#Sexy #Sex and #Christian #Worship

Posted this on Wednesday by mistake instead of Thursday but it’s all good 😄

Hellooooooooooo!

Now you know me and my juxtaposition of sexual activity and expressive worship. Well in my travels in academia doing my PhD in Womanist Theomusicology I came across something quite insightful that has really changed the way I worship. The idea came from a response to an interview question found in an ethnographic study by Travis Cooper (2011) Masters Thesis from Missouri State University: “Ecstasy and the Kinesthetic Body: An Ethnograhpic Study of Contemporary Pentecostal Worship”.

When analysing the responses Cooper received from the qualitative questionnaires regarding the worship techniques and ideas of Pentecostal Christians, Cooper found that one Pastor said something that really struck me. He related worshipping Jesus to a husband and wife having sex. Now, stay with me….!

The Pastor warned that when worshipping Jesus we should not perusing a good knees up with some songs that make us feel good. Instead, the pastor said we should be pursuing a relationship with Jesus. The same way a husband should not be having sex with his wife just for his own sexual gratification he should be having sex with his wife because he loves her.

The pastor said the following:

“…the ultimate goal for sexual relations between a husband and wife is not simply pleasure or childbearing, but facilitation of love between the two agents in the physical act of intercourse, so it is with worship.” (Cooper 2011, pp.182)

I learnt soo much about worship and love in that one profound sentence. There’s just so much I could say but I really think that sentence says it all. We should be thinking about Jesus when we are worshipping not looking to pleasure ourselves with little ditty’s that make us feel good.

So here’s how my worship practice has changed: Instead of sitting there singing/playing songs that make me feel good I think of Jesus more of a lover that I am pursuing. So I think well this should be about Jesus, what does Jesus want? How can I make Jesus happy? What can I do to make us closer?

Sometimes I just play the guitar to Jesus now because I think well, maybe Jesus just wants to listen to some music same as we humans do! Also, I try to improve my professional practice because I feel like Jesus wants me to improve.

When we worship and love our spouses it should be about the other person and getting to know them better not about ourselves.

Remember, pleasure should be a consequence of the pursuit not the other way around!

[Video Essay] The Seven Kinds Of LOVE

Hello lovely subscribers and guests,

Welcome! For those of you in the know I said that I have decided to start reading my longer blog posts to you, as it’s more accessible for some people. To test this out I’ve decided to reblog this post about the different kinds of love. You can either watch me read this to you or you can read it below or you can listen and follow the text it’s up to you enjoy! Follow this link to see my other YouTube videos! Don’t forget to subscribe!

Also – follow this linke have a look at the YouTube page for my business Ride The Fader Productions

Essay

The ancient Greeks had various words to describe “love” and the various forms it comes in. Let’s have a look at the first one in no particular order:

1), Agápe (ἀγάπη)

Agápe (ἀγάπη) – love: esp. charity; the love of God for man and of man for a good God (Liddell and Scott 2010, p.4). Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse. Also, used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children (Romans 5:5; 5:8) (Wikipedia 2019, Greek words for love). In his book The Four Loves (1960), C. S. Lewis describes this as the love that exists regardless of changing circumstances and recognizes this selfless love as the greatest of the four loves and a specifically Christian virtue to achieve (Wikipedia 2019, The Four Loves).

Canadian psychologist John Alan Lee wrote a set of typologies about love (types of things) in his book Colours of Love: An Exploration of the Ways of Loving (1973) and these are Lee’s recognizable traits of a person exhibiting this kind of love:

  • Attracted to several types of people
  • Meets people easily so most likely will begin with a stranger
  • Feels concern and care for each partner they have
  • Is neither jealous nor obsessive
  • Enjoys sex and is willing to improve it (Sternberg 1988, p.48) (Wikipedia 2019, Color wheel theory of love).

