Cheating on your (future) spoue and family: The Effects of Pornography

I wish I could say that you could go through life and not have to deal with the issue of pornography.  Sadly, the culture that we live daily is saturated with sex, and not in the way God fearing way. 

The more we see it in our daily lives, the more we become accustomed to it.  Grocery store checkout lines, bill boards, online ads, and Facebook run rampant with pornography.  And the more the issue is prevalent in our culture, the more we become desensitized to it.

Excuses such as “It’s not like I’m actually physically hurting anybody” or “it’s completely mutual” or “it’s really no big deal” are buzz words around the issue.  It is not helpful when the world in which we live and breathe simply reinforces the supposed normality.

Take for instance the move that recently came out staring Leonardo DiCaprio.  “The Wolf of Wall Street” was hailed as an ingenious film.  The levels of nudity and crass were through the roof.  It also grossed over $389 million worldwide against a $100 million budget.  Additionally, it was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Scorsese, Best Adapted Screenplay for Terrence Winter, and Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for DiCaprio.  And it was pornography for the masses.

What a narrow box pornography is.  Instead of opening your eyes to the beauty of God’s creation, you narrow yourself into a thought process where people are objects to be captured in a screen shot for viewing pleasure. 

However, pornography is not a moral issue because sex is bad.  On the contrary, sex is a beautiful creation from God.  Sex was created BY God.  So if you think He just sits up in the sky and says “Don’t do this,” “Ohh, wrong move,” thing again.  He invented sex.  And all things that God creates?  Good. 

Pornography is not even bad because it shows too much.  Instead, as so flawlessly pointed out by John Paul II (are we surprised?), “Pornographic images reduce the person being lusted over to body parts only. There is no dignity when the human dimension is eliminated from the person. In short, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.”

It takes the beautiful creation of a human being, made in the image and likeness of God, and reduces him or her to parts to be admired. 

You are more than parts.  God’s creation of your fellow human beings are good.  Sex is great.  Pornography?  Doesn’t even fit in the picture. 
Si vis amari ama, 

 Chloe M

The culture of violence

Elliot Rodger.  A twenty-two year old man who took the lives of six victims and himself, while wounding thirteen others.

What is the right response to this incredible act of violence?  Dissecting the issue piece by piece and realizing the violent culture in which we live today.

Elliot Rodgers was a mentally ill young man.  He suffered from a highly functional case of Asperger Syndrome.  This Syndrome is a form of autism, in which those who have an affected view of the their social interactions. However, Elliot’s mental health was not unchecked.  According to CNN news, he had been seeing a therapist since the age of eight, even up to a daily appointment during the years he spent in high school.  Both of his parents were aware of his condition, and monitored his social media postings and general well being.

When posts about suicide consideration and general violence appeared on his social media profiles, his own family contacted the police and asked them to make sure Elliot was okay.  In April, six policemen visited Elliot at his home, but found nothing suspicious, and advised Elliot to contact his family and assure them of his mental stability.

The mental health system of the state of California is not broken.  In all reality, it worked exactly as it was supposed to.  Elliot met with a therapist, his family was aware of the issues he suffered from, and the police even visited his home.  The reality is that Elliot Rodgers was a mentally ill person who was bent on the destruction of human life.

The issue is not that gun violence is rampant and all guns need to be banned.  In fact, a new study in the United States found that in 2010, the violence rate was 49% lower than in the 1990s, and firearm-related violence — assaults, robberies, sex crimes — was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993.

Elliot was also detrimentally affected by the sex saturated culture in which we live.  His most obvious failure in his own life was the fact that, at twenty-two years old, he was still a virgin.  When speaking to Dale Launer, who directed movies about love and relationships, Elliot wrote, “He wanted to help me overcome my troubles because he is a so-called expert with women.  He even showed me pictures of all the gorgeous women he had dated in his life, and there was a lot of them.  This man truly lived” (CNN News).

What has happened to our culture when the definition of true living is how many women you can seduce?  When the bane of your existence is the fact that you have not “lost” your virginity?  Oh, for the world to realize that your virginity is not something you should just want to discard for a pleasure high and bragging rights.  That it is a beautiful gift given by God to be given in return to your spouse on your wedding night?

