Don’t ban the books! (thank goodness many people don’t read)

It’s 12.10am on a school night and I won’t sleep for a while. I feel a tight, choking feeling in my body as though I want to vomit, but not from my stomach, from my mind. I just read something that I can’t unread, and therefore saw something I can’t unsee.

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Books have a long history as sacred vehicles that transcend mortality and carry the human intellect from one generation to the next. What could have been lost from the past is not lost, because we have books. Their sacred position in society means that their destruction is a mark of corruption. The burning of books has symbolised tyranny and the banning of books is the oppression of ideas.

Censorship, when it comes to books, is a dirty word, but tonight I am wondering this: if we outlaw child pornography, criminalizing even its possession, then how can we allow it to exist in books?

I haven’t read the controversial Lolita, but after what I did read tonight, hidden unsuspectingly at the three-quarter mark of my novel, I fear for those who want this kind of content uncensored.

There is great evil in the world and we must be aware of it, but to read the first-person narrative of someone utterly perverse causes you to momentarily adopt their perversion.

I cannot call for the banning of the books, but tonight, I’m glad that not so many people read. I fear for a society that has that filth in their heads.

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Christians aren’t moral because they’re afraid of going to hell.

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A while back I wrote about something I heard on the radio regarding Christians not stealing music. It got me thinking. I mean, it’s not like Christians are the only moral people around. Plenty of atheists and muslims and i-don’t-really-believe-in-anyting-but–like-the-whole-do-unto-others people are quite moral.

So why are Christians often highlighted as the do-gooders, or the moral, law abiding ones (and conversely slammed for being hypocrites whenever they’re not).

I’m guessing to most people the answer would be fairly clear. They believe in hell. Christians have to be good, because they want to get to heaven, and they don’t dare be ‘bad’ for fear of going to hell.

And therein lies the most common misconception about Christianity. Christians aren’t moral because they’re afraid of going to hell. They know hell was a certainty, and that Jesus died to save them. And Jesus is moral. And when you’re so in love with someone for what they’ve done for you, you want to be just like them. And when that someone is God, He has the power to help you become more and more like that. That’s pretty much it.

Things I’ve learned from Killing Consumerism #8 – Consuming makes the world go ’round?

In general, when people have asked me about my non-shopping project this year, they’ve been somewhat impressed. I get lots of questions about how hard it is and what I do and don’t buy and how I’m coping.

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This question, over lunch one Sunday, was a new one:

‘But doesn’t our economy rely on consumerism?’

Now that, I hadn’t thought of.

If westerners, presumably the largest consumer body in the world, ceased to consume to the same excessive extent that we do, would our economies, or even the economies of many poorer countries that support our habits, collapse?

Has the world become reliant on our greed and excess?

I don’t know. But it doesn’t really worry me for two reasons:

  1. I don’t see a large-scale departure from our consumerist ways, and
  2. I think it’s more of a moral issue than an economic one.

Greed and gorging on excess is something that should probably prick the conscience of any moralist. I think we can all afford to depart from excessive consumerism on moral grounds, and leave the economy to God.

After all, when a country sticks to God’s moral law, things tend to go pretty well.

Go figure.

Why prostitutes had an advantage with Jesus

382805_10150412644633143_1558372632_nSome time ago I watched a documentary by Louis Theroux about legal prostitution in America. What surprised me about these women was how broken they were. There were no pretenses. They are who they are and they know it.

Sure they have attitude and sass, and a lot of bravado, but once you get them talking, deep down, it’s not something they’re proud of.
It made me realize what it was that caused Jesus to hang out with them in preference to the religious elite of the time. While the prostitutes were under no false illusion about who they were and their need for a saviour, the rest of us spend so much time thinking of ourselves as good and trying desperately to cover anything that cracks the facade. The prostitutes of Jesus’ time knew they were seen as the scum of the earth, and came to Jesus in humility, recognising their true place before him.

Jesus had a lot of time for these people. And their humility was their great advantage. As He said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” It is our great disadvantage that many of us who think we are morally healthy by the world’s standards, are dying of pride on the inside, while the humble are receiving Jesus’ forgiveness and grace.

Are you really anti-abortion, or are you just trying to sell products?

Dear Elevit,

I was surprised the other day, as I was watching TV, to come across your advertisement for Elevit with Iodine.

So much of what we see in the media plays down the value of life in the womb, and it does so because that’s what people want. They want to feel like abortion is okay. They want to feel like it’s not really a person in there, that it is scientifically ‘just tissue’ and that they, therefore, have the right to choose what happens to their body. They want to feel that way, because life is tough, and sometimes things happen, and they want a way out that doesn’t come laden with guilt and shame.

So that’s normally what they give us.

Which is why, Elevit, I was surprised by your ad. This is how it began: “When you’re trying to get pregnant, by the time you find out you are, a little person is already coming to life…”

Hang on. ‘Before you know you’re pregnant.’ So that’s within, what, the first six weeks since conception? And you’re saying it’s already a little person? That’s a big call Elevit, a big call.

And I’d commend you, except I’m wondering this: Do you really believe that, or are you just trying to sell tablets to women who are ‘trying to get pregnant?’

Because sometimes I wonder whether we change the meaning of the word ‘person’ and ‘life’ to suit our agenda. And that’s not cool with me.

Why You Won’t See Me In A Bikini This Summer

Picture1Bikinis seem to be a way of life during Australian summers, but I’ve decided you won’t see me in one.

I’ve had people suggest that perhaps the reason that I’m never seen in these ‘barely there’ bits of frills and lycra is because I’m ashamed of my body, or lacking in confidence. It isn’t.

To be honest, the reason you won’t find me baring it all at the beach, along with everyone else, comes down to my Christian fatih. And, hard as it is at times, that means that I don’t always follow culture.

The Bible consistently calls for a radical standard from its followers and when it calls for women to dress modestly… well try as I might, I just can’t find anything modest about the bikini.

My body was not created to be flaunted to the world. It was created first as a temple of the Holy Spirit and then for the eyes of one man. Not because I couldn’t enjoy the attention of dozens, but because I was called to a radical standard.

I think that as Christians it’s really important that we don’t judge others who don’t agree with our standards. That’s not our job, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stand for what we believe in.

So this year, I’m making a stand for elegance and modesty, and I know there are a lot of girls out there who will be joining me.

(For a really interesting look at the evolution of the Bikini and the way in which it has affected our society, check out Jessica Rey’s talk here.)

What Happens when Morality and Books Collide (and you couldn’t see it coming)

shock-and-awe_2666361I’ve always loved reading, and I’ve tried to be discerning with what I read. I grew up largely on Christian fiction, the occasional bestseller and my high school reading list. When I became a teacher six years ago, I set out to become ‘well read’ in secular fiction, so that I knew what to recommend to my students. I began devouring popular books, and, last year, read a book a week for the entire year.

My endeavor, however, had a frequent downside. Too often, I’d find myself gripped by a novel only to discover an increasing amount of content that I didn’t feel comfortable reading. I felt a conviction that this content was not something that I, as a Christian, should be reading; but I was loving the book! On occasion this battle ended with me tearing the book to pieces; making a bold personal stand within myself.

I was sick of the battle between my moral standards and my love of reading. I scoured the internet for a source that would help me discern what sort of content was in a novel before I started reading it. There was nothing to be found.

Now there is.

My new website, www.bookclassifications.com , exists to assist the discerning reader in discovering what level of content may be in a book before they start reading it, or pass it on to their child.

I’d love for you to check it out, share it with friends and family and like us on Facebook!

Halloween and the Australian Christian’s Dilemma

pumpkinThe commercialization of Halloween is gradually sucking Australians into a celebration we once considered to be purely ‘American.’

While many Australians may be willing to embrace this trend, the question must arise concerning the stance of the Christian. Just last week someone came to me asking my advice on what should be done regarding a teenage girl’s invitation to a Halloween party.

Of course each person must follow the convicting of the Spirit in their own hearts, but as the body of Christ, I truly believe that there are some things we should stand against as a community.

Having spoken to several teenagers in the past who have had terrifying experiences delving into the occult, it seems clear to me that as Christians we must be careful not to align ourselves with a festival which, despite its supposed ‘Christian’ roots, has become known for its associations with witchcraft, death, spirits and horror.

So what is a teenager to do, when it will not be well received by their friends if they do not participate? My heart aches for them; I remember how painful it was to make choices that were unpopular. But as Christians we were never called to do what was popular; we are called to be different, even when it means sacrifice. The greatest thing we can do for our children is to teach them how to make a stand while they are young, so that when they are older, the narrow road is not foreign to them.

Sometimes it’s a baby… sometimes it’s just tissue.

Life at 12 weeks

Life at 12 weeks

I was shocked to read this article about John Andrew Weldon who has been charged this week with first degree murder for allegedly tricking his girlfriend into taking an abortive pill when he found out that she was pregnant.

I am shocked not so much by what he did (which is truly horrifying) but by the blatant inconsistency between what is classified as ‘pre-meditated murder’ and what is classified as ‘abortive removal of embryonic tissue.’

When a woman becomes pregnant and wants to keep it, it becomes, in the eyes of the law, a human being who has the protection of the law against any third party who would do it any harm.

When a woman becomes pregnant and doesn’t want to keep it, it is merely a collection of cells that can be disposed of by a common and legal ‘procedure.’

Since when does the definition of life or humanity depend on whether the woman carrying it wants it to be there or not?