Don’t Shut Your Eyes When I Turn On The Lights

J asks a question:

Why do so many Christian bloggers use coarse sexual language in their writing? It doesn’t seem necessary. I don’t read SSM any more because I got sick of what amounted to lewdness. Couldn’t the immorality of the song be highlighted in a more dignified way?

I can only speak for myself, but here’s why I write the way I write. Most Christians have shut their eyes and closed their ears. So, I bring the heat, that you might feel it. What prompted this question from J was this paragraph from me:

I do have some questions, though: What are we hoping happens in the good old-fashioned version [of Baby It’s Cold Outside]? Are we satisfied with a paltry dose of disobedience towards her father? It seems maybe some payoff is in order: They definitely need to neck, and I don’t think a bit of slap-n-tickle would go amiss in this cozy situation. It’s not as if they have to have actual sex–maybe we hope she just gives him a blowjob, and then returns to press her brother’s cheek, kiss her father with those lips, and tell him everything is fine. Sounds charming, doesn’t it!

Go, J, to the comments of the post I linked, and judge for yourself which is good: Me pointing out that disobedience and improper conduct leads to more improper conduct of the kind we don’t want to imagine our daughters being engaged, or celebrating the “right” kind of disobedience to God at that time of year when Christians celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior?

Here’s what doesn’t work: Boring moralization; neither in confrontation of sin, nor in wringing our hands about how we approach the truth. You seem to object more to my use of the word “blowjob” than you do about that fact that for the last fifty years we’ve celebrated every Christmas by singing a song that encourages and celebrates immodesty, disobedience, and fornication. We better start checking our priorities.

The word blowjob is a euphemism for oral sex; it’s what we say when we are trying to talk around the concept of oral sex. The Bible–God’s word– is full of euphemisms about sex, and it’s explicit, too. I think I posted this the other day, but I’m going to post it again so that we all understand–really understand–that God is not shy about His invention of sex; He does not demure from uncovering our nakedness and sin so that we will repent:

19 Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt. 20 For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses. 21 Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the Egyptians for the paps of thy youth.

That highfalutin English would have read like this to the ancient Israelites:

She started sleeping around again, after thinking about the fun times she had fucking hot guys in the old days. What she loved about them was they were hung like donkeys, and came like horses; so much did she love those things that she did whatever those men wanted for a chance to play with those cocks. That’s how she remembers those happy times of sleeping around, when those guys were pinching her nipples so hard that they bruised her tits.

This is what God sees, and this is how He told us. Would you like to pass judgment on God for speaking to mankind as mankind will hear; for making the putrid state of our affections known to us so that we might repent?

Is what I write fit for church? Probably not; nor do I tell my young children to crack open their Bibles to Ezekiel 23 and start reading. What I write here, I write for men so that they are not caught unprepared. I’m saying the things that we have heard and known, and uttering dark sayings from of old. These are the things our fathers did not say because they were too stupid, weak, and scared; because they worshiped the things of men rather than God.

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54 thoughts on “Don’t Shut Your Eyes When I Turn On The Lights

  1. Hey, I don’t use coarse language! I always edit out the vowels, thereby sanitizing words like f-ck, c*ck, and bl*wj*b. See Cane, it’s all in the vowels. 🙂

  2. But on a serious note, the vast majority of crude content in my posts is me quoting other people and me then pointing out the absurdity of their message.

    Personally, I wouldn’t presume as a woman to go onto a man’s site and then starting criticizing the men there for their language. This is that attitude that women tend to get; first they demand to be present in spaces that are designed for men and then once they are allowed in, they demand that things be changed to better suit their feminine sensibility.

  3. “Why do so many Christian bloggers use coarse sexual language in their writing?”

    Because like good Christians who take their faith seriously, they are imitating God’s spokesmen of old. The prophets used remarkably coarse language and descriptors (see post above), as did some of the apostles (e.g. Paul’s dick joke in Gal. 5:12).

