What Is It?

Do we think about what things are anymore? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you are a cat owner, you understand the curiosity of a cat. Many times when I open my closet door to get out clothes for the day, my cat will just happen to wander in and I wait as he explores a little bit before he comes out again. After all, it’s been a few days since he’s been in there and something might have changed. Cats are curious. They want to know.

Yesterday, I wrote about how people don’t talk about what marriage is. Today, I saw someone post on Facebook Seth Dillon of the Babylon Bee asking why some people hate jokes more than child porn? This about Balenciaga and their advertising activity lately whereas the Babylon Bee can get banned on Twitter for a joke. I also had someone respond to my blog on TheologyWeb about how words like marriage are pretty much meaningless in our society today.

There is a case to be made that marriage is our third most meaningless word in society today. The others are God and love. When normal people talk about these terms, they never define them. They just talk about them as if everyone knows them when really hardly anyone does. The terms become whatever the speaker thinks they are.

Our culture sadly abandoned metaphysics long ago. Because of that, we no longer think of what things are. Why should we? After all, Kant came along and said we can’t know the things in themselves, but only how they appear to us.

Now it could be said that science is the exception to this. Don’t we go out and discover reality? That’s the goal, but that’s also the goal of most every other field out there as well, just done differently. Every field has its own methods, but each is aimed at truth to some degree.

Yet nowadays, even that has been lowered. A lot of people look at how “Follow the science” worked in 2020. We also see science being used to control in the case of something such as climate change controversies. We see how science is selectively ignored when it comes to abortion as all of a sudden, it does get closer to metaphysics supposedly asking “Well what is a person really?”

If we are the ones who are ultimately at the center of reality, then words are what will matter the most to us. If we determine reality, it goes a step further. It is not just what the person said, but how we feel about what the person said. It doesn’t matter what the other person meant to say. It is how we see the words that matters and if I see your words as violence, then they are violence.

This is especially the case in the area of sexuality. We talk a lot about the topic, but we don’t think about it. We don’t ask what it is, how it came to be, and what we should use it for. This is the last thing our culture wants to do.

After all, if you define something and talk about a purpose of it, you have to talk about a right and a wrong way to use it, and that cannot be allowed. We might  say “Well, we don’t allow XYZ yet”, but it’s easy to respond that we are allowing activities today that we never would have dreamed of allowing years ago. Every step that has been taken by those on the left to push the envelope has led to it being pushed further and further. It’s easy to claim the slippery slope fallacy, but the truth is sometimes slopes are slippery and people do fall down them.

What is needed in our culture? A return to learning what things are and to watch the terms that we use. Defining terms is not just good for debate, but it is also good for society. We use so many words without thinking about what they mean. Kierkegaard once said something about how we care so much about the freedom of speech, but think so little about the freedom of thought that gives our speech meaning.

Until we learn what we’re talking about, maybe it would be best to just not say anything at all.

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

But They’re So Nice

Should you change your mind because your neighbor is nice? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My parents are part of the Methodist Church which just underwent a huge split over the issue of the definition of marriage. Naturally, my folks want to talk to me about what’s going on and my thoughts on the matter. One comment I have heard from them is that they have friends who know someone who’s same-sex attracted and they’ll say “But they’re so nice….”

I don’t have any reason to question that. There are several who are nice people. However, how does that become an argument to say “Therefore, I should vote to redefine marriage.”?

The issue when it comes to what the Methodist Church wants to do is “What is the nature of marriage?” Now if you think nature is fluid, meaning that a man and a woman is not the essence of marriage, meaning something essential to marriage, it’s up to you to define what is.  You can say marriage is fluid, but if there is nothing essential to marriage, as in marriage has no real characteristic of it, then marriage is essentially nothing.

I have written about this in several other places, so I don’t want to make this blog on the nature of marriage. I do want to discuss the question about people being nice. I really don’t understand why this is so persuasive, aside from the fact that people think with their emotions more than they do with their heads.

For one thing, if every same-sex attracted person was among the nicest people on the planet, that would say nothing about the nature of marriage itself. I regularly hear, and have experienced, that Mormons are usually incredibly kind people. If someone is willing to grant that, does that mean that they should rush down to the Mormon Church to convert?

Of course not, and even if they did, how many contradictions would you have in your mindset on the same issue? If you met a really nice Muslim after that, would you determine that Mormonism is false and Islam is true? If you encountered a nice atheist then, would you conclude that God doesn’t exist? If every atheist was practically a saint, that would say nothing about the arguments for or against theism.

