No Shame

Is nudity shameful? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Genesis goes on to tell us that the man and woman were both naked and unashamed. Why would this need to be said? Because Moses knew about his own time, (Presuming he wrote this which is secondary to the point anyway) and he knew that there was shame in his day.

That shame has extended to our day. Why is it this way? Is the body something we ought to be ashamed of to hide before everyone else?

Genesis ends with a favorite verse that says “What you intended for evil, God intended for good.” Indeed. Unfortunately, what God intended for good, the human body, is often used for evil.

Of course, you could ask why that would be the case today. Why would people be concerned about how their bodies look? Do people still think that way?

Hey. Have you seen that show with all the hot females in skimpy clothing?

Odds are, you might have thought, “Which one?”

That’s the problem.

I want to focus on women first because most women I know tend to have this problem. When I hear news stories about concerns about people struggling with image due to Instagram or Facebook, it’s teenage girls. They look at all the other girls around them and they think they don’t measure up.

These women tend to shame themselves with their bodies. They might think there is always someone prettier out there. The truth is in some aspects, someone will always be better at you in something out there. No human today is a master of everything.

However, the #1 person to compete against is really yourself. Are you doing enough to make yourself a better person today? Not just a physically beautiful person, but an internally beautiful person. That is the most important beauty.

And ladies, if you are married, you no longer have to compete. Your husband already chose you. If he tells you he thinks you’re beautiful, believe him.

Of course, there is that one exception.

Guys. Stop watching porn, especially if you’re already married. Whether you mean it or not, you are telling your wife that she is inadequate. Yes, women. In that case, I fully understand you distrusting your husbands. Their actions and their words are not lining up.

Some women unfortunately go the other way. They go all out freely offering their bodies to most anyone who comes along. The idea of nudity is really saying how much you trust someone. The problem is people are saying “I trust you totally with my body, but I don’t trust you totally with a lifelong commitment.” It’s a way of being used.

When a man and a woman come together in matrimony and are engaged in sex, what they are saying is they alone are the ones who trust each other entirely with their bodies. Marriage is the place for that total trust and commitment. Marriage is where that promise has already been made and then the action of sex lines up with that promise. It is a way of saying that here there is no shame.

It is a recreation of Paradise. When you have covenant love fully going on, you are to have Paradise. In this way, some secular artists do have it right. Intimate love is often compared to Heaven and Paradise. They’re right in that this is a microcosm of what God has for us. They’re wrong in thinking that this is indeed Heaven and Paradise. The finger is great to point at the moon, but it is horrible to mistake the finger for the moon.

Now on to men.

Yes. Men themselves struggle with this. I have had my own difficulties. I weigh just a little under 130 and I am 5’7″. Technically, I am underweight, but I am incapable of gaining weight too much due to the steel rod on my spine being designed for a certain weight.

I well remember as a man in my 20’s working at a grocery store in the back room on break and seated with the girls and here them talk about some guy going by and one of them jumping up to pursue him because “You’re so hot.”

Yeah. I’m just some guy in the room.

Guys worry that they don’t compete with other guys as well. Maybe not as much as women do, but that is there. Men have a tendency to want to one-up one another in anything. It might be the stupidest kind of contest ever, but we want to be #1.

Years ago I remember working at the Christian Research Institute and sitting in the break room with some of the guys there and we were talking about painful physical experiences in our lives. Slowly, I noticed that after one of us told our story, another guy had to come and say “This is my story.” We weren’t just sharing stories. It was along the lines of, “You think you went through a lot? Let me tell you what I went through!” It was as if the bigger man had the bigger story.

By the way, I think I won when I brought up my back surgery.

When I was married, I remember going to the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge with my ex-wife. There, you could stick your arm in water that was the temperature that the water was around the iceberg when it was hit by the Titanic. I thought I would roll up my sleeve and show her what a man I was by putting my arm in there as long as I could.

I think I lasted about a minute.

So yes, guys do have those insecurities, but I noticed when I was married, I had none of that around my ex-wife. In my mind, I was already accepted. Why hide? Not all guys are like that. Insecurity is real.

Shame has distorted what God meant for good.

We somehow think if our bodies are less in some way, we are less in some way.

Our values are not determined by if we have a super hourglass figure or how tall we are or if we have six-pack abs or how much we weigh on a scale. These can matter to some extent, as we should try to be healthy, but they don’t determine our value. Our value is found in being in the image of God.

Every marriage is meant to be a microcosm of the love of God and man together. This includes even a secular marriage. Just because it wasn’t done in a church doesn’t mean it’s not something from God.

