaders with gay scandals. Maybe it’s a connect-the-dots, or connect the nipples kind of thing.)

Another person to recently point out Mark’s hyper (and suspicious) masculinity, is Brett McCracken, within the pages of his new book Hipster Christianity, (pages 103-105.) Get a free copy here.

AND-gosh-don’t get me started on John Eldredge!

Over-compensate much, Mark?

  • “There is a strong drift toward the hard theological left. Some emergent types [want] to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” –Mark Driscoll [4]
    (There’s a common theme of guy-on-guy fights/violence with Driscoll. You may remember he showed, the hot and sweaty brawl movie “Fight Club” as an official church event. Hum.)

Mark Driscoll's Jesus: Tough and Buff.

Mark, if you’re reading this, you can stop over-doing it to throw us off track. Don and I both realize you’ve painted yourself into a corner, Mark. The gig is up, dude.

(A bit like gay twins?) Driscoll and Gay WWF wrestler "Giant Gonzales"

Nevertheless. IF Driscoll was gay, we would love him anyway. Right, everyone?

(If you support Mark, no matter what, click the share button at the bottom. If you’re not a fan, um. do the same thing. If you think Mark could NOT be gay, click the share button–Twice.)

And, Don, thanks for bringing up the issue. Where would we be without you? Just in IgnorantVille, I guess.

As a reader, what do you think? There’s a punchline in here somewhere. Can you spot it?

Is Mark Driscoll too overtly macho, and (like recent pastors caught in self-created sexual hypocrisy -Eddie Long and Ted Haggard), too anti-gay to be straight?

Am I joking about Driscoll? Sure. I’m a humorist. (See subheading of this blog.) Despite loads of circumstantial evidence, and the writing stylings of Don Miller, Mark’s certain proclivity could remain a mystery, much like Theodicy, or atonement theories. This is all probably just a loooong series of coincidences. If Mark is gay, or tempted with homosexual thoughts or feelings, I’m sure we could trust that he’d just open up and tell us–straight out. Um. I mean, well, you know. Right? Right?

🙂

Jennifer Knapp: Let the Judgment Begin!

Jennifer Knapp

After over a 7 year break from music, Jennifer Knapp announces the release of her new album, and reveals her same sex relationship of 7 years in an interview with Christianity Today. (full article)

What will her fans do? How will she be treated in the Christian community?

Here’s my proposal:

Let the Judgment Begin!

(on ourselves)

Ask yourself a few important things:
What in your life should you look at more deeply?

If you like to come up with decisions about people, is it to make you feel better? And what other ways could work better?

What is your hidden payoff for taking the focus off your growth to focus on someone else’s shortcomings?

Are you hospitable?

Are you welcoming?

Are you loving?

Are you gracious with the same amount of grace you’ve been given?

Could these areas improve?

Let’s get serious, and List a few ways how we could work toward our own improvement, through God’s grace.

What does speaking any ill of Jennifer Knapp do for our practice of hospitality?

Or, for our Christ-likness?

Or, for our growing in the Love of Christ?

Do Christians HAVE TO be the best at shooting our own wounded ones?

Please, I beg you, no.

Let us enter into a concerted time of Spirit-led introspection, discovery, confession (to both God and each other), repentance, accountability, and ongoing, loving discipleship–in unity.

Sometimes these types of personal revelations seem interesting or fascinating–along the lines of scandal, intrigue, and excitement. Yet, it’s dangerous to fixate with our idle curiosity on public figures, like Knapp, or the ordinary people we know. It’s distracting. It misses the lesson. It skirts the point of the Kingdom.

The truth is, men and women like Knapp are in pews, or they are afraid to be, and they are on the fringes. They feel like they have to choose between being secretive, or being pushed out of the church community. If we had Christ-like hospitality, we would know about them. We would walk *with* them, not just talk *about* them.

But more importantly, if we weren’t so concerned about Knapp, in a judgmental way, we could do the deeper, and far harder work of looking within, and allowing God to work his sanctifying agency.

