Book Plunge: Beauty, Order, and Mystery

What do I think of Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This book is about a Christian view of human sexuality based on a pastor’s conference on the topic. At the outset, I think it’s awesome that pastors are meeting among themselves and having serious talks on these matters. Now if only we could convince those pastors in the pulpit to start also talking about this material to their parishioners.

The book is a series of essays each dealing with a specific topic. Not just marital sexuality is discussed, but also homosexuality and transgenderism. How is the church to deal with these kinds of issues today? Each of the writings goes in-depth in making the case that it does.

Wesley Hill’s is one that I want to touch on. Wesley Hill is a celibate homosexual Christian who is an assistant professor at the Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. Hill wants to remind us that not everyone who identifies as a homosexual or someone on that spectrum has some innate hatred for Christianity. Many of them would like to be Christians. Of course, there are some that are anti-Christians, but we should not paint with a broad brush without knowing the person first.

Hill’s essay answers the question of who do homosexuals love. He argues against the idea that marriage should be redefined and then the answer is a really simple one. A homosexual should love their neighbor as themselves. Sex is not the only way to love someone as we all know.

Joel Willitts essay was especially moving as he deals with the dark side of sexuality. For him, it is more of a curse than it is a blessing and this is said even as he is a married man. Willits writes about being abused when he was growing up and how that has damaged his sexuality from that time forward. We should all realize that when we’re in the church, there are a number of people who have been hurt sexually.

Willitts takes a look at addiction and pain then and I shared many of his thoughts with my own wife. He suggests looking at addiction not so much as a curse, but more of an indicator that something is wrong. There is a problem that needs to be worked out. It doesn’t mean that you give in to the addiction. It means you see what it is pointing to and work on the root of the problem.

Daniel Brendsel also has a chapter on selfies and how the world lives in a day and age where we too often market ourselves and think that knowing someone on Facebook tells you all that you need to know. At times, the selfies have got so extreme that there have been a number of fatalities. The other dark side is that a lot of teenagers are doing what’s called sexting, where they’re sending sexually explicit photos of themselves. Of course, it’s more women who are doing this, but I think this is not because women are more perverted, but because women are by far, even to other women I don’t doubt, much more appealing to the eye.

This touches on pornography which is talked about a number of times. Pornography has damaged our culture so much that women can often think they have to do something like sexting to compete. Many men are no longer turned on by real women because they have been looking too much at fake women in pornography.

The book ends with Matt O’Reilly’s essay on what makes sex beautiful. I have to say that while I do agree with the great theology in the essay and he brought out aspects I had not yet considered, I found this one a bit disappointing. Yes. Sex is very theological, but why does the average man on the street think that sex is just so awesome and the woman’s body especially is so beautiful? It is not because he is thinking about theology, but because something in the sex itself beyond what it points to. I think this is something the church needs to seriously think about. What do people want when they want sex? They don’t want it just for the sex, but for some other reason, be it pleasure, intimacy, etc.

Regularly also it was said in the book that the church needs more than just a negative message on sex. We need a positive message. We give so many messages of do nots that we don’t give any messages of when to do and why to do. Our view of sexuality is extremely negative and we don’t embrace the joy and beauty of sex like we should.

Anyone who is interested in areas relating to Christianity and sexuality would be blessed by reading this book. Churches who have pastors who are addressing these topics are indeed blessed. In an age of extreme confusion about sexuality, hopefully we’ll heed the call to have more serious discussion and in our own marriages, more serious enjoyment of sexuality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Deeper Waters Podcast 5/14/2016: Walt Heyer

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

Target. Say the word and immediately the thoughts of boycotts comes into your mind. Why? Because of a bathroom policy. Women who identify as men are allowed to use the men’s room and vice-versa. This has led to many protests by others. There is a fear about predators taking advantage of the law, but something that is not discussed often is the people themselves who are claiming to be transgender.