Contrary, suppose Christians you met were jerks, and sadly, this could be true. Christians shouldn’t be, but if one encounters a Christian who is a jerk, that doesn’t say anything about whether Christianity is true or false. Christianity could have the best ethical system in the world and yet if people fail to live up to it, that says nothing about the system of ethics. It just says a lot about the followers.

We could say that people who vote to redefine marriage are implicitly saying then that everyone who holds to marriage as has always been understood is a jerk. Do they really want to say that? If you vote because person A of this persuasion is nice, does that mean the person opposed is mean?

When you look at the nature of marriage in the church situation, only one question needs to be asked. What is marriage? If you see it as fluid and changeable, then act accordingly. If you hold to a reality that says the man-woman unit is essential to marriage, then do the same.

Give a real reason. Even if you support the redefining of marriage, I hope this is something that can be agreed to. People should strive to be moral, but that doesn’t mean their position is true.

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

Silence In Divorce

Is anybody there? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I did a discussion with the Mentionables over the situation involving Tyler Vela. This involves an apologist having a deconversion of sorts. I really wanted to speak on this because something that Tyler and I also have in common is that we’ve both gone through divorce.

Something Tyler wrote on his Facebook about this was talking about the silence of God. Now in all of this, he was praying and memorizing Scripture and doing things like that all the more. Those are good things, but I don’t think that addresses really the so-called silence of God.

I saw so-called because a major error of our Christian culture today is the idea that God is always speaking to us on an individualistic basis. Usually, this is said to be done through our emotions. Don’t believe me? Just see how many times you hear in a church service talk about being felt led to do something. Now who is leading you in this idea? God. How? Through how you feel.

Does that sound like a recipe for chaos?

How do you know God is leading you somewhere? You feel Him leading you. We also take it further. How do you know the favor of God on your life? You feel it. How do you know God loves you? You have those feelings also.

If we applied this to any other area in our life, it would lead to chaos.

What is one reason we have a major increase in divorce? Because we base our marriages more on feeling in love than on love itself. If you had to divorce your spouse every time you didn’t feel love, you would divorce a lot. It’s not just there either. I’m sure a mother having to get up at 3 AM for a fussy baby to change a diaper and everything else and knowing she has to be up again in a few hours is not overflowing with love at the thought. Some of you might be, but I’m quite certain you’re the exception.

No relationship should be based on your emotions, not even your one with God.

This is not to deny there can be emotions in these relationships, but one should not make a diet out of them. One should enjoy the good ones and work through and understand the sad ones. Every life has its ups and downs. Not even our Lord could escape sadness on this Earth and we have intense pride if we think we are the exception still.

That still doesn’t address the problem about the silence. However, we have to start at the beginning and say it cannot be based on your emotions. Otherwise, if you feel the love of God, well God loves you. If you feel that God is distant and not there, well you have to deny that feeling. It becomes an exercise in question-begging. Bad emotions? Not good. Good emotions. Good.

Consider it like the test the Mormon missionaries give you. Do you feel the burning in the bosom? Good emotion. God. Do you not feel it? Then the problem is you.

If we seek that feeling more, then we can be in the case of not that we are seeking God, though we think we could be, and maybe to some degree we are, but we’re really seeking a feeling. The confirmation we have found God is that a feeling occurs or something similar. If God doesn’t give us that feeling, then He just doesn’t care about us.

Let’s be clear. Even though I don’t think God is obligated to speak to us or to give us feelings, that quiet is still painful. It is hard to feel like even God has rejected you.

In divorce, you are rejected in every way. The biggest analogy I can come up with to a guy feeling rejection in marriage is the way a wife can say “Not tonight, dear. I have a headache.” Divorce is a way of not just that rejection one time, but that and every other rejection for life permanently. In every way as a man, you are not the man. You are rejected.

You lose your best friend. You lose your love. You could lose your kids if you have those. You lose your relationships as they were. Sadly, too many times if your friends were other couples, it’s hard to have that now.

Loneliness is a major problem. When you go to bed at night, you sleep alone. When you go to a church service, it’s other couples that you see and people talk about their families and every instance of seeing that is a little stab to the heart reminding you that you’re alone.