I pray no one vilifies Jennifer, rejects her, or condemns her. But, I think it will happen. The temptation is just so irresistible.  Laying waste to those anything like Knapp is so common, that it hardly seems wrong to our conscience, in general. We have this corny idea of righteous indignation, to give us motivation. But guess what? It’s more irresistible to gossip under the cover of righteous indignation, and far more common than same gender attraction! If we only had righteous indignation for our own problems, first, or ever! Imagine the spiritual growth then.

I don’t think we should applaud her, or marginalize her, but rather know that her journey is neither  yours, or mine, directly. When I think of her, I think of the words Jesus said.

Matt.9:11-12When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

BUT-Here’s the distinction. I know this verse is about me. If you don’t realize you need God, and you need help, well, you won’t get any.

Besides that, It saddened me to read that in the article with CT, Jennifer said she was not involved in a church family now. We all need community, to be our best. What could be more beneficial to her than to be surrounded and supported by brothers and sisters in the faith? She dearly loves God. She continues to sing to him, and seek him, unabashedly. Now is not the time to focus on her particular statements, though. We have greater work to do. It’s the kind where personal change is truly possible–the kind within ourselves.

Let us love one another, for everyone who does not love, does not know God.

The Rape of Dinah (help understanding a troubling bible passage)

One story in the Bible has be a source of inquiry, and much confusion. It is the story most often called “the rape of Dinah.”

Most English translations offer a poor rendering of the Hebrew. Here is the story in English and Hebrew, along with a write up of the passage by Jon Dorsey, Old Testament studies graduate student, and son of David Dorsey PhD a foremost Hebrew and Old Testament scholar. (you can wiki him here)

