Tempted to Touch :: To what extent are women to blame for men’s lust issues?

Standard

Let’s set the scene: A woman walks into a bar in a tiny skirt and top that leave very little to the imagination. Every man’s eyes follow her across the room. Five seconds later, everyone goes back to what they were doing before. Except one guy. He approaches her table and offers to buy her a drink. She says she’s not interested. He says this is a bar and it’s just a drink. She thinks that’s a logical answer and agrees.

Hours later they’re walking out together when he thinks, Is one night worth it? He decides that it’s not. He asks if he can call her cab. She laughs, calling me names already? We’ve only just met. She assures him that she’ll be fine and walks away. He drives home, crawls into bed and kisses his wife goodnight.

• My question for you is: What if things had gone further? How much responsibility should the woman take for the temptation that this man was facing? Give it a think, revisualise the scene and make your case.

Here’s the most common argument I’ve heard. The woman is a temptress, look at the way she was dressed. She was clearly trying to lure a man. She was in bar on her own, maybe she was even a woman who walks the streets. No man can resist that kind of temptation, sex is too powerful.

You’ve probably heard this argument in another context, maybe in discussions about modesty, even debates about how to prevent rape. Women who dress inappropriately are the reason why men struggle with lust issues. Therefore if women dress appropriately, men’s lust issues will be eliminated. Had the woman come into the bar all covered up she wouldn’t have caught anyone’s attention, let alone a married man’s.

In fact, had she stayed home, all of this could have been averted.

In our scenario let’s assume that his lust was triggered by her dressing. There’s an important point to note here. His lust, her dressing. His lust. Her dressing. I’ll spell out my point clearly:

In this situation, he is responsible for his lust. She is responsible for her dressing NOT his lust.

Every woman knows what it feels like to be the object of a man’s lust. As soon as you begin to blossom into a woman, you notice the lascivious looks, they’re checking you out. Half the time I’m mystified at their fascination because I am looking pretty ordinary. Emphasis on ordinary, not pretty.

I want to take my cue from Jesus and talk to the men and not the women for once. Men, the root cause of your lust is not outward, it is inward:

"What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery… All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’." Mark 7: 20-23

There you have it. Is there room for talking about the way that women and men dress? Sure, but that’s not at issue here. The point is, any solution to a man’s (or any person’s) lust issues must begin with the inside, not the outside. Telling women to dress appropriately won’t deal with the problem, it just covers it up under high necklines and long skirts.

And hey, maybe if he’d stayed home, all of this could have been averted, wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks for reading.

Shula.

Advertisements

The #1 Reason Why You Are Undateable

Standard

Occasionally, someone will send me a Facebook message with a question that’s been bugging them. Why do bad things happen to good people? Are traditional African beliefs incompatible with Christianity? How come I’mstillsingle?

That last question is the toughest one so far and people ask it in different ways but they’re all asking the same thing: is there something that I’m doing that makes me undateable? After suffering a painful rejection (unrequited love y’all) I asked myself that same question. And this post is the fruit of some observations I made about myself and my friends.

There are many reasons why people stay single for a really long time or for all of their lives, many of which are out if their control, I don’t dispute that. But in my process of deep introspection, peer reviewed academic research and statistical analysis, I’ve found that the number one thing that makes people undateable is

Over- spiritualising the process.

You could be doing it without even realising it; maybe you don’t see it because you surround yourself with people who are doing the same thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a guy or girl tell me that they believe that God brought Eve to Adam so they’re waiting on God to do the same thing for them. Taken to its logical conclusion, we should all be wearing fig leaves and waiting for God to bring us clothes made of animal skin.

That’s just silly.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the dating process is a very spiritual thing. And I believe that God should be at the centre of all that we do, including dating. But just as no one expects God to deliver an Economics degree into their lap, knowledge of financial markets included; you shouldn’t expect God to drop off a boyfriend to your doorstep, with roses in hand.

Today, I want to bring the process down to earth and apply some practical wisdom to the process. I think there are things that we’re all doing that may be hindering our dateability, do you see yourself in any of these?

1. You’re a serial friendzoner.

This is you if you have a friend that your friends say is just perfect for you but you insist that he’s "just a friend" or "just a brother". Well, hello, great marriages are built on a foundation of friendship!

2. You can’t relate with the opposite sex.

If you’re a man and the closest you’ve come to relating to a woman is asking the till operator for cash back, then you’ve got serious problems. You need to start getting comfortable with relating to people of the opposite sex.

3. You’re waiting for Idris Elba/ Ryan Gosling to propose.

I used to have a ridiculous list of things that I applied when I was considering a guy. I was always weighing a guy up against the mental picture I had in my mind. Eventually, I had to let go of him because he didn’t exist and he never would.

4. You’re still nursing a broken heart.

If you’re still recovering from a break up or a rejection, you’re going to struggle to be open to pursuing a new relationship, probably because you’re not over the other guy or girl. Your focus should be on getting healing.