    What I don’t understand is why so many nominally Christian folk seem to think that coarse language is sinful.

    [CC: Good to see you, my friend!]

  4. SSM – Hey, I don’t use coarse language! I always edit out the vowels, thereby sanitizing words like f-ck, c*ck, and bl*wj*b. See Cane, it’s all in the vowels. 🙂

    Gonna start calling you “Vanna” what with all those vowel movements.

  5. I followed you here from another blog, and have really enjoyed the first few essays.

    Re: “Baby It’s Cold…” That has always struck me as a very strange song, and I’ve long wondered why I can hear it in regular rotation this time of year. I never paid enough attention to it to get its meaning, just found it annoying and unpleasant.

  6. That’s not a euphemism for oral sex – it’s a phrase used by the worldly who think it more titillating, rather than an attempt to be genteel. That’s the issue I was getting at – Christians addressing important topics, but being (variably) drawn into using some of the very phrases and mindsets that are part of the problem. I refuse to abbreviate ‘pornography’, for example, because its being abbreviated is a part of its acceptance as ‘normal’ and not reprehensible.

    Your comments about priorities are creating a false dichotomy. I think Christians can abstain from ‘filthiness’ in their own language while speaking out strongly against these things. Harder to do, maybe, but possible.

    I cannot reconcile your approach, and that of SSM et al, with Ephesians 5:
    “3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light.”
    I am not sure whether the reference in verse 3 to sexual immorality etc not even being named among believers means that it should not be spoken about, or more likely practised, but the rest seems clear – it is shameful even to speak of what they do in secret (fornication, not the act of sex in marriage).

  7. I am a man.

    I think the Christian writers doing this – and I have MUCH more of a problem with the women who do so, as I consider it totally unbecoming a woman – are in part becoming ‘partners with’ the culture we should be ‘exposing by the light’.

    It seems that the women who do this are titillated by revealing (boasting about) details that should be left a secret of their marriage beds. They have rationalizations, no doubt. God created sex in marriage to be a beautiful thing and part of its specialness is its total privacy – that means no audience during or after.

    Cane, you are intelligent and an excellent grasp of Scripture – certainly much better than mine. I pray that you will continue your good work, and hope that you’ll consider my feedback.

  8. In my most humble opinion, I think God used some racy language to shock his people into paying attention. J has a point: why do so many use coarse language. We’re getting so used to it, there’s no shock value. If there’s no shock-into-the-truth value, it’s just low-class.

    Like saying “nigger” and “kike”. There’s no shock value anymore, it’s low-class.

  9. Simon Grey:
    When we’re told to abstain from filthiness and coarse joking and that “it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret”, I think we should be careful about exactly how we DO speak.

    Was your ‘nominally Christian’ statement supposed to sound as though anyone who has a different interpretation of Scripture from you isn’t a real Christian? I did not call it sinful, and I’m not sure where lies the line, but I do question its necessity and value.

  10. @J

    I cannot reconcile your approach, and that of SSM et al, with Ephesians 5

    Don’t confuse or lump me with SSM. I won’t and can’t defend her blog, comments, etc. Your criticisms about me should be about what I have said.

    Second, The answer to your conundrum is right there at the end of the passage you quoted from Ephesians. I think it’s clearer in the KJV, but I can work with your translation, too.

    7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness,

    Such as singing along with songs that glorify fornication; especially as we were fornicators.

    but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light.”

    Which is exactly what I did: I spoke openly (in the light) about what is shameful to be done in darkness, and even spoken of in darkness. By speaking of it in the light–openly, and illuminated by scripture–I made it visible; and thus light, i.e., “Folks: This is what you are celebrating? Let’s all see what we are talking about…”

    God Himself speaks of this process of uncovering sin done in the dark, and He does it in stark, explicit terms such as I quoted above. Hosea, Isaiah, and Ezekiel are full of this stuff. Sin, in fact, is the very thing to discuss. Chaste sex is not. There is one Song of Solomon; there are many books of the prophets detailing various forms of fornication.

