Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Best of..." This Blog

I find new blogs all the time that I'll visit and bookmark. Some of them have been around a while and my challenge is finding time to fish around their archives for "good stuff". Well, for newbies to this blog I thought I'd make a short list of posts that I think reflect best the kind of stuff you're going to find here. I'm an Orthodox convert, but this isn't a "convert blog" where everything I post is about "my journey". It is about my life and what I think about stuff from sex education to Pop Tarts, to modern marriage. So for those who don't know me yet, this is me.

This is me.

Growing Old Together

I Am My Dad

First Kiss

My Father in Law's Disease

Does God Have a Wonderful Plan for Your Life?

Childhood Betrayal
and the PODCAST version

Daddies and Daughters

Eavesdropping on a Private Conversation

Homeless, Hungry, God Bless
and the PODCAST version

Transitions: Construction to Office Cubicle

The Moo the Turtle's BLOG

The Tree of Life (Photograph)

"Healthy Pop Tart" Heresy

On Capital Punishment
The extended 8 PODCAST series begins at Part One

Love and Death

On Turtle Relationships

God Damned Circle of Life
and the PODCAST version


Walter and Gil Dying

Abandoned By God (PODCAST)


On Asceticism

Pitiful Appeal Chain Letter

What I do for a Living

Responsible Dog Ownership

Orthodoxy and Homosexuality

Marital Intimacy in the New Millenium

Easy Personality Test
and the PODCAST version

Virginia Tech Mass Murderer

Blog Envy

When the Wife Comes Home from Vacation

How to Close a Door
and the PODCAST version

Building St. John Mission's Church Building

Orthograph Archive

Well, that's about it. Welcome to my life. Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Kate Walsh on Sex Education


From Newsbusters

On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased her upcoming interview with "Gray’s Anatomy" actress Kate Walsh on sex education: "She is one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood today due to her roles on "Gray's Anatomy" and "Private Practice," but she's also passionate about sex education for American teens, and she took her campaign to Capitol Hill. We're going to ask her why this issue is so important." ... Walsh, who is a board member for Planned Parenthood, said during the interview:

"…there just needs to be a comprehensive sex education program, and we can't be relying on, you know, private foundations, or parents, or, you know, teens' peers, to be educating each other. We really do need government help on this. It's, you know, it's a shame to me that we spend money educating our kids on, you know, history, math, science, and English literature, and we -- we can't educate them sexually. And, you know, and it's proof in these -- in these statistics (20% of girls ages 14-19 have STDs). It's just shameful to me that in our country that these young women are being infected because they honestly just don't have the information. Abstinence is one -- abstinence is one aspect of sex education, but it is not the complete aspect. And to expect, I think, everybody to remain abstinent is just -- it's like asking them not to grow. It's like we don't ask people to not try out for sports. We don't ask people to stop learning. It's just a natural human process, and we need to be educating people. If abstinence-only did work, we wouldn't be seeing these kind of statistics. We wouldn't be seeing these young women suffering like this."

OK… I’ve never seen Gray’s Anatomy. I’ve never seen Private Practice. I wouldn’t know Kate Walsh from J-Lo if she stood naked in front of me. I have no clue who this person is or what makes her, you know, HOT…at least for today.

It seems like we have a strange idea of what qualifies a person to, you know, speak authoritatively on an issue. The “hotter” you are, apparently the more respect you command. If you are, you know, the star of TWO hit shows, maybe that means you think with BOTH sides of your brain. In fairness, I will grant that the fact that she does work in television it means she can read, and perhaps has read some stuff about this topic.

Fine. Enough ad hominem cheap shots. The real concern is in the assumptions that don’t even lay beneath the surface of what she is espousing here. Let me just take her comments in order of appearance:

“…and we can't be relying on, you know, private foundations, or parents, or, you know, teens' peers, to be educating each other. We really do need government help on this.”

The government educating our children about sex? What can the government say about sex to ANYONE, much less a teenager? Even if it WANTED to, it cannot say anything based on morality or religion. It cannot offer a theological explanation of the sacredness of the body, the sanctity of sexuality, the holiness and beauty of virginity, the spiritual/psychological damage of premarital/extramarital sex, the objectivity of the human being in the image of God and all that means. All the government can say with its own self imposed post modern restrictions is, “Hey kids, these are the polite names of your parts. This is how they fit together if you are male and female. This is where they go if you're homosexual. You decide what’s best for yourself, but here’s some information about disease and here’s some free condoms. Be careful out there. But if you’re not, we have a government program that will pay you for not listening to us.” So now kids have “information” from the government.

Information. Information is the savior of the western world. If anyone does anything stupid it is generally because of “lack of information”. The American mantra is, if we just had more education, more information, more booklets, more videos, more commercials, more warning labels people would stop doing stupid things. “Education” is the key to Utopia. In Kate’s Hollywood world, kids armed with information will stop doing self destructive things. And then as “educated” adults they will continue to act responsibly. Right. That is why we have so many single mothers with multiple kids by various fathers, men who impregnate anything that offers the chance for an orgasm, people who hand out STDs to virtual strangers like Halloween candy. They may not have a government DVD, but its not like they have no clue where those kids come from, why those women keep getting pregnant and wanting child support, and where all those warts and blisters on their genitals came from. What information the government can supply can only inform and warn. It cannot and does not form a person to care about self worth, self preservation, self control for the sake of future joy, concern for the soul of another and the meaning of love as opposed to situational passion.