5. You have a fear of rejection.

This fear manifests in different ways. Maybe you project a false persona because you’re afraid that people won’t like the real you. Or you avoid getting close to people because it never ends well. At the root of this fear is an identity issue.

Do you agree with my observations? Which one of these have you identified in yourself? I know that I’ve only scratched the surface and probably brought up many questions. That’s great, leave a comment and we can start a conversation!

Thanks for reading.

Shula.

10, 000 Reasons Why Celibacy is Sheer Agony

Standard
image

Celibacy, by shooeygooey

People like Meagan Good (and the Jonas Brothers?) made celibacy look cool, but you and I both know that it is so hard! And here are the reasons why:

##1 People think you’re crazy.

University was a major eye-opener for me. Everyone was having sex. Picking someone up at the club for a one-night stand wasn’t weird and if you had a boyfriend then obviously you were sleeping together. When you reach a certain age, being the celibate one or the virgin seems crazy and weird. But hey, dead fish go with the flow.

#2 You’re constantly assaulted by images of almost-naked women and men.

There’s a TV show that’s dedicated to showing women in bikinis washing cars, even running marathon episodes- why?! On TV, online, on billboards, in magazines – sex sells and it is everywhere. Keeping your mind free of lustful thoughts is near impossible.

#3 You feel panicked at the thought of being within five metres of your crush.

Someone must invent a word for that thing where your eyes are involuntary drawn to someone who is across the room, especially when you’re pretending that you’re completely oblivious to their presence. It’s infuriating. Social contact with super-hot humans really does damage to your powers of resistance.

#4 You have regular occasional meltdowns in private.

You’re at a wedding. Your buddy and her beau just made their vows to each other – beautiful. You excuse yourself just after the best man’s speech to go to the bathroom. As you look down to wash your hands you see just how un-ringed your ring finger looks. And just like that something is in your eye and you’re sniveling and trying not to go into the ugly cry.

#5 Sermons about sexual sin feel like they’re targeted at you.

You know that you know that you know that there is no way that the Pastor could know the temptation that you’re facing right now. But why does it feel like he’s been looking straight at you the whole time and saying everything that you needed to hear? You can’t say ‘Amen’ lest you sound too interested in the topic, you can’t be too quiet cause that’s really suspicious.

#6 You’re the victim of “He wants to be a priest/ she wants to be a nun” jokes.

Chastity has it’s benefits – zero risk of: STIs, pregnancy or the kind of false intimacy that having sex with someone you’re not in a legal commitment with can create. But people have a way of making you feel like a fool (at best) or a religious fanatic (at worst) for choosing not have mind-blowingly awesome sex with the person you’re married to.

#7 Your spirit fails you at the thought that Armageddon could come before you’ve done the deed.

*Bloodcurdling scream*

#8 You worry that God will call you to a lifetime of singleness.

People keep their money in savings accounts because of the interest that they’ll earn from it. Suffer now, profit later. The one thing that makes celibacy bearable is the faith that one day, one sweet day, you’re going to hit the jackpot baby! And the one gift that you never want to find under the Christmas tree is the gift of singleness.

#9 You have to endure the embarrassment of people talking about their sex lives.

If you want to avoid getting caught in the crossfire, stay away from: elderly humans, drunk humans and humans at bachelor parties/ bridal showers. Things get awkward when people start sharing their battle stories and friendly tips. Note: Bridal showers and bachelor parties are particularly hazardous given the presence of elderly and drunk humans all in one place.

#10 You dread the thought of having to reveal your behind the scenes footage.

To stay celibate you need accountability partners. Accountability requires two things: courage and vulnerability. You need people’s help to keep you from compromising. It takes courage and vulnerability to confess your struggles to God and to people you trust. The fact that you know it’s good for doesn’t make it any easier.

These are 10 reasons and I bet you could add 9, 990 of your own. If celibacy is sheer agony then why do we punish ourselves? Why not just let go and let flow, no strings attached? I see here’s a mystery hidden in the answer to this question:

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed in us.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8: 18- 23

Bondage to Decay and Hope of Freedom

No doubt, choosing celibacy in obedience to God comes with its own form of “suffering” and “groaning”. But we need to begin to see it in its larger context and find our place in the spectacular tapestry of redemption that God is weaving. This verse reveals the tension between our bondage to decay and our hope of freedom and glory. Our physical bodies are corrupted and yet we subdue them in anticipation of the freedom that awaits us. 

As you wait in hope, remember this:

But hope that is seen is not hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8: 24-25

Wait patiently.

Thanks for reading.



Shula

TCT :: I have no idea what to call this post about masturbation

Standard

By Malebo Moloto

“I’m not ashamed of the things I dream,

I find myself flirting with the verge of obscene,

Into the unknown, I will be bold,
I’m going to places I can be out of control.

And I don’t want to explain tonight, all the things I’ve tried to hide,

I shut myself from the world so I can draw the blinds and I’ll teach myself to fly.