    Here is the KJV of the passage you reference. It is somewhat clearer:

    11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

    See that? Reproving fornication (what is shamefully done in darkness) and glorification of fornication is made manifest–made real–when we call it out. It’s not something someone somewhere once did; it becomes the truth; it becomes light to call it what it is.

    As for why I don’t use “fornication”, but instead use the street terms (necking, fucking, blowjob, sleeping around, banging, etc.) is because, again, “fornication” to modern people is something someone way back in the Bible did that sorta-kinda resembles some fumbling around they did with this one person…but they were really in love, and so it was kinda different, ya know?

    They can’t do that with the other terms. They have to confront the sin; the words expose them as the fornicators they are in a way that the word fornicator doesn’t. Even your criticism here confirms that: These are despicable things and they deserve despicable words. We have them. God used them, and I’m not afraid of them. God forbid this happen, but a daughter would really not like for her father to call her a fornicator, but she is going to go ballistic if he calls her a slut.

  11. @J

    I think the Christian writers doing this – and I have MUCH more of a problem with the women who do so, as I consider it totally unbecoming a woman – are in part becoming ‘partners with’ the culture we should be ‘exposing by the light’.

    It seems that the women who do this are titillated by revealing (boasting about) details that should be left a secret of their marriage beds. They have rationalizations, no doubt.

    I very much agree with you.

    You will do me a kindness if you read through my posts and notice that I never discuss my and Mrs. Caldo’s sex life. That is something holy done in darkness, and should be kept there. It is not to be exposed and made manifest for everyone.

    Nor will you find me making jokes such as SSM and NSR made above. (Though there are times I am very tempted, and it bothers me that no one else can know how clever I am if I don’t make the joke.)

    I do think that, among just men, hanging out and having fun there can be some of that. Again, I expect that among women they will do some, too, but I avoid it in mixed company. From the beginning, and many times afterward I have said my blog is directed at men. *Shrug* Women show up anyways, and they seek my company and advice far more often; even when something I say angers them.

    J, thanks for your encouragement. I can go on without, but it’s really much better when I have it.

    @Peter Blood

    J has a point: why do so many use coarse language. We’re getting so used to it, there’s no shock value. If there’s no shock-into-the-truth value, it’s just low-class.

    Don’t worry, we’ll make more. Then I’ll start using those.

  12. Re SSM – I understand.

    I don’t see where you addressed this verse?
    “For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret”.

    Sure, most young people won’t know what fornication is, and in speaking with them it is important to use plain language they will understand. (Incidentally, are the readers of your blog young ignorant people, or literate mostly Christian folks who will know exactly what fornication is? We will all understand you without the coarse slang.)

    Sleeping around, oral sex, masturbation, sex outside marriage, having sex with your boyfriend / girlfriend, homosexual contact, homosexual sex – there are many ways of saying these things without being equivocal OR coarse.

    If we dispense with what you call ‘euphemisms’ when talking with young people then we’re really calling a spade a spade, with dignity and without dignifying the names that might cover the sin. Some sexual practices sound an awful lot less acceptable / innocuous when described accurately instead of being rendered palatable by a name.

    This brought to mind Christians getting tattooed with Bible verses. We don’t need to make ourselves LIKE non-believers to the extent of doing things that are expressly or implicitly prohibited in the Bible, in order to be ‘relevant’ or ‘heard’. Jesus called sin for what it was and told people what needed to be done.

  13. Pingback: There is Nothing New Under the Sun | Donal Graeme

  14. Just saw your earlier response.

    Yes, I know that you do not discuss your own marriage bed.

    You’re welcome. I have found many of your posts thought-provoking and useful.

    I agree, there is sexual joking which is not coarse, and not specific to a person’s own relationship, and which men and women can (I agree, mostly in single-sex groups) indulge in. It’s a slippery slope, though… I very rarely do these days as I am practising being more sober.