2.) Éros (ἔρως)

Éros (ἔρως) – love, mostly of the sexual passion (Liddell and Scott 2019, ἔρως) The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love”. In the Symposium (360 B.C.), the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal “Form” of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire, that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence (Plato 1973) (360 B.C.) (Wikipedia 2019, Greek words for love). Lewis saw this love in the sense of “being in love” or “loving” someone, as opposed to raw sexuality (Lewis 1960, pp.108-109). Additionally, Lewis also warned against the modern tendency for Eros to become a god to people, a justification for selfishness and even a phallic religion (Lewis 1960 pp.127-132, 113). After exploring sexual activity he also notes how Eros (or being in love) is in itself an indifferent, neutral force (Lewis 1960, p.124) (Wikipedia 2019, The Four Loves).

Lee’s recognizable traits of a person exhibiting this kind of love:

  • Feels strong physical and emotional connection through the relationship
  • Begins with a partner who is a stranger and evokes immediate excitement
  • May be exclusive but not possessive
  • Seeks early sexual adventure, variety and technique
  • Is ready for love and its risks (Sternberg 1988, p.51) (Wikipedia 2019, Color wheel theory of love).

3.) Philia (φιλία philía)

Philia (φιλία philía) – affectionate regard, friendship, usually between equals (Liddell and Scott 2019, φιλία). It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle (Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy 2014). In his work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics (350 B.C.), Philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends, family and community and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity (Wikipedia 2019, Greek words for love). In the same fashion Lewis saw Philia as the friendship love also and a strong bond existing between people who share common values, interests or activities (Hooper 1996, p.654). Lewis differentiates friendship love from the other loves describing it as “…the least biological, organic, instinctive, gregarious and necessary…the least natural of loves” (Lewis 1960, p.70). He expresses a strong distaste for the way modern society ignores friendship and felt that few people in modern society could value at its worth, as so few actually experienced true friendship (Lewis 1960, pp.77, 84–85, 70) (Wikipedia 2019, The Four Loves).

Storge is also used to describe this kind of love and Lee uses it instead of Philia so does not provide recognizable traits of a person exhibiting this kind of love (Wikipedia 2019, Color wheel theory of love). See below for Lee’s recognizable traits for a person exhibiting Storge.

4.) Storge (στοργή)

Storge (στοργή storgē) – love, affection and especially of parents and children (Liddell and Scott 2019, στοργή). It is the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring (Strong et al 2008, p.228). Rarely used in ancient works and even then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant. This is also used when referencing the love for one’s country or sports team (Wikipedia 2019, Greek words for love). Lewis has an interesting take on this kind of love, describing it as liking someone through the fondness of familiarity, for example, the natural love and affection of a parent for their child. Lewis describes this as the most natural, emotive and widely diffused of loves. Natural because it is present without coercion, emotive because it is the result of fondness due to familiarity and most widely diffused because it pays the least attention to those characteristics deemed worthy of love and as a result, able to transcend most discriminating factors (Wikipedia 2019, The Four Loves).

Lee’s recognizable traits of a person exhibiting this kind of love:

  • Is not looking for love but is ready if encountered
  • Quietly possessive but not overly jealous
  • Believes love comes from friendship but not a goal of life
  • Only has sexual desires after commitment is declared (Wikipedia 2019, Color wheel theory of love).

5.) Ludus

Ludus – “game” in Latin (hence the name of the game Ludo, remember that? Old Schooool! Totally showing my age!!! lol). Lee uses the term to describe those who see love as a desiring to want to have fun with each other, to do activities, tease, indulge and play harmless pranks on each other (like me lol). The acquisition of love and attention itself may be part of the game (Lee 1973, p.16) (Wikipedia 2019, Color wheel theory of love).

Lee’s recognizable traits of a person exhibiting this kind of love:

  • Ludic lovers want to have as much fun as possible.
  • When they are not seeking a stable relationship, they rarely or never become overly involved with one partner and often can have more than one partner at a time.
  • They don’t reveal their true thoughts and feelings to their partner, especially if they think they can gain some kind of advantage over their partner. The expectation may also be that the partner is also similarly minded.
  • If a relationship materializes it would be about having fun and indulging in activities together.
  • This love style carries the likelihood of infidelity.
  • In its most extreme form, Ludic love can become sexual addiction (Wikipedia 2019, Color wheel theory of love).

