I finally got a sign~
I’m clearly not stopping that whole “bad pun” titles thing. But if I did, would it truly be me?
(Other potential title: “The other burning bush.”)
It seems like the topic of porn (and delicious, wonderful sex, in a kind-of-related way) has come up a lot in my life lately. A lot of people like to ask me what my opinions of pornography are, probably because I am a woman, and I am a feminist, and I am vaguely interesting to speak to (or something like that). I have some feminist friends (including males, who people forget can be feminists, too) who are staunchly against pornography, feeling that it is deeply against every feminist ideal. I also have many friends, feminist and non-feminist alike, who are not anti-pornography in any way. In fact, my sister and her fiancé met at work- in an “adult bookstore.” In fact, I spent some of the best days while I was eighteen in that bookstore, testing out products and learning about the industry.
Similarly, I do know more than one person who I am close to who has become addicted to pornography. I also know plenty of people who are casual (healthy?) watchers of pornography, and I, of course, know many people who have said that they either have never watched any pornography or have no desire to watch it any more.
Of course, none of this says anything about myself.
(There is TMI information from this moment on, just in case anybody who is my friend in real life or otherwise is incredibly uninterested in learning about my relationship with porn- my intimate relationship, that is.)
Anybody still reading?
Anyway. As for myself, I think that I would fall into the average category of pornography watchers. That is to say that I am a porn consumer perhaps once a week. Interestingly enough, when I do watch pornography, I generally prefer to watch either the lesbian or gay kind (I told you all that I love the gays!). Additionally, I do enjoy to read erotica, if the mood strikes me, but reading erotica is almost never accompanied by masturbation.
(Anybody skipping that section of intimate details can go ahead and continue reading right about here.)
The one thing that I will say about pornography, my single caveat if you will, is that I feel there should be more regulations in the industry in terms of making every male performer wear a condom.
Clearly, any person who reads, watches, listens to, or otherwise voyeurs upon any kind of fictional erotic scene is a sinner, in the eyes of an Abrahamic tradition‘s text. (Hilarious to me, as Song of Songs/Soloman always came off to me as porn for Jewish people/Christians.) But that’s the thing- I’ve never heard of anybody who has a problem with pornography who isn’t religious or spiritual in some way or another, leading me to think that the only people who find guilt in porn are those who feel, in their body, that is it a “sin.” (That isn’t to say that there aren’t non-religious people who have problems with pornography. If you are such a person, please leave a comment and explain your point of view, because it would be so amazing to hear it.) Personally, when I was still religious, I felt a great deal of guilt when I would read/watch anything pornographic, and so I can understand this viewpoint. I remember once we were supposed to write down our biggest sin, and I wrote down that I read erotica. Only now can I see that exploring these things is an important part of adolescence and, I would even say, a good way to help people learn more about themselves.
Is pornography especially realistic? Not usually. (On a side-note, I would like to say that, in my personal opinion, the average porn user tends to not only watch the pornography that includes positions/acts they would like to try out one day, but that they also watch genres that they would never reenact in real life. For example, I would probably never have sex with a girl, but I have no problem watching two girls have sex.)
Can it demean women? Certainly it can, in the hands of the wrong producer or performer.
But is it fun? Well, isn’t that what it’s supposed to be?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an Incognito Window to open. Winky face.
I’ll just be leaving this link right here for you all. Enjoy.
I’ll admit it. The first time my sister told me that she played D&D type games I was surprised. Well, I was more than surprised- I was desperately trying to hold back my laughter. Despite the fact that my entire family lets their nerd flag fly, I felt like this was probably going too far and delving into the realm of “see, this is where you stopped being cool.”
Until I learned what it feels like to roll a d20 and get to back it up, the rush of literally disjoining an enemy to help your fellow campaigners, the lengths I would soon go to just to get a few extra CGPs. So I’m totally hooked.