Genesis Chapter 34 בְּרֵאשִׁית

א וַתֵּצֵא דִינָה בַּת-לֵאָה, אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לְיַעֲקֹב, לִרְאוֹת, בִּבְנוֹת הָאָרֶץ. 1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
ב וַיַּרְא אֹתָהּ שְׁכֶם בֶּן-חֲמוֹר, הַחִוִּי–נְשִׂיא הָאָרֶץ; וַיִּקַּח אֹתָהּ וַיִּשְׁכַּב אֹתָהּ, וַיְעַנֶּהָ. 2 And Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her; and he took her, and lay with her, and humbled her.
ג וַתִּדְבַּק נַפְשׁוֹ, בְּדִינָה בַּת-יַעֲקֹב; וַיֶּאֱהַב, אֶת-הַנַּעֲרָ, וַיְדַבֵּר, עַל-לֵב הַנַּעֲרָ. 3 And his soul did cleave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spoke comfortingly unto the damsel.
ד וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁכֶם, אֶל-חֲמוֹר אָבִיו לֵאמֹר:  קַח-לִי אֶת-הַיַּלְדָּה הַזֹּאת, לְאִשָּׁה. 4 And Shechem spoke unto his father Hamor, saying: ‘Get me this damsel to wife.’
ה וְיַעֲקֹב שָׁמַע, כִּי טִמֵּא אֶת-דִּינָה בִתּוֹ, וּבָנָיו הָיוּ אֶת-מִקְנֵהוּ, בַּשָּׂדֶה; וְהֶחֱרִשׁ יַעֲקֹב, עַד-בֹּאָם. 5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; and his sons were with his cattle in the field; and Jacob held his peace until they came.
ו וַיֵּצֵא חֲמוֹר אֲבִי-שְׁכֶם, אֶל-יַעֲקֹב, לְדַבֵּר, אִתּוֹ. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to speak with him.
ז וּבְנֵי יַעֲקֹב בָּאוּ מִן-הַשָּׂדֶה, כְּשָׁמְעָם, וַיִּתְעַצְּבוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים, וַיִּחַר לָהֶם מְאֹד:  כִּי-נְבָלָה עָשָׂה בְיִשְׂרָאֵל, לִשְׁכַּב אֶת-בַּת-יַעֲקֹב, וְכֵן, לֹא יֵעָשֶׂה. 7 And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought a vile deed in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done.
ח וַיְדַבֵּר חֲמוֹר, אִתָּם לֵאמֹר:  שְׁכֶם בְּנִי, חָשְׁקָה נַפְשׁוֹ בְּבִתְּכֶם–תְּנוּ נָא אֹתָהּ לוֹ, לְאִשָּׁה. 8 And Hamor spoke with them, saying ‘The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter. I pray you give her unto him to wife.
ט וְהִתְחַתְּנוּ, אֹתָנוּ:  בְּנֹתֵיכֶם, תִּתְּנוּ-לָנוּ, וְאֶת-בְּנֹתֵינוּ, תִּקְחוּ לָכֶם. 9 And make ye marriages with us; give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.
י וְאִתָּנוּ, תֵּשֵׁבוּ; וְהָאָרֶץ, תִּהְיֶה לִפְנֵיכֶם–שְׁבוּ וּסְחָרוּהָ, וְהֵאָחֲזוּ בָּהּ. 10 And ye shall dwell with us; and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.’
יא וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁכֶם אֶל-אָבִיהָ וְאֶל-אַחֶיהָ, אֶמְצָא-חֵן בְּעֵינֵיכֶם; וַאֲשֶׁר תֹּאמְרוּ אֵלַי, אֶתֵּן. 11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren: ‘Let me find favour in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give.
יב הַרְבּוּ עָלַי מְאֹד, מֹהַר וּמַתָּן, וְאֶתְּנָה, כַּאֲשֶׁר תֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָי; וּתְנוּ-לִי אֶת-הַנַּעֲרָ, לְאִשָּׁה. 12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me; but give me the damsel to wife.’
יג וַיַּעֲנוּ בְנֵי-יַעֲקֹב אֶת-שְׁכֶם וְאֶת-חֲמוֹר אָבִיו, בְּמִרְמָה–וַיְדַבֵּרוּ:  אֲשֶׁר טִמֵּא, אֵת דִּינָה אֲחֹתָם. 13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father with guile, and spoke, because he had defiled Dinah their sister,
יד וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵיהֶם, לֹא נוּכַל לַעֲשׂוֹת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה–לָתֵת אֶת-אֲחֹתֵנוּ, לְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ עָרְלָה:  כִּי-חֶרְפָּה הִוא, לָנוּ. 14 and said unto them: ‘We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us.
טו אַךְ-בְּזֹאת, נֵאוֹת לָכֶם:  אִם תִּהְיוּ כָמֹנוּ, לְהִמֹּל לָכֶם כָּל-זָכָר. 15 Only on this condition will we consent unto you: if ye will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised;
טז וְנָתַנּוּ אֶת-בְּנֹתֵינוּ לָכֶם, וְאֶת-בְּנֹתֵיכֶם נִקַּח-לָנוּ; וְיָשַׁבְנוּ אִתְּכֶם, וְהָיִינוּ לְעַם אֶחָד. 16 then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
