Happy Valentine’s Day!

Should we enjoy the gift of love? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I used to hate Valentine’s Day. I really did. It was a reminder that I was single and alone in the world. I know you can all say you have friends and you have God, but even when it was man and God, God said it was not good for man to be alone. That was me. I was alone.

Last night, I was getting ready for bed and thinking that I am not alone. For the past 9 prior Valentine’s Days, I have not been alone. I go to bed next to my beautiful wife every Valentine’s Day now. We have spent the past few years building our lives together.

Love is a gift. It is a gift between two people who seek the good of one another. Interestingly in marriage, the good of one another is the other person. In friendships, we can say it’s the company the person provides or a function we serve together or a hobby we enjoy together. In marriage only is it directly that the other person themselves is the gift. It is in marriage that we have the most embodied love as marriage needs the two bodies to come together.

I often tell my wife that my favorite Valentine’s Day gift is her. I mean it. As a man, no gift compares to the love of my wife, but it is more than her physical being. Her physicalness comes with her emotions and her trust in me and her desire for me. All of this is quite powerful.

This is also the idea of God. God designed love and He designed marriage. This isn’t some dirty effect of the fall that we need to move past. The systems were designed for this purpose and God made man and woman to love one another in a unique way.

The romance between the man and the woman also is a picture of the love of God for the church. Everything that we see here is in essence God flirting with us. Picture any good that you have and this is just a clue. It is a hint of what God has coming for us.

When you read accounts of people who have near-death experiences an aspect of Heaven that keeps coming back is beauty. So it is that even here in romantic love, beauty is such a great draw. When I have to think of what is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen, it’s no contest. My wife is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen and I admire the handiwork of the creator when I see her.

As it stands, I gave Allie a board game and a game for the Switch for Valentine’s Day today. We had an early lunch date earlier this week and today we’re going to go see Alita: Battle Angel thanks to the donation of some Fandango gift cards to us by a friend of our ministry. Whatever you do today, celebrate the one you love. For those still waiting and wanting, have hope please. I know it seems hard, but I was there once and it seemed hopeless too. Still, it happened, and there is some truth that it happens when you least expect it.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 1/19/2019: John Ferrer

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Abortion is often seen as a way of protecting women. Women have to be equal, so let’s protect their rights! What if it isn’t? What if abortion is the exact opposite? What if abortion is really a war against women?

What if we went further and said that abortion is one of the worst evils being done in our world today? As a commenter on my Facebook page said about this topic, he can’t believe that he has to go out and defend life. Many of us today are shocked that we have to do this.

What if there’s also more to the debate than just personhood? We can focus so much on the question of if the unborn are persons or not. Could it be that our energies could be better focused elsewhere than on this topic?

Our guest tomorrow holds to these positions. He’s done a number of debates on the topic of abortion and has extensive research on it. We’re going to be talking with him about all of this. His name is John Ferrer.

So who is he?

* SES – MDiv Apologetics w/ emphasis in Languages
* SWBTS – ThM & PhD – Philosophy of Religion, w/ Ethics minor
* Dissertation – “Body Ethics” (a study of our ethical responsibilities in, to, and through our bodies).
* Publishings with Christian Research JournalSalvo Magazine, Christian Apologetics JournalJournal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, and others.
* Debates with Matt Dillahunty of “The Atheist Experience,” and with David Smalley of “Dogma Debate.”
* I have teaching experience with Texas Wesleyan University, Tarrant County College, Pantego Christian Academy.
* I host two teaching websites: IntelligentChristianFaith.com and AbortionHistoryMuseum.com.
* Currently I’m a teaching fellow with Equal Rights Institute, a pro-life training group in Concord, NC.
* I also volunteer with Pella ProLife and Central College Students for Life.

We’ll be talking with him about many of these experiences and about why he’s involved in the pro-life cause. Why should we care so much about the topic of abortion? What is his experience like getting to debate with Matt Dillahunty and David Smalley?

We’ll also be talking about the current work that he is doing in the area of abortion and apologetics and the abortion history museum. What is the history of abortion? Does it really kick off in 1the 1970’s or is there a whole lot more that we need to know about beforehand? We can also discuss about the question of bodily ethics and ask how abortion relates and what it is we are supposed to be doing with our bodies?