I love myself, it’s not a sin, I can’t control what’s happening.

Cause I just discovered imagination is taking over, another day without a lover,

The more I come to understand the touch of my hand…”

The touch of my hand….that what Britney Spears coons over a beat! Masturbation!! Masturbation!! Masturbation!!! What is it about that word that makes me giggle like a school girl? Most people aren’t willing to even say the word, much less have a discussion about it. But today, we are going to talk about this taboo topic no matter how much we are embarrassed, giggly or outright grossed out. Let’s talk about it and open the platform for healthy dialogue on a topic that everyone, yes everyone, wants to know about.

I’m hoping that in our conversation will lead to us having a clearer understanding of the role, or lack thereof, of masturbation in the life of Christian. I hope that Scripture will not be used out of context or become victim to personal interpretation, but that it will be a definitive and powerful source of truth. Now the Bible does not discuss masturbation, as in nowhere in the Bible is the word mentioned or even forbidden, so the natural starting point would be to define what masturbation really is. In laymen terms, it’s the act of pleasuring yourself sexually either with “the touch of your hand” or other…um, electronic methods (stay with me, I’m giggling as I write this too) and other ways that lead to sexual release in any way. Now worldly wisdom tells us that masturbation is a healthy way of life, as a single guy or girl, and even in marriage. It is encouraged as a way of self-exploration, self-love, self-knowledge, if you will.

For me, the term “healthy sexuality” presupposes that we have a good idea of what our sexuality is and does, and I would argue that, for the most part, both our culture and church have fairly distorted models of what sexuality is supposed to look like. Part of the reason that we struggle with the question of masturbation is because we have trouble living in the tension of our desires. It’s easier to fall back into the black and white rules that we’re often offered as answers to our struggles instead of doing the hard work of encountering our desires and longing for relationship with God.

For the most part, we’ve been given two sets of rules to follow when it comes to our sexuality: it’s either we respond to it like an appetite, like hunger, we feed it; or to avoid it completely or as something to be expressed only in covenanted conjugal relationships.

This false dichotomy and both of these paradigms tend to end up in dysfunction. We either find ourselves at the mercy of our “needs” which leads to a low grade despair, or divorced from the life and pleasure that sexuality brings, living in a kind of discontented numbness.

What I’m getting at is that sexuality is not wrong, desire and sex where all created by God and it’s a beautiful thing. When thinking of masturbation, we have to think about it in terms of lust, since the word itself is not found in the Bible. Lust is a strong desire, and in this case, a strong sexual desire. It’s a strong overwhelming desire for something or someone.  It is self-indulgent as it seeks just to please self. Now since the Bible doesn’t mention that masturbation is a sin, that doesn’t mean it’s a hard and fast rule to completely say it is not wrong.

In my opinion (since that’s what this is), I am more interested in what gets someone to masturbate, more than the actual act. What’s of significance is what causes people to masturbate because we cannot simply provide a “yes” “no” answer without exploring the root of the issue.

For the manifestation in the physical, your thought life would have already taken you down the rabbit hole till it manifests itself physically.

Now, there is a school of thought that says masturbation can be done with a pure heart and mind and I respectfully disagree. Scripture tells us that, “you have heard that it was said, “Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who has looked a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus here tells us that before you even commit the act, by letting it take root in your mind, you have committed the sin. Therefore, it starts in our thought life, that is where it takes root and that leads to sin.

Also, masturbation is self-centred, as it seeks only to please self.

The issue is also the nature of masturbation. It’s all secretive and shameful and leaves people feeling guilt, even to the point of not being able to be in the presence of the Father because you have condemned yourself. The issue is that, for some people it can become a crutch in order to avoid healthy interactions and relationships with people, a way to shield them from being hurt.

For some people it is because they are lonely, bored etc. It is not as simple as saying it is about fulfilling desire and that there are no consequences because for a lot of people masturbation is an escape. It’s a way of dealing, without dealing……it comes down to wholeness.

The issue with masturbation or any other “thing” for that matter, is that it comes down to what is missing and what you think this “thing” will fill, what way do you think it will make you feel whole or complete.

So, I think that it goes beyond the act, because by already thinking it, you have already committed it. It goes to being pure in thought, heart and motive. We must make sure that our thought life aligns with the word of God and that we take hold of every thought that exalts itself above Him and make it submit to the word of God.

President George Q. Cannon, a former counsellor in the First Presidency of the Church, said:

“If a man be pure in thought, he will be correspondingly pure in action; but if he allows his mind to roam in unrestricted freedom through the various avenues of evil or to dwell unchecked upon the contemplation of forbidden indulgences, it will not be long before his feet tread those paths and his hand plucks the tempting but deceitful fruit.”

So may take on it is that masturbation is the manifestation of a sinful thought life.

What say you?