We are to have no shame before God. We are to have no shame before our spouses. Treating the body like it’s just something common and anyone can see is a false view as not everyone is worthy of that covenant relationship. Marriage is a way of saying one person is.

Treat your body well. Respect it, and save it for someone who is worthy of it. You are worth that too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Eve’s Beauty

What makes a woman beautiful? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Adam is alone and God decides to give a companion for him. He takes a rib from Adam’s body and when Adam wakes up, out comes Eve to him. We also know that she was naked as the text says they both were and had no shame. Adam sees Eve and says “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.”

Now I don’t know Hebrew, but I know people who do, and I have been told that a direct Hebrew way of understanding what Adam said there is “YOWZA!”

Adam was impressed.

Now I’m going to look at the whole one flesh statement another time, but it deserves something on its own so today, I just want to focus on Eve. Who was she?

Now when I was growing up, Eve was one part of the Bible that I sometimes wished had been illustrated. Just think about it. A woman that God Himself hand-crafted. What a looker she must have been! She must have been a total beauty queen! Every man would be thrilled to see her. Helen of Troy has nothing on her!

Now, I’m not so sure of that.

Let’s consider that we have three races. Now usually, if a girl buys a baby doll at a store, she will buy a doll from her own race. After all, that’s the kind of kid she’s likely to have someday. Many people do often desire someone of their own race. Not all do, but we all have our preferences.

Some guys like girls that are slim. Some like girls that are heavier. Some like a certain hair color. We could go on and on and since this is a blog I would hope a family could read, I don’t want to go too far down this road.

So let’s talk about Eve. What do we not know first off? Well, I’m going to have to use modern standards, but there are several things we don’t know.

We don’t know her height.

We don’t know her weight.

We don’t know her race.

We don’t know her hair or eye color.

We don’t know how long her legs were.

We don’t know what her bra size would have been.

We don’t know what her voice sounded like.

We don’t know about her complexion.

And there’s no universal idea of what a woman should look like here so it could be some guys today would see Eve and think she’s no big deal. Others would and be going internally crazy at the sight of her. Some guys have a wife they gush on and on about her beauty and their friends just don’t see it, but that guy sure does.

Here’s the important fact. Adam thought she was beautiful.

That’s all that matters.

And thank God then we don’t have a description of Eve. Can you imagine if we knew Eve was a brunette for example? Every woman who was a blond could think there was something wrong with her and she wasn’t the ideal woman. Every woman who had a different bra size or legs of a different length or was of a different race could feel like they have to compare themselves and many a man would compare his wife to Eve.

Without knowing what she looked like, no comparisons can truly be made.

And you know why that is?

Because every woman is truly meant to be Eve.

Eve is the pinnacle of God’s creation. If I have a daughter in the future, I want to name her some variation of Eve, like maybe Eva. Why is that? Because I want her to know that she is a representation of God’s beauty on this Earth. Woman in the account is the last created and I think the jewel of creation. Certainly in beauty. Nothing on Earth compares in beauty to the beauty of a woman.

All women somewhere in them have that beauty. All are to be treasured somewhere. That beauty should also be sacred and not shared cheaply. Sadly, too many women are doing that today. This is especially so in the porn industry where a man can see a woman’s body without having to make any real effort to be a man.

A woman does not have to compare herself to Eve, but she is still meant to be Eve. She is meant to represent the beauty of God on this Earth. As a man, I am amazed at the handiwork of God when I see a beautiful woman. It boggles my mind how many women don’t see just how beautiful they are in the eyes of their husbands. They live their lives in shame of their bodies and we are sitting back thinking “What the heck are you thinking?”

Ladies. Every time your husband compliments you physically and you argue against it, in some way, you are calling your husband a liar.

Adam saw Eve and he was pleased. The two became one flesh.

This we shall talk about another time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Pastor. Your Eyes And Heart Need Work.

What are wives required to do for husbands? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I heard yesterday about a video going viral. In it, a pastor was giving a sermon and sometime in the middle, he went on a tirade that is extremely derogatory towards women. If you want the highlights, here’s what someone posted about it.

As a husband to my wife and father to my daughter the things he brought out such as:

“Don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere”

“men are going to look so be sure to keep your self attractive enough he only wants to look at you”

“My friend set a divorce weight for his wife”

“It’s really important for a man to have a beautiful woman on his arm”

“Women stink”

“Weight control”

“Food never taste as good as skinny feels”

“Dress appropriately, dress your age, dress your body type…just look good”.