6.) Mania

Mania – from the Latin for “mental disorder”, from which we get the term “manic” or mainiac! Lee defines manic love as flowing out of a desire to hold one’s partner in high esteem and wanting to love and be loved in this way. This type of love leads a partner into a type of madness and obsession. It is a mix between Ludus and Eros.

Manic lovers speak of their partners in possessives and feel they “need” their partners. Love is a means of rescue or a reinforcement of value. Manic lovers value finding a partner through chance without prior knowledge of financial, educational, or personality dispositions.

Insufficient expression of the love of mania by one’s partner can cause one to perceive the partner as aloof, materialistic and detached. Lewis doesn’t go into this in the book, probably because Mania isn’t love at all.

Lee’s recognizable traits of a person exhibiting this kind of love:

  • Anxious about falling in love and has expectations of pain
  • Quickly becomes overwhelmed by thoughts of their partner
  • Forces partner into showing affection and emotion
  • Is easily frustrated and does not enjoy sexual intimacy
  • Is very possessive and jealous (Wikipedia 2019, Color wheel theory of love).

7.) Pragma

Pragma – from a Greek term meaning “businesslike”. Lee defines Pragma as the most practical type of love and not necessarily derived out of true romantic love, rather, Pragma is a convenient type of love.

Pragmatic lovers have a notion of being of service, which they perceive to be rational and realistic. This also translates to having expectations of a partner and of the relationship. They tend to select and reject partners based on what they perceive as desirable, compatible traits. Pragmatic lovers want to find value in their partners, and ultimately want to work with their partner to reach a common goal. The practicality and realism of pragmatic love often aides longevity of the relationship, as long as common goals and values remain shared for the duration.

In a culture where arranged marriage is practiced, pragmatic love is very common at the time of mate selection. Values are likely to be shared by a couple in developing countries, where survival and wealth building are often prioritized over other life pursuits.

Lee’s recognizable traits:

  • Certain of their preferable “types”
  • Begins a relationship with an already familiar person
  • Believes a loving relationship is desirable for a happy life
  • Expects reciprocation of feelings
  • Believes sexual compatibility can be worked out (Sternberg 1988, p.51).

Further Theories On Love By C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis distinguishes between three main kinds of love Need/Gift Love, Pleasure and Appreciation Love.

Need- Love and Gift- Love
Need-Love – as the love of a child for its mother. However, a child’s need for parental comfort is a necessity, not a selfish indulgence. Gift-Love – epitomized by God’s love for humanity to the disparagement of the former (Lewis 1960, pp.9-12).

Pleasure and Appreciation Love
Lewis distinguishes Need-Pleasures e.g. such as water for the thirsty from Pleasures of Appreciation, such as the love of nature (Lewis 1960, pp.20; 27) from the latter. He developed what he called “a third element in love … Appreciative love” (Lewis 1960, p.26) to go along with Need-love and Gift-love (Wikipedia 2019, The Four Loves).

In my mind I rationalise it like this – Need/Gift Love is “I need you”. Need-Pleasure Love is “I want you” and Pleasure/Appreciation Love is “I want you because I need you”.

My Thoughts On The Matter

I think I personally am a mixture of a couple of those loves, they show what I have said for ages. Love is an emotion that comes from being physically around someone. Real loves is bourne out of real life situations. Sometimes what you are feeling is not love at all it’s Maaaanniiiiaaa! Simple Ludus or Pure unadulterated Eros!

So back to my point that I keep on going on and on and on about…

You cannot fall in love with someone purely based on your interaction with them online. If you have not met them in person and do not have a real life physical rapport with them, it’s not love. You are in love with the idea of them, as without meeting them in real life, you cannot possibly know who or what they actually are. Your relationship is with your computer or smartphone via WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook or even WordPress!