    I should have added above that I am expunging from my speech the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’, as well as ‘gender’, as by using them we provide some level of tacit support for those lifestyles and attempts at social engineering. Let’s all get back to saying ‘sex’ instead of giving any endorsement to the idea that we can all choose to be male, female or whatever else. Instead of asking if a person ‘is gay’, we should ask if they are homosexual, or, better, ‘living a homosexual lifestyle’. The liberals and their infernal backer are having a field day with their framing of the world through control of the language.

    Words are important, and I think we Christians should pay attention to which ones we choose.

  15. @J

    I don’t see where you addressed this verse?
    “For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret”.

    You’re separating that sentence from the following sentence

    13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light.”

    when they should not be separated. It’s not two separate thoughts, but one.

    So, you’ve hear the phrase, “Ugly truth”, right? That’s a lie. There are no ugly truths. Calling fornication as fornication is beautiful because it upholds and glorifies God’s standards. It’s shameful to fornicate, and it’s shameful to whisper or talk secretly about fornication (that’s gossip), but it becomes truth and light to discuss it in the open. It is not sin to call sin sin.

    Sleeping around, oral sex, masturbation, sex outside marriage, having sex with your boyfriend / girlfriend, homosexual contact, homosexual sex – there are many ways of saying these things without being equivocal OR coarse.

    And sometimes I pick those words. My audience, here, is grown men. Men who know what all these words mean, and still respond differently when thinking about their children sleeping around, and thinking about them getting banged. It’s just so cheap…it’s exactly what we want to convey.

    To go back to Peter Blood’s comment: Those words you suggested lose their salt with overuse, and the previous generations really wore them out. There was a time when “sleeping around” was a terrible charge to levy at someone; especially a woman. Now it’s shrug-worthy because it’s pedestrian.

    This isn’t about being relevant to fit in; it’s about punching through so we don’t. It’s the exact opposite of a “cool” Bible verse tattoo.

  16. @J

    One last thing (I think), and then I’ve got to finish this other post.

    Words are important, and I think we Christians should pay attention to which ones we choose.

    I agree, and I do. In fact, that is exactly why I don’t use abbreviated forms or the astericked versions of “cuss words”. If I feel the need to do that, then I shouldn’t use that word.

    Sometimes I might get it wrong, but I don’t think our disagreement here is about one particular choice, but about our differences in our philosophies of choice. I strongly disagree that I am violating a Biblical rule, Christian principle, or valid tradition. I understand that others do not agree with me, and when I go to their house I don’t use words that I think might offend them.

    My father, by the way, would agree with you.

  17. I do not know how to quote text. Is there code for that?

    I think you first separated it from the next sentence yourself, in bolding at least! I take your point, though, and it does make the verse clearer to me.

    I don’t think the saltiness or shock-value of the language is the point, but the fact that someone has the gumption to call it out.

    I don’t think it’s the opposite of the Bible verse tattoo. It seems very similar – in both examples the worldly ways are being embraced to some degree, toward a godly end.

    We Christian men should be able to ‘punch through’ by making young folk squirm through our complete comfort in using horribly matter-of-fact, ‘un-cool’ and un-sanitized (because that’s what a lot of the slang about sex is aiming to do – ‘hooking up’, for example, instead of ‘having casual pre-marital sexual intercourse’) language about sexual matters.

    The previous generation of Christian parents, in my experience at least, really were pretty naïve about what goes on in the world. Unfortunately I am more familiar with the ways of the world from my pre-Christian life and I will make sure that my children and other younger people hear it straight. However, I will not use coarse language in doing so. In that I hope to model self-control and a willingness to be separate from the world.

    I entirely agree with your point about not singing along to songs glorifying sin. I have not yet gotten to the point that I could walk out of events where things like that are happening.