Now someone could look at this and say, “Well isn’t it true that a wife should care about her appearance?” Yes. It is. Unfortunately, the way this guy spoke will not encourage any wife and places the blame on her and some statements are just hideous.

Let’s start with don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere. If this was a playful challenge given as an encouragement, that could have been one thing. “Women! You’re already beautiful! Your husband is tempted to look at other women because he is a man, but be a feast for his eyes and he will always return to you.”

Instead, what the preacher said was, “If you lower your beauty, your husband will look elsewhere.” When you’re a Christian man and dating, you already know that a woman is beautiful. When you marry, you learn that she really is much more beautiful than you realize.

If you are a man and you look at a woman and don’t see something beautiful, it is not the woman that needs to change but you. This is especially so for your wife. Every woman is beautiful in some way. If you are not seeing beauty, then work on changing yourself.

I honestly cannot easily picture Christ referring to any woman physically as ugly. He might think that their behavior is awful, but He never rejected a woman who came to Him for help. Jesus was incredibly kind towards women.

That being said, it is true men are going to look. I remember a young Catholic priest telling me about how he can look too and he always says, “She is a beautiful gift, but she is not for you.” A man might notice a woman and have a momentary thought, but a good man just moves on then.

I don’t think a man is responsible for his momentary temptation that flies through his mind. Now if he stares or leers or something else, that is different, but it is a struggle for the majority of men out there. A wife should not take it personally. At the end of the day, he chose her.

The comment about a man setting a divorce weight for his wife is one of the worst. I don’t know of anything in Scripture that says, “If you start thinking your wife is putting on too much weight, you may leave her and trade her in for a less heavy model.” This pastor doesn’t need to be condemning the women. He needs to be condemning his friend instead.

Now it is true that a man likes to have a beautiful woman on his arm and whenever I have had to take Allie somewhere, I have been delighted to show her off to everyone. If anything, I always delighted in telling everyone the story about her winning a beauty pageant. When I went to my 20th year high school reunion, I remember being eager to show her off to everyone I went to school with. Yes. I did get married and I married a beautiful woman.

Women stink? I have no doubt that a woman could have a problem if she has just worked out or anything like that, but so do men. That’s part of the human condition. It doesn’t matter either. A woman is still beautiful.

The statement about nothing tastes as good as being thin feels is one often used in diet motivation. If a woman wants to lose weight for proper health reasons (Not Anorexia or Bulimia) and is motivated by this, good for her. By the way, that should be the best motivation for weight control and that is health.

Now there is certainly truth in the last part about dress appropriately, but many Christian wives don’t have this problem. They’re not going to show up to church in a bikini or something like that. This could be something said more for the teenage girls in the audience who are still wanting to get a man in their lives.

But in the end, the big problem is that there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to make herself beautiful for the man in her life. When Ruth approached Boaz to see if he would marry her, she was told to bathe and put on her best clothes. Yes. Men do respond to physical appearance.

The man also needs to work on being the best that he can. It’s meant to be a mutual self-giving. Also, normally if a woman wants to do this, her husband will likely have no problem with it. I remember when Allie got a new dress at Wal-Mart one time and when she came out, my jaw just dropped. I was stunned by how beautiful she looks. I even told her that for my birthday I could ask my parents and in-laws to give her dresses as well. That would be just as much a gift to me.

As far as I know, this pastor’s wife didn’t poison him in his sleep or anything like that during the night. Either way, this is a man who definitely needs to get into marriage counseling and get his attitude towards women taken care of. Also, until that changes, please don’t be in the pulpit. We don’t need this kind of attitude there.

And women, you’re already beautiful. If a man doesn’t find you beautiful just the way you are, then he’s not going to find you beautiful anyway. His idea of your beauty is conditional. Move on.

However, while you should want to take care of yourself, if you have a good man, he will find you beautiful no matter what changes you go through. It is because while he sees your body, he doesn’t see just your body. He sees you and when he sees you he sees beauty. It’s not conditional.

If you’re a man who makes your commitment to your wife conditional on what is fleeting and passing anyway, then you don’t really have a commitment to your wife. You have a commitment to a female body. Work on your eyes, and your heart.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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Thoughts On Eve

What are we to think about this woman? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When your wife is away from you long-term, as mine is right now being in a facility for excellent mental health treatment, you start thinking about what it means when you want to have her around and what the absence means. Naturally, I go to Scripture first and then beyond that to thoughts from great Christian minds and my own philosophizing. When it comes to women in the Bible, the first one we get is Eve.