יז וְאִם-לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ אֵלֵינוּ, לְהִמּוֹל–וְלָקַחְנוּ אֶת-בִּתֵּנוּ, וְהָלָכְנוּ. 17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.’
יח וַיִּיטְבוּ דִבְרֵיהֶם, בְּעֵינֵי חֲמוֹר, וּבְעֵינֵי, שְׁכֶם בֶּן-חֲמוֹר. 18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son.
יט וְלֹא-אֵחַר הַנַּעַר לַעֲשׂוֹת הַדָּבָר, כִּי חָפֵץ בְּבַת-יַעֲקֹב; וְהוּא נִכְבָּד, מִכֹּל בֵּית אָבִיו. 19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter. And he was honoured above all the house of his father.
כ וַיָּבֹא חֲמוֹר וּשְׁכֶם בְּנוֹ, אֶל-שַׁעַר עִירָם; וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֶל-אַנְשֵׁי עִירָם, לֵאמֹר. 20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and spoke with the men of their city, saying:
כא הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה שְׁלֵמִים הֵם אִתָּנוּ, וְיֵשְׁבוּ בָאָרֶץ וְיִסְחֲרוּ אֹתָהּ, וְהָאָרֶץ הִנֵּה רַחֲבַת-יָדַיִם, לִפְנֵיהֶם; אֶת-בְּנֹתָם נִקַּח-לָנוּ לְנָשִׁים, וְאֶת-בְּנֹתֵינוּ נִתֵּן לָהֶם. 21 ‘These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for, behold, the land is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
כב אַךְ-בְּזֹאת יֵאֹתוּ לָנוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים, לָשֶׁבֶת אִתָּנוּ–לִהְיוֹת, לְעַם אֶחָד:  בְּהִמּוֹל לָנוּ כָּל-זָכָר, כַּאֲשֶׁר הֵם נִמֹּלִים. 22 Only on this condition will the men consent unto us to dwell with us, to become one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised.
כג מִקְנֵהֶם וְקִנְיָנָם וְכָל-בְּהֶמְתָּם, הֲלוֹא לָנוּ הֵם; אַךְ נֵאוֹתָה לָהֶם, וְיֵשְׁבוּ אִתָּנוּ. 23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and all their beasts be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.’
כד וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל-חֲמוֹר וְאֶל-שְׁכֶם בְּנוֹ, כָּל-יֹצְאֵי שַׁעַר עִירוֹ; וַיִּמֹּלוּ, כָּל-זָכָר–כָּל-יֹצְאֵי, שַׁעַר עִירוֹ. 24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
כה וַיְהִי בַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בִּהְיוֹתָם כֹּאֲבִים, וַיִּקְחוּ שְׁנֵי-בְנֵי-יַעֲקֹב שִׁמְעוֹן וְלֵוִי אֲחֵי דִינָה אִישׁ חַרְבּוֹ, וַיָּבֹאוּ עַל-הָעִיר, בֶּטַח; וַיַּהַרְגוּ, כָּל-זָכָר. 25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city unawares, and slew all the males.
כו וְאֶת-חֲמוֹר וְאֶת-שְׁכֶם בְּנוֹ, הָרְגוּ לְפִי-חָרֶב; וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת-דִּינָה מִבֵּית שְׁכֶם, וַיֵּצֵאוּ. 26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went forth.
כז בְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב, בָּאוּ עַל-הַחֲלָלִים, וַיָּבֹזּוּ, הָעִיר–אֲשֶׁר טִמְּאוּ, אֲחוֹתָם. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
כח אֶת-צֹאנָם וְאֶת-בְּקָרָם, וְאֶת-חֲמֹרֵיהֶם, וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר-בָּעִיר וְאֶת-אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה, לָקָחוּ. 28 They took their flocks and their herds and their asses, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field;
כט וְאֶת-כָּל-חֵילָם וְאֶת-כָּל-טַפָּם וְאֶת-נְשֵׁיהֶם, שָׁבוּ וַיָּבֹזּוּ; וְאֵת, כָּל-אֲשֶׁר בַּבָּיִת. 29 and all their wealth, and all their little ones and their wives, took they captive and spoiled, even all that was in the house.
ל וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל-שִׁמְעוֹן וְאֶל-לֵוִי, עֲכַרְתֶּם אֹתִי, לְהַבְאִישֵׁנִי בְּיֹשֵׁב הָאָרֶץ, בַּכְּנַעֲנִי וּבַפְּרִזִּי; וַאֲנִי, מְתֵי מִסְפָּר, וְנֶאֶסְפוּ עָלַי וְהִכּוּנִי, וְנִשְׁמַדְתִּי אֲנִי וּבֵיתִי. 30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi: ‘Ye have troubled me, to make me odious unto the inhabitants of the land, even unto the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and, I being few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and smite me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.’
לא וַיֹּאמְרוּ:  הַכְזוֹנָה, יַעֲשֶׂה אֶת-אֲחוֹתֵנוּ.  {פ} 31 And they said: ‘Should one deal with our sister as with a harlot?’ {P} (text obtain here)