Do you find that when you see those little notifications from that person you have been stalking online ahem *cough* I mean that person you chat to online… that you begin to get a bit turned on? It’s not because you are truly in love with that person. You just enjoy the rush of interacting with them or stalking them online and you have conditioned your brain to receive pleasure from that kind of interaction, instead of interaction with a human face to face.

It’s not my place to judge why people do these things, I am just pointing out the flaws in such interaction. I’m just saying, God made humans as two naked people. Naked to show the intimacy and transparency that comes from real friendships.

Genesis 2:21-25 [NLT]
“So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. [22] Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. [23] “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.'” [24] This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. [25] Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.”

God didn’t make Adam and a computer screen with Eve sitting in some other part of the Garden of Eden. Humans are supposed to be relational and together, face to face, more often than not. Online interaction is not a substitute for real life relationships.

Follow this link to read my previous blog post on this issue, it’s important > Can you fall in #love with someone #online? #onlinedating #communication #internet #relationships

X x x (do not misinterpret that as a kiss…)

Bibliography

Books

Hooper, W. 1996. C. S. Lewis: A Companion & Guide. United Kingdom: Harper Collins Pub Ltd

Lee, J. A. 1973. Colours of Love: An Exploration of the Ways of Loving. Toronto: New Press.

Lewis, C. S. 1960. The Four Loves. London: Geoffrey Bles

Liddell, H. G. and R. Scott. 2010. An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon: Founded Upon The Seventh Edition Of Liddell And Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon. United Kingdom: Benediction Classics.

Plato. 1973. The Symposium. W. Hamilton Trans. 1973. Repr. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Sternberg, R. J. 1988. Triangulating Love. In The Psychology Of Love, R. J. Sternberg & M. Barnes eds, pp.119–138. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Strong B, W., L. Yarber, B. W. Sayad and C. Devault. 2008. Human sexuality: diversity in contemporary America. 6th edn. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Websites

Aristotle. 350 B.C. ‘Nicomachean Ethics. Trans W. D. Ross’ The Internet Classics Archive Web site, at: <http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.8.viii.html&gt; 02 May 2019

Internet Encyclopaedia Of Philosophy. 2014. ‘b. Philia’ Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy Web site, at: <https://www.iep.utm.edu/love/#SH1b&gt; 24 August 2014.

Liddell, H. G. and R. Scott. 2019. ‘ἔρως’ Perseus Web site, at: <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3De)%2Frws> 02 May 2019

Liddell H. G. and R. Scott. 2019. ‘στοργή’ Perseus Web site, at: <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dfili%2Fa&gt; 02 May 2019

Liddell H. G. and R. Scott. 2019. ‘φιλία’ Perseus Web site, at: <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dfili%2Fa&gt; 02 May 2019

Plato. 360 B.C. ‘Symposium. Trans. B. Jowett.’, The Internet Classics Archive Web site, at: <http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html&gt; 02 May 2019

Wikipedia. 2019. ‘Color wheel theory of love’, Wikipedia Web site, at: <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_wheel_theory_of_love&gt; 01 May 2019

Wikipedia. 2019. ‘Greek word for love’, Wikipedia Web site, at: <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_words_for_love&gt; 1 May 2019

Wikipedia. 2019. ‘The Four Loves’ Wikipedia Web site, at: <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Loves&gt; 01 May 2019

I Saw #Jesus!

Hey everyone,

So yesterday I had some spare time and I was just (wasting it lol) spending it laying on my bed, on top of the covers, pretty much doing nothing but daydreaming, thinking about nothing important really. In fact, what I was thinking about was something rather silly, I was imagining being on one of those chat shows and thinking about what I would say and wear and so on lol.

Then I looked over to the right and I saw Jesus just casually sitting on the other side of the bed. I thought to myself wait a minute…. Jesus just stealthily came into my room, sat next to me on my bed without my knowledge and was listening to me think stupidness lol, nothing particularly holy or inspiring but Jesus just seemed to be happy to chill. At first I noticed and carried on thinking, then the Holy Spirit said to me I should thank Jesus for being there. So I did.