We also are encouraged by a narcissistic culture, where everything is about the self.  Instead of a love defined by the Catechism as the act of “willing the good of another,” the culture encourages  selfish mindset in which it is all about “me.”

“My orchestration of the Day of Retribution [Elliot’s label for the massacre] is my attempt to do everything in my power to destroy everything I cannot have.”  This is the sentence that was found in Elliot’s manifesto of over one hundred pages.  Instead of willing others’ good and rejoicing at the success of others,  he was determined to live through the age-old mentality of “if I cannot be happy, then no one can be happy.”

With a pursuit of his desire to have others join in his self-perceived misery, he took with him the lives of the innocent as retribution for the supposed rejection he had experienced. The NRA is not to be blamed.  His parents are not to be blamed.  The therapist(s) are not to be blamed.  The police are not at fault.  When someone orchestrates a massacre and is cowardly enough to take their own life so as to avoid punishment and consequence for their actions, they are the ones to be held responsible.

 As we grieve for the unnecessary loss of the lives of those in Santa Barbara, may we pray for all the souls of those who are no longer on this earth.
May the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Si vis amari ama, 

Chloe M.

Giving God Every Day

Summer is here!  That means beautiful weather, long days, gorgeous sunsets out on the porch and open windows at night when you fall asleep.  For some, summer means care free timelessness.  For others, it may mean busy schedules with sports, general activities, vacation or work.

Regardless of your summer plans, you can always focus on giving each day to God.  This is a dedication that is quiet simple, but boundless in grace considering its simplicity.  When you start your day off by dedicating everything you do that day to God, you will be amazed at the gifts brought into your life.

1 Timothy 4: 4-5 captures this dedication mentality. “For everything God created is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”  

You may think your day means nothing.  Maybe you are going to work for eight hours while every one else in your home is frolicking in the beautiful weather and you will be stuck inside.  Never underestimate God’s ability to transform what you give him.  You have the ability to touch so many lives during one day at work.  By giving your entire day to God, you say “All right, Lord.  I’m not sure what you have in store for me, but I’m willing to be you to others, whatever that entails.”

Give God your everything…..give, and it will be given back to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38).  Measure out your day to God with generous helpings….He won’t disappoint you!

Si vis amari, ama.

Dear Emily,

Tonight I watched your YouTube video and I had to write to you. 

I wanted to let you know that your abortion procedure affected many more than just you.  It affected many more than just your child.  In fact, abortion really affects everybody.  Men, women, Caucasians, Asians, African Americans, Christians, Jews, Atheists and Agnostics.  We are all connected by the fact that, when in our mother’s womb, the constant presence of a mother’s choice hung over our very existence, threatened by being punished for the supposed crime of being conceived at an inconvenient time. 

Twenty-five years ago, your mother made the beautiful decision not to have an abortion when she found out she was pregnant with you.  I’m glad she made that decision.  You are a beautiful woman, made in the image and likeness of a God who loved you into existence, and God has such an incredible plan for your life.

And now you share a bond with your mother – that you now are a mother too.  Despite the fact that your child was not able to bless this world with his or her presence, he or she very still much exists.

During your video, you said you were in awe over the fact that you were able to create a life.  What a beautiful truth – indeed, there was a fully human being, created in the image and likeness of God, in your womb.  Maybe she had your eyes.  Perhaps he would have smiled the way you did when you heard a good song come on the radio.  She could have snuggled with you under a blanket during one of your favorite movies.  He may have slid into home base during the first Little League game of the season.  Maybe she would have twirled in heels at the prom of her dreams.  Maybe he would have asked you to straighten his tie before he married the girl of his dreams.  She could have smiled with uncontrollable joy when telling you that you were going to be a grandmother. 

You were right.  You did create a life.  Yet your perceived right to choose what was best for you won out over the beautiful way of recognizing that little person in side of you.  For the sake of convenience, you bought a supposed ticket to freedom.  Freedom from the supposed burden of a child who ran to you and called you “Mom.”  Freedom from the sound of sweet snoring from your child as you watched her sleep.  Freedom from the responsibilities of a human being who you very much helped create. 