The church can be one of the most painful places to go and the worst part is the church is often not very therapeutic. People want to cure your negative feelings instead of just listening to you about them and working through them with you. Everyone at church is expected to be happy and joyful. People often treat Christianity like a neverending adventure of joy.

We also put on our spiritual faces in church. You hear of people who pray for hours and get endless joy from reading their Bible as they learn something new every day. People talk about how God is speaking to them and answering all of their prayers so very specifically.

If you don’t have those experiences, well, you’re just not a very good Christian.

Also, add in that if you’re divorced, too often you are really looked down on. I am thankful I have not experienced this from churches for the most part, but I know I am an exception based on what I hear from others. Even if it was a sin of yours that ended your marriage, you are still in pain. There are many churches that will not let a divorced man in the pulpit. Never mind that a large portion of the New Testament was written by a guy who was a murderer.

Now you get the silence of God on top of that.

No wonder it hurts!

Still, turn back to Scripture. Is God speaking the norm? No. Abraham, the friend of God, had the heavens silent for well over a decade and he’s even an exceptional case in God speaking. Those times that God speaks are recorded not because they are normative, but because they are exceptional.

Look at the Israelites with Moses. They actually beg Moses to have God NOT speak to them, and when He spoke, it was not a feeling in their hearts, but a booming voice from the mountain. Moses was the one exception.

If people were really experiencing this regularly, they would not need the prophets. What about the New Testament? We could say the same. What did they need the epistles or apostles for if they had the Holy Spirit just telling them everything? We have taken something exceptional and made it normative because we’re just so special.

The idea of the silence of God is the result.

My idea of the love of God for me is not based on my feelings, but based on what He has said in Scripture. The cross and the resurrection tell me God loves me. How do I know I am one of His? Because I am trusting Him and seeking to live a holy life.

These truths are what kept me going in my divorce and still keep me going, even when temptation comes to give up. I’m still battling and I have been told that it could be the only real end of the battle this side of eternity could be remarriage. That’s why I’m in therapy over here as well to learn social skills and even the dreaded small talk. I really want to get remarried again and I know I have to work for that.

If you are struggling and experiencing so-called silence, it doesn’t mean God is not there. Now I do realize there are some Scripture passages that people use. Isn’t God near to the brokenhearted? Doesn’t God say if a boy asks for a fish he will get it? God willing, I plan to handle this next time.

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

 

To A Friend Struggling With Faith

What do you do when you want to throw it all away? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

People on Facebook have been talking about someone who has said they just can’t believe in Christianity anymore even after years of being in apologetics and producing media on this. Now a number of people are coming out with their own views on the matter, which I understand and I don’t condemn. Some are blaming Calvinism, which I don’t care for, or presuppositionalism, which I also don’t care for, but i think there is something else going on here.

Now with so many people entering into this discussion, why am I jumping in? Do I think I have something to contribute that others do not? Indeed, I do, and this is not because of anything arrogant, but it is because of similar life circumstances. I can contribute that I have been through divorce as this person has.

Divorce is betrayal and rejection through and through. It is a pain that stabs at me every day still. Imagine what it is to think someone loves you so much that they want to share every aspect of themselves, nay, their very lives with you, and then in the end they reject you. You, the totality of you, all that is you, has been cast aside. You have been declared no longer worth it.

Now we all know theoretically that our identities should not be determined by other people, but you are a fool if you think that this doesn’t hurt. This leads to pain. Intense pain. I have said before there were times I would be ready to go to bed at night and see a bottle of Benadryl and briefly think, “You could.” I never came close, but it was there. There were some times I did think maybe I should check myself into a hospital for a few days. Again, never did.

I can say on my end, that I have a hard time today trusting people. I can say my thinking gets caught up in difficulties from time to time. I plan to date other women, but I also worry about self-control now seeing as I have been there before and as a divorced friend told me, “It’s easy to move on auto-pilot.” This is all real.  I also realize some people will look at me with a scarlet letter.

I fully understand if at those times it feels like God has abandoned you.

My friend wrote also about the Christian subculture and this is something I have the biggest problem with. People treat prayer like they can pray for an hour and it just comes so easily. People treat Scripture as a magic book and it’s such a joy to read every day and you learn something new. People talk about how you are supposed to feel as a Christian and that you are supposed to hear from God regularly and speak as if you have some secret hotline to God.

It’s individualism, and it’s a cancer in the church.