I thought to myself – how long has Jesus been there? Lol. Also, how often does Jesus do that? Lol. Also, I realised that Jesus must be there the whole time. We think we are alone but we’re not.

I thanked Jesus for being there because we know that Jesus “loves” us but sometimes it’s really comforting when Jesus does things to let us know that He “likes” us. You hang with people you can stand lol.

Interestingly – when I thought something that I knew was naughty, Jesus disappeared, I then asked forgiveness for that thought then Jesus reappeared!

My experience showed me that the following scriptures are true:

Psalm 34:7 NLT
For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

This is because I realised through my experience that Jesus must there all the time!

Also:

1 Thessalonians 5:2 NLT
For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.

Jesus came into my room stealthily like a thief in the night, without my knowledge, it was just – boom – Jesus is here. My goodness when the rapture happens no one is even going to know what hit them, Jesus will just be not there and then be there!

N.B. I was at the sink this morning, my mind somewhere else again and I saw Jesus again! Standing in front of me, facing me, body angled slightly to the side, looking at me like he was walking past, saw something interesting and had just turned around to look to see what it was.

Fascinating!

Catherine x

Womanhood, love and pain

I accidentally posted this unfinished and early before, my little finger brushed the publish button, touch-phone screens are really sensitive these days lol!

Good evening,

I’ve been meditating on womanhood, pain and love.

This morning my period started and it was excruciating as usual. I was literally sitting there writhing in pain for hours. Thankfully I work from home.

Whilst I was writing in pain I was thinking, this is the price I have to pay in order to have children because as we all know from school, a menstruating woman is a fertile woman.

Basically menstruation in a nutshell is the beginning of a cycle where a woman’s ovaries produce an egg, the womb lining gets thicker in preparation to host a baby and the egg waits to be fertilized by sperm. If the egg is not fertilized then the woman’s body says “ok better luck next time let’s get rid of all this extra stuff we don’t need it this time”, then her body dumps the egg and the extra lining of the uterus. The menstruation is the sign that at one point that month your ovaries produced an egg. If your ovaries aren’t working and don’t produce any eggs you don’t have periods. Which is why menstruation is a sign of fertility. The NHS has an informative page on periods.

Anyway, so I was thinking, we women ensure pain every month so we can have the gift of children, that’s the only reason why I don’t complain. I bear the pain for the love of being a mother one day.

Then I thought physical pain and love are inextricably linked in womanhood. So periods are painful but you keep them because you love children.

Childbirth is excruciating (so I’m told lol) but it one of the most loving moments between a mother and her child she endures it so her child can be delivered and live. Labor is an act of love.

Sex, this can be painful for some women because they have problems like Vaginismus, again, the NHS has a handy page on this, in a nutshell that’s when a woman’s pelvic muscles spasm whenever she tries to put anything in her vagina e.g. a tampon, this literally shuts the vagina, so nothing can get in.

Or another thing is that perhaps it’s her first time having sex and she doesn’t know what she’s doing and he doesn’t know what he’s doing, especially if they are Christians and waited till their wedding night to have sex. This is something that keeps me up at night lol I feel really worried about this even whilst writing this I’ve developed a headache lol. Me and my single self is totally in control of what goes in my nether regions, apart from when I get the annual smear test, again the NHS are helpful with this one.

I would love to be married but I am not looking forward to an over enthusiastic, heavy (because I only weigh 7.5st or 102 pounds lol), aroused man trying to navigate my body for the first time. I feel like it’s going to hurt lol. However! We can work on it, I’m told sex gets better with time. Also, a decent man will listen to you when you say, “please don’t do that at that angle” lol. So I’m willing to work with him to educate/help him to not hurt me and still have a fulfilling sex life. But you see obviously you have to first experience the pain before you realise you shouldn’t do something. Therein lies the risk you take in having an intimate relationship with someone. You might get hurt, a good man won’t mean it, it’s just he doesn’t know what he’s doing, communicate with him, if he’s a good person he wont want to hurt you. However, you have to be willing to risk pain so you can grow together in physical and emotional closeness.

And that’s life as a woman but I know Jesus will help me through it all!