  18. @J

    To make quotes: “[blockquote]” Quoted Text Here “[blockquote]”, but use carats instead of brackets.

    We Christian men should be able to ‘punch through’ by making young folk squirm through our complete comfort in using horribly matter-of-fact, ‘un-cool’ and un-sanitized (because that’s what a lot of the slang about sex is aiming to do – ‘hooking up’, for example, instead of ‘having casual pre-marital sexual intercourse’) language about sexual matters.

    My friend GKC would probably agree with you. That’s not my experience, and certainly not with “causal pre-marital sexual intercourse”. It goes right in one ear and out the other with adults. Again, this isn’t my preparation ground for young adults: I write for men who have a hard time understanding women, for married men, and for fathers. When I speak to my children about sex I use different terms than I use here. When I speak to my friends I use terms similar to those here.

    Modeling self-control and a willingness to separate from the world is excellent.

    I don’t think it’s the opposite of the Bible verse tattoo. It seems very similar – in both examples the worldly ways are being embraced to some degree, toward a godly end.

    No, it is VERY different thing to embrace worldly ways so that others think you are cool; even for a “godly end”.

    No time for post tonight.

  19. The tattooed ones would say they don’t do it to be cool, but to be seen or heard, or accessible, or contemporary, or something. The actual motives are probably mixed as we all like to be liked or admired.

    I am not saying that you use coarse language to be acceptable to the world, but it could be perceived that way.

    I believe your work would be more powerful if its language were more dignified (in the ESV, the quotes from Ezekiel are very direct but nothing like so obscene as your paraphrasing) AND rejected the trivialization and sanitization of lewd behavior. Of course you can speak as you wish in your own domain.

    Thanks for the conversation.

  20. I never really thought much of the language, but this conversation has been thought-provoking for me. The Bible translation I use most often definitely doesn’t gloss over the facts. It makes me quite uncomfortable to read; that’s what God was going for, right?

    Ezekiel 23
    19 Still she kept increasing her whoring, remembering the days when she was young, fornicating in the land of Egypt. 20 Yes, she lusted after their male prostitutes, whose members are like those of donkeys and who ejaculate like stallions. 21 You yearned for the lewdness of your girlhood, when the Egyptians used to fondle your nipples and caress your young breasts.

  21. Sheesh Jo. What translation is that? I’ve never seen that version.

    I know it’s not supposed to be funny but I lol’d. Totally put me off my eggs and jalapenos – for a minute.

  22. That is also the NIV translation. Wow, I never knew such things were in the Bible!

    I was listening to this song for the first time (this season) last night. I realized how disrespectful it is and almost feel a little sad that such a beautiful melody is stained by the accompanying lyrics. I thought to myself how a song written so long ago (1944) could feature a woman putting herself intentionally in a vulnerable situation where she doesn’t want to resist temptation because of her attraction to the man. I just looked up the song to find the date, and the Wikipedia page is very interesting!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby,_It%27s_Cold_Outside

    Apparently on the score, the roles are “mouse” and “wolf”. Also, in 1949, the song was sung with both roles reversed (Lady Gaga is clearly unoriginal, as always). There’s also this fascinating tidbit at the bottom:

    The book The America I Have Seen (1951) by Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb describes a scene at a church dance Qutb attended in Greeley, Colorado: “The dance hall convulsed to the tunes on the gramophone and was full of bounding feet and seductive legs … Arms circled waists, lips met lips, chests met chests, and the atmosphere was full of passion….And the Father chose. He chose a famous American song called ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside,’ which is composed of a dialog between a boy and a girl returning from an evening date.” Qutb was a leading thinker of the Muslim Brotherhood and his book had a major impact on Islamist views concerning America.

    So the priest (Father) chose a song that glorifies fornication. In 1951!

  23. @J

    The tattooed ones would say they don’t do it to be cool, but to be seen or heard, or accessible, or contemporary, or something. The actual motives are probably mixed as we all like to be liked or admired.