When people talk like this and suffering comes, they don’t know what to do then. After all, if your Christianity has been based on your emotions before, what happens when those emotions turn negative? When you don’t have them, what do you want? Do you want the emotions, or do you want what the emotions signify?

When I was married, there were times I had a deep feeling of love for my wife. There were also times that I did not. However, I always had a deep love for her. Today, I still want the best for her. The feeling was nice when it was there, but it wasn’t part of my diet to be expected.

What happens though if I focus more on the pointer instead of the reality the pointer pointed to? I am pursuing a feeling. It is like an addiction. If I have that feeling, then I love her. If I don’t, then I don’t. That leads to chaos. Would I want my love for my ex-wife to be based on a feeling?

The same can happen when we look at it in reverse. How do I know God loves me? If I base it on a feeling, what happens when that feeling goes away? Does God no longer love me? In the end, am I pursuing a feeling as a way of certainty?

I understand when my friend spoke about how if his son wanted comfort and to know that his Dad loved him, he would give it in a moment. I get that. It makes sense to us. It is easy to look at Matthew 7 and see about a son asking for bread or a fish. Doesn’t that apply here?

No. In Matthew 6, Jesus had been talking about food and clothing. The same is still going on in Matthew 7. Jesus is talking about provision for daily staples. This is not to say that God cannot give other things and that He doesn’t, but those are not promised.

So what if God did do what we ask and provided for us an experience of His love every time? Could we not get caught up in ourselves more? Could we not get caught up in experiences? What happens when that experience fades into the past? Do you need another hit.

The thing is, if I want to know if God loves me, and I understand that struggle, I need to trust what He has already said. It is written large in Scripture. How do I know I am one of His? Because I am trusting Him. I am not perfect, but I am striving.

What about pain? Pain can be the crucible that gets us more like Jesus. I can say that every pain I went through was horrible, when I was going through it. Years later, I look back and I am thankful I went through it. I suspect some time in the future, I will say “That divorce was horrible when I went through it, but I am a better and more holy man for it.” Hopefully, that will be when I am married to someone else. Maybe I will even have some of my own children with her.

I do want to say though that I get the silence of God. The problem is not really God, but it is a Christian subculture that is rooted in experience. Let’s also point to another sad reality about divorced people. We are quickly often isolated.

You used to do things with other people as a couple. It wasn’t you got together with your friends so much as you and your spouse got together with other couples. Those couples can like to hang out with you then, but, and I’m not saying everyone did this, when you become single, those couples can go away. Christians can also look at you in church as a lesser Christian.

Not only that, you have to explain your divorce so often to everyone. Divorce is treated like it’s the unpardonable sin and every time you have to repeat it, you live it all over again. The church is too often ready with condemnation instead of consolation. We are to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep and when you are going through divorce or suffering with it, you are mourning and weeping. I am thankful some people did just that. I am thankful that I found DivorceCare. I am thankful I had people who had been divorced who walked with me through it and I hope someday I can do the same for someone else walking through divorce.

To my friend, I hope I got a lot of what is going on correct, not because I want to be right, although I do, but because I want you to understand that I can relate. I also see you are asking the question about Jesus and who He is and I think that is a great place to go. It’s really hard to say anything negative about Jesus and I think really looking at who He is is the way to go.

I also encourage you to not believe anything just to believe it. I have not done that with my Christianity. For every position I have a strong stance on, I have a litany of reasons for why I embrace it. There are some issues I don’t argue and I just don’t care about. (Calvinism vs. Arminianism being one of them.) Don’t believe anything just to be consistent or to fit in with the people or look good in popular culture.

Be real. If things suck, say they suck. If you are angry with God, be angry. No sense hiding it. If you want to cry, then cry. Mourn. I had a friend come by on my next to last day in Georgia who was in the area when I found out I had to clear out because of the divorce and he saw me bawling my eyes out and never thought less of me for it.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out and talk if you need it, and I encourage this to everyone else. Before trying to win someone back to Christianity, just be a friend. Listen. Care. Besides, I suspect if you do this right, the Christianity will fall back into place anyway.

I understand the crickets, but I am also thankful for them. They have caused me often to go back to what is more foundational and not transitory. They have pointed me to what I really believe and what it is rooted in and not being based on feelings means I have a firmer foundation I can rely on when things get hard, and they do.

Here for you, if you need me.