This is a concept that strikes most of us as something that doesn’t make sense. We are living in an age where you cannot tell a woman that she must be a woman. If she identifies as a man, well that’s okay. Many of us are stunned that this is even being seen as a debate today, but lo and behold it is. What are we to do about this?

Why not have someone on who knows about the transgender viewpoint? In fact, we could say he knows about it so much because he was a transgender and then with  the surgical reassignment became a transsexual. That’s why this Saturday I am going to be interviewing Walt Heyer.

WaltHeyer

Walt Heyer is an author and public speaker with a passion to help others who regret gender change. Through his website, SexChangeRegret.com, and his blog, WaltHeyer.com, Heyer raises public awareness about the incidence of regret and the tragic consequences suffered as a result. Heyer’s story can be read in novel form in Kid Dakota and The Secret at Grandma’s House and in his autobiography, A Transgender’s Faith. Heyer’s other books include Paper Genders and Gender, Lies and Suicide.

So we are going to be talking about what so many of us really have a hard time wrapping our heads around. Are we really going against the scientific establishment? What is the cause of suicide in the cases of transgender people? Is the condition really a mental illness or is it something bona fide and the only way to help these people is to have them alter their bodies to become a person of the opposite sex?

What was it about Walt’s experience that brought him to this realization? What was it like to “become a woman” and then go back to being a man? What does he think should be the best approach to helping people who are struggling with thinking that they are the wrong sex. If his case is a negative one, is that just an isolated incident while most cases seem to work out for the good of those involved?

This is a big issue that is going on and I do believe that there is more at stake than just using a bathroom. We are calling the very identity of male and female into question. Perhaps I am mistaken in my approach and Walt can show that or perhaps there is in fact more than just the surface level debate that is going on.

I hope you’ll be listening next Saturday either way as Walt Heyer joins me!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why Is Bruce An Exception?

What do you do when a man’s very being says he’s a woman? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife shared on her Facebook a meme of some soldiers going to say they were going to congratulate Bruce Jenner for his courage, obviously said in sarcasm. Some of her friends from high school showed up to try to correct on her on this point which naturally means that her apologist husband has to go to work. I spent some time telling one that Bruce is still a man and why should we think otherwise? The reply I got was that “her” very being said “she” was a woman. Well that’s interesting. What about these other cases then?

Here for instance is Jerusalem Syndrome.

In this case, someone goes to Jerusalem who has otherwise been a normal person, and then believes themselves to be a biblical figure, like Jesus, Samson, or Mary.
If we are loving to such people, should we treat them like they are such figures, or should we seek to get them the help they need even though their very being says they are such figures?

Here is Cotard Delusion. The person with this delusion is convinced that they are dead and often have evidence from their own experience to back that! Their very being again tells them they’re dead. Are we loving to them if we treat them like they’re dead?

Here is Capgras Syndrome. In this, the person thinks their loved one has been replaced by a double or impostor. Is the loving thing to do agree with them even though they are mentally convinced of this?

Fregoli Delusion:
In this case, the person thinks that multiple people are really one or two persons in disguise. Is it loving to go along with this belief?

Apotemnophilia. In this case, the person thinks they should amputate healthy parts of their body. Is the loving thing to do to rush this person off to see a surgeon?

After writing that, I found more delusions and I’m sure there are still more out there.

Here is Truman Show Delusion. If you’ve ever seen the movie, that’s what it’s like. The person thinks they’re living in a reality show with cameras and actors all around them.

There is also even a video game delusion. In this, the person, yes, thinks that they are in a video game. One case of this involved stealing a more powerful car at gunpoint so someone could get bonus points.

There is also clinical lycanthropy. In this case, the person believes that they have turned into a werewolf.

We recognize each of these as delusions and we do so by looking at reality. Why not do the same in the case of Bruce?

Because I do not intend to participate in the delusion, I will still be referring to Bruce as Bruce. I will still be using the masculine pronouns in description. I have no desire whatsoever to join the Cult of Caitlyn.

In Christ,
Nick Peters