    I am not saying that you use coarse language to be acceptable to the world, but it could be perceived that way.

    I should have also noted again that I am always and ever speaking and judging among Christians. I approach every topic as a Christian topic because there is no truth outside of Christ. All I can respond is that I use coarse language to show how unacceptable we and these things are to God. If non-Christians respond positively to that, then that’s to God’s glory.

    @Joanna

    I couldn’t think of the word “ejaculate”; otherwise I would have used that. That version sounds like the ESV, which I used for several years. And yes, that’s what God was going for.

    @Dalrock

    Leave it to Cane to make sin sound dirty!

    I am very glad J took the time to converse (and I hope he will continue!) but I don’t see my opinion changing on the topic. I try to make marriage sound beautiful (and people have commented that it does), and I try to make sin sound filthy (and people have commented that it does). Mission accomplished. Now if people start telling me that I make marriage and marital sex sound nasty, then that would be something to consider.

  24. “What I don’t understand is why so many nominally Christian folk seem to think that coarse language is sinful.”

    Christians think this way because of Ephesians 5:4 and James 3. They may be a little off in their interpretation of those passages, but the passages do indicate a strong preference for clean/pure speaking. If it’s not of faith it’s sin. These passages cause so much doubt about bad language, that many Christians view it as sin.

  25. @Cane Caldo

    It’s been awhile since we engaged in a dialogue over 1 Corinthians 7:9 at another blog. I would appreciate it if you would detail your argument over why it is not bible speak for horny. Not trying to fight, just get at the truth. This topic does impact men a lot and can cause poor decisions. It would be good for many to know if this verse does not mean a man basically has to choose one bondage or another. But the appearance of this passage does strongly indicate the horny interpretation. It will likely take some strong exposition to help get people past this assumption.

  26. I try to make marriage sound beautiful (and people have commented that it does), and I try to make sin sound filthy (and people have commented that it does). Mission accomplished. Now if people start telling me that I make marriage and marital sex sound nasty, then that would be something to consider.

    Well, now that you mention it..

    I do think you cheapen sex itself when you use coarse slang. Talking about ‘whoring’, for example, is not specific about acts, and so doesn’t sully marital sex in my mind. Marital sex is still sex, and I think it’s a shame to talk about things that may take place in the marital bed in a way that cheapens them by sharing language with that of fornicators…

    I agree that you have made marriage sound beautiful elsewhere. That’s what drew me to read a few months ago.

  27. I do think you cheapen sex itself when you use coarse slang.

    I think that’s the point, J. To cheapen sex outside of marriage and make it sound as filthy as possible.

    I’ve been reading Mr. Caldo for as long as he’s been writing and when he writes about sexuality in marriage, it is much more poetic, honorable, and beautiful. He never uses coarse language, choosing instead words that speak to the beauty and mystery of the marital realtionship, like “sanctuary.”

    I think you’re conflating the two because you unwittingly are implying that all sex acts are created equally just because the physical mechanics are the same. His point is that they are not.

    I hope I haven’t been presumptuous here, Cane.

  28. “Christians think this way because of Ephesians 5:4 and James 3. They may be a little off in their interpretation of those passages, but the passages do indicate a strong preference for clean/pure speaking. If it’s not of faith it’s sin. These passages cause so much doubt about bad language, that many Christians view it as sin.”

    We also need to remember that these passages are prescriptive (telling us what to do), while the Ezekiel passage is descriptive (telling us how wicked the people were). When Paul says “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting” are fitting, I think we should err on that side more than the speech of an inebriated sailor.

    This a good and worthwhile discussion–much better than the repetitive stuff in most of the manosphere (even the Xian parts).

  29. I agree with you John. But is there any confusion about whether this post’s author is engaged in foolishness or coarse jesting? He strikes me here as serious and sober in his intent.

  30. Yeah, I don’t think he’s jesting. The question is how far can/should we go with foul language…even if it’s to make a righteous point?