TCT :: 8 Things I Will Teach My Daughter About Sex

Standard

Beach-Love-Photography

by Zuko Mgwili

“By and by, I noticed Wemmick’s arm beginning to disappear again, and gradually fading out of view. Shortly afterwards, his mouth began to widen again. After an interval of suspense on my part that was quite enthralling and almost painful, I saw his hand appear on the other side of Miss Skiffins. Instantly, Miss Skiffins stopped it with the neatness of a placid boxer, took off that girdle or cestus as before, and laid it on the table. Taking the table to represent the path of virtue, I am justified in stating that during the whole time of the Aged’s reading, Wemmick’s arm was straying from the path of virtue and being recalled to it by Miss Skiffins.” – Great Expectations.

Fatherhood, can there be any greater honor/privilege (apart from being married to the love of your life), that God, in his infinite wisdom, grants a man, than that of being a father. Oh, how I relish the prospect, and if God would be so kind as to give me a daughter, here are some thoughts I would share with her about sex.

1. Sex is good.

All God’s gifts are good, and sex is from God; it’s His idea. He gave it to his human creatures not only for procreation, but also for our pleasure. A husband and his wife are to delight and be intoxicated with each other in sex.

2. Desire is good.

Your desire for sexual intimacy is good; do not feel shame about it. It is telling you that your body is ready for sexual love. Do understand that the proper context for sexual expression is marriage.

3. Sex is not God.

You will have some people think of you as strange for saving sex for marriage, for subscribing to some “repressive, antiquated” notions about sex. Some will even ask, “How are you able to survive without it?” or “Everyone is doing it, what’s wrong with you?”. The culture all around worships at the altar of sex; it’s everywhere, with all its gross distortions. Sex is to be enjoyed as the gift that it is, within the confines of God’s law, but it is not God. You can live without it.

4. Hollywood sex is not real sex.

Don’t take your cues and ideas about sex from Hollywood; the well choreographed sequences, where lovers seem to effortless lose themselves in sexual ecstasy, do not necessarily reflect real life. Your first sexual encounter will most likely be a clumsy, awkward affair. Do not loose heart, as you and your husband grow to know each other sexually, you will over time indeed experience perfect rapture.

5. Sex is enjoyable.

Premarital, extramarital or marital, sex is enjoyable, but the best sex to be had is marital. A good marriage relationship established on Christ, where trust, faithfulness and love are not lacking, is an excellent foundation for passionate love making to happen.

6. Sexual power.

Be aware of the kind of sexual power as a young woman you have over men. Do your best to possess your body in an honorable manner, so that your are not a cause for stumbling for your brothers in Christ.

7. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

You are God’s. You are called by His Name. His love for you is far greater than you can imagine or comprehend. You have the Creator of the Universe dwelling in you by His Spirit; what an awesome idea. You are not your own, therefore observe God’s law about sexual behavior; his laws are for your good.

8. Sexual conduct as a witness.

You bring glory to God when you handle your sexuality honorably. Great harm has been caused to the witness of the Gospel, as a result of scandals of sexual immorality in the Church. For the sake of Kingdom of God, do conduct yourself in a manner worthy of one called by the name of Christ.

Do you have any other blush-inducing pearls of wisdom you would share with your daughter about sex? Please do mention them in the comments section below or if you want chastise me for having mentioned the word “sex” and “ecstasy”, please do also comment. 🙂

Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti

Standard

image

In high school our choir teacher Mrs Smith taught us a song that quickly became one of our favourites. It was only later that I discovered that it was a song about the ‘battle of the sexes’ and it was only then that these lyrics made sense:

Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you!”

Looking back, it would probably have been better if we had a boys choir doing the boy part and the girls doing our part. Altos trying to do bass is awkward. Girls do not make good boys in plays and vice versa.

Men and women (boys and girls) are different and our bodies are the clearest evidence of that. Contrary to what some like to argue there are some innate differences that male and female are born with, we are not just “socialised” into our respective genders. For Trench Coat Thursday I want to explore these differences and hopefully make some interesting TCT-esque observations on the way. Here we go!

“Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti.”

Unfortunately, I did not coin this phrase (I wish I had)! It is the title of a book by Bill and Pam Farrell where they discuss the differences between the way women and men process information, communicate and relate. Men are like waffles because they tend to compartmentalise things, whereas women tend to make connections, everything is linked to each other, like spaghetti.

Did you know that there is a scientific basis for this? Females have 10 times more white matter than males do, white matter is what enables us to make connections between different parts of the brain. In relationships, the implications are huge. It means that often, a conversation between a man and a woman is like a game of broken telephone. He says, “Have you gained some weight this holiday?”, she hears: “You’re fat. Everyone’s staring at you because you look like a Jersey cow.”

Or am I just speaking for myself?

“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.”

If you are a woman who has sometimes felt like she is talking to an alien when you are taking to man then you may not be that far from the truth. So says the writer of the bestselling book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. After writing what must have been a three page email, I have often found myself irritated by the two-word replies that I get from my guy friends: “OK thanks.” What about all the questions I asked? Apparently, “OK thanks” translated means: “Everything you said sounds good to me. Thanks for letting me know…” etc.