And it can’t be undone.  No matter how much you choose to not regret or regret your abortion, it is what it is.  We can’t rewind time, although some day, you’ll want to.  One day, your little baby’s father will also regret his lost little one, the product of a choice, extinguished by a choice. 

You are right.  I do not know what it is like to feel my heart drop as I look down at a pregnancy test and see positive results.  I don’t the heartbreak of realizing that everyone will know now…and I’m not ready. 

Beautifully, there is a God who loves you, and your child.  Who forgives you and wants for all the life of Him to welcome you into His arms and let you know that it’s okay. 

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”

There is no sin unforgivable.  No burden too heavy. 

There is a place when, after you leave this world, you have the opportunity to enter into eternal joy with the maker and lover of your soul….and be greeted by the sound of little feet and a tiny voice that calls to you, “Mommy!”

Dearest Emily, you are in my prayers.

Your sister in Christ.

Bringing Classic Back

Have you heard the MKTO hit, “Classic”?  If you haven’t, I have conveniently placed it above.  Listen to it.  Even if you have before.  (It’s that good).

Okay, we’re back.  On to the post.  Have you noticed the incredible power that a classic lady has on a culture that is, in the words of said song, “plastic”?   Audrey Hepburn’s 85th birthday is today, and looking back, it is easy to sigh and say “Ah, the world was so great back then.  I wish I’d been born back then.” Or, at least I do.  Maybe I’m crazy.

But seriously, Fulton Sheen agrees with me when he says “When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

It is possible, even in this era, to be classy.  And, ladies, guys will rise to the occasion.  On the other hand, if you desire to be noticed, and only rely on immodesty or brash language, you will be treated as you project yourself.

Want to be treated like a lady? Act classy.  Not stuck-up and snotty, but confident in who you are as a daughter of God.  Some quick tips are below – and notice, these are not labeled “instant lady-like qualities for you to pick up in one day.”  Being classy requires practice and upkeep, but anything worth while is worth working for.

Tip One:  Be a Friend   Friends – true blue friends – are sometimes hard to come by anymore.  Yet who you keep company with says a lot about who you are.  If you hang out with those whose entertainment is gossiping, then you are projecting that you yourself enjoy said activities.  Pick your friends carefully – W. Somerset Maugham once said that “When choosing friends, don’t be short-changed by choosing personality over character.” 

                     Tip Two: Modesty

Con gusto vivo con los suegros unicamente si es el principe william d lo contrario jamas!!!!!!!!   Okay, going to be honest here.  The catchphrase “Modest is Hottest” is offensive to me – since it connotes that even if you are dressing with modesty and femininity, you can still be referred to as “Hot.”  You need to referred to as “Beautiful”  – not “Hot.”  You are a child made in the image of God, not an object.  Now that that is out of the way, be classy and respect yourself.  When you wear a low cut top and short shorts, the last thing on a guy’s mind is “Wonder what her favorite color is?”  To be frank, guy’s are visual.  Unless you prefer them imagining what you look like without the little clothes you have on, respect yourself and your brother in Christ by wearing modest clothing.  Not because you are ugly and need to be covered up, but because you are beautiful and leaving a little to the imagination is attractive.

Tip Three: Watch Your Mouth

   If your personal preference is to use expletives as adjectives, do not necessarily be surprised if you are not treated like a lady.  Don’t have your conversations revolve around crude sexual topics or other similar trash.  It would behoove you to have conversations on topics that are more intellectual of nature.  Not saying don’t have fun, I’m saying have some clean fun.  Conversations that you wouldn’t blush at if Christ was there.

Tip Four: Smile.
   I cannot tell you how nice it is when walking across campus to have someone smile at you.  Or to say “Hi” in class, ask someone how their weekend was.  It doesn’t require a lot of effort, but it makes a difference.  A simple smile could sincerely make someone’s day.  Also, how you treat people is a huge indicator to people.  If you are snarky to waiters, grocery store 
clerks, or bank tellers, it reflects badly on the fact that you claim to be a Christian, but do not let your belief in Christ interact with your daily life.  

Any tips on being classy in a world gone plastic?  Comment below!

God bless,

Chloe M.