I hope you’ll be listening in. Very soon we will be updating the podcast feed to get some new December episodes up and then we can start looking at episodes in January about the topic of abortion. Please consider going on iTunes and leaving a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast. I really love to see what you guys think and to realize how much you enjoy listening to the show.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Everyday Glory

What do I think of Gerald McDermott’s book published by Baker Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

What does the world tell us about God? Quite a lot actually. In this book, Gerald McDermott seeks to open our eyes up to the realities that are all around us. We have lived in a world long enough where we take the world around us for granted and don’t really consider the revelation of God that is there.

As much as I am Protestant, this is also our problem. We, and I think rightly, say that Scripture is the final authority, but too often we make it the only authority. Thus, why do we need to look at the rest of the world to learn something about God? Why study natural theology at all?

McDermott urges us to avoid this way of thinking. The world is not an accident. God made it the way that He did for a reason. If we want to truly learn about God, we can learn about Him from the things He has made and ask why He has made things the way that He has.

To be fair, He does have a chapter on the Bible itself, but He encourages us to look for Christ everywhere in the Bible. Reading a chapter like this can help you to approach the Bible with new eyes.

From there, McDermott takes us to many other areas of the world around us. What can we learn from science? In this chapter, you’ll probably find many of the things you find in books that talk about scientific apologetics. Still, those who like that will be helped.

Animals are another aspect that are covered in the book. In this chapter, McDermott focuses on two specific animals. Those would be birds and dogs. Both of these are talked about in Scripture, and it’s interesting that dogs are talked about in a negative light.

Sexuality is another aspect that is discussed. What is it about sex that has captured our wonder so much? As I said on a recent podcast I did, we live in a world where we have all manner of new technologies and such to keep us entertained. What still holds our fascination? What God made back in the very beginning. Nothing can still compete with sex.

Sports are also included. Sports are a non-necessary part of reality and they are creations by us, but yet they also come with a number of rules and teach us a number of values. I found myself wondering in this chapter if the same could apply to video games, which I think it could, or even movies and things like that.

There’s also a section on other religions. It would be a mistake to think they get everything wrong. What can we learn from other religions? How are they similar? How are they different?

This isn’t every chapter, but it is some of them. There’s also an appendix dealing with the views of Barth and Luther on natural theology. McDermott makes a fine defense for his position.

I think this is a very helpful book to read. Reading this can help you look at Scripture and the rest of the world differently. It’s a way of analyzing reality to see the fingerprints of the creator in everything.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 1/12/2019: George Brahm

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the rules of debate often is that whoever controls the meaning of the words has an advantage in the debate. It’s why in a number of debates I’m involved in, I try to be very careful with my words. I will say “redefining marriage” instead of “same-sex marriage” for instance to not even begin to concede an inch of what I think is inaccurate.

So it is in abortion debates. To be fair, both sides tend to do this as I think it’s really human nature. Yet we do need to be aware of what our opponents are doing. Are any word games being played that we should know about that can harm our endeavors to save the lives of the unborn?

We also need to learn metaphysics for this, which is another area of word games. Too often, our opponents define metaphysics as simply being nonsense. What is metaphysics really? Does everyone have a metaphysical viewpoint or is it just Christians? Is a lot of this stuff a bunch of nonsense that ancient philosophers might have believed, but it is no longer sustainable in a modern scientific worldview?

To discuss these matters, I have brought on someone new. I decided to bring someone who is climbing up the apologetics ladder and I want to give some more exposure to like others have been doing and are doing for me on my climb. I have seen some of his writings on the topic and they are quite good. Not only that, he also affirms the virgin birth, which I do affirm. His name is George Brahm.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

George Brahm is an undergraduate student of philosophy based in Canada. He focuses on metaphysics and the philosophy of language, with additional interests in bioethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of religion. His current research focuses on the relationship between time and personal identity. (And he affirms the virgin birth.) (Which I also affirm)

So we’ll be talking about the concept of abortion and how it relates to the debates above. What evidence do we really have that the unborn is a human person and should be allowed to live? How can we best phrase the issues to be most persuasive in the public square? When our intellectual opponents are speaking, what do we need to be on the watch for? Hopefully, we will all learn from this the behaviors we should be using in order to make a better case for the pro-life position in the marketplace of ideas.