Response from
Jonathan Dorsey
November 10 at 10:36am

We recently talked about this in class. The clincher for seduction lies in a Hebrew word study, and a little knowledge of how Hebrew is used. The key to the word study lies in Deut. 23 – 28. The word translated “rape” or “sleep with” in each case – (Deut. & Genesis) are all the word shacav, which does not mean rape all by itself, but simply “to lie down (with)”. David and Bathsheba “shacav”ed…

Gen 34:2 Shechem took her, shacav’s her, and anah’d (violated) her.

Deut 22:23 – Man meets betrothed girl and shacav’s her and anah’d (violated) her in town – both die – man because he anah’d (violated) her, and the women because she did not scream out for help (meaning she wanted to shacav).

Deut 22:25 – Man meets betrothed girl in country – shacav’s her – she screams out for help, he hazak’s (overpowers) her.

Deut 22:28 – Man meets non-betrothed girl – shacav’s her anah’d (violated) her – they should marry. [He should pay the bride price to her family, to compensate them for their loss of a daughter, (who would now not be desired as a wife, traditionally) and he must care for her financially always.]

Like Hebrew in general, one is forced to look at the context of the verse to determine the the exact variation of a word that has multiple uses. It looks like the Dinah story matches with the cases of Deut.23 and 28. Because similar words to describe the events are used: the man shacav’s her, and anah’d (violates) her. The context in these three cases do not suggest force – In the case of Deut. 28, they are supposed to marry. This would be SICK if it were not a case of clear seduction. So if a women is shacav’d, and anah’d (violated), and no other word in the context suggest violence, force, or coercion, we are left with a Hebrew word phrasing that means seduction.

However, we see that Deut. 25 stands apart – we have a new word introduced – hazak (overpowers), and the fact that she screams for help – these are all context clues that the shacav-ing was clearly not consensual, and the man will die as if he committed murder.

The Dinah seduction has plenty of context clues in the wording to point to the fact that she was not raped. Shechem spoke tenderly to her, he asked her father for her as a wife, etc. In addition to our word study, we can see these statements as we are supposed to see them – as a man who has fallen in love with Dinah. His actions were wrong / dubious though – sleeping with her and not being married is a violation, and keeping her with him while they asked Jacob for his blessing for their marriage, etc.

Even though Dinah’s thoughts are never shared with the reader, it would be assumed that the writer would put something in to make it clear to the audience if it was not consensual (such as was done in Deut. 22:25). This is required for the Hebrew audience when the words used are ambiguous – such as shacav, which needs additional context clues to tell the reader what kind of shacav it was. He would have used the word hazak or the fact that she screamed or something. The author would not leave the audience with an ambiguous situation and not clarify if it was rape or seduction – the same word (shacav) is always used for both. With the context clues we have, and the fact the the same guy wrote both Deut. and Genesis and clearly drew apart stories/cases that showed the difference between rape and seduction, it seems fairly certain that Dinah is a case of seduction.

Sorry I messed up my references – Look in Deut 22:23-28!! Deut. 22:25 is the one that clearly is rape. Deut. 22:23 and 22:28 are talking about seduction.

Also, the word for “take” – lach – does in NO way suggest violence when Shechem “lached” Dinah. If it did, the author would need to reinforce that notion with some adverb or other wording in the sentence to make that clear. Since he does not, we are left to see this as simply “spirited away” or “stole away with her” or “took her to his crib” or something. 🙂 A Hebrew word study of using the verb “lach” in with a person as the verb receiver would be useful. I did so, and in every case I reviewd (the first 10) , it is not forced or done by overpowering. Abraham “lached” his wife and left to go to the land of Canaan. Lamach “lached” for himself two wives.

-Jon Dorsey

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Please leave any comments you have.

Reader Responds with quote (i.e. Lust: an Opportunity)

Karen Moret Harrison wrote:

 “If there is an Enemy of Souls, one thing he cannot abide is the desire for purity. Hence a man’s or woman’s passions become his battleground. The Love of Souls does not prevent this. I was perplexed because it seemed to me He should prevent it, but He doesn’t. He wants us to learn to use our weapons.” ~Elisabeth Elliot

En garde!