 

Love Catherine

#songofsongs #Solomon #love #happiness #sex #Bible #new #song #love #marriage #Christian #music

Hey guys,

Sorry this one is a bit late I was out doing stuff lol.

I wrote a new song! (it’s at the bottom of this post). I thought I would provide some context to it.

Anyway, my favourite book of the bible is Song of Songs, which is also known as Song of Solomon or Songs of Solomon. Apparently, it was written by King Solomon from the Bible. He was a great lover of women who were not believers of God, which was his downfall because they eventually encouraged his to worship their idols.

Now, Song of Songs is written with parts for a Woman, a Man and a Chorus part for women, which Bible editors often put a sub-head as Young Women of Jerusalem.

There are 3 levels of symbolism in Song of Songs both horizontally and vertically:

1st) A man/husband = 2nd) Solomon = 3rd) Jesus

1st) A woman/wife = 2nd) The Bride of Christ = 3rd) The church

Let’s deal with 2nd male level of symbolism first. The book is written by Solomon so it’s understandable that he would write it using himself. Indeed his name is mentioned several times. That’s just kinda doing what it says on the tin. Any songwriter will use the words “I” and “me” in their songs but be really referring to someone or something else.

For the 3rd male level, verses that show parallels between Solomon and Jesus include: Psalm 2:6-7 [NLT] (This was potentially written by David about Solomon but later refers to Jesus in Matthew 3:17.

[6] For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.” [7] The king (bloggers note: this was referring to King David) proclaims the LORD’s decree: “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son (bloggers note: King David was referring to Solomon, potentially, I’ll come back to this at another time and give you more verses or you can comment and give me some!). Today I have become your Father. [8] Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. [9] You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.'”

There are many more but that’s what I came up with off the top of my head.

Some theorists, theologians and me, feel that the Woman in Song of Songs not only represents a woman but the Bride of Christ (2nd female level of symbolism), which represents the Church (3rd female level of symbolism), which is basically all Christians. The Bride of Christ is referred to in 2 Corinthians 11:2 [NLT] by Paul:

[11] For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband-Christ.

The most comprehensive references are in Revelation, such as in Revelation 19:6-10 [NLT]:

[10] Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the LORD! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. [7] Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb (bloggers note: the Lamb represents Jesus because He was sacrificed in the same way a lamb would have been to atone for sins), and his bride has prepared herself. [8] She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. [9] And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” [10] Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.”

Another reference to the Bride of Christ in Revelation 21:1-5 [NLT]:

[5] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. [2] And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. [3] I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. [4] He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” [5] And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”

This is the most translucent reference to the Bride of Christ,showing that she represents a group of people.

At the 1st level of symbolism, Song of Songs also shows us the ideal dynamics of a relationship between a husband and a wife before and after they are courting. It does this to use a metaphor and situation that we humans can understand. There is a lot of joy between the Man and the Woman. They are thrilled by everything about each other! They also have sex with each other. They enjoy it and even enjoy being aroused by each other and encourage it WITHIN MARRIAGE! (I’ll give you the verses later lol). I feel personally that Song of Songs gives licence for married people to enjoy having sex within marriage and to also enjoy being turned on by your spouse. Which is a good thing. I’ll come back to the parallels for marriage at another time.

I’ve shown the parallels between the 3 levels of make and female symbolism, I’m now going to explain what this means for us as Christians today. The relationship between the man and woman is unusual, as it is actually the woman who pursues the man! This shows us how we, the church, need to pursue Jesus, as much as we want to pursue someone we really love and want to marry!

Moreover, the same intensity of desire the woman has for sexual union with her husband, referred to as “Lover”, is the same level of intensity of desire that we as Christians need to have for Jesus!

On the other side, we see how deeply the man yearns for the woman, for sexual intimacy as well as emotional support. This gives us humans an understandable parallel/metaphor, showing how deeply Jesus desires to be in a relationship with us.