I know that it’s being slow to get new episodes up, but that is being worked on. I hope you will be patient as there is a lot going on here at the time. Please do be watching for it as I am doing what I can to make sure they come up. Also, please go on iTunes and leave a positive review for the Deeper Waters Podcast since I really love to see them all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Pillow Talk

What do I think of J. Parker’s book published by HHH books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

J. Parker has been on my podcast before and I follow her blog and so when I found out she had a new book coming out, I asked for a copy. I thank her for agreeing to send me one. I was pleased to get this copy and thought it worth the read.

Here’s an advantage for many busy couples. This book is short. I managed to read it in a day and that’s a day with me playing a new game on our new Switch, having Mormon sisters over, and watching a movie with my wife in the evening. Couples who are trying to make time for each other will be able to make time for this book.

Beyond that, here’s another bonus for those couples. You don’t have to read it all at once. There is an introduction Parker wishes to have you read together. After that, feel free to jump around. Maybe you don’t need the chapter about dealing with menopause now or the chapter about children. That’s okay. You can look and decide which one is most relevant to you and go there.

Each chapter beings with a short little couple of paragraphs. None of these goes beyond even a page that I remember. They are short and easy to read. From there, there are a number of questions that Parker has for the couples to ask. These questions are to be asked to one another and they are to be interacted with.

Parker also has relevant Scripture for each one and a little devotional thought beyond that based on the Scripture. This is followed up by a prayer the couple is to pray together and then the part that most of the guys especially look forward to. The activities that you are to do together. Guys could be disappointed that none of the activities are “Just have sex” but the activities can be things that are a prelude for such activity and meant to make matters more comfortable for both parties.

There are also some appendices at the end. These go into the differences between male and female bodies and how they work as well as highly sensitive topics. Much more a problem for the men, though a problem for some women as well, is the issue of pornography. Rightly so, Parker is to the point on this issue. Get rid of any pornography whatsoever.

There’s also a section on a problem that is more common for the women today, though it happens to men as well. That’s abuse, especially prevalent to be talked about today in light of the #MeToo movement. Parker is once again right in encouraging therapy together to get past sexual abuse so it doesn’t hamper sex in your marriage.

So in the end, what’s not to love? You have a good and short book filled with valuable advice for couples that covers 40 different topics. The activities can also be very enjoyable for couples to do together to get to know one another better and if it works, well, let’s just say I think most every couple will agree that the benefits are well worth it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 1/5/2019: Rebekah Valerius

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

January is here and now it’s time to talk about abortion again. It’s the topic that puts to death thousands of babies every year and this in the name of women’s rights. Generally, it’s thought that if you’re a woman, you should obviously support this movement. Shouldn’t you be free to express your own autonomy and reproductive rights? Didn’t former president Obama say once that he didn’t want his daughters to be punished with a baby?

What if this isn’t always the case? What if sometimes women actually don’t want to jump on the abortion bandwagon? How are they to be seen? Are they traitors to the cause? Could it be that they’re actually the true feminists out there? Could it be that maybe having an abortion is not something that a woman should do, but something that a woman should resist?

My guest is an apologist who speaks on the issues of women and abortion. She is definitely of the opinion that women should not be in support of abortion. She is also living this out as a homeschooling mother of two and a wife. She will be with us this Saturday to talk about issues relating to women and abortion. Her name is Rebekah Valerius.

So who is she?

According to her bio:

Rebekah Valerius is a student in the MA Cultural Apologetics program at Houston Baptist University and has a BS in Biochemistry. She is a wife and homeschooling mother of two.

So why would a woman supposedly be going against her tribe and saying that women should not seek abortion? Does this mean that she wants women to be the slaves of men? Isn’t this really a very anti-woman position to take and is this just joining in and supporting the patriarchy as it’s called?

Or are there instead good reasons why women should really not be for abortion? Does it really have anything to do with women per se? Is the issue not so much the nature of woman as it is the nature of abortion? What is it about abortion that has Rebekah saying that women should not have them?

