Let’s Talk About Sex

I am going to take a break from politics to talk about a subject that epitomizes why, as a church community, fail to communicate effectively with younger generation as it relates to orthodox Christianity.

Sex.

Necessary for the continuing of the human race, sex is a beautiful and awesome thing that God has given us. Not just a tool for procreation, humans also have the distinction of having the ability to engage in sex for pleasure. And the rewards of experiencing this pleasure in the bonds of matrimony are great.

But what are the real rewards of experiencing this outside of marriage? The answer? Pleasure. That is it.

The downside? Pregnancy. STDs. Heartbreak. Not to mention the every tricky issues of consent and just being in poor situations.

Why then is premarital sex almost a given in our culture to the point that we talk more about being “safe” even in Christian homes more than abstinence?

Because abstinence is the wrong message.

What? Bear with me.

You see for years abstinence has been the go to for our youth group education. Wait until marriage to have intercourse. Because being a virgin was what was important! Of course, when I was in youth group that just meant that we had to come up with other ways to just get around the legalese of it. (FTR, for all those who said that Bill Clinton’s semantics on what sex was didn’t have an effect on culture…they were wrong.)

That message has largely unchanged. Being a virgin on your wedding day is the most important thing to achieve.

But what then? What else?

The church didn’t always address sex in this matter. And a LOT of the failings in the modern orthodoxy of the Christian church is a direct relation to how we fail to address this topic appropriately.

So how should we approach it?

We need to start talking about chastity in the church. You see, we are all called to seasons of chastity in our lives. Before marriage. When away from our spouses. We ALL are. Not just the teenagers in youth group. And chastity doesn’t just encompass abstaining from sex. There is more to guarding our hearts and minds than just guarding our…well…you know.

Right now, we expect chastity as a church from just those who haven’t put a ring on it. No wonder our children are rejecting that message. It only applies to them.

And that lack of continuity leaks into every area of our culture and church. Chastity means that it isn’t acceptable to flirt with your secretary and it means you need to guard your heart when online. You think the divorce rate in the church would be a little bit different if our standard for happiness wasn’t “sexual compatibility” and just “following your heart.”

On that note, don’t you think the discussion surrounding same-sex attractions would be different if the premise was that we are all called to chastity outside the confines of a Biblical standard of sexuality? I think it would. But we are seen as highly hypocritical when we don’t hold two adults in our congregations to the same standards we hold two of our teenagers…let alone two people who are struggling with same-sex attractions. And we should be seen that way. Because it IS hypocritical.

Not to mention the overall problems relating to a lack of self control. Credit card debt. Impulse. Overeating. All related to our inability to control our whims and urges. If we don’t have to control our sexual urges why should we have to control our other physical and mental urges?

A lot of cultural failures can derive from one or two failures in orthodoxy within the church.

So, maybe we need a little less “abstinence” and a LOT more chastity.

If the Conviction Fits…

It has happened to all of us.

We see something at Wal-Mart or in our neighborhood and we decide to provide some commentary on Facebook.

Then one of our “friends” sees our post and assumes we are talking about them. They get huffy, mean-spirited, and downright indignant.

Then we spend the next hour trying to convince them that, no, it wasn’t a response to something they posted yesterday. Or, no I didn’t know you liked to wear overalls and a sports bra to Wal-Mart. Or, no I didn’t know that you let your teenage daughter wear a bikini. I have never witnessed this. And just because I don’t think women, children especially, should dress that way doesn’t mean I was calling your daughter a whore.

It is a waste of time.

But I think it says two things about people.

1. They are self-centered.

I had an out an out Facebook brawl with a neighbor of mine, whom I had never met, who was “informed” by someone else that I had posted something in response to her Facebook post. (I was not even a friend of hers) She could not comprehend that life is not all about her. I was commenting on the gay marriage issue (which happened to be a tour de force on Facebook at the time during the Chick-Fil-A controversy). But my Facebook post was an attack on her. D-R-A-M-A.

It is one of those things that absolutely drives me nuts. And, amazingly enough, it seldom happens with my guy friends. The catty-gossip-drama angle of social networking has destroyed a lot of people’s lives and is good reason to keep kids off the medium. It is hard to teach your kid how to be a decent human being when you are laying into somebody because you are self-important.