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

Book Plunge: Spiritual Friendship

What do I think of Aelred of Rievalux’s book on friendship? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I know someone here who has also gone through divorce and he knowing my struggle with it let me borrow this book from him and recommended that I read it. I don’t remember entirely if Aelred ever mentions marriage in it or not specifically, but even if he does, it is not the focus. This is about friendship and is men discussing with themselves what friendship is. Aelred lived in the 12th century, one before my favorite of Aquinas, but his words still speak deeply to us today.

The book can easily be seen as a guide for relationships and what kind of relationships you can enter in to, what kind you should seek out, and how they end. It is also about how you are to be a friend to someone and ways to tell if someone is being a true friend to you. One such example of the latter is normally if you are friends with a poor person, it is genuine. I have friends who have money and some have told me to reach out to them if I am in a bind, but I am hesitant to do so. I love the gifts and generosity when they come, but I don’t want to risk being one of those people who is seeking that out.

Aelred argues that we should love everyone, but we should not seek to be friends with everyone and not everyone is suitable for a friendship. (p. 89) After all, a friend is someone you can trust and bare your heart to. You shouldn’t do that with everyone. This is one reason to not speak out everything on social media.

On the next page, he says that nothing is more detestable than one who harms a friendship and nothing tortures the spirit more than abandonment or attack by a friend. How true! If a random jerk I don’t know mistreats me, that hurts, but if someone is a friend and they do that, that really stings. It happens from time to time and I am sure I have done it sometimes to my friends. I do try to mend the relationships where I can.

He also calls us to a higher standard. If a friend doesn’t love you, love him still. If he withdraws his friendship, do not withdraw yours. (98) It is easy to love someone when they love you and be kind when they are kind to you. It is not so much when they do not love you and are unkind to you.

All of these come from the third book as this book is divided into three books. I found this one to be the most beneficial as did the person who let me borrow it as he has multiple lines underlined and many notes written on the side. Aelred writes with practicality as I don’t know a single person who doesn’t value friendship. It is strange that we value friendship so much, but really, there does not seem to be much being written on friendship from a scholarly perspective.

When I was allowed to borrow this, it was also with the hope that as I enter into other relationships here, dating and friendships, I would be mindful of who I would let into my world. We all should be. Perhaps we could refer to Aelred as the Boundaries writer of the 12th century.

Aside from the language that is used often, I recommend you get this book. Much of it could be read as if it was written today. I hope someday to get my own copy.

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

What Really Hurts Children

What is the real danger to children? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, I wrote about the hysteria that comes whenever any new piece of technology comes out. It’s always argued that this will lead to the children being corrupted. The reality comes and goes and there’s no major change. Most of us look at what happened with comic books in the past as silly today. Odds are years from now today’s fear will seem silly.

But yet, no one can deny that children are being hurt. Yes. We do have problems with children committing violence and we do have problems with sexual promiscuity in children. Children often do drugs and children struggle with suicide, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide.

It’s really easy to blame this on the surrounding culture. It’s comic books! It’s TV! It’s movies! It’s music! It’s smartphones! It’s video games! It’s the internet! I am not denying that some of these can play a part, but there is something far more influential that comes beforehand that if this gets wrong, the others are far more likely to be hazardous to children. If this gets right, they are far less likely to be hazardous.

What children most need right is a stable family.

By this also, I mean that children living with a mother and a father both, and preferably their own biological parents. I realize that sometimes this can’t happen. I have a wonderful friend who’s a widower raising children on her own which is wonderful. A cause like being widowed suddenly due to a tragedy often cannot be helped.

Technically on my end, my sister is my step-sister as we have the same mother, but my mother left an abusive marriage and remarried my father and I come from that one, but my Dad has never treated my sister like any less of his own flesh and blood. I never got preferential treatment growing up that way. You could ask my sister and she would say the same thing.

Today, divorce is often prevalent because if the parents aren’t happy, well surely the children aren’t. Often, with a bad divorce, it doesn’t change the happiness of the children. Sometimes what they want most is their parents to work matters out and it can set the path for them to do the same.

If anyone thinks that’s what happened on my end, no. You can ask most anyone and I fought tooth and nail for my marriage and this was even when wise people told me I should seek divorce. I always said no. If it ended, it would be on her end, but I also told her when she was telling me she was going to divorce that I didn’t want her to do that, but if she sent me papers I would sign them. I wasn’t going to hold her hostage or anything.

