A chat with a FB Friend about sex/wine/pleasure
James Patrick Riley: Question for you and Steve — is it unseemly for me to write about sex so much? I honestly don’t believe the church knows how to discuss it, and I think men are particularly under-served by the way the church discusses sex.
Ruth: Steve and I have actually talked a bit about how often you address the subject. I’m torn between what you say and why you say it, knowing that the why is extremely important. I think I told you that we taught the “Song of Solomon” in the church we used to attend, as well as to the kids at our son’s Christian school. They were starved for understanding… understanding we didn’t get until we were much, much older (and I still fight the old training). So, it can, at times, seem like sex and alcohol are top-of-mind in your posts, and those who don’t know your history won’t understand. It’s a difficult ministry you’ve chosen, but it is necessary. Absolutely necessary.
James Patrick Riley: Yes, it’s the sex/wine/music/pleasure continuum.
Ruth: Awesome! I’m jealous…And glad that God loves us so much.
James Patrick Riley: I actually don’t know precisely what I want to say but it’s summed up in some observations about what we see in scripture and the way the church “feels” today. The example I always use is the image of Jesus allowing a beautiful woman to adorn His feet. Can you imagine a pastor allowing that today?
Ruth: Pfffftt!! Or his congregation? Holy…. We haven’t come very far, have we.
James Patrick Riley: I don’t think people know what damage pietism did.
Ruth: Mr. Riley, people don’t even know what pietism means anymore…Much less what it’s done to societies worldwide. Pietism is humanism hiding behind the name of God.
James Patrick Riley: I was also trying to get at it that blog I wrote about the “totally hot Christian woman.” Why, for example, is it a crime for a Christian woman to be as hot as Solomon’s bride? Why should a man apologize for that emotion if it’s the engine that brings new little babies into the world? Why would some Christian women roll their eyes if I expressed it that way — as though they were saying, with utter dismissal, “..men.. isn’t this a CHURCH?”
Ruth: Because, while that’s ultimately flattering, it lacks the emphasis on commitment. Because “hot” is fleeting. Women are not taught that “hot,” in our beloved’s eyes, is forever, and that is reinforced by what happens in our societies. “Hot” continues to be redefined according to cultural, not spiritual, standards. Thus, “hot” becomes disrespectful. We are the doves hiding in the crevices…Song of Solomon
James Patrick Riley: Except that, if it isn’t hot, it isn’t happening…
Ruth: Don’t confuse hot with lust…
James Patrick Riley: Men don’t see it, really, as disrespectful. They see it as warming, complimentary.
Ruth: I think that’s where the disconnect is coming into what you post. Yes, I know that now, after years of retraining and a very patient husband. But, that is not what girls are taught, Either by the world or the church…
James Patrick Riley: Hence my ministry on that front…
Ruth: Exactly. Just make sure you understand your audience.
James Patrick Riley: Begin each blog with four paragraph of disclaimers, I know…
Ruth: And, I sooo appreciate your ministry, by the way. Oh, and who made that rule?
James Patrick Riley: What rule?
Ruth: “Begin each blog with four paragraphs of disclaimers…”
James Patrick Riley: Oh, it’s just a comment on the prejudices people bring to a topic. For example, for the people who really see their call to Christ as a call to burn down every winery in the country, it’s almost impossible to convince them what Jesus really says. Some people aren’t looking for heaven. They are looking for a place that has no demon rum. You could start out with 10,000 words about alcohol abuse, and that’s as far as they would get.
Ruth: Sigh…psych. True that.
James Patrick Riley: And for the woman who sees herself delivered from her promiscuous past, it’s hard to get her to see that when she playfully teases her husband, the way she may have done past lovers, she’s no longer in sin.
Ruth: And if the man was promiscuous? Because his wife thought sex was sinful?
James Patrick Riley: Same thing…
Ruth: I agree, actually. But the past haunts them both. And they’re trying to redeem the years that the locusts have eaten…You and Mary are very blessed…
James Patrick Riley: Yes, we are. Very much a God thing. I am convinced He picked her out for me, because I would have been too stupid to see her virtues.
Ruth: God is good. My sweetie says that about me as well.
James Patrick Riley: But we have our disagreements. Where we are really strong is that we tend to see the world the same way.
Ruth: Guard that perceived area of strength, we tend to be attacked where we think we are strongest.
James Patrick Riley: Yes.
Ruth: Geez! (The time) Go hug your gorgeous, smart woman and eat dinner. ‘Tis time, is it not?
James Patrick Riley: I have five nights of Patrick Henry this week. I eat after the performance. What to blog about next….
Ruth: Oh heck…just put our conversation on your blog…should generate some interesting responses. Patrick Henry…anxiously awaiting the next chapters!!!
James Patrick Riley: I can really publish this dialogue? It would be heavily edited to make me look even more intelligent and circumspect, mind you..
Ruth: No, really? Go for it. It’s for His glory…
James Patrick Riley: Do you want to be anonymous or Ruth?