Men’s appetites for sexual union with their wives and to be understood and appreciated by their wives is voracious! So if we think about it this way, relating it to Jesus, we can understand that Jesus has a deep and voracious desire to have the height of intimacy with us all the time, (non-sexual of course but the same desired effect that sex achieves within marriage). As sex is the height of intimacy that can be enjoyed by a man and a woman (who aren’t related to reach other, although it is legal in the UK to marry your cousin) within marriage.

So, we need to chase and desire Jesus and Jesus really wants us to chase Him and wants a deep, intimate and personal relationship with us, where we understand and appreciate Him because He thinks we are totally beautiful and he wants to know us!

It is out of this context that I got sentences from Song of Songs from the New Living Translation (because it’s an easily understandable translation) and made it into a song.

It satisfies the 3 levels of symbolism by paralleling a relationship between 1st)me, 2nd) a wife and 1st) my fictional husband (I don’t have a husband or a boyfriend. One day I’m sure I will 😉 ), 2nd) a fictional husband, as well as representing 3rd) the church and Jesus Christ!

Click here to listen to the song or use the embedded player below:

https://soundcloud.com/hopelikerivers/song-of-songs

Love Catherine x

Me on my teaching day with my new earrings hehe!

I feel very sorry for young people today #bodyimage

Hey guys!

As many of you may or may not know I am the Pastor/Director of Music at my church, see this previous post for more details on that.

Anyway, I’ve been busy working on the church marketing and put us on Instagram! I’m on Instagram too btw hehe. So I was looking for people for the church to follow and started scrolling through the Explore part of Instagram and I just started crying 😦 . Has anyone else noticed that there are soo many pictures of half naked pretty young celebrities with quote “perfect” bodies?

Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with being slim, I myself am a UK size 8 (US size 4), which is why I feel like I can say this with a fair degree of neutrality. I do not think that it is good for young people to have prolonged exposure to imagery of half naked celebrities who they are never going to be able to look like. There are very simple and practical reasons for this, for example, some of them will not look like their heroes because they are simply a different ethnicity.

When I was a child in the 90’s (don’t let my youthful appearance and high-pitched voice fool you I am actually a 26 year old woman) we didn’t have any of this. Hate to break it to you kids but when I was a child there was no: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat (whatever that is…) WhatApp, Twitter, YouTube, Broadband (when we wanted to connect to the internet which was only done for my father’s work it sounded like this.) etc… in fact, until 1998 THERE WASN’T EVEN ANY GOOGLE! Dun dun dun!

Consequently, I did not grow up with the constant ubiquitous invasion of celebrity scrawnyness straight to my little hands and underdeveloped psyche like modern children. I feel like this allowed me to grow up with a bit more of a balanced perspective on regarding body image and social media. Modern children and young people don’t actually understand that people constantly posting pictures of their butt’s and abs is not normal, in fact it’s weird, it’s bizarre and super off putting… Yes, the images were always out there but they were not beamed straight to children’s eyes through personal devices and websites/apps because such technology didn’t exist. In fact, another shocker, not many people even had mobile phones. Children certainly did not have phones. My father only had a mobile phone because he had his own business which operated in Central London but before that he just had a pager.

Working with children in schools and in the community and learning how they think has lead me to conclude that by allowing children and young people to bombard themselves with these images, we are robbing them of their childhood. Here’s what we can expect from the mindset of a child:

I want lots of people to like me> popularity and self are currently defined by likes and followers online > how do I do that? > hmm this person is super slim and half naked > they have lots of likes and followers > lots of people must like them… > I want lots of likes and followers too > I should do what they do then people will like me

They will think “maybe if I was a little slimmer people would like me better”. They don’t think maybe its photo-shopped? Or taken at an angle that makes them look slimmer? I know this because I am a hobbyist photographer, I recognise the techniques, the children won’t and even if they do they may not even care…

Here’s an anecdote from my life:

I used to wonder why when I went into clothes shops why the clothes never fit me like they did on the manikins, until one day, I saw the back of a manikin and saw that the clothes were pinned in such a way that they looked flattering on the manikin, to encourage people to buy the outfit.