Children can wrestle with abandonment over divorce and issues of trust. One reason I am sure of this personally besides my own reading on the topic is I am 42 and divorced and I still wrestle with this as a result of my divorce. It’s far harder when you’re a child who doesn’t have a fully developed cognitive faculty to know how to handle this or a whole worldview behind it. I remember the story of a man in his senior years who at the age of five had his Dad kill himself and he still wondered why his Dad didn’t want him.

Don’t think that just having the right parents is all that matters either. No. Invest in your children. If your children are engaging in media you think is harmful, talk to them about it. Find out why they like it. What are they really gaining out of it?

Don’t think also that if you’re in ministry, you can bypass this. You can’t. Some people can be so committed to ministry that they fail to be committed to their own families. I hate saying it, but Billy Graham was even like this. There’s an account of how he left his wife behind sick once because he had to preach somewhere. If children think your ministry matters more to you than they do, they are more prone to resent your ministry and the God that ministry is about.

Children need to be invested in. We can often think that if we take them to church every Sunday, which we should, then we’re okay, but it needs to be more. Christianity needs to be lived in the home. It needs to be shown. Christians need to do actions that will speak love to their children.

If this is actively going on, you have far less to be concerned about with the media around them. I have been in the world of video games since I was in kindergarten, and yet I have never had a violent streak or anything like that. I was a virgin until I married and will be one, God willing, until I marry again. I never use profanity and I have never had a drug problem. I have struggled with anxiety and depression, but overall, my upbringing has been very helpful for me.

Also, if you are someone alone raising a child, get them involved with someone who can be a role model of their own sex. If you are a man raising daughters, find a woman who is a role model for them and vice-versa for a woman raising sons. Let them know how they are to be.

Your children are yours and they are to be a great investment. You will be the greatest influence on their life. Use it well.

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

 

Words To The One Struggling With Porn

Is some of our advice just trite? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I saw him on a site I’m on making a post. He was scared he would be alone forever and sometimes gave in to the lust of the eyes. Is there any Scripture that can help when the temptation comes up?

The first thing I want to say here will sound shocking to some Christians, but that’s just that having a bunch of Bible verses will not work.  Am I denying power in Scripture? No, but I am saying that Scripture comes in as part of a worldview and needs to be understood from that worldview. This is why if you’re in a debate, just throwing out a Scripture won’t settle an issue the huge majority of the time because every Scripture is to be interpreted and will be in a context.

The view taken of Scripture that you just need verses is actually treating Scripture like it’s a magic book. If you just state the Scripture in temptation, it will dispel the temptation. If you use Scripture, you need to study the Scripture in-depth and have a whole theology worked out already. You need a worldview on how you see sex and marriage if you want to overcome pornography.

Second was someone who said that if you have Jesus, you’re never alone. I get what someone is saying when they say this and it’s meant to be encouraging, but it just doesn’t work. Even in the garden it was said it was not good for man to be alone, and this is when it was just Him and God. God made us for companionship. Even Jesus as He walked this Earth had friends with Him.

If you want to be married and love someone, then saying you have Jesus will not meet that desire. Of course, none of this is meant to down Jesus, but this is something we wouldn’t say in most any other circumstance. Just consider how it sounds in the following.

“Yes. I know you’ve been trying to have a child for a long time and it isn’t happening, but you do have Jesus.”

“Yes. I know that you don’t have money coming in and you have bills that you can’t pay, but you have Jesus.”

“Yes. I know that you’re hungry and you have nothing to eat, but you have Jesus.”

None of these meet the desires of the people involved. The intent I have no doubt is good to say this, but the receiving of it is quite painful to some people. Not only are the desires of their heart being pushed aside, but it can also tempt them to think that they’re ungrateful for what they do have.

So to get to some more practical suggestions, I encouraged this man to get some good software like Covenant Eyes or XXXChurch that can help block out pornography sites. Get some good friends that can hold him accountable and will do so. Get involved in a group like Celebrate Recovery. Get counseling.

I also pointed out that really, pornography does not make you a man, but if anything it makes you less than a man. After all, if you want to see a nude female body, before, you would need to go out and woo a woman and impress her. Even if it wasn’t all the way to marriage, it required some work and sacrifice and risk on your part. Today? Nah. Just make a few clicks on a computer or phone. You can get to see a woman, physically respond, and then feel like a man without any work required.

Unfortunately, the path of least resistance becomes the one we naturally take. Why do a risky thing when you can do a safe one? Another sad part also is that many guys who have done this wind up struggling with ED.