The fact that women express themselves better is not just because we spent our lives watching talk shows and reading while the boys played video games and kicked a ball outside. In a female foetus, the part of the brain that processes language is more developed than in a male foetus, and that difference persists in adulthood. If we trace things back, evidence shows that girls speak earlier than boys and that girls tend to be better at languages in school than boys are.

“Men Are Like Microwaves, Women Are Like Slow Cookers.”

If there is one thing that I have heard repeated over and over in sermons about the difference between men and women’s sexuality, it is the above. Put differently, men have a broadband connection, women have a dial up one. I think that this point is relevant for single and married people. If I have not made it clear, I believe that sex must be between a man and woman who are married to each other.

As a single person who is not having sex it is important to know the different ways that sexuality works between the sexes. Women have a larger limbic cortex which is responsible for emotional intelligence. You will find that a woman’s sexuality is very much connected to her emotions. Women, have you noticed how you can find a man completely unattractive at first but as you get to know him better the attraction grows. Conversely, women will tend to find emotionally stunted men unattractive as time passes even of they found him physically attractive initially. Knowing this, for women (and men), emotional boundaries are really important. Remember that where there is inappropriate emotional intimacy, physical intimacy will quickly follow.

Men have a bigger hypothalamus and this is the part of the brain that regulates ‘mating behavior’. That expression is too primal for my liking! Anyway, the hypothalamus is responsible for sexual behavior and the fact that it is bigger in males is part of the reason why men tend to have a higher sex drive than women. It is the part of the brain that releases hormones that are responsible for physical attraction. This is important to note for a man because his need to have self control in the sexual arena is more urgent than it is for women, do not take it for granted. It is also important, I think, for driving men into marriage and out of bachelorhood. If women knew how very important sex was to men I think they would not give it up so easily when men apply a little bit of pressure. When faced with the option of lifelong celibacy vs lifelong commitment, most men probably view the former with trepidation.  Take a note of Paul’s wisdom when he says:

“… it is better to marry than to burn with lust.” 1 Corinthians 7:9

Women, do not give it up before marriage. Men, no ring-a-ling, no thing-a-ling.

“I would catch a grenade for you.”

I will be honest, I am a sucker for Romantic Action movies. I just made that genre up. In a movie, the more at risk the man’s life is on the woman’s behalf, the better.  And guess what, men were created to take risks! Again, it is not just a result of socialisation. The chemical composition of  a male’s brain is such that when they face a risky situation the pituitary gland is more like to excrete large quantities of endorphins, the pleasure hormone. As a result, challenging situations are more pleasurable for men than they are for women.

Of course, not every man or every woman will conform to these categories. If you are a woman who identified with characteristics associated with men, or vice versa you are atypical and that is okay! The point is that male and female have been created differently by God (Genesis 5:2), it is not just a ‘religious statement’ but a reasonable one.  Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist put it this way:

“There is no unisex brain. Girls arrive already wired as girls and boys arrive already wired as boys. Their brains are different by the time they’re born, and their brains are what drive their impulses, values and their very reality.”

I really enjoyed this week’s TCT topic, what do you think?

Thanks for reading.
Shuls

Notes:
Research is from a National Geographic interview that was done with Dr Louann Brizendine for the show “Brain Games”. If you are looking for more of her research, Google her and add “The Female Brain” and/or “The Male Brain” to find her academic publications.

TCT:: 8 Things I Will Teach My Son About Sex

Standard

image

Every day, we are fed false ideas about what manhood is, most of them centred around a man’s sexuality. One of the things I am really excited about is raising boys to be men who understand the power of their sexuality and do not abuse it. Here are 8 things that I would teach my sons about sex:

1. Virginity is not just a girl thing.

Believe it or not, virginity is not a disease that you need to be cured of, it is a good thing. And it is really manly! Any man can give in to his urges, it takes a real man to discipline himself and say no. But remember, virginity is not the same thing as sexual purity. Purity happens when God transforms your heart and by His power and enables you to stay on the straight and narrow.

2. The measure of a man is not the measure of his ‘ego’.

As you get older you will hear jokes about shoe sizes and will notice “Dr Makabimba from the Congo” posters. Do not be deceived. What makes a man a real man is the state of his heart, your body will fade and wither. “Guard your heart because that’s where life starts.” Proverbs 4:21

3. Sex is not essential to life. You will not die without it, I promise.

4. But “the thirst” is real.

5. So if you want it then you better put a ring on it.
“Drink from your own rain barrel, draw water from your own spring fed well.” Proverbs 5:25

Sex is good and beautiful and it was created by God, He sets the ground rules for when and where it happens. The answer is simple: between a married man and woman. No ringy, no thingy. And when you commit you are doing it for life to that one woman so choose wisely.

Having said all of that, more than anything I want my son to be a man who knows how to:

6. Talk that talk.
“Remove perverse speech from your mouth; keep devious speech from your lips.” Proverbs 4:2

Your words must communicate your respect for women, you’re not a rapper, don’t call women names. As for sexual jokes, to be honest they just sound stupid, avoid that nonsense.