Now there are many interpretations held about Eve by Christians. Some are very literalistic with a YEC approach that says the Earth is young and these were the only two humans. Some are OEC and say the Earth is old but Adam and Eve were the first human creations. My view is more akin to the idea that there could have been other humans, but these two were chosen as our representatives. Some even say this is just a story and there was no Adam and Eve.

At this point, while that is a fascinating debate, it is irrelevant. That is not in terms of Biblical interpretation, but it is in terms of what I wish to say about Eve. What does Eve mean for women today?

We live in a world where women are saturated with images of how they should look. Hollywood models are put on display and magazines are full of images of women that are no doubt photoshopped, but this is held as the ideal. Even worse, a number of women watch porn to think about not just how they should look, but how they should be with men.

Leaves me thankful I have avoided porn.

Now sometimes I have speculated what Eve, if she is a real person, looked like. Imagine the woman chosen to represent all women. If we are talking about the YEC or OEC model, the idea that God personally hand-crafted this woman for Adam. I can wonder what she looked like, but the Bible never tells me.

What we are told is how when Adam saw her he said “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.” That is some wonderful language that we don’t really understand today. Friends who know Hebrew well have told me a direct translation that would best capture the thought of what Adam is saying would be something like….

“YOWZA!”

But ladies who are thinking about this, please consider at this point some things we don’t know about Eve. Maybe a few we could guess well, but we just don’t know. We can’t say for sure what race she was perhaps, but we could make a good guess based on where the story takes place. We don’t know her hair color or her eye color. We don’t know her height. We don’t know what she weighed if she could have stepped on a scale then. We don’t know how curvy she was or if she had an hourglass figure. We don’t know if her hair flowed down her body or if she was short. We don’t know her bra size. We do not know how her hips moved or how big her butt was or what her legs looked like.

Those are some of the biggest ways we judge women today and I am sure there are others and yet the text says nothing about them. She even made her first appearance in the nude and yet, there is no judgment given on her features. She has no shame. There should be none in a Paradise situation.

What do we know?

Adam loved his wife. One interpretation of why Adam ate of the fruit even is that he knew Eve had royally screwed up and he didn’t want her to face it alone. He chose to take it with her.

If so, that is some devotion on his part.

And to all ladies reading this, you are also meant to represent God on Earth just as much as Eve was. My wife knows I have said several times that I think the way women reflect God best on Earth is by beauty. If I am correct with that, it’s not a shock woman was the last being created since woman is the most beautiful in all of creation. Even perfectly straight women will say that as handsome as a man can be to them, the beauty of a woman stands out still.

You also could look at that list above that I gave. You could be excellent in all those areas or you could think you’re deficient in all of those areas, but whoever you are, as a woman, you are beautiful. If anyone does not see that, it is because they are blind.

There’s a line from The Good Doctor which I will paraphrase, but it is one whose sentiments I have thought before with my own wife. “I do not love your body because it is excellent. I love your body because it is yours.” If you say you love a woman and her body undergoes a change and your love changes, then you did not love her. You loved her body only. You should care about the body because it is hers and love it and treasure it, but your love should not be dependent on it.

So no, the Bible doesn’t tell us what Eve looks like. Looking back now after thinking about this more the past few weeks or so, it’s a good thing it doesn’t. Women would be comparing themselves to Eve and sadly, too many guys would compare the women in their lives to Eve. There is no need for that. All women should be celebrating what they have and should properly in public, live without shame for being a woman and delight in it, and behind closed doors with their husbands, totally live without shame relishing in the love they have.

Women. Remember you are beautiful. And men, remember too that she is and treat her that way.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Some Thoughts On PornHub and Sex Trafficking

How should we view women today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A news story is out about the FBI looking into groups like PornHub for sex trafficking. For those of us who know something about the porn industry, that sex trafficking is involved is not news to us. It’s not to say that all women in the industry are victims of sex trafficking, but I have no doubt that some are.

So let’s talk a bit about porn and why it should be shut down.

Now in the past, if you wanted to look at pornography, you had to go somewhere secret and be discrete. You had to go to the magazine stand or to the video store and there was a chance you could be caught. Unfortunately, with the good of the internet came the evil of porn and then rule 34. That states that if it exists, there is porn of it on the internet. No matter how innocent you think something is, there is porn of it out there somewhere.

As I drive around Atlanta, I listen to talk radio. Everyday practically, I will hear a commercial about erectile dysfunction. It’s constant. Why is this? I always tell my wife the same thing. I suspect it happens so much because so many men have watched porn for so long that they can’t easily be aroused by a real woman. They only go with a fake one.

This is not to say that all causes of erectile dysfunction are due to pornography. Saying women in porn videos are fake is not to say they are not real people. It is to say that what is presented is a false idea of what women and sex are meant to be.