And really, there is nothing wrong with the practice. Once a week, I get together with select family and friends and act out the life of Ra Jo, or Raj, a pre-monk Blood Carver on a mission who gets to kick ass (when he isn’t turning things into lava). We have a good time, we have a lot of laughs, and nobody (except for some non-existant enemies) gets hurt.
Except that some people might say that my mortal soul is in danger. And all that Harry Potter crap that I read and love isn’t helping either. Nor that crazy show True Blood that I love, because vampires are clearly of the devil. And then there’s the fact that every once in awhile, if my iPod Touch is connected to wifi, I like to check out my iScopes and pretend that they’re pertinent to my life…
I’m basically the biggest heathen around because I have the interests of your average, geeky 12 year old boy.
One of my friends who I campaign with actually suggested this as a blog topic, admitting that he himself feels a twinge of guilt for playing- he has been brought up to believe that he’s giving himself over to the influence of the devil by being involved. And it’s no wonder- a simple Google search will give you plenty of reasons why D&D is “evil,” my favorite being an essay from a former wiccan “high priest” on Chick.com, “Straight Talk on Dungeons and Dragons.” In this article, William Schnoebelen explains that “there is no doubt that Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell. No Christian or sane, decent individual of whatever faith really should have anything to do with them.” (His conclusion is definitely unbiased, if you hadn’t noticed.) Similarly, it’s easy to find a multitude of websites that will tell you that Harry Potter teaches “un-Christian” values and influences children to engage in spell-casting and, you know, fighting for all that is good. (Perhaps I shouldn’t mention that I’m about to start a Harry Potter campaign. Now I’m evil squared.)
I understand the attitude of a religious parent in censoring their children from these kinds of influences. I just wonder what the child’s conclusions will be when they grow up and find out that pretending to cast magic to save your group is not equal to casting “real” spells with real, evil intent to another person.
Open Question: What “heathen” culture do you love and practice?
The second semester of my freshman year of college was definitely one of the hardest times in my life. In October of 2007, on my first date with my first boyfriend, I ended up having a screaming, semi-physical fight with my parents in the street in front of my friend’s house that ended in them cutting off communication with me. A few months later, before another friend came to visit, a sudden wave of sadness hit me that ended in me crying for three hours straight and staying up the rest of the night trying to stave the emotions off. When my boyfriend came to visit me, before he left I clutched at him and begged him not to leave and ended up hurting myself when he did.
Between these times, I spent all of my money to the point of begging people for more money and accepting more loans to pay for my dorm room. I started going to counseling for suicidal thoughts.
And then, in March of 2008, I was finally diagnosed. After getting back together with my boyfriend, I woke up the next day consumed with the idea of killing myself. I ended up putting myself in the hospital, where they immediately tried to feed me (I hadn’t touched food for five days). Instead, I fell asleep for thirteen hours. When I woke up, I had boundless energy. I jumped from wall to wall and practically screamed when I spoke, even when I was right in front of another person.
“Have you ever heard of Bipolar Disorder?” my social worker asked me.
“Oh-yeah-that-would-make-sense-yeah-okay-maybe-I’m-that-wow-I’m-that-okay-cool,” I said in one breath. It was quite the revelation. I actually felt relief for the first day, knowing that, because there was a diagnosis, there had to be treatment.
About a month later, I realized why so many people with Bipolar Disorder kill themselves: nobody wants to live out of control of themselves. Nobody wants to be unpredictable even unto themselves. Nobody wants to deal with the idea that, for the rest of your life, there will be times when you feel so helpless about your situation that the only way out seems to be to end it all.
But, according to many Christian friends and people I have spoken to, the problem isn’t that there is a chemical imbalance in my brain that needs to be treated with a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy, as doctors would tell me. The problem is that I am afflicted by demons, or that I have been disobedient to God, or that I just do not trust God with my entire life, and if I did then I would be miraculously healed. They’ve heard of a person who knew a person who said that their sister was Bipolar but was healed through prayer.
That’s amazing for that person. I don’t have such faith that I can be “healed,” ever.
For the purpose of this post, I decided to do some research on what different people are saying about BP and the Bible. The first responses come from GotQuestions.org, a website where people ask questions and “experts” answer them according to what the Bible says.
