Don’t Be a Saber-Toothed Squirrel

scratOne of my favorite characters in all film is Scrat from the Ice Age movies. He is obsessed with one thing and one thing only: acquiring acorns. His sole reason for living is to get an acorn. He will risk anything, go anywhere for that acorn. You can imagine the joy and excitement he experiences once he gets it.

Except he isn’t happy. He clutches his acorn with passion. He worries that he will lose it. Once he has it there is no joy, only worry that he will lose it.

In addition to the worry, he starts to want…wait for it…another acorn. Not only is one acorn not enough but a thousand is not enough. Scrat is doomed to misery. There is no number of acorns that he would be happy with.

We laugh at Scrat. He is hilarious. Why so funny? Because he is us.

As Americans, we are some of the wealthiest people who have ever lived. We aren’t hungry. We aren’t thirsty. We sleep in beds at night. We have a God who has supplied all our needs. We are also not content. We have a 1000 acorns, but we know a guy who has 1002 and we envy him.

This is also a driver of our porn addiction as a people. We want our wives and we want other women too. So we stare at other women. Refusing to be content with what we have we open ourselves to all kinds of misery. So many of the relationship stresses we bear can be traced back to this discontent. We become envious (for more on this, check out this incredible sermon on the many faces of envy). Despite the many graces given to us, we refuse to be happy with the wife God has provided.

Like asking Scrat to be content with the acorns he has, it is never quite as simple to apply the principle as it is to say it. But don’t let you excuse factory get going. I can imagine all of the arguments Scrat could come up with.

“I’m just concerned about having enough for the future.”

“God would want me to be happy.”

“You see, I have needs. I need to eat acorns.”

“You could never understand how hard it is to not have an acorn.”

Like all excuses, these are reasons that we come up with to remain miserable. Somehow, we vehemently protect the wall between us an joy.

So be content, brothers. Don’t be a saber-toother squirrel!

-Chip

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Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 6 Sex and Commitment

The Count Vicegrim LettersThe Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 20th Year

Mudpot,

Sometimes I think you were invented by the Enemy as a punishment for me. You get my hopes up and dash them only to get them up again. To make it worse you are prone to taking risks. Sometimes they pay off Mudpot. Sometimes, there will be hell to pay.

Let’s explore your gambles this year.

Things That have Gone Well Enough

You have begun the slow spiral of pornography again. You are exhibiting much more patience this time which I commend you for. It is better to let the roots sink in slowly. You were too ambitious last time and I don’t need to remind you of what happened then.

You have done a masterful job of having him pick the path of spiritual birth at the expense of spiritual growth. Keep reminding him of forgiveness as if that is a license to keep offending the Enemy. You see Mudpot, it is very important that the vermin never learn that the path to joy is obedience.  If it ever became commonly known that it made one happy to obey the Enemy, we would be ruined. As it is, we have made obedience loathsome and in the process made the Enemy into the great despot in the sky.

One of the most important goals you will have is to suppress your patient’s conscience. He will always feel that twinge of remorse when he sins. The Enemy’s Spirit may take that tiny spark of guilt and grow it. It is your job to stamp it out. There are many potential ways to stamp out guilt, but I think the best one for your patient is to keep him very busy. I know it is strange to make the business argument because he seems to have time to sin, but not to obey the Enemy. Despite this, business has worked on Americans for centuries as an excuse so there is no reason to think it will stop now.

It is so delightful to see that he is doing good works and neglecting the Bible. Keep it up. Make sure the community he is in praises him often for his help of the poor. It is important to make good works an end in themselves. When they are connected with honoring the Enemy, that is when they become dangerous. We would love it if the whole of humanity was well fed, free from disease, kind to each other, and smiling as they marched sweetly into Hell. Charity work that does not bring the vermin to the Enemy is music in the Great Lord’s ears.

Areas of Concerns

I see you have gotten him dating. It is good to have him lusting after a female, but I see no mention of getting him to fornicate with her. Fornication is key, Mudpot. While a pornography problem is well and good, it needs to mature into even more helpful sins. 

Remember that the Enemy’s Plan is for a vermin male and female to follow the Enemy’s Son together. They then commit to each other and then only have sexual relations with each other until death. It is our job to derail this plan.

The first step is to convince the vermin that sex is a right. That somehow they have been robbed if they do not get to have sex. When this sense of entitlement is set firmly into the vermin heart, suddenly the Enemy is not providing them with a gift of sexual union. No! Now he is a Scrooge who sets limits on sexual union. Far from being grateful for a gift, they will grumble that they have to wait for it.

The next step is to separate sex from any sense of commitment. While you and I can see the connections that sex creates between the vermin, they can’t.  Many of them have not even known someone whose soul was not warped and scarred from many sexual unions. They think it is normal. If you are really good, you can convince them it is healthy. You need to work hard on your patient’s existing fear of commitment. Don’t allow him to think there might be joy for him in commitment. Push him to believing that marriage is a prison instead of a place where the Enemy can show him his sin and refine him.