2. They are Convicted.

Use social media for church commentary or to provide any commentary really and you will get someone who takes utter umbrage and false outrage at what you have just said. It is a new fact of life. But, I think there is something deeper happening. And I think it has more to do with the Holy Spirit than anything. If you call evil evil, you will get people who have a sense of conviction. Heaven knows that I have read articles and Facebook commentary and been pricked as well. For as much grief as I give Rachel Held-Evans, some of the things she says are true and accurate commentaries on the modern church (she unfortunately uses these commentaries to come to drastically wrong conclusions). I try to glean truth from everything I come in contact with. There is always a grain of Truth in most things. The trick is to build a beach. But sometimes the Truth still hurts. That is why it is called conviction.

In our society, we don’t quite know how to handle conviction well. Mainly because we don’t believe in a Truth as a society anymore. Without Truth, conviction is nothing more but casting judgement and assigning blame. In fact, the Christians who can’t handle conviction the worse are the ones whose hurt comes from not believing in Truth.

I joke that I have the gift of Stephen. It turns out that not handling conviction well is not a modern phenomenon.

Acts 7:51-60

51 You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.

54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

I always imagine that verse 54 and 57 could be better stated today, “And when they saw his Facebook post and Tweet they were cut to the heart, and they angrily typed a 1000 word response about how he wasn’t nice and was a hater. Then they cried out with a loud voice in their mom’s basement, stopped their ears, and summarily unfriended him/blocked him and got all their friends to do the same. #StoneStephen”

So, the next time you write a Facebook post Stephen-style and prick some hearts with the Truth.

When you get the inevitable backlash, just respond, “If the Conviction Fits…”

We are called to speak the Truth in love. But remember love is our motive it isn’t watering the Truth down. Sometimes the Truth REQUIRES us to tell them they are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears. Especially when the church refuses to stand for the unborn, supports gay marriage, and is worried more about excusing masturbation than calling out ALL sexual sin. But also we have churches who build huge white crosses in pastures instead of feeding the poor in their community.

If the conviction fits…repent.

 

Individualism, Church, and Community

Matt Lewis, of Daily Caller fame, has an opinion piece that offers a very interesting take on the George Zimmerman verdict.

But here’s the thing. In a sense, George Zimmerman was — at least up until the moments surrounding that fateful shot — arguably doing what we tell responsible citizens to do: Care about your community, and take personal responsibility for the betterment of it.

To be sure, he was overzealous. It’s one thing to call the police, and another to get out of your car and engage in a confrontation, especially when you have a gun with you. But we always say things like, “This is your community” and “You are responsible for it.” Do we really mean it?

And

Of course, this speaks to a larger societal trend. Community bonds have frayed over time. People used to get together to play cards, join fraternal orders and civic associations, and socialize with the neighbors. This was good and bad. It also meant nosy neighbors, less privacy, and more gossip. But if something happened in the neighborhood, somebody would step in. If some kids (race here is irrelevant) were playing loud music, some old guy would tell them to shut the hell up.

It’s easy to be nostalgic about this. Again, there were good and bad things associated with this. And there is much to be said for the anonymity (never mind opportunity) of modern city life. But there is also something lost. We are all bowling alone.

Matt goes on to talk about how this insularity is not the best of outcomes.

I agree.

But let’s not talk about what we do. Let’s discuss what we ought to do in the context of faith and community.

Continue Reading…

Imparting Wisdom: The Necessary Future of the Church and Conservatism

I hear all the time.

“We are losing the young people in the movement!”

This is usually followed by a long libertarian screed on why social issues are, not just unimportant but, anathema to the center-right movement amongst young people.

While the fact that we are losing young people in the movement and the church cannot be denied. The reasons can be and should be debated.

I was talking to an acquaintance about another matter and his response holds a key to the main reason behind this youthful exodus.

I don’t want to impose my beliefs on my children.

Continue Reading…

We Need to Support Local Candidates

Full disclaimer for those who don’t know: I am running city council in Shelby, OH’s 4th Ward.

A city council race may not seem that sexy to all my friends and relatives but it is vitally important to the people I am fighting to represent.

Our local community of just over 9,300 people is a microcosm of what is happening in communities all across the nation. Whether dealing with aging school buildings, lackluster downtown economies, or our local power plant.

Local governance is where elected officials have the most accountability, it is, by nature, closest to the people. Therefore, it is here where everyday conservative values gain the deepest roots in the hearts and minds of the American people.