    I’ve always been impressed with people who hardly ever utter a cuss word, but when they do, you know they are really serious.

  31. Elspeth, I see it differently. God created sex to be a pure and holy thing. We profane it when we do it out of marriage. Therefore I think we should talk about the act itself properly. Is it right to think that God created sex and fornication as separate things, or that he created sex and we corrupted it? The latter makes more sense to me. God gave us appetites for food, and eating is a good and necessary thing, but eating too much or eating food you stole is not acceptable – it’s the gluttony and the theft that are the problems, not the act of ingesting food.

    Yes, it is clear that Cane is serious in his intent.

    John, I think the most laudable are those who can express themselves without EVER speaking coarsely, and yet make it crystal clear when they are righteously angry. I’m not in that category.

    I’m not accusing Cane of this, but there are plenty of people who insert profanities in lieu of taking the time to think through how best to express their strong feelings. CS Lewis, on the other hand, managed to speak very clearly, and forcefully when needed, without having to descend to profanity.

  32. Is it right to think that God created sex and fornication as separate things, or that he created sex and we corrupted it?

    I don’t like the way you phrased the question, but I am not the sharpest mind around here by a long shot and am open to being wrong in my understanding. I think corrupted sex and licit sex are different things at least.

    We don’t conflate hunger and greed when analyzing the motivation for when we eat. We shouldn’t conflate licit sex and marital sex by speaking of them in the same way.

    Look, I’m a teetotaler who rarely utters a profanity and am fairly big on propriety. Even with all that, I see Cane’s point of view on this one.

  33. Elspeth, I wasn’t trying to be tricky and I was asking a genuine question.

    My point is that eating is eating, and that it’s the setting that determines its virtue. If we’re worried about gluttony in the world, the answer isn’t to speak about eating in a coarse way, but to emphasise the importance of self-control.

    I agree that we should not conflate illicit and marital sex – that was the point I was trying to make.

  34. J:
    My point is that eating is eating, and that it’s the setting that determines its virtue.

    Is the difference between filling a hungry stomach with good food and stuffing an already bloated stomach with junk really just part of the setting? Is the difference between wife and whore merely one of circumstance?

  35. @J

    Well, now that you mention it..

    I do think you cheapen sex itself when you use coarse slang.

    No you don’t, or at least you didn’t. Your criticism was specifically that I shouldn’t use (what you call) bad words when I describe bad things, because Christians don’t use (what you call) bad words according to this verse,

    My suspicion is that now, having lost that battle, you’re trying to make sense of why you were given those rules about bad words by (what you believe were) good people. Something must be wrong about it; you just haven’t found the right argument to tell me what I’m wrong about–establishing my wrongness being the most important thing since I’m in conflict with very good people.

    Welcome to the sinful world in need of a savior!

    @John

    The question is how far can/should we go with foul language…even if it’s to make a righteous point?

    We do have to ask this question, of course, but we ought to know what we mean by foul language. Foul language is what is done to harm. Nobody here thinks I’ve said these things to harm…yet you guys are still on my case. This is how we got here. It’s like I didn’t even write those last seven or so posts.

    However, let me say that Zippy is exactly the sort of speaker you are looking for, if I understand you.

  36. Zippy, the difference between sex in marriage and sex before marriage is one of context i.e. God created the act but the context determines the sinfulness or blessedness. There are many other Biblical examples e.g. righteous killing vs murder.

    Cane, I don’t see myself having lost a battle – we’ve just established that you and I have different opinions about it, although we certainly agree that sin should be called sin. I didn’t intend to comment further but got drawn in by some other interesting, somewhat tangential, facets of the discussion.

    Since you mention it, I was taught (by example) by my father and mother, who are indeed good people, that coarse language is not necessary or becoming a Christian man or (especially) woman, and I don’t see any reason to deviate from that. My father uses some language in conversation with me that he wouldn’t use in mixed company, but a far cry from the words that sparked this discussion.