The lack of commitment as well is good practice for future adultery. If a vermin male is having regular sexual relations with a female and then decides she doesn’t please him any more and leaves, he is setting a pattern that will hopefully last into a future marriage. Sometimes Mudpot, I wonder why the Enemy made them so stupid. Why would he even pretend to like them? Obviously they are nauseating creatures.

Finally and most importantly, make sure that sex has nothing to do with the Enemy. It is a private matter that doesn’t have any religious implications. Of course, your patient will never say that, but get him to believe it. One of the most helpful phrases to use is “Nobody will get hurt.” This is, of course, patently ridiculous. But the vermin believe it. Despite the devastation surrounding them, we have convinced almost all of them that somehow sex is a truly private matter.

WHEN (not if) you get him to fornicate, there are some important preparations you need to make. You will need to emphasize his fear of commitment even more. You see, that fear is what you will use to press him to accept an abortion should the vermin female becomes pregnant. If you can get him to be accepting of killing their child, she will be much easier to persuade.

Additionally, make sure that the sexual interaction are not based on serving or caring for the female, but about pleasuring him. The quickest way to remove the enjoyment of sex is to seek that enjoyment exclusively. We know that the fornication will set his up for a wonderful failure, but it will be even better if he is focused only on his own pleasure. The allows him to be the victim. He can then blame the female and the Enemy for his misery. It makes me giddy to think about it.

Another important reason to have him fornicating is your report that he is looking to going to seminary. I am very concerned about this turn of events. Some of the most dangerous vermin to us are in pulpits. Don’t forget that he is a High Risk patient. There are ways to sabotage him on his path to the pulpit, but I would be much more comfortable if he were becoming a plumber.

Let’s assume the worst which is that he will be going to a seminary that belongs to the Enemy and that he will be filling a pulpit in just a few years. In that case, we need to keep building a double life for him now. He needs to have a public life that looks good and a hidden life of sin. It will be little now, but today the seeds will be planted that could grow into delightful thorns.

The stakes are high, Mudpot. Even if he does grow into a dangerous servant of the Enemy, there is hope. If he becomes as prominent as we fear, how much more delightful if we can engineer a public fall from grace. There is the possibility of great reward or great punishment for you.

Don’t screw this up.

Count Vicegrim

Image created by Cavin and used with permission

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 19, Bibles, Husbands, and Abuse

gun-on-bible-spritual-abuseAbuse is gross! And the absolutely slimiest and most putrid kind of abuse is abuse using the Bible. To take the good word of God and to use it as a weapon against your wife, disgusting!

So imagine my surprise when I found myself unknowingly contributing to such abuse. To be sure, I don’t know of any specific case, but someone may have read my blog and walked away with a false and dangerous belief.

I would like to correct that today.

As God does sometimes, he smacked me around. I was innocently reading the Desiring God Blog, minding my own business. I saw an article by Jonathon Parnell call When Sex Should Stop. The title piqued my interest. Then God began the beating. Jonathon lays out the case that we as a people (and I as an individual) has been misinterpreting 1 Corinthians 7:3-5. Let’s look at those verses.

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

The verses are fairly straightforward. married couples should make sure to have regular sex unless there is a need to separate to “devote yourselves to prayer.” As a guy who is a big fan of sex, what a boon. Now I have a verse for my wife!

Jonathon (and the Holy Spirit) don’t let me get away with that. He clarifies that this is not Paul saying, “My body is mine AND your body is mine!” This is saying that we each have authority over each other’s body. Far from verses I can use to manipulate my wife into more sex, these are verses that press me to serve my wife with sex. She has authority over my body. My body is there to serve her.

That hit me hard. I have pressured my wife before. It was very hurtful to her. I wasn’t treating her as a fellow heir in Christ but as a body that I had a right to. Rather than asking why she doesn’t want sex, I became irritable and entitled. Remember, the Bible does say her body is mine, right? The fact is, I didn’t marry a body. I married a person. She wants to be loved as a whole person, not as the only body the Bible says I can have.

Gentlemen, we have felt entitled to our wives for too long. I feel that because I believed wrongly about sex, that I may have lead you to use the Bible as a bludgeon for your cravings. God expects us to be like Him and to love her sacrificially like Christ loves the church. For my part in leading you away from that, I’m sorry.

Please read the article. Jonathon Parnell has challenged us to love our wives by being their servants. He’s right. We can do so much better.