7. Try a little tenderness.
“Do not envy a violent man, and do not choose to imitate any of his ways.” Proverbs 3:31

A man’s strength is a gift that is to be used to benefit others, to be given wisely. Never EVER take forcefully or use your strength to take advantage of another, there is no excusing this.

8. R-E-S-P-E-C-T (take care TCB).
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7

Aretha said it right. Firstly, be a man who respects God, this is where wisdom starts. Secondly, respect yourself as a man and treat others with respect. Women are not conquests that you “take down” or objectify. Real men regard women as their equals and treat them accordingly.

As usual, I would love to know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

Shula

Behind Closed Doors :: Is your private life R18 or Fam?

Standard
image

Doors, by Shula

Over the years, hundreds of scandals have broken involving celebrities, politicians and clergy/ preachers. The scandals are juicy and larger-than- Hollywood, tales of how money, power and sex corrupts.

We watch in fascination as their secrets are revealed: philandering presidents, crooked “tenderpreneurs” and perverted priests. This kind of news breaks every day, squeaky clean reputations spoiled forever.

If your behind the scenes footage was released on YouTube, what would we see? An uncomfortable question! Some of us have stuff going on that we cannot reveal to even our closest friends, especially in the sexual arena.

We portray one image outwardly but if the curtain was drawn back, it would reveal a scene that would make Hugh Hefner blush.

My intention today is not to make you feel embarrassed or ashamed but to open our eyes to the fact that what goes on behind closed doors does not stay there, it comes out eventually and if it does not hurt you, it will hurt those you love.

Here are the details of an ancient scandal, as told by Jerusalem Today (a local paper):

“One late afternoon, David got up from taking his nap and was strolling on the roof. From his vantage point he saw a woman bathing. The woman was stunningly beautiful. David sent to ask about her and was told, “Isn’t this Bathsheba… wife of Uriah the Hittite?” David sent his agents to get her. After she arrived, he went to bed with her…

Then she returned home. Before long she realised she was pregnant.”
2 Samuel 11:1-

Can you imagine the panic in Bathsheba and David’s heart at that moment?

What followed were two cover up attempts: firstly, he sent for Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband and gave him friendly advice to “go down to your house and wash your feet”. Theologians say “wash your feet” was a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Evidently, this was an attempt to make it look like the pregnancy was Uriah’s. When that did not work (Uriah for some reason was not keen), David ordered that Uriah be put in the front line so that he would be killed in battle.

I can guarantee that when David was taking care of his father’s sheep, he never thought that he could ever do such a thing. Lust can make you do crazy things.

No one is immune.

If David could fall into the trap of a sexual secret, so can you. But you do not have to. There is one crucial, critical, vital question that we need to ask ourselves:

What kind of people am I choosing as my doorkeepers?

A doorkeeper (DK) is that person who is close enough to know what is going on inside of you and influential enough to sway your decisions about what you keep out or let in, because you trust them. Your DKs will either help you guard your sexuality or allow you to abuse it. Look around you, which DKs do you see?

1. Messengers

These are people that you have influence over, but they have minimal influence over you. The nature of the relationship is similar to one between an older and younger sibling. It is close but one person clearly exercises more “power” over the other. David’s messengers or “spies” could not challenge him when he asked them to investigate Bathsheba or to bring her to him. They had to do what he said without asking questions.

2. Joab

In David’s story, Joab was the guy that David ordered to send Uriah to the front line, he was the commander of David’s troops Joabs are the people you trust to advise you, you trust them with your life. They love you to death but do not have the courage or wisdom to challenge you or correct you when you are wrong. They want your approval and will often be heard saying, “Just do you boo!”

3. Nathan

This is the guy who had the nerve to come to the king and call him out for what he had done, he did not mince his words, he did not make it look pretty. Nathan is the person that you can trust to tell you to check yourself when necessary and will dish out some tough love. When you do wrong she will call you out on it and help you get back on the straight and narrow where you will find grace and forgiveness.

Which DKs do you have, messengers, Joabs, or Nathans? Ultimately, whether we are kings or servants, we will be held accountable for the choices we make. But surrounding ourselves with the right people will go a long way in keeping things safe for family viewing behind closed doors.

Thanks for reading.
Shula

TCT :: What is your flavour, chocolate or vanilla?

Standard
This is the chocolate milkshake I had this week - yum!

This is the chocolate milkshake I had this week – yum!

It is Trench Coat Thursday and I am writing about a topic that is fraught with controversy, you may identify with a lot of what I am going to say, or you may disagree completely. This is me being honest and real about this issue. Whether you agree with me or not, please let your voice be heard! The point of these posts is not for me to just state my opinion but for us to engage in a conversation. I am really forward to hearing what you think!