Nationally, people loathe big business. But in Shelby, OH, business (any business) is a welcome sight and the for lease/sale signs that litter our once vibrant mainstreet are an everyday reminder that strong pro-business policies are not a nicety or a campaign pledge.

They are vital to our survival.

Here, people understand that the big government policies and their price tags in Columbus and Washington, DC can trickle down to disaster here in our community.

This is where, unlike a state house race or Congressional race, I can shake hands and meet every constituent eye to eye and they can see…not a calloused crusty conservative…but a fellow American who believes that our problems may be big. But our ingenuity is bigger!

It is in the city council chambers across America where the hearts and minds of Americans are won and solid conservative talent can be groomed.

This is why, our movement has to make a serious concerted effort to support the men and women who are fighting these local fights.

So support your local candidates. And I hope that you will consider investing in me. I can knock on doors and I can help win the hearts and minds of my neighbors. But I can’t do it alone. Every dollar in a local campaign goes into the necessary tools for winning…not some media consultant’s pocket. In that sense. It is a sound investment.

Your $10, $20, or even $100 will go to ensuring that the 4th Ward of Shelby, OH will have strong, effective, conservative leadership.

And if you can’t invest treasure, I can definitely use your time and talent too! Please volunteer to do data entry, knock on doors, or make phone calls! Rome wasn’t built by one man. And the hope of future generations can’t be realized by just one man either.

You can volunteer here!

Is that small ball on a national scale? Maybe.

But I won’t let you down.

Please connect with our campaign!

 

It’s Official. I am Running for City Council.

Today, I sent out the following press release:

Contact: Nathan Martin           FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tel. 567/224-0583

Cell Phone: 567/224-0583

Email: nathanmartin4shelby@gmail.com

 

NATHAN MARTIN FILES FOR 4TH WARD CITY COUNCIL SEAT

 

Nathan Martin filed to run for the 4th Ward City Council seat in Shelby, OH.

The following is his statement:

“I am pleased to announce that I have filed to run to represent the wonderful people of the 4th Ward here in Shelby, OH.

We desperately need good communication, common sense leadership, and community at the forefront today to meet the challenges that are ahead.

I am assembling a committee of residents with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideals to push an electoral agenda that will represent the core principles of the people of Shelby, OH.

I look forward to speaking with my neighbors in the 4th ward, sharing our ideas, and asking each and everyone of them for their vote.”

 

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If you’d like more information or to schedule an interview with Nathan Martin, please call 567/224-0583 or email nathanmartin4shelby@gmail.com

 

I am grateful for the opportunity. Here are some ways that you can connect with me during the campaign:

My Webpage

My Facebook Page

Email Me

Twitter

Campaign News on this Site

I sincerely look forward to earning your vote and receiving your help!

Presidents’ Day: My Annual Ranking of the Presidents

Everyone has their favorite and not-so favorite Presidents. I decided to rank the Presidents.

As in any ranking, the criteria for ranking them is important. I factored in, what they accomplished, what their legacy has been, and their overall governing philosophy and importance.

This, of course, is subjective. Let me know how you agree or disagree in the comments.

44. Ulysses S. Grant (#18)

Admittedly, a President in difficult times. His handling of reconstruction was dubious. His presidency created the solid democratic south which would last for over one hundred years. Economic strife was rampant. And his term was largely plagued by scandals. Yes, he helped win the Civil War, but this list doesn’t take into account life accomplishments. Unfortunately for him, he and Barack Obama will probably go down fighting for the worst two-term Presidents in US history.

43. Barack Obama (#44)

For the record, it is hard to really place an incumbent in history. But 8% unemployment is the new normal. The DC climate is a far cry from the uniting he promised. And his negotiation skills are best summed up as whiner-in-chief rather than solid leader. The ONLY reason he isn’t #44 is because he will always be remembered as the first black President. Therefore, he will always get a paragraph in every history book from here to the end of the United States. Assuming we make it to a 45th President (I kid. I kid.). IF this list took into account life accomplishments, he would be #44. But it doesn’t. So, he is #43.

42. Jimmy Carter (#39)

He is best known for malaise and a tepid response to the Iranian hostage crisis. The only thing good about Carter’s presidency is that it paved the way for Reagan. And his VP helped ensure that Reagan would be a two term force. But he is now building houses. Yeah him.

Continue Reading…

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