And then what if they have? We hear stories about women living in judgment and depression because they did have an abortion. Is an abortion a game over for a woman? Should she live the rest of her life with a cloud hanging over her head? What grace can be given to a woman who has had an abortion? (Let’s keep in mind also that not just women live with this. I have known men in my lifetime who have regret over the issue of abortion and helping to pay for one.)

I hope you’ll be joining me for this episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. I really am working on getting back into the regular shows after so much that has been going on over here. Please be patient with any delay in bringing the best in Christian apologetics to you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Importance Of Connection

What does it mean to really connect with someone? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Some time ago, I wrote a blog post on how I realized I have not been the husband I need to be for my wife. My wife has told me that she hasn’t felt an emotional connection on a regular basis for a few years. This has been very hard on me as a husband who thought I was connecting with my wife, but I have learned a lot from it and I wanted to write some more on it.

You see, we all have something in us that we need and some things that we want. Man was not made to be in isolation. Even if a man or a woman never marries, isolation is not an option, especially for a Christian. There are no Lone Ranger Christians. In Christ is a community of people. It is supposed to be that when one of us hurts, all of us hurt.

When man is created in the garden in a pristine paradise place, he has all that he needs except companionship. Notice that this is in a state when one could say his only companion is God. Even then, God realizes that the man wants something different, and God is not giving in to a sinful desire. There was no sin at the time on man’s part.

Now we live in a fallen and sinful world, and sometimes, those desires that are good are still there, but they can get out of order. Now there is the great danger of using people. When a normal man sees a beautiful woman, there is the desire on his part to have sex. I am not saying that the desire is itself wrong. What you do with the desire, say lust, can be. Sex is a good thing and God made it to be desired.

The problem for us men is that we can very easily use a woman like that. Even if you’re married, if the only time you really show affection to your wife is before the bedroom when you’re expecting sex, in the bedroom during, or afterward, you’re likely to make her think that’s all she’s good for. Now I don’t think that’s what I was doing honestly, but if my Allie feels that way, I want to take it seriously.

So I have thought a lot lately about connection. There have been times now where I have come to Allie and just listened to her. The touching at these points is non-sexual. We’re just talking. I also try to use the SET UP principles for her with BPD. I try to sympathize, empathize, and then give the truth. I have enjoyed these times really. They also tell me that when the times of physical connection return, they will be deeper.

You see, I read something in a marriage book years ago that told husbands that before you touch your wife’s body, you must touch her heart. Now silly me, I thought I was doing an excellent job of that. Turns out, I wasn’t. We men usually want that physical connection first and then we feel the emotional connection. Generally, for women, it’s opposite.

Who can blame them? We men normally have the higher drive and guys, in essence, your wife is the one who is putting herself in a vulnerable position. She is the one having something enter into her body. Not you. Women also are often put in the position of being victimized for their beauty. It’s not a fair position, but it is the position that they’re in. The pornography industry hasn’t helped that.

And women, you need to realize this. To us men, you are gorgeous. There is no site more appealing than the human female form. Any time I get to see my wife’s body to me is all-new. I am amazed and it’s natural to thank God that He made women so beautiful.

But there’s more beauty to her to me than that. my wife is just that lovely. I can look at every inch of her and be delighted. It’s also more than just the body. I have seen her inner person and see her as beautiful there.

And you know what? That connection makes me want to be a better person. There’s something to that. Whatever you form a connection to, you will truly become more like.

In my experience as an apologist, it’s really easy to emphasize the intellectual. Some people I know who are like this have said they can’t imagine being married to someone who is not an intellectual. Now Allie is not an idiot of course, but the intellect is not her strong suit. She’s much more emotionally centered. It would be easy to look at her and think she doesn’t know all the theological stuff I do, and I think it could help her to get more of that, but I have to realize there are ways I don’t hold a candle to her.

For example, when Allie feels like God is absent in her life, it’s unbearable for her in many ways. She longs for that so much. I think the Psalm about the deer panting for the water describes her well. I look at her and think “Why don’t I have that?”

I also like it when I hear her pray. Allie praying is just like a child talking to her father. It’s sweet and it makes me think that’s how it should be. I took this so seriously in Allie that I started contacting someone and told them I wanted them to help me be better at prayer.