- “A sinful lifestyle can be one cause of depression or anxiety. In the case of a true believer in Christ, the person needs to realize that God is waiting for him to confess his sins, repent of them, and return to Him. Doing so will result in the spiritual, mental, and emotional healing a person seeks. Demonic influence is another potential cause of mental illness (2 Corinthians 4:4). A Christian can be influenced and/or oppressed by demons to the point of mental illness.”
– “Should a Christian see a Psychologist/Psychiatrist?”
- “It is not sinful to see a psychiatrist. Doing so does not show lack of faith in God, although we should always go to God first for healing and direction. … God often uses Christian psychologists and therapists to bring healing to His children. Seeing a trained Christian counselor or psychiatrist, however, is definitely preferable to a secular therapist who will give advice from a worldly viewpoint instead of a biblical one.”
– “Should a Christian see a Psychologist/Psychiatrist?“
- “The Bible records individuals with inflated self-importance such as Goliath, Samson, King Herod, Nebuchadnezzar, and Pharaoh. The Bible typified this as a result of pride. … It seems that many of the warriors were extreme risk takers (David, Jonathan etc). Many of the religious leaders were obsessed with destroying Jesus. King Saul was obsessed with destroying David. These seem to be descriptions of individuals who could qualify as those experiencing ‘manic episodes.'”
– “What does the Bible say about being bipolar / manic depression?”
- “Others who showed highs and lows include the following: David (Psalms); King Saul (episodes of usurping the authority of the prophet – 1 Samuel 13 and 15 then deep depression in chapter 16); Peter, as he was willing to step out on the water at one time, then act irrationally with fear at the trial of Jesus.”
– “What does the Bible say about being bipolar / manic depression?”
- “Psychology considers bipolar to be a disorder of the brain. Without debating the accuracy of that statement, one should still conclude that regardless of the affliction that might be upon the physical brain, there are certain responsibilities placed upon an individual to choose what things will be the focus of attention. Therefore, a believer should be concerned about the expectations and instructions that God has about depressive responses. Bringing the mind into obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), renewing thinking (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:15), meditating on proper things (Philippians 4:8), and adjusting the focus of thoughts (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1) are God’s gift to overcoming depressive episodes.”
– “What does the Bible say about being bipolar / manic depression?”
The first thing I have to say is that I truly believe that GotQuestions.org is a very well-meaning organization that truly focuses on trying to find Biblical answers to every question. And it’s no wonder; when I was little, my mother told me “you can find the answer to any question if you look in the Bible.”
But these descriptions of the disorder and trying to apply these symptoms to people who clearly had no mental disorder really makes the author of these articles look like a dog trying to give a speech.
Thankfully, somebody has already said everything that needs to be said about this topic: About.com user Ileana kicks ass while explaining why God would be pro-medication. To summarize:
Although there are Christians who are against any kind of medicines, a lot of Christians think its fine to take meds for ‘physical’ problems, but not for ‘psychological’ problems. Well, physically there’s proof of brain damage from manias. Apparently there’s also research indicating that depressions cause brain shrinkage. Also MRIs clearly show variations in brain functioning between those who are normal and those with depression. When a person is depressed, the brain colors are all kinds of blues. When a person is manic, the brain lights up with reds and yellows. These are physical manifestations of what some people call a purely emotional problem. …
Not taking meds means, quite literally, that you cannot follow Christ as closely as you would be able to otherwise. Does it make sense to you to choose a path that would lead you away from God? How in the world would that be pleasing to Him?
Reading these posts reminds me of the God that I have experienced through my emotions, the God who loves me and cares for me and made me perfect, Bipolar Disorder and all. I would like very much to find this God again, or perhaps an even better God that I’ve never known before. Maybe it will happen.
P.S. I am a bad person, but this made me laugh. I would love for somebody to try and give me this pamphlet.
P.P.S. Just so everybody is clear- I am very, very medicated, and also very, very counseled.