The above anecdote illustrates what’s going on on social media and why we need to be careful. The clothes were never going to fit me like they did on the manikins, unless I got them altered. I realised then that I’ve literally been lied to by every shop I’ve ever been to for my entire life…

Oddly enough, it was not the young women that made me cry it was the images of muscular men. I noticed that the imagery insinuated that success, virility and popularity were linked to how massive your abs were, not how massive your heart, honour and respect are. Men feel worthless sometimes too but they generally don’t vocalise it, which is something that really concerns me about men, I really wish that more of them would speak up and get the help that they need 😦 . It can actually sometimes be quite hard for young men to put on some muscle. In my experience, 99% of the time young men are actually quite slender, I literally only know 3 or 4 guys under 30 who have visible muscles. However, social media makes it look like there are a lot of ab-u-lous guys. There really isn’t. Now, I know this because as I said before, I am an adult, I appreciate that you need to give the guy next door some slack lol. Young people are not being told this. Guy’s starve themselves too in order to achieve what is celebrated as perfection and girls are encouraged to love a certain body image, which encourages men to buff up and it’s a cycle of shame. Another thing that’s happening that I find incredibly upsetting is the amount of guys having profile pictures that obscure their faces because they just don’t think that they are attractive enough for people to see them head on. They have been taught that beauty and handsomeness look one way and if you’re not that well no one should even look at you.

Here’s the facts of life, celebs and athletes are paid to train. Athletes especially are buff as A CONSEQUENCE of needing to be fit for their job. Your day to day average Joe doesn’t always have time to train. He’s too busy commuting, trying not to get sacked and trying to stay a float financially. So going to the gym to beef up isn’t a priority, it cut’s into a man’s limited, therefore precious, free time with his family and unless they are a model, having big abs is not going to help them pay their mortgage, (if they can actually afford a house), so it’s not a priority. We should teach our children and young people to appreciate and love those hard-working guys in our lives who do really selfless things, so that everyone else can eat, at the cost of their physique. After all the Bible does say:

[1 Timothy 4:8 NLT] [8] “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

I’m not encouraging laziness, I’m merely pointing out the realities of real life that makes the lack of appreciation for ALL body types an unrealistic world-view to have to grow up with. No one ever said that social media was for children. It isn’t and should be viewed under adult supervision and guidance.

It is not healthy to let children view social media unattended. We need to start protecting our children better. I have experience of dealing with young people who have starved themselves or lowered themselves by wearing inappropriate things in order to get the same level of attention as their heroes. Unless we teach children and young people about self respect, beauty and proper health and nutrition, they are just going to learn from social media, which may or may not give them a positive message. Ladies, if you just want an insta-hunk and dismiss everyone else, I’m warning you, you will miss out on someone special. We need to teach our young women that what’s inside is important. Yes one does need to be attracted to the person one is with, you need a physical/sexual (sexual only within marriage not outside of it!) connection with the person but what is equally important is that you have emotional/intellectual compatibility as well. It’s ok to have abs and it’s also ok to not as well but we need to teach children and young people that, before we unleash them on social media. Besides, the guy can’t stay 20-something with a metabolism the speed of a concord forever…

How does this fit in with my faith in Jesus Christ?

I too have struggled and still struggle with my self image but I believe that Jesus made me and us all and that Jesus thinks that we are all very beautiful 🙂 If that persons face is good enough for Jesus then it’s good enough for you. He is not telling or asking you to date them, just to not discriminate against them because of how they look.

[Galatians 3:28 NLT] [28] There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Social media is a good marketing tool, I am on it myself, I post selfies but I also keep my clothes on too! Please use social media wisely and watch your children when they are on it. Teach them that what you want at the end of your life on your Instagram is something that looks a little like this 🙂

Lots of love and appreciation

Catherine x

Bibliography

“Galatians 3:28 (NLT) – There is no longer Jew.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 31 Oct, 2016. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/gal/3/28/s_1094028&gt;.

“1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT) – Physical training is good but.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 5 Nov, 2016. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/1ti/4/8/s_1123008&gt;.