I still have a lot of work to do to get to that level.

Allie is also the most real person I know. She might not tell you the whole truth, but she won’t lie to you either. She tells it how it is.

She’s also someone who genuinely cares about others. Just last night we were walking in a comic book store before a group we were going to go to and I see some people playing the new Super Smash Brothers. I ask to play one of them. When we’re done, (By the way, it was close, but I sadly lost) Allie wishes them a Merry Christmas. I hadn’t even thought of doing that. Later on when I tell her that impresses me she says, “I’m just trying to give them a little bit of Christ in my own way.”

Yeah. Here I am the one in ministry and I think often she thinks about this more than I do.

When we used to see her psychiatrist together, she would always ask him “How’s your back?” He has some back pain. Honestly, it never occurred to me and if it did, I hate to say it, but I probably wouldn’t care enough to ask. Allie does.

And when I see this in her, I want to be more like that. I already have made some changes. Allie I hope would tell you that I am not being the way I have been in the past. Normally, I tend to be all over her. Why? Because as a man, I think about sex a lot and to me, that is a great expression of love for my wife and the biggest one I think I can make. She doesn’t think the same way.

This whole thing has also taught me about something. It’s easy in a marriage to blame the other person for what goes wrong. I was here thinking that Allie just wasn’t interested in me when she wasn’t eager to be with me. It wasn’t that. Allie just didn’t feel emotionally close and when she doesn’t feel that, it’s hard for her to want to give herself. She feels used.

Pro-tip then. In a relationship, no matter what kind but especially marriage, always look at yourself first and see what you can do to change. Also, try to do the loving thing anyway. Why do I establish an emotional connection with my wife? So I can go to the bedroom? No. Because that is what she needs and she wants to feel close to me. The physical connection is how I feel closest to her. On her end, she needs to do that. On mine, I need to do that. It’s always easy to look at what will work out best for us and what will help us and protect us and meet our needs. The way of love calls us to do otherwise, to seek to meet the needs of the other first. I am to establish an emotional connection with her regardless of what she does with me.

On friendships, we often connect on a deeper level. C.S. Lewis said many friendships begin with “You too? I thought I was the only one.” When I lived in Charlotte, I had a roommate with me I had met on TheologyWeb. How did our friendship begin? He saw me post a post there that impressed him and sent me a message with an avatar he made for me with a message like “I don’t know if you like Final Fantasy, but this is a character from a game in the series.” I am a huge Final Fantasy fan and we formed a fast friendship. Even this morning, we have been chatting on Messenger. What about? Final Fantasy.

We all want these connections. Of course, we have to be careful with how much we give someone. No matter how much I might value the friendship of a different woman, I will not improve that relationship by giving myself physically to her. That is only reserved for my wife.

And what about connection with God? I said if you seek to connect with someone, you will become more like that person. I think that applies to God also. Do you want to be a person of love? Seek to connect to Jesus. How about hope? How about truth? How about justice? Whatever virtuous quality you want, you can find it in Him.

If you connect with Him, you will be more like Him. After all, if you want to be hot, you go sit by the fire. If you want to be wet, you take a shower or go swimming. If you want to cool off, you step outside in the snow or turn on a fan. If you want to be holy, you go to one who is holy.

You also go and hang out with people who are what you want to be like. That’s one more reason friendship is so important. It’s also why my wife is so important to me. In many ways, I do want to be like her. I want to have more of a heart like her’s. Now is her heart perfect? Of course not. Could she bear to have more emotional strength to not be hurt by so many other things? Sure. But if she had too much, she could be cold. It’s a fine line.

And I think honestly in our marriage, we have a tendency because we are so different to build each other up where we are weak. I often say in our marriage if you want an answer to a question, come to me because I am the intellectual one. If you want sympathy in it, you need to talk to her. One of our friends has bluntly told me this. Allie is a better listener than I am.

I think Allie does need more of a foundation intellectually for how she lives, but I think I need more of her heart. The good news is I have her and that can help me get that heart that I need because as much as my ego doesn’t want to admit it, I think her heart is in many ways more like Jesus’ than mine is.