-Chip

Same-Sex Attraction, the Uncool Sin

191141339_1380817739In the church, we can at times have cool sins and uncool sins. We often give a pass to the sins we like and heartily condemn the sins we don’t. This is even more apparent in the world of sexual sins. We will more often give a pass to a sexually active adult unless they are sexually active and gay. We act as though heterosexual sin is somehow less sinful that homosexual sin.

This difference reaches its tentacles into the world of pornography. The church will often look thoughtfully at a man who struggles with pornography but will be repulsed should he admit it is gay porn. Far from loving that man, we back away. He is a leper and we want to keep our distance.

We need to be very careful to keep the broader cultural debate about homosexuality from being a barrier to loving people. There is nothing mysterious about their sin. They, like all of us, are twisted by sin into desiring things that will harm them. Like us, they need a savior who will take away their sin. More than being like us, they ARE us.

There are many men and women walking in our churches today with a secret. They struggle with same-sex attraction. They feel that there is no home for them in the church. This is tragic. That is the hospital turning away the sick. That is the food shelf turning away the hungry.

There is an excellent article by a courageous man named Nick Roen called An Alternative Script to Same Sex Attraction. He argues that the men and women who have same-sex attraction need the community of the church (and certainly not to be treated as lepers). His willingness to step out and discuss this is exceptional. Most of us are not so brave.

There are not cool sins or cool sinners. There are only very broken fools who shake their fists at God and demand their own way. There are only two types of people in the world: bad people and Jesus. Let’s not get caught up in whose sin is the most vile and love people where they are. Let’s confront heterosexual AND homosexual sin with grace and truth. We are not the healthy reaching the sick. We are the sick pointing to the doctor. Let’s make sure our hospital invites all sick people to come and meet the doctor.

-Chip

Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 5 Responsible and Tolerant

The Count Vicegrim LettersThe Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 19th Year

Mudpot, I Hate You!

I really do. No sooner do you show some success and then you allow a failure like this. While you were taking short trips away to enjoy yourself, you left the Enemy’s Spirit unsupervised with your patient. Am I surprised? No. Am I angry? Yes, with the fire of Hell. You better get this turned around soon. By soon, I mean right now.

So, let us proceed with your review.

What Went At Least Sort of OK, Maybe

Unlike your previous failing year, there was some good done. Unfortunately, I am not in the mood to discuss it. So let’s just skip to your failures.

What Went So Badly I Could Vomit

First, how could you leave your assignment alone? Mudpot, it is your job to watch and carefully monitor your patient. This is a deadly serious business and you left your patient by himself with the Enemy’s Spirit. You are a weak tempter but I didn’t expect this kind of naivete. Don’t let it happen again. I have instructed Count Pageslip, the demon responsible for the patient’s University, to check on you frequently. If he finds anything not to his liking, he has free reign to… how shall I put it…correct the situation. Having known Count Pageslip for a long time, I would advise you to make sure everything is in order at all times.

As I understood your report, you left your patient and he met a female vermin who invited him to a Bible study at a local campus ministry. He went to the study and the Enemy’s Spirit woke him up there. By the time you returned several days later, he had moved out of the fraternity and was reading the Bible regularly. Wow, Mudpot, how many days were you gone?

We need to work with double effort to remedy this very dangerous situation. Don’t forget that he is still listed as high risk. If this one becomes a prominent servant of the Enemy, I will take this out of your hide!

First, get him to stop reading that Bible. For him, I think the most effective way to accomplish this is to have him trade Bible reading for something less threatening for us. Try to get him busy helping the poor or feeding the hungry. In his current state, we won’t be able to get him to stop by attacking directly. We need to drown out the Bible with other “good things.” As one of the their author’s says, the greatest enemy of the perfect is the good. The shortest path to destruction sometimes goes through the outskirts of heaven.

One gigantic advantage of “good deeds” as a way of drowning Bible reading is that the human ego is often stroked by praise for helping humans. It is very hard to convince a vermin looking into the Bible that he is great and wonderful. No, that vermin is far more likely to say that the Enemy is good and they they are sinners: exactly the opposite of what we want.

Second, I think it is time to press your patient into a romantic relationship. You will have difficulty getting him to abuse pornography right now (thought keep the temptation coming). Guide him to a girl who at least says she believes in the Enemy’s Son but has a history of fornication. The advantage this brings is that a real female is closer to the Enemy’s plan for him, but if he can be led to fornicate with her, she can bring him back to us. Just because he has stopped staring at the naked vermin does not mean that all of those years of looking haven’t caused him to have serious misconceptions about the vermin female.

You see, most of his education about sex has been from those magazines and websites. He will really believe that the females want sexual intercourse in all of those absurd positions. He will be surprised when the female is not interested in sex several times a day or that she really wants him to be her friend before he is her lover. You see, he views sex as being about his enjoyment and he is not aware that the path to that enjoyment is to serve her. None of those magazines or videos or images showed vermin males sacrificing and loving the females. No, they show the females giving them sex for nothing. Your patient can be lead to deep disillusionment and you can derail the work of the Enemy’s Spirit if you handle this right.