This Tuesday was my birthday and my mom, sister and I went for a celebratory lunch. As we walked in a young white guy looked our way and smiled. Let me clear something up, it was not that weirdly condescending smile that you get when you walk past some people and it was not that leery look that you get from dodgy men, it was not brief either. Actually, it was more like a Ryan Gosling-esque “Hey girl…” kind of smile. We were charmed because he is really cute and athletic looking, we were surprised because, well, because he is white.

Who was your first crush?

My family says that mine was Daniel and I was 5 years old. I used to come home from pre-school every day and talked about him all the time. And then there was Ross who was cute and sweet and sporty. I will never forget Mark who was American and best friends with a guy who liked my friend. We were in Grade 5 and their school had come to ours for a rugby tour. We sat and chatted for ages about who-knows-what and by the end of the night I was faint with love. I have a list of crushes as long as my arm: rugby players, hockey players, swimmers, head boys, captains and a pastor’s kid. Looking at my list brings up some questions because, well, because all my crushes are white.

While I was still wondering if we would see that cute guy in the restaurant again the waiter came. My sister wanted me to order a vanilla milkshake but I preferred chocolate. So that is what I ordered.

Preference or Prejudice?

Do people have a physical type? If yes, is it something that people are born with, does it develop over time or is it a choice? I have two male friends that say that they will not/ cannot marry any woman other than a white woman.  Let’s call them Tristan and Sandi. Tristan is white and Sandi is black. My initial reaction to this was “No man, that’s racist!”, but is it really? Some would argue that it is just a preference. Like how some women are attracted to tall men and not short men. And how some men find that they are attracted to women with short hair and not long. Some people like chocolate flavoured milkshakes, others prefer vanilla.

But can we reduce our physical attraction to mere preference?

A few years ago, I was at a mall with a guy relative of mine who was disgusted at the sight of an interracial couple. We will call him Dali. We had a chat about it and he was vehement about how a black man should be with a black woman and he did not understand why any black man or woman would want to cross over to the lighter side – whether that meant white, light brown, green, blue or red. What do you think he was expressing there, preference or prejudice?

Which of these makes less or more sense to you, and why?:

A. white man only attracted to white women (Tristan).

B. black man only attracted to white women (Sandi).

C. black man only attracted to black women (Dali).

A complex issue::

These questions are framed as black/ white issues but they are not really that simple. Firstly, black and white are not the only colours out there – you can add in whatever colour (‘race’) you choose and the questions would still apply. Secondly, for most of us, a person’s skin colour denotes something more than the amount of melanin in it. In our minds a person’s skin colour tells us something about where they come from, their culture, their level of income and education, their class or lack thereof. And everything is rated within these categories – low to high.

I would argue that a lot of what we call ‘preferences’ are borne out of either an inferiority complex or a superiority complex, depending on what rating you put on a certain skin colour. Of course, this does not apply to everyone but it does apply to many of us! My mom thinks that my childhood crushes were mostly the fruit of who I was exposed to from a young age. Outside of home, most of my interactions were with white people, my friendships were with white children and I existed within the white cultural context. It was not anomalous that I liked white boys.

But what of the fact that I liked white boys only, even after having been exposed to a whole spectrum of colours of men later on in life? Many black women will tell you that they dread the thought of marrying a black man and they have made up their mind to marry a white one or not to marry at all. Why a white man? Well, because he is better! A white man will be faithful, true and will take care of you. A black man will cheat, lie and will probably drink his salary away for the rest of your married lives. White culture is easy, liberal and gives wives a place other than in the kitchen. Black culture is strict, traditional and makes a wife subservient (not submissive) to her husband.

Let us revisit my friends Tristan, Sandi and Dali.

If you had a discussion with Tristan, he might first respond by saying that he did not think the questions were important or relevant: You cannot help who you love! If you pressed and challenged him on that, he might admit that this was not really about love, but physical attraction because a woman’s looks are the first thing that a man is drawn to. He might also defend his choice by saying that this was not primarily about race but about culture – we are all naturally drawn to people who are like us and there was nothing wrong with that. Tristan is either blind to his own prejudice or being dishonest. Some honest white men have told me that they have been attracted to women of other colours but consider a relationship with them taboo (what will my family think?!) or something of an exotic adventure rather than something serious. They also admit they think that black culture is primitive and white culture is civilised and the two just do not mix.

Sandi will probably have some good reasons why he is only attracted to white women. Allow me to draw from an actual conversation I have had. Sandi thinks that black women are dramatic, demanding and difficult to please and his sisters have put him off black women for life. Of course, he has black women friends, none of whom he would seriously consider. He has always been told that he will marry a white woman and that is what God has called him to. He played the God-card which is really difficult to argue with! But here is the thing: firstly, Sandi is making his decision out of a place of past pain or hurt. Secondly, he makes generalisations about black women and white women and his generalisations are not true!