So to my married friends, realize the importance of connection. Guys. Make sure you’re not treating your wife like just a body. You want that physical connection and that’s good and right, but don’t give that to the exclusion of all others. For women, please realize how important that physical connection is to a man. Many times if you want the other stuff, it can help your man to meet the physical needs, because otherwise, that could be all that he’s thinking about.

And whatever you do, follow the path of love. Do the right thing. If your spouse doesn’t reciprocate at times, that’s their problem.

After all, Christ does the right thing by us always and we don’t always respond as we should.

Show that grace to others.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Does It Mean To Love?

When we say we love something or someone, what do we mean? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Like God, love is one of the most meaningless words in the universe.

Wait. Does that sound problematic to some of you? Do I sound like a nihilist? Well, on both counts, I believe both of them.

Is it because neither are real? Absolutely not. Love is real and God is real. The problem with these words is usually they’re said devoid of content. Ask someone if they believe in God. Whatever the answer, you always have to ask what they mean by that. Someone in a pantheistic religion means something far different by that than a devout Christian in the West does.

And what about love? I can tell you numerous things and people that I love. God. My wife. My family. Friends. Gaming. My cat. Reading. Good debate. All of these are things or persons that I love. The problem is I can’t give love the same meaning across the board entirely.

I love my God, but that has to be a far greater love than anything else on the list. I also love my wife, but when I say I love the rest of my family, there are certainly ways that I love my wife that I will never love my family. This is so strong that if anyone in my family or even extended family with marriage tried to love my wife the same way, we would be moving away from them entirely and possibly having a lot of counseling.

Generally, when it comes to persons, I think the idea of love also means that we seek what is genuinely good for the other for the sake of the other. We won’t do that perfectly in the sense that we can have a false idea of what is good for the other, though to be fair, our intentions are good.

But what role do our feelings play in this? Some people have this idea that if you love someone, you should always feel a certain way towards them. You won’t. Sometimes, you might feel the opposite. There are mornings I have got up and I have been upset about how my life is going and I have not felt love for God in me. What of it? That means that day I have no responsibility to walk a Christian life? Not at all. God is my king, and when you have a king, it doesn’t matter if you feel like serving Him or not.

I have a wife also, and there are many times that I can be upset with her about something. In every marriage, there is some conflict. I do not believe Jesus was married, but if He was, He would not have had a perfect marriage because He would have been married to an imperfect woman. If He could not have had a perfect marriage, I don’t expect I will.

So what happens if I get up in the morning and Allie and I are fighting and I don’t really feel a lot of love in me? I love anyway. We have this strange view in our culture that if you love someone when you don’t feel like it, it’s not genuine. On the contrary, I think that’s when love is the most genuine. It’s when one rises above their moods and does the right thing regardless.

Lindsay Harold on her blog wrote a piece arguing that wives as an example should have sex with their husbands even when they don’t feel like it. It’s another example. What virtue is it to do what you feel like doing? Wow. You did good because you felt like doing it. You obviously deserve a reward!

Can love produce feelings? It sure can. Does that mean it is a feeling? Of course not. We have turned the idea of falling into love as something sacred and there can be no wrong. It’s why we have this idea that our hearts are so infallible and that we just need to follow our heart constantly. We all know from Scripture that that is not really the case.

How did we get to this point in our culture? It’s because like many other things, we stopped thinking about it. We don’t think about God. We don’t think about love. We don’t think about sex. We don’t really think much about anything. We spend a lot of time doing things. We don’t spend time thinking about what we’re doing. We do what we feel like and that’s that.

None of this is to say feelings and emotions are evil. They are not. God gave them to us for a reason. It is to say that they are not to control us. When we know the right thing to do, we are to do it anyway. If you feel like it, fine. If not, it doesn’t matter. Do it anyway.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: Sex. It’s Worth Waiting For

What do I think of Greg Speck’s book published by Moody Publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If I’m not reading on apologetics, I’m often reading on sex and marriage. One topic that’s interesting in this is encouraging young people to wait for marriage, like my wife and I both did. The importance in this topic is to find the balance.

One clear memory I have is being at a church I attended when they had a Silver Ring Thing, which is like True Love Waits. The pastor speaking was saying if you have sex for marriage, it will be for selfish reasons. Okay. I can agree with that. Then he encouraged thinking about the consequences. What if you get pregnant? Get an STD? What will you have to tell your future spouse one day? What about shame? What about guilt?