Third, as I instructed you last year to press that your patient should sin “Responsibly”, you should also now press him to be “Tolerant”. He is going to develop some deep convictions from the Enemy’s Spirit. You need to press him to ask if any such conviction it “tolerant”. You see, other vermin who are sinning will be offended at your patient’s view. Make sure that he feels that their offense means he is “intolerant”. We have made intolerance on college campuses to be almost on par with genocide. Everyone avoids the label and it would be very helpful if your patient also was skiddish about being intolerant. Many a dangerous vermin has been neutered by attempting to be tolerant.

For example, if he is tempted to talk about the Enemy’s Son to another vermin, make absolutely sure that the word “intolerant” is said by someone in the room. It makes me laugh because by definition, the person who says this is trying to silence your patient. Yet, is silencing someone “Tolerant”. Anyway, between keeping him “responsible” and “tolerant” you might be able to avoid the some difficult situations.

Finally, I am going to be making a site visit in the next few weeks. Get things in order or I will discipline you properly. You should be grateful to have a tempter of my caliber to help you.

I am not so lucky.

Count Vicegrim

Image created by Cavin and used with permission

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 18, No Other Gods

altar“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
(Exo 20:3-5 ESV)

When reading the Ten Commandments, it is easy to overlook the first two. Not once in my life have I looked at a rock or block of wood and considered worshiping it. Even ones shaped like animals. No overwhelming urge to bow to them.

So obviously I should be more concerned with the other commandments, right?

Wrong!

People are worshipers. All of us. We have gods and we bow to them every day, every moment. My god is whatever I bow down to: whatever I will sacrifice everything else to keep. The man who gives up his family, his money, his church, his integrity, and his religion for porn. It is obvious what that man worships.

He, of course, would not give up everything if he didn’t have to. But if all of those things are put on the altar to porn and that man will light the match and sacrifice them. He has chosen his god and no one will get between him and the true love of his life.

We know we love them more because we sacrifice things to them. If our wive’s heart is broken, that is a sacrifice we are willing to make. Will our children be crippled in life from a very distracted dad? That’s OK, we are serving our true master. Could this be a primary cause of  a future divorce? Maybe, but that is a risk we are willing to take to serve our god.

So, obviously we should just stop bowing down to porn. Stop serving that god. That is when we discover the we must worship. Our souls will find something to pay homage to. The only thing that can topple one god is another god.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
(Rom 6:16-18 ESV)

The key to defeating the god of porn (or any false god) is to bow to the true God. Stop being slaves to sin and become slaves to righteousness. The fact is, Jesus is a good God. A kind God who loves me and wants to bring joy into my life. He is the only God that loves me enough to die for me. He commands me to abandon all other gods because he knows that they will kill me. He is the a God worth serving.

So brothers, don’t bow down to a naked god who will rob you of joy. Bow down to Jesus. He is the only one who can satisfy. With Jesus as your supreme joy, every other joy (sex, food, rest, work) can be a wonderful servant, not a terrible master.

-Chip

Please Remember to Sin Responsibly

sin_responsibly_gstringSin has a marketing problem. You see, defying the God of the Universe has negative consequences in our lives. Be it sickness, hurt relationships, and that sense that we are not meant to be this way, we all feel the ongoing consequences of sin.

Yet there is in our heart a desire to do what we want AND not feel the consequences. It would be great if some marketing person could help us feel like we could do both. Clearly God would not want us to simply stop sinning. He wants us to be “happy” and “free” to sin.

Enter, the beer industry. You see, it is bad publicity to have their customers hitting station wagons with kids in them. There is nothing unbiblical about a beer, but the Bible clearly speaks against drunkeness. Unfortunately, the drunks are their best customers. What is a beer company to do?

Never fear, there is a solution. Miller tells us “With Great Beer come Great Responsibility.” The answer isn’t to avoid drunkeness. It is “Don’t Drink and Drive.” It is to avoid the consequences of sin without addressing the sin itself.

Now, I should be clear, you shouldn’t drink and drive. I don’t want to get hit by the theologically sound drunk who knows that he shouldn’t be drunk in the first place. All sins are evil, but some have much more profound consequences.

Sex outside of marriage also has a public relations problem. Sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies have all caused so many problems. So we make sure to have “Safe Sex.” But, should “Safe Sex” fail, can still do the “Responsible” thing. We can murder that baby because it is inconvenient.

There is real joy in obedience. The most responsible thing we can ever do is avoid sin and cling to Jesus. While the world is wresting with the most effective ways to sin without consequences, we have a true hope. Jesus offers a hope beyond responsibility, he offers right standing with God.

-Chip