Dali already stated his stance clearly: black people should be with black people. In many ways he is much like Tristan, except that he is willing to admit that his are not just preferences but prejudices. He justifies his prejudice with arguments like: Black people were put in Africa, White people in Europe, and Chinese in China so this means that like must be with like! Getting through to Dali will be a struggle but you might win him over by pointing out the fact that his arguments are much like the eugenics theories that people use to justify apartheid, other forms of segregation and genocide. Prejudice is harmful and unjustifiable.

What do you think?

I have so much more to say but will stop there! Now it is your turn, what do you think?

Thanks for reading.

Shula 

TCT :: 8 things that make a woman hot.

Standard

image

“My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and they’re like, it’s better than yours.” Kelis

Last week Thursday we had a list of 8 things that make a man hot. And as a result, I started thinking about beauty, attraction and the role those play in a relationship.

What makes a woman hot? I asked some people if they were willing to explore and no one took the bait – I am not surprised! It is a difficult topic to address and my experience is that women tend to be more sensitive to generalisations (such as the one I just made). All the “SoS” verses are taken from the book Song of Songs. Here we go, 8 things that make a woman hot :

1. She knows she is beautiful.
“I am dark like the tents of Kedar, yet lovely as the curtains of Solomon.” SoS 1:5

Scholars say that at the time that this book was written, society’s idea of beauty was pale skin. This woman did not conform to this standard and yet she declared herself beautiful. Insecure women are constantly seeking affirmation and approval from someone else but it is never enough. That is not hot. Hotness is embodied in a woman who values what she has and makes it work. Security is never outward but comes from being at peace with who God made you to be, whether that conforms to other people’s ideas or not.

2. She has a sweet voice.
“Let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet.” SoS 2:14

Some women have beautiful voices though! Like silk, or melted chocolate, dark and warm. But you can have a nice voice and talk about nonsense. What makes a woman hot is firstly, that she lets her voice be heard, she is not voiceless even when she is quiet. She is not ignorant and does not dumb herself down. She has a message: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26)

3. She is mysterious.
“Behind your veil, your eyes are doves… Behind your veil, your brow is like a slice of pomegranates.” SoS 4:1,3

You know those people you meet and can immediately figure out? Boring. People who reveal a little bit of themselves and leave you wanting more – that is hot! A veil represents a layer of covering, it reveals a little bit but not everything. A beautiful woman keeps herself veiled, not because she is shy and retiring but because she knows that she is a hidden treasure that must be sought out. There is a Bible verse that says “It is the glory of God to hide a matter, it is the glory of kings to seek it out.” A frog will try and make her give it all up with minimal effort but a king will patiently and diligently work until he finds the treasure.

4. She is inaccessible.
“My sister, my bride, you are a locked garden — a locked garden and a sealed spring.” SoS 4:12

One of the things that I found interesting was how my guy friends were always pursuing women who seemed hard to get or women who were completely out of their league. They said that they liked the challenge. A woman who does not let just anyone in her heart or does not give her body up indiscriminately before you are together is attractive. This is because you can trust her not to do so after you are in a committed relationship.

5. She is clean.
“You are a garden spring, a well of flowing water streaming from Lebanon.” SoS 4:15

When I was younger my mother was always, always trying to get me to bath twice a day. But there were always better things to do. Her usual tactic sounded something like A real woman baths! What kind of woman are you going to be? I neither deny nor admit that that pep talk is still necessary. There is a deeper kind of cleanliness that is attractive- a pure heart and mind. Sexual purity. That kind of purity is not something that you can work for, it comes from God. And specifically comes from coming to God with your dirt and letting him wash you with his love.

6. She is powerful.
“You are… awe- inspiring as an army with banners.” SoS 6:4

Some women just have the ability to command attention. They walk with authority and exude strength. Remember Xena warrior princess? Haha! There is a strength that goes beyond the physical. A truly powerful woman is not intimidated by people or circumstances but has the strength to persevere through difficulty and to carry other people, “she draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong.” (Proverbs 31:17)

7. She is not Barbie.
“There are 60 queens and 80 concubines and young women without number. But my dove, my virtuous one, is unique.” SoS 6:8,9

Barbies are mass produced and all look exactly the same. If you took several of them and laid them side by side you would not be able to tell the difference. Have you heard about the actress Lupita Nyongo-o? Since her appearance on the Golden Globes red carpet, everyone’s been raving about how gorgeous she is. But she looked nothing like anyone else on that red carpet. Her skin is not pale, her hair is not long and flowy, her face is not covered in cakes of make up. Her uniqueness is what makes her incomparable and that is hot!

8. She has pretty feet.
“How beautiful are your sandaled feet, princess!” SoS 7:1

My sister has the prettiest feet and it’s something that people always comment on. The way your feet look is important and the only thing worse than nasty looking feet is smelly feet! But what is the deeper revelation? One of my favourite Scriptures says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation.” (Isaiah 52:7). A truly beautiful woman is one who owns the journey she is walking and makes every step about bringing peace, good and salvation to every place where her feet tread – like Jesus did.

As you pursue hotness, never lose sight of what truly makes you hot and what is of eternal significance. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Thanks for reading.
Shula