So what do you do? Get a few dating apps on your devices and work on meeting women. Go out to social events. I’m making it a point to go to them more often to get to meet people. That requires that I step out of my comfort zone, but it is worth it. Last night I went to a public event and I stayed long enough for the social gathering which involved sitting at tables having a meal, which for me on the spectrum is extremely unsettling for me, and yet I did it. I left after that because I needed to get a shower and fix dinner, but I did it.

Then, I told him to pray. We could pray for one another. Do I struggle with porn? By the grace of God, no, but I have my own struggles and I know that plenty of people do struggle with porn. They need to be shown love and at the same time guided to repentance.

Ultimately, as I said, one needs a worldview of sex and marriage. Then Scripture will be much more effective. It will fit into a whole worldview that you have already.

May God be with you if you struggle with porn and may you find repentance and deliverance.

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

Book Plunge For Fun: Mollie McQueen Is Not Getting Divorced

What do I think of Lacey London’s book published by SSO Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m looking through my emails with Kindle books on sale and I see this one with the book Mollie McQueen Is Not Getting Divorced and read the description about a lady who after another sexless night with her husband decides she’s 30 and wants to move on with her life so she’ll get a divorce and about how a journey starts from there. The price is free, so you can’t beat that, but I am a student at a seminary with books to read otherwise, even though I still do get in fun reading. Will I or won’t I?

Eventually, I decide I will and start to read a chapter a day. As I get into the book, I sometimes am tempted to break that rule. I want to go through more to find out what is going to happen in the story. I had bought the book originally to also see what a more secular perspective might have to say. There is nothing explicitly Christian in the book, but at the same time nothing explicitly non-Christian really, and the book is not filled with profanity and incessant dirty talk. Descriptions are rather tame.

Not only that, but I did wonder if there could be some secret Christianity in there due to one of the main good characters in the book who is a voice of wisdom being named Evangelina. That’s certainly not a common name to have. Something that makes me hesitant to say that is that the book is from a British author and I know that Christianity is a minority position there. Still, there are some devout Christians over there. (N.T. Wright anyone?)

Anyway, I don’t want to give spoilers since this is really a great book to read and part of a series. (Yes. I’ve already got the next one in the series.) However, as Mollie goes through her journey, she does start to learn a lot about marriage and much of the marriage advice in the book is incredibly solid.  This is a book that admits that marriage is hard and also that marriage is worth it. It also does what it can to dispel the idea that marriage can be absolutely perfect as all marriages have flaws.

What is most helpful is as Mollie goes through her journey, she had originally started complaining about her husband Max and all the things that he needed to change. As she goes through her life and her path to divorce, she comes to realize that she’s quite the guilty party as well. She starts actually learning to see things from Max’s perspective and how to better communicate with him.

I wound up actually telling my therapist that I’m reading this book and sent a link to him as he is helping me work through and process my own divorce. It’s the kind of book that if I was doing marriage counseling or even pre-marital counseling for a couple, I could have them read this book and see what they think about it. There’s good advice and Mollie is a very engaging character and not only that, it’s just fun.

If you want to get the book, you can do so here. On Kindle, it looks like at this moment, the first one is still free.

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

 

Book Plunge: Our Socially Awkward Marriage

What do I think of Tom and Linda Peters’s book published by Brookside Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I saw this book in an email I got last night for discount books on Kindle. Seeing as it was about marriage and about Aspergers, I bought it immediately. Being on the spectrum myself, I was curious how much I could relate to.

The book is a quick read and a humorous read. Every section could be read at in the most, five minutes. You could go through and just read one section a day, but seeing as I’m writing a review of it, you know I didn’t do that.

A number of entries in here are pretty amusing. One that really sticks with me is with Linda getting frustrated with their teenage son leaving behind dirty dishes and as she prepares to go out somewhere says “Can you show him how the dishwasher works?” When she comes back, Tom and the son are watching TV and the dirty dishes are still there.

She wants to know why Tom didn’t do what she asked and he says he did. He took the boy over and explained all about how the dishwasher works. Linda is indeed a patient and understanding wife. She knew she couldn’t be mad. Tom wasn’t trying to be a jerk or find a loophole. He just heard her say “Explain how it works. As far as he was concerned, he did what he was told.