It would seem that we must take up armor against attacks that target our weak points, yet use the attacks themselves as God’s inescapable challenges to strengthen ourselves, enrich our dependence on Him, and I dare say,  hone our passions for our best interests, and God’s work.

Thank you for writing, friend! “Allez!”

How about you? Leave your  thoughts and comments, please. 🙂

1st Ethics Paper covers, so to speak, Nipple-gate

I am taking Christian Ethics with Dr. Miller at ETS

Our first assignment due this coming Monday was detailed thus: “Write a brief essay explaining his/her understanding of the relationship between the study of Ethics and ministry. ” 

I’ll include an excerpt of my paper, and how I kept my ethics class abreast of what has come to be known around here as “Nipple-gate”:

 

The entire episode (now termed “Nipplegate,” by some) reflects the ethical dilemma of my vocation. I have a role to play as a writer with a Christian worldview, and I am attempting to minister to Christians and non-Christians. Not everyone will be happy all of the time with what is authored and portrayed at my blog. This is an obvious impossibility. Predilections, doctrines, and convictions vary a great deal within my viewing audience. However, I have an undeniable ethical responsibility to my readership to well-reflect the standards of the God I love and serve. The questions become–what is truly suitable to allow at my site; and where and how must I draw the line that distinguishes personal preferences from God’s standards?

Thus far, I have come to a resolution to make all reasonable efforts to conduct the affairs of my site in excellence, with the hopes that in so doing, it will not make others stumble. (This has always been my philosophy, but in this case, it was botched as I let an aspect of the site remain out of exceptionally close oversight.) My overall method is not foolproof for avoiding every glitch, but it is a deliberate vision for my work.

A bit of perspective is in order too. Not just for the way I think about my work, and the way I offer it up to readers, but for promoting the worldview I believe–in, and of, itself. Yes, each decision we make counts in the big picture, but how much better to see the big picture first, and then zoom in from a bigger view, down, into ordinary life. God, perfect and holy, is our guiding Light. God’s laws and rules do not just give us a guide; they mirror the character of God himself. His perfection is the standard and starting point for our choices. Seen this way, we are better able to make wise and ethical decisions.

That being said, it is the overarching decisions that carry the most import. So when Jesus sums up all the law and the prophets into the Great Commandment2, this is not an annulment of the law, but an encompassing of it. Sometimes in and among the nitpicking decisions and details of our conduct choices– even during our attempts to be righteous–we miss the Great Command altogether. God is marginalized by the rules themselves, and neighbors are trampled more than anything. It seems if the Spirit of the command is upheld, much of the rest can sorted out more easily.

When we attempt to deal in microcosms of various everyday ethical situations, we must not miss the point of the greater good, as God defines it. God defines it in the essence of who he truly is. His nature and character are the basis for our decisions that we must work out in practical and contextual ways. As we bump up against perfection, with our solutions, we come up as less-than-perfect. We inevitably do not meet the standard. Thus, we prove our need for God’s grace and forgiveness, and the grace and forgiveness of those around us. It is failed ethics balanced by applied grace that sustains, and saves us from the ethical ideals we can never attain, but must continually aim for, as they are reflections of Reality itself.

It will be my approach to apply the Great Commandment as the ethical plan in my ministry. As a foundation for my will, thoughts, motives, and deeds, my hope is to strive to keep these things fully loyal to God, the author and finisher of my faith; and to keep his human creation honored. This loyalty will mean laying aside self, and selfish ambition, but not just for the greater good. In reality, I will be attempting to set my life toward the world as is truly is, with God as the source of good, and goodness. This way will also be a light, enacted with those to whom I minister, as it reveals my core beliefs, Christian worldview, and the truth of God as revealed in Scripture.

 



2 Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

 

 

 

 

 

 I’d love to hear your reflections on the topic of ethics in ministry, or any related topic I’ve discussed here. Thank you for reading.

-Lisa