And I’m thinking, “Those sound like selfish reasons to me also.”

This guy went on and on. He gave about a sentence about the joy of sex in marriage and kept going on about not having it beforehand. I started zoning out. Pastors. If you are teaching about sex in church and a college-age guy is in the audience and getting bored, you are doing it wrong.

Greg Speck’s book is written to teenagers so it is a bit odd for someone in his late-thirties to be reading it, but I want to see what is said. I liked a lot of what I said. Speck’s style is easy to follow. He writes in a way that teenagers will understand. (Okay. To be fair, I didn’t read the whole section on STDs. That was a bit gross.) He also writes with a pastoral heart.

There are many chapters. Speck wants the readers to first off know, sex is more than just intercourse. It can start off small, and then go on from there. Many times, we want to know how close we can get to the line without crossing. It’s a quite foolish stance, though understandable. It’s like we want to put ourselves in unnecessary risk. I personally recommend couples go no further past step eight in their relationship in The Twelve Steps of Intimacy until they marry.

Speck goes into Biblical reasons also for waiting until marriage, but then he also has testimonials from teenagers who didn’t. I think the last part is particularly worthwhile. Sadly for many young people, a few Bible verses will not be enough. If you’re sitting with your girlfriend on a couch, a random verse from Paul won’t likely stop anything. Now if you have a thoroughly thought out position of sex and know how it fits into a Christian worldview, that’s a different matter, but many young people do not. (And honestly, many adults don’t either.)

From there, Speck goes on to various other situations involving sexuality. These are ones that often aren’t talked about with teenagers, but they need to be. These include incest, rape, and the fear that you could be homosexual. There is also a section on pornography and masturbation and with the former, Speck does admit he had to struggle with that.

This is followed with sections for guys only and girls only. I found these a bit interesting, but I was curious. An unmarried guy wrote for the girls and an unmarried woman for the boys. I suppose that you could always look at different ways this could be done. Perhaps in a future edition there could be testimonials from married couples who waited.

While there is a section on God’s design for marriage, I would have liked to have seen something more at the end. I think too often we can give the negatives, but we definitely need to emphasize those positives. Yes. This is something great worth waiting for. This would be the benefit of testimonials of people who waited until marriage. There’s a saying that the devil will do anything he can to get you to have sex before you’re married, and afterward he will do anything he can to keep you from having sex.

Which brings me to one small criticism. As an Orthodox Preterist, I already think the devil is bound. This does not mean there are not demons running around still, but I think we give the devil far too much power. Speck does point to the devil being a cause of temptation many times. I am of the persuasion that often we don’t need the devil to be tempted, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. As the saying goes, “Lead me not into temptation. I will find it myself.”

Still, I think this would be a very helpful book for youth groups to go through together. Naturally, I think guys and girls would need to go through it separately. Having guys and girls together and talking about an issue like this in close quarters could have the opposite effect desired after all!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Some Thoughts On Erotica

Is Mommy porn a problem? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend of mine messaged me this weekend telling me that I’d written about porn, which is a great struggle for men (And also more and more so for women), but couldn’t a lot of erotica be in the same boat? Could this be for many women what porn is for men? Isn’t that worthy of a post?

Request granted.

Granted also that I don’t read erotica. I have no desire to do so either. I consider it the same as saying that I don’t need to go and watch porn in order to do research on porn.

Let’s also be clear what I mean by erotica. I don’t mean just any romance novel. There are some Christian romance novels out there. I do not know how good they are, but they are out there. I definitely mean material that is much more explicit, such as, say, Fifty Shades of Grey.

I also don’t necessarily mean chick flicks either. I think I, like all guys who date, had to watch The Notebook, for example. (It’s a hidden rule I think all women have that guys they’re with have to watch it.) Yet at the same time, we all know which sex was going the most to see Magic Mike.

I also don’t mean the traditional love stories, although let’s be clear that there are some myths in them, and I don’t mean Cinderella having a pumpkin turn into a coach. I mean the idea that you will meet a man and because he’s a prince, he will sweep you off your feet and naturally, those words that are never really accurate, “Happily Ever After.” Cinderella may have married Prince Charming, but she would wake up one day and realized he had bad morning breath and that he left his dirty socks outside the laundry basket.