Stories like this are humorous and I remember growing up with a lot of literalness in my hearing what people said, though I have come to better understand people. Still, I sometimes do something like this just for fun. When I moved into my seminary apartment, a kind husband and wife helped me do so. The next day they had arranged to have a loveseat delivered and when it came, the wife said “Send me a picture of your apartment!”

I knew darn well what she meant, but well, the picture I sent her is a picture of my apartment, but not what she had in mind.

However, in the book in the midst of a lot of the silliness, there is some understanding. For example, sometimes tensions can rise up when one of them is hungry and the solution is to just get a snack and then come back and discuss the problem. Tom is a low-key guy with his emotions, but sometimes they do get out of hand and he needs to vent. He also hates being in a large crowd of people.

Yet there is also the lesson of learning to love someone quirks and all. After all, even if you are not on the spectrum as I am, you have your quirks. There are things you do that don’t make sense, and they might not even make sense to you. Autism can bring its own share of quirks too, but those of us on the spectrum want to be loved just like anyone else does.

If I would change anything here, I would like to see more on what their marriage is like overall. What is it like on a date night? How did Tom behave on the first date? What was it like for Linda to learn about her husband? These are questions I wanted to know about. Maybe they’ll be covered in a future book.

But for now, this is a good quick read if you’re interested in this area and I hope you will get a few good laughs out of it and some lessons about acceptance of one another too.

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

Dating: The Second Quest

How do you do this the second time around? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I was married, one thing I was thankful for was I would never have to worry about dating again. I don’t mean dating my wife, I would always do that. I meant going out and asking girls out and having to see if a girl was the right one for me or not. Nope. Done with that.

Now as I write this, I think about the original Legend of Zelda. When the game was over, you were allowed to go on a second more difficult quest. At this point, I think I am on that more difficult quest.

I spent a decade or so with my ex and didn’t have money or a chance to build up money. Now I have built up a good amount of money, but still not the amount I would like to have built up. It’s a leap of faith of sorts to go to seminary, one reason I keep sharing my Patreon hoping to get support, and now that I’m here, one of my goals is to find a wife again. That also requires being able to provide.

Generally, I rule out someone who has kids then. It’s not because I’m opposed to them. I really want them. It’s because right now I know I can’t provide for kids. That sadly rules out a lot of people around my age.

I also do want to get someone young enough that if we want to, we can have children, and I assume we will want to as I don’t want to marry someone who doesn’t want to have kids. I am only marrying a Christian, naturally, and I want to stay close to my political side in a spouse as well. However, there is the problem with me being divorced too.

Generally, that can be seen as a scarlet letter. Add in for me also that I try to be honest. I know I’m not the most handsome guy in the world, but I’m not the ugliest either. Still, a girl has to accept that and accept my oddities with being on the spectrum. How do I explain my unique diet to someone else? If I dated a fellow Aspie, that could be easier, but that’s even harder to find.

Not only that, but when I send out a like on a dating site or app and don’t get anything back or start talking and get ghosted, it’s like the rejection of divorce again. Rejection is really hard and as an Aspie, it’s hard for me to make the first move, as much as I think I am the one who has to. I do step out of my comfort zone, but it is painful.

I also wonder about the whole process. What will it be like? What will it be like to kiss another girl? What will it be like to tell another girl I love her someday? It’s said the ghost of your ex always haunts your future relationships. I wonder how it will.

I also have set up firm boundaries. A friend brought me a Legend of Zelda doormat that I shared on Amazon saying I wanted. He asked me what a girl would think if she came over to my apartment and saw it. I said she’s not coming over. I’m not coming to hers either, at least if she’s home alone. I know my temptations. I also don’t ride in a car with a woman I’m not dating or not related to.

Add in also I’m very socially unaware. I could have girl flirting at me full throttle and I might not even notice it. It’s one reason I’ve hoped that I could gather wingmen here who would be able to clue me in on if a girl is interested in me or not.

I have heard though that there is such a thing as Aspie speed dating around here. It’s not my favorite format, but it beats nothing. It would be great to find a conservative Christian on the spectrum.

I look forward to the results one day, but for now, I hate the process. Perhaps once I find a good girl to date and start doing that, it will be a lot easier, but getting there is something I don’t care for. Again, I could easily turn to anger, but I am working hard to not do that. Resentment doesn’t hurt my ex and only hurts me. When I tell you all I pray for her, I mean it.

And keep praying for me in this. Pray that I can get enough work and/or Patreon donors to make a good living here and that love will come my way.

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

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