As a man in charge of a group for guys on Facebook who are Christian and married, engaged, dating, or hoping to date and marry, when I meet a man about to marry, I ask him if he would like to talk about what to expect. This is something every guy (And every girl) needs if they haven’t had sex before their wedding night. One thing I always tell them is to think back to what you have seen on TV and movies. Think back to all the sex you have experienced on there. Now throw it out because none of it is realistic at all.

In the movies and I am sure in porn, everything works flawlessly. There are no mistakes. There are no accidents. No one has to put down a towel. No one gives a touch that is not liked. The woman and the man have perfect ecstasy together and they both orgasm at exactly the same point and everything is wonderful.

Sorry. Real sex will involve trial and error for some time and you will always be learning.

So men get a false idea of what sex is.

Not only that, it leads to a consumer mentality of women. Women are objects just to be wanted for their bodies. The purpose of a woman is to parade before a man in all her naked self and let him glorify himself in her. On porn, the woman on the other end is irrelevant. You don’t have to know her name or care about her or do anything for her whatsoever. She is your servant entirely.

Now I am not at all knocking the idea that a woman is beautiful. I saved myself for marriage and when I see my wife’s body in all her glory I am utterly amazed and mesmerized. After nearly ten years of marriage, Allie is still the woman out there that totally turns my head. She is my great gift and I will jump at any chance I can to see her body.

That’s the way God made it too.

You see, the beauty then inspires me. If I want to have the joy of Allie’s body, I need to treat her right. I need to love her. I need to honor her. Now even if I don’t feel those things at the start hypothetically, which I think happens in arranged marriages, by doing those actions over and over, I come to love and honor her because it becomes habitual and habits change your thinking. For me, loving Allie is really second nature now.

I don’t go and say “I can’t see Allie’s body now for reason XYZ” and jump on to porn instead. That treats her body like a consumable good. I can say that when I see her body, I do see her physical form and I am amazed, but the beauty I see goes beyond the physical. It is not just her body in a transcendent way. It is as if I am seeing her. I am seeing not just her form, but I am seeing vulnerability and trust. I am seeing her. How she is to be with me and me with her is how we are to be before God.

Pornography will teach you that the purpose of the woman is to serve you. If you are married though, your purpose is to serve your spouse. Women are to seek to please their husbands, as so many husbands like to say, but husbands are to seek to please their wives. It doesn’t just mean doing something on Valentine’s Day or anniversary or birthdays or special events like that. It means doing something every day that you can. Believe it or not guys, it wouldn’t kill you to get out the vacuum cleaner every now and then.

Pornography cheapens the people in your life and will make it harder for you to love. In sexuality, it’s important to know what pleases you or else your spouse won’t know how to bring you the happiness they should want to bring you, but your main goal should be to please your spouse. Many a guy will say that despite the idea that sex is all they want, they are not really pleased with sex if they do not think they have pleased their wives. That is their real goal.

Now I realize that women also struggle with porn. This is not to diminish that, but as a man, it is easier to write to the men. The women can find their own parallels, but if you struggle with porn, please get help. Get an accountability partner. Get some software on your computer and other devices that can hold you accountable. Join a group like Celebrate Recovery and get some help. This will not be an easy battle, but it is worth it.

Remember on those videos also, that girl on there is someone’s daughter as well. She deserves to be treated respectfully and with dignity. Women, for you, please never lower yourself ever to win the heart of a guy. If you have to lower yourself, he is not worth it. You are worth more than that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 12/21/2019

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

I came across my guest in an unusual way. A Christian friend of mine shared an interesting article on a Christian defense of Dungeons and Dragons. Now I was intrigued since I played growing up and I know several Christians today who still do. I’m still heavily involved in role-playing games, though these are all video games.

The article was a good one and lo and behold, written by a professor at a Christian university. I was intrigued. I also realized that this was a person I had heard of before. He was interviewed by Mary Jo Sharp in her book Why I Still Believe to talk about beauty.

So I thought getting in touch with him would be a simple matter. We could talk about the interaction of Christianity and culture and about beauty as well. After all, could it be that those who are seeing the devil in everything and repelling from the culture are doing more harm than good in the long run?

I reached out to him then and he was delighted to come on the show. We set the date and as you can imagine, it will be this Saturday. We will be talking about the interaction of Christ and culture and straight from Houston Baptist University, my guest will be Philip Tallon.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Dr. Tallon is the assistant professor of theology at Houston Baptist University. He got his PhD in theology at the University of St. Andrews.

Dr. Tallon is a member of the Honors College faculty and Chair of the Apologetics Department. Both areas of service allow him to explore the intersection of theology, philosophy, and the arts: helping students to understand the Lordship of Jesus over “every square inch” of creation.

Dr. Tallon’s primary areas of research are in Christian theology and theological aesthetics. He is especially interested in doing ‘theology through the arts,’ which examines how the arts can reorient and enrich our understanding of Christian truth.

We’ll be talking about beauty, play, and culture. How do we find God in all of these things? What is the way that Christians are to interact with culture? Could there be danger in seeing a devil behind everything that seems contrary to us?

I hope you’ll be watching for the next episode. We are almost completely caught up with episodes after all. Please also go and leave a positive review on iTunes for the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Draw of Beauty

What role does beauty serve? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last week I didn’t blog due to the Thanksgiving holiday. We had someone who was super generous to us who paid for Allie and I go to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. We stayed there from Tuesday night to Thursday morning. We went on a boat ride in the hotel there and also went to the ICE program which had the movie A Christmas Story done in ice sculptures followed by a beautiful nativity scene done in ice.

The boat ride involved going through the hotel where there were several waterfalls and exotic plants. Our guide told us about so many of them and we were able to easily ride down the river that is inside the hotel. All of this leaves me thinking about the role of beauty.

We could say that all of this beauty is a draw to the customers and that would be something because there is no functional role to all of this other than that. Having a river in the hotel with exotic plants and waterfalls doesn’t improve the function of the hotel. It could possibly be said it creates more expense and leaves some other needs for the hotel that have to be maintained.

Yet this expense is probably worth it because it draws so many people in. We have this idea that it’s a waste to focus on making things beautiful. Think of the responses often given to the building of a magnificent cathedral, the one Bill Maher gives in Religulous. Couldn’t this have been given to the poor? What’s the point of all the grandeur and beauty?

The purpose is to draw us into the beauty of God. It is to leave us with awe. This is something I think we have missed in many of our churches today. I get that not everyone is going to come to a church that’s designed like a cathedral. I do think though that if we are presenting God, we need to make Him as beautiful as possible with what we have.

Consider also how this works with the opposite sex. Aside from men who are gay, we normally don’t say, “That is one good-looking guy. I want to get to know him better.” It is what we say with women. How many guys have wanted to get to know a girl and it has been started solely by her appearance? This is something that women know, but I don’t think they fully utilize to their advantages.

If you’re a single woman wanting to marry, let your beauty be a draw, because it will be, but don’t share all of that beauty until a wedding night. If a man is not willing to pursue you to that point, then he does not really want you for you. He wants your body mainly and he’s not willing to go the distance to prove he loves you.

For married women, you have a great power to enthrall and motivate your husbands. Even after decades of being married, many men are still enthralled by the beauty of their wives. I have been married nine years and the beauty of my own wife is still brand new. As someone with Aspergers, for years, people tried to get me to change my diet and I refused to budge. Allie did it and she didn’t even have to try. Why? Beauty. She is a motivation.

Let’s face it. If guys weren’t attracted to women, we really wouldn’t bother. We have to change so much of who we are and spend so much money and give so much of ourselves over and over. The relationship a man has with his wife is radically different from any relationship he has with a male friend. Why do we do it? Beauty. We want that beauty.

Our society knows this well. This is why we have a make-up industry. Beauty sells to people. Now I’m personally not a big fan of make-up, although there was a time recently Allie’s eyes were quite stunning with some, but some guys are. I also remember one time Allie wanted to get a dress that was on sale at Wal-Mart. I waited outside of the dressing room while she tried it on. When she came out, my jaw just dropped immediately. This was my wife? Seriously? She looked like she walked right out of a fashion magazine and it was incredible.

Maybe all this beauty doesn’t help the woman in any other way, but it does help her draw a man who will love her for her. Doubtless, it doesn’t really start that way, but it does change over time. Most of our loves start with selfish reasons. We want the other person for ourselves for some reason. In time, the habits we do to get that person end up changing us. Through the use of these habits, I now say easily I love Allie more than I did on our wedding day. Love has been a practice. It has been a choice.

Some people deny objective beauty. This is a ridiculous position. It means a stick figure drawn by a small child is more beautiful than the Mona Lisa. It means a pile of dung is beautiful just like a bouquet of flowers is. It means that nothing in this universe is truly beautiful. It is just an idea we have created and imposed on the universe. If such is the way we think, then be consistent and say nothing is truly beautiful, but I suspect many of us don’t want to do that.

I regularly give thanks for beauty. Being a married man, I particularly give thanks for the beauty of my wife and think that when God made women, He knew what He was doing and did it good. Beauty serves to draw us in and may it draw us into the beauty of God.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Is Beauty Real?

Is beauty just in the eye of the beholder? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, I found myself in a discussion on a Facebook page after an atheist put up a picture of some beautiful clouds outside an airplane window and spoke about not needing God to appreciate this beauty. I found this an interesting statement so I started with one question. Is beauty objective? My response was along the lines of “Of course not.”

This I took to be quite odd. Here you write about an experience of something that is beautiful and then say there is no such thing as beauty. You might as well say that there are no moral truths and then that slavery in the Bible is wrong. (Oh wait. I do know people who say both of those.) It just reminds of the inconsistencies.

But wait, aren’t there disagreements on what is and isn’t beautiful? Yes. There are. There are disagreements in science and math and medicine and law and any other field as well. Are we going to make the foolish statement that any area that has disagreement means that there is no objective truth in that area?

We have industries that are built on beauty being something real. The cosmetic industry serves its clients, mostly women, by telling them what they sell will make them more beautiful. Hollywood appeals to us with men and women meant to be seen as desirable by us. Even the pornography industry can thrive because men and women are supposed to believe that those pages of people on the pages or nowadays on the websites are people they should desire.

Beauty is either something in the world that we discover or else an idea in our minds that we throw onto the world. If just in our minds alone, why should we think we can convince anyone else of it? Why should I believe the clouds are beautiful if it cannot be true that they are?

This would also meant that a stick man that I draw is just as beautiful as the Mona Lisa is. A little tune that I could put together though I have no musical ability is just as beautiful as a piece by Bach is. The reason these things get recognized is because we all know that there is something beautiful about them.

My favorite tactic is to bring up a person’s spouse in this. After all, if beauty is subjective and not real, then there is no reason to think your spouse is truly beautiful. As a man who is married and has been for nine years, I will gladly attest that yes indeed, women are beautiful, and my wife is the most beautiful of all.

We Christians also are missing out when we talk about beauty being subjective. No Christian should ever say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is just as real as truth and goodness are. If we have a harder time with beauty, it is because we have failed to take such ideas seriously.

Do you need to know that God exists to enjoy beauty? Not at all. Do you need Him to ground the beauty? Yes. Remember also that with all that you see, all that beauty is a reflection of the creator who is the most beautiful of all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Why I Still Believe

What do I think of Mary Jo Sharp’s latest book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I first found out about this book when someone mentioned it in relation to dealing with Jesus mythicism, which it does to some extent, and that got me curious. I got in touch with Mary Jo and was able to get an advance copy for review purposes. I really had no idea at the time what else it was about, but then I saw it looked to deal a lot with hypocrisy in the church. Interesting, but could a whole book really be made about it?

Yes. Yes, indeed.

Not only could a whole book be done, this is one of the best books I’d recommend in helping someone out struggling in this area. Sharp’s book is engaging, but at the same time, it is not preachy. She is an open book in this one and writes about so much of the pain that she has experienced in the church and revealing even what some of her home life is like.

Sharp writes as someone who came to the church culture as an outsider having been an atheist. She then gets involved in the church and on the first Sunday there, the pastor’s wife greets her and tells her she needs to dress better because her clothes look too revealing. Keep in mind Sharp was supposed to go up and announce to the church she had become a Christian, which she did anyway, and there the pastor’s wife put her on the spot like that. Imagine how any investigator of Christianity would have taken it. (And keep in mind that from what I’ve seen in churches, too revealing could mean that if you squint and stare for a few minutes you might see some skin.)

She also talks about bringing a skeptical friend to a church lesson that talked about the age of the Earth. This person knew far more than the teacher including quoting Augustine on the matter. The pastor shut the questioner down and then in the end angrily gave him a stack of literature on the topic of creation. Sharp said she never saw him again and he never returned to the church.

Who can blame him?

Along the way, Sharp discusses issues like the resurrection of Jesus and other Christian claims. One of the more interesting ones she does this with is the topic of beauty. Beauty is something we don’t talk about much in the church. We talk about truth and goodness, but not about beauty. This part was quite exciting.

She also writes about how her own ministry got started, especially with the help of David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi. This is humorously referred to as lessons from a sociopath and an ex-Muslim. The candor and reality of the book is what makes it so endearing.

Sharp also talks about her own struggles. She has a hard time with trusting people and has an idealistic vision of the church and how it should be and gets disappointed when it doesn’t measure up. In some ways, she seems to wish she didn’t know what she did know about apologetics, because it would be so easy to say “This isn’t worth it” and go back to atheism, but she can’t. It’s a reality I can understand and relate to sometimes.

Mary Jo Sharp’s book should be required reading for anyone struggling with what they see in their fellow Christians and expecting something different. At the same time, Sharp also looks at herself in all of this and sees the kind of person she is, which she doesn’t like as well. But then, that is the good news isn’t it? As it is said, if the church only welcomed perfect people, we wouldn’t be members. We can all be imperfect together.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Sacredness Of The Human Body

What is it about the body that is sacred? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I found myself on Facebook in a discussion about pornography. Why was I against it? Talking to atheists in this one, I decided to not just quote Scripture left and right, but to accept real evidence that I thought would be more convincing.

I spoke about how pornography ultimately treats women as objects. (I know there is porn the other way, so just alter the figures as needed) They are there to fulfill a sexual need and that is it. There is no more beyond that. Such a position is degrading to the female and if you degrade one woman, you have degraded all of them.

Later last night, I read about a resort called Temptation that is pretty much a millennial sex orgy. While there is supposed to be no public sex there and no is supposed to mean no, I’m quite sure that at least the first rule is violated several times. The sad thing is, this article was written by a married woman who said while she wasn’t going to be sleeping with other guys, she was happily letting it all go there.

I found it ultimately saddening, as if the human body is simply a display object. For myself, I like knowing that there is something of the body that is reserved for me only by my wife and vice-versa. This isn’t talking about you just going to the gym and if you’re with other men or other women, being undressed around them. After all, unless they’re gay, that’s not an issue for them. This is about things reserved for you and your spouse alone.

I really do think this is something that women especially have to face. After all, even most women would say the female body is objectively far more beautiful than the male is, and that’s even if they’re fully straight women. Women were just made to be beautiful and many women are constantly comparing themselves with other women to see if they have that beauty.

By the way women, just a little tip. What you are so obsessed with, we are not obsessed with. If you are married to a good man, he has no objections to you doing things to beautify yourself more, but he also loves you just the way you are. If anything, he wants you to live like you believe that.

Which gets me back to my objection to pornography. I object to the female body being put on display as an object just to arouse men. Now let me be straight forward and say the human female body does arouse men. I was listening to a news story about Notre Dame burning and how it was the building as it was before the fire was the most beautiful sight someone had ever seen. My thought was, “I am sure it is a beautiful sight, but it sure can’t compare to Allie.”

I definitely mean that. Why? Well, Notre Dame, as beautiful as it was, and hopefully will be again, was still built by man. It can’t compare with a design that was originally made by God. As I sit here typing, I see a picture of my wife here next to me and I look over with amazement. I never truly knew what beauty was until I saw her.

If I am sitting on the couch minding my own business and she tells me she’s going to go take a shower, my ears perk up immediately. If there’s anything that can get me to stop what I’m doing, it’s the affection of my wife. It has been a huge motivator for me to get me to stop doing things I shouldn’t be doing and start doing things that I should be doing.

So yes, I am not at all about to deny that the human female body has that function on us men.

The difference is that we who are happily married men should know that that is not just a human female body. That is a person. There’s an adage for married men that says sex begins at breakfast. No. It doesn’t mean you hoist her on to the breakfast table and get your game on. (Not that many of us would object if she was willing) It means that you start being romantic in the morning and that will increase the odds of her being romantic in the evening.

Pornography removes all of that. There is no romance truly in porn. The story of a movie might have some romance, but the man watching to get his stimulation needs to make no requirement. He does not have to romance a woman. He does not have to treat her with dignity. He’s just seeing a body. That’s all that matters.

Not only that, there are likely some in the porn industry who are there because of sex trafficking. Someone watching porn could unknowingly be supporting sex trafficking then. This is especially relevant for those in the atheistic crowd who want to decry slavery in the Bible so much.

There’s also the case that if you watch movies and TV, most of us know that any sex that takes place there is nothing like it is in real life. Porn will go way beyond that to even more unrealistic ideas. That’s why many women today can struggle with their lovers wanting more and more extreme behavior. I’m also convinced this is why many young men struggle with conditions like erectile dysfunction. They have got so used to fake women that a real woman can’t turn them on anymore.

Guys. If you are struggling with this habit, I really encourage you to go and get help immediately. You are not preparing yourself for a future sex life if you’re still a virgin. You’re doing great damage to your future sex life. If you are not planning to marry, you’re still lowering women everywhere. If you are married, find pleasure in your own wife. You don’t need to look elsewhere for sexual fulfillment.

In Christ,
Nick Peters