But that could get us to something that is the problem. Unrealistic expectations many times. If we talk about pornography, we can talk about girls that have their features altered so that they have vastly unrealistic proportions. Today, women often think they have to compete with that hot actress on the TV show. You know, the one that has undergone hours of make-up and such before she ever gets on the set.

Most of us men say you don’t. You’re gorgeous to us as you are.

The problem with erotica is that women are usually more turned on through words and touch than they are through sight. That doesn’t mean sight is irrelevant, but it doesn’t woo a woman the same way. For me, just give me the sight of my bride and that is more than enough. I just don’t understand why it is sometimes that doesn’t work the same way in reverse. (And hey, it can’t be me because obviously Allie married a total stud. Right? Why are you laughing?)

Women have dreams of romance, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When my sister was four, she was already planning her wedding out. When something like Sleeping Beauty is on, men relate to the knight fighting and slaying the dragon. Women relate most to being rescued by the knight. (But hey, we men aren’t going to complain about waking her up with a kiss either.)

And men, let’s sadly face it that too many of us stop this after we marry her. Now many men I know say their wives could not keep their hands off of them when they were dating and wanted to kiss so much, but when they married, that all changed. We change too. Many a man no longer works to impress their wives. It’s a common trope to hear about men forgetting anniversaries and birthdays.

Part of that is we men are conquerors and when we’ve already succeeded at one task, winning the bride, we move on to the next. How about we make the task be “Impressing the bride?” This doesn’t mean you go all out every day, but it does mean that you make an effort everyday to please.

But for women, well it’s too easy to be resistant to your husband and then go and read an erotica novel and then come back and expect your husband to behave exactly like the man does. It’s as unrealistic as a man expecting the woman he’s with to act like that porn star does. Your man is not scripted. He is not written out. He will not do things perfect.

Yes. Your man will do many many stupid things in romance with you. He might take you to a restaurant you don’t like or he might belch in the middle of an intimate moment. Prince Charming can have morning breath. He’s not going to be perfect.

But if you have too many false ideas built up just like he can with pornography, it’s going to be harder and harder for him to measure up and could get you looking elsewhere. The grass might be greener on the other side of the fence. A big problem when many people leave relationships is that they go to the next one thinking it will be better because that other person was such a problem. Many times this is done without them looking at themselves and improving themselves and the history just repeats.

Ladies. Here’s a little tip for you to interact with your man. If you want something, just say it. We men are totally oblivious with hints. My wife has told me there have been three times she’s been in a romantic mood and tried to tell me and I totally missed her hints. Three times! (Excuse me. I have to pause writing this to go and mourn.)

In all honesty, if you tell your man something that you really want, he will want to do it for you. If my wife is out somewhere and I’m with her and I see her mention something she’d like, I remember it. She and I both play Pokemon and once when she was out, she saw a Sylveon at a Wal-Mart that she really wanted. We didn’t have the money in the wallet so I said I couldn’t. I went home where I had Amazon credit and ordered all nine forms of Eevee including Sylveon on Amazon for her. They were much smaller in size, but she got all of them.

I really don’t think I’m alone.

Ladies. Your man is always wanting to know that he’s your man. He’s always wanting to measure up. Make him think he has to compete with erotica and it can be just like you think you have to compete with porn, and you shouldn’t. If your man is no longer trying really and doesn’t seem to care, that’s something else to work on and perhaps counseling would help, but please try to give your man the benefit of the doubt. He wants to please you.

Even if he doesn’t do perfect, remember him when he tries. Men take criticism from their wives very seriously. Every time it makes us think we’re failing and if we get the message enough, we just stop trying. I don’t even care for it if I’m taking a break and playing a video game and my wife likes to point out every time I make a mistake. That might seem minor to you, but that’s the way we men are. We want to be great at everything we do no matter how small.

Ladies. Be careful about the books that you’re picking up just like he should about the websites he’s visiting. Perhaps it might be better instead of reading a book about how you want to be romanced, for you to read a book about how to romance your husband. You can be sure he will greatly appreciate it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters