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Recently I have been re-listening to a lot of old episodes of the This American Life podcast. One of those episodes was one with stories themed around the Ten Commandments. In the story based on the commandment “thou shall not commit adultery” I was presented with this idea: it may be possible to obey too much. In other words, often we can lead ourselves astray by adhering to the straight and narrow too strictly. In this story author David Dickerson talks about his experience during college trying to control his lustful thoughts. It became an obsession for him and the more he struggled to repress his thoughts the stronger they became. His efforts to rid himself of sexual thoughts he ended up becoming obsessed with sex and he felt like a monster because of it. Eventually he realized that his agonizing over maintaining a righteous mind served to do nothing but distract him from every other aspect of his spiritual journey. The result of this obsession is that we do not bend to temptation but instead strain ourselves until we crack completely.

This idea, I believe, applies to much more than sexual temptation. It can apply to any kind of moral transgression we could be tempted with. Of course we shouldn’t give into temptation whenever it comes (that would be ridiculous) along but the moment we begin to obsess over the temptation we have lost to it. Bending will become cracking and we will find ourselves worse off than ever before.

We are all wretched sinners but we are saved by the grace of God nonetheless.

Thoughts?

Recently I have been re-listening to a lot of old episodes of the This American Life podcast. One of those episodes was one with stories themed around the Ten Commandments. In the story based on the commandment “thou shall not commit adultery” I was presented with this idea: it may be possible to obey too much. In other words, often we can lead ourselves astray by adhering to the straight and narrow too strictly. In this story author Dave Dickerson talks about his experience during college trying to control his lustful thoughts. It became an obsession for him and the more he struggled to repress his thoughts the stronger they became. His efforts to rid himself of sexual thoughts he ended up becoming obsessed with sex and he felt like a monster because of it. Eventually he realized that his agonizing over maintaining a righteous mind served to do nothing but distract him from every other aspect of his spiritual journey. The result of this obsession is that we do not bend to temptation but instead strain ourselves until we crack completely.

This idea, I believe, applies to much more than sexual temptation. It can apply to any kind of moral transgression we could be tempted with. Of course we shouldn’t give into temptation whenever it comes (that would be ridiculous) along but the moment we begin to obsess over the temptation we have lost to it. Bending will become cracking and we will find ourselves worse off than ever before.

We are all wretched sinners but we are saved by the grace of God nonetheless.

Thoughts?

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Goodnight

Have you ever been asked an unexpected question?  Tonight at work two of my coworkers asked me, straight forward, “are you a virgin?”  After confirming that I was they said that they suspected that was the case because I always seemed happy and someone who’s had sex and doesn’t get it anymore doesn’t act like that (never heard that reasoning before).  Just one of those unexpected work time conversations.

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I’ve been having a lot of weird dreams lately.  Nothing unusual for me since I never seem to have “normal” ones but lately they seem to come in non-stop succession.  Not surprisingly, some of those dreams have been sexual in nature.

I am hardly a psychoanalyst but I would guess that is simply the result of a frustrated libido (months of unwanted singleness will do that to you).  Oddly enough, that and reading a C.S. Lewis essay got me thinking about the place of sex in our society.  Today I was reading Lewis’ essay entitled “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness” and I can across this interesting analysis:

When I was a youngster, all the progressive people were saying, ‘Why all this prudery? Let us treat sex just as we treat all our other impulses.’  I was simple-minded enough to believe they meant what they said.  I have since discovered that they meant exactly the opposite.  They meant that sex was to be treated as no other impulse in our nature has ever been treated by civilized people.  All the others, we admit, have to be bridled.  Absolute obedience to your instinct for self-preservation is what we call cowardice; to your acquisitive impulse, avarice.  Even sleep must be resisted if you’re a sentry.  But every unkindness and breach of faith seems to be condoned provided that the object aimed at is ‘four bare legs in a bed’.  It is like having morality in which stealing fruit is considered wrong–unless you steal nectarines.

This struck me as just as true today as it was in Lewis’ time.  If someone does not control their eating habit they are called gluttonous.  If they sleep too much they are called lazy.  If they are too aggressive they are called violent.  If they are too passive you are called a coward.  Even if any of those things happen to make a person happy they are still seen as vices.

We treat sex completely differently.  We act like it is our right to indulge nearly every sexual impulse we have.  Only in the most extreme cases do we even begin to treat it as a vice.  Why is that?  Why is that the only natural impulse that we don’t feel obligated to regulate and control.  Sex and sexual urges aren’t bad.  They’re perfectly natural but like all of our natural impulses they need to be controlled the same as eating and sleeping.

On another note:  have you ever had a dream within a dream?  It’s very disorienting.

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