    I don’t offer an opinion on the matter of sinfulness or otherwise, because I don’t know or have a strong opinion.

    I don’t intend to be ‘on your case’. I only spoke because I think you’re doing good work and felt I should speak out about something I don’t agree with. For one thing, the words we’ve been discussing would make me far less likely to point friends or family members to your site, which is a shame. You don’t need to tell me again that you believe I’m prudish about this 😉

    Blessings,
    J

  37. J:
    Zippy, the difference between sex in marriage and sex before marriage is one of context…

    I disagree. The difference between wife and whore is not just context, unless the word “context” is meaningless; in which case we shouldn’t be using it to describe a moral category.

  38. @J

    God created sex to be a pure and holy thing. We profane it when we do it out of marriage. Therefore I think we should talk about the act itself properly.

    Marital congress and fornication are not the same sex act. You are asking me to sanitize fornication so that you feel better talking about it.

  39. Zippy, I have no idea what your last comment means, and in any case it seems that you’re deliberately misquoting me, as I talked about the act of sex, not the difference between wife and whore.

    Cane, I am not asking you to do a single thing (although I suppose I asked you to reflect on my original question) and your speculation about my motives is off the mark.

    In any case, I’m regretting having fired up my keyboard, and will return to silent readership.

    All the best.

  40. J:
    When you talk about the abstraction “the act of sex”, and intransigently refuse to treat marital sex as a different kind of act from sex with a whore, you are implicitly saying that whores and wives are the same kind of thing. That seems a much more serious issue to me than the use of coarse language.

  41. If someone said “stealing a car is the same kind of thing as driving to work, differing only by context”, I would raise the same objection. “Someone else’s car” is not the same as “my car”. They are objectively different kinds of objects in the moral domain.

    Marital sex is, similarly, objectively different from fornication. It isn’t different “only by context”, where the function of that phrase seems quite precisely to be to trivialize essential differences.

  42. To add on to what Zippy and Cane are saying you must recognize there is a difference between heart conditions. God looks at the heart.

    One example of this is most clearly displayed when children apologize. If they feel that they are right then they will only begrudgingly apologize and must be forced to admit their perceived wrong doing. However, if they feel that they sincerely wronged the other person then they will go all out to make sure that the person they are apologizing to isn’t offended, if there’s anything they can do to help, and profusely saying sorry. Children wear their hearts on their sleeves.

    If you say that these two apologies (the “act of apologizing” versus the “act of sex”) are the same then you’re missing some of the fundamental differences between the acts which is the intent of the heart which make them objectively different.

    The marital bed is honoring to God precisely because the heart is right with Him and you are walking with His Spirit, whereas with fornication the heart is acceding to the desires of the flesh.

    Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh [g]sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you [h]please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [i]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [j]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who [k]belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    They are not the same acts, only different by context simply because the nature of the act — and thus by extension the desires of the heart — cannot be separated from the act itself.

  43. Maybe I should try to write a post about this “some other third thing” regarding what doesn’t work confronting sin….you mentioned moralizing and hand wringing. [gold star to those who catch that innocuous quote-some other third thing-from The Spongebob Movie.]

    My third thing is when Christians, in discourse, say what we are *called to do/be*. Drives me crazy. It becomes a way to stay out of the fray, take no stand, and take on the form of the Christian Zen Master. The called to form of sin rebuke mostly is used to rebuke other Christians who have stumbled into doing what Cane is doing here, even if not well thought out and arrived at by accident. That’s the unspoken theme of those who are arguing against you here Cane. The called to attitudes are an unknown subset of the be attitudes or beatitudes.

    By extension there is real enforcement power in the called to attitudes for corralling Christians who especially deign to stand against evangelical feminism. It’s nota aside aggressive per se, but its in the same food group, this invocation of a non specific authority by saying what we Re called to do or be.

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