Kate goes on to say, “…abstinence is one aspect of sex education, but it is not the complete aspect. And to expect, I think, everybody to remain abstinent is just -- it's like asking them not to grow. ”

I agree, that abstinence is just one aspect of sex education. However, the “other aspects” that she brings out here need to be unpacked. To ask someone to remain abstinent is asking them to “not grow”? Kate…tell me, grow into WHAT? What is it that a human being can grow into that REQUIRES premarital sex as a teenager (or even as an adult)? What aspect of the heart, soul and psyche of the human being is stunted and weakened for not having sex as a teenager? What bit of self knowledge, what revelation will come that will enlighten and illumine a teenager who “makes love” with someone when they have one year of experience (more or less) knowing what “love” is? What emotional and spiritual maturity comes with knowing how to give someone a blow job? What growth takes place when a girl finds out she’s a sperm depository for guys who say anything to get in their pants even if it takes them months? What great epiphany comes when a teenager discovers that sex won’t keep a boyfriend or girlfriend? What maturity comes with having to explain to your current boyfriend about the guys before? What does a boy grow into who has “governmentally informed” sex with “informed” girlfriends? Have you ever visited a dog park? Been around a pig pen? Ask any man who was 16 what his imagination was about. To be a slave to hormones, feelings, passions, or just plain fun is “growth”? To hook up with anyone who will provide an orgasm is “growth”? Or even to give in to the biological urge based on “loving feelings”, it is de-evolution to the level of dogs, not growth as a human being gifted with reason, rationality, and a heart and soul connected mysteriously to the act of sex. We do not “grow” from having sex. We grow up then have sex as grown ups who know who we are, what people are, what relationships need, and where our sexuality fits in the big picture of what it means to be a human being and not a dog in heat.

Kate goes on to say, “…. It's like we don't ask people to not try out for sports….. It's just a natural human process, and we need to be educating people.” Oh, Kate. So, sex is like professional sports, only natural. It’s just a game people play, scream a little, bump around and sweat a little, score some points, then go home. In the end its just touch football with an orgasm instead of a touchdown. Its all about how “good” you were in bed, or under the dining room table or whatever. You sound like the Boston Medical Group appeal to men’s fragile sexual egos: “Get examined today, perform tonight!” So how many men have you tried out? What is your criteria for a “first string” sex partner? Would you settle from someone coming off the bench if you’re REALLY horny? How many guys think of you as their starting quarterback? Do you know how many think you are second string? How much education do you need to learn to do like a superstar what is “natural”? Dogs don’t need education to do what is natural, except when they are trying to slam dunk on your leg, but then all you have to do is kick them. Don’t you, somewhere in the depth of your soul, find this the slightest bit DE-humanizing? You are a human being reduced to a performer of sex acts, and how well your human pretzel performance matches up with his internet porn queen fantasies determines how “deep” your relationship is going to get. You try out, and if your partner is as vapid, inhuman and soulless as you are, depending on how skillfully you drive his hot rod, you may or may not get invited to sit on the “pole position” at the next race. Does it ever occur to you that you are being used for a cheap thrill (or even an expensive one…since you are really “hot”, I’m sure you’re not cheap anymore). Do you ever feel hollow using someone else for a good performance. Do you ever feel heartless when you discard a human being because your orgasm wasn’t a Cosmo screamer? Or did it occur to you that maybe he really didn’t care about yours because he got his anyway.

Kate finishes, “We wouldn't be seeing these young women suffering like this (referring to having an STD).” Given the choice, I think I’d rather suffer with an STD than suffer the ultimate loneliness and dehumanization of the mechanistic soullessness of Kate’s philosophy of sex. I’d rather sleep with one woman for my entire life than try out for the team with a dozen like her. I’d rather spend a lifetime learning to have decent sex with someone I know loves me and will care about me when our bodies fail and our bed is for sleeping, than try to please someone who tomorrow will spread her legs for someone who looks just a little hotter than me. In the nights she spends alone and she lays in bed staring at the ceiling (or even when she’s staring at the ceiling with some new rookie on top of her who isn’t making the team), I wonder what really goes on in the dark empty corners of her heart? STD’s can be cured and you can still become a human being. I don’t know how you can cure not having a human soul.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Washing Hands

Sunday I was ordained to the sub-diaconate of the Orthodox Church by Bp. Benjamin. It wasn't an aspiration, but I was called to serve so I obeyed the call. The first thing a subdeacon does after the ordination is hold the pitcher of water, bowl and cloth to wash the Bishop's hands before he enters the altar to begin serving the Divine Liturgy. Then it is traditional for the newly ordained to stand before the icon of Christ at the iconostasis holding the pitcher, bowl and draped with the cloth until called to wash the Bishop's hands a second time at the beginning of the Cherubic Hymn before he begins to offer the Gifts on the altar (for the uninitiated, about 45 minutes). It is then that the new sub-deacon enters the altar to finish serving with the rest of the clergy and altar servers.

To be called a "sub" deacon is fitting. It is not a grandiose title. It is not "clerical". It is actually somewhat demeaning... a sub-servant. It is one who washes things, puts things away on the altar, arranges the table of preparation, lights the candles, pours water and carries away the remnants. In short, a clerical bus-boy, the low man on the totem pole in food service. And yet, when I stand in front of the icon of Christ with the pitcher, bowl and draped in the towel I see the Creator of my hands, my feet and see the one who on His last day of earthly life, took up a pitcher of water, draped a towel around Himself and knelt and washed the filthy feet of those who would shortly run from Him on those same feet He had cleansed in humility and love. And He told Peter, "A servant is not above his Master... if I do not wash your feet, you have no part of Me. "

Sub-deacon. It is truly the title of God, the washer of my feet that have run to sin, the One whose blood cleanses my hands that have reached out to iniquity. My feet will now walk within the Altar, my hands will touch the holy things of God. To be deemed worthy to be the lowest servant in the Holy of Holies in order that the people of God may receive Christ's flesh and blood is to be called to imitate Christ. May I be found faithful in the small things.