Monday, 30 January 2012

Musical Monday: Maria

This, as far as I can recall, was the moment. Seeing this song performed live on TotP and the like made me realise: Rock Chicks are hot as!

Debbie was 50-something when it came out. I was 12, and I just loved her attitude! I think I was one of the many new fans Blondie made when they came back.

The other thing I remember about Blondie back in '99 is that, while some long established female pop stars continued to try and look half their age, Debbie managed to dress like a woman of 54 should dress, and make it look a hell of a lot sexier than Madonna (ten years Debbie's junior) in her leotards and nonsense. I think at some point she paid a surgeon to mess up her face, which is a shame, because otherwise she had dignified, age-appropriate sexiness down to a tee!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Filth on Friday - Put A Hat On

Pornographers in Los Angeles will now be required to use condoms while filming, under a new law signed by the city mayor this week.

Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation which has campaigned for a law of this kind for six years, said it was “a great day for Los Angeles, a great day for the performers and a great day for safer sex.”

More facts, to back that up:

  • 66% of porn performers have Herpes, a non-curable disease.
  • 2,396 cases of Chlamydia and 1,389 cases of Gonorrhea have been reported among performers since 2004. 
  • Chlamydia and Gonorrhea among performers is 10x greater than that of LA County 20-24 year olds.
  • Over 100 straight and gay performers have died from AIDS. 
  • 26 cases of HIV have been reported by Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), since 2004.
  • 70% of sexually transmitted infections in the porn industry occur in females according to County of Los Angeles Public Health. 

The Pink Cross Foundation, a faith-based charity offering help and education to those in the sex industry and struggling with pornography addiction, sees this as a step towards shutting down the industry. I really hope and pray that someday that happens. Is that realistic? Depends on your point of view. Pink Cross is run by amazing women (and men) of God, and I ain't gonna be the one to say what God can or cannot do through them.

On the other hand, the consumers, the producers, and some of the performers don't like condoms, which obviously leads me to wonder: Will it work? I mean, from a practical point of view, how are they going to enforce this? And whatever else they may be, pornographers are clever. If there is a loophole, I bet they'll find it. Or failing that, just move. A more cynical blogger may wonder whether the mayor would really want that...

Worst case, of course, the whole porn industry goes right underground, and what 'controls' there currently are disappear entirely.

I guess I have mixed feelings about the end result of this, but if nothing else the passing of this law has raised public awareness of goings on in an industry that many of us would, I imagine, happily pretend doesn't exist.

Sources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16712744
http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/01/25/mayor-villaraigosa-signs-porn-condom-ordinance-into-law/
http://www.shelleylubben.com/porn-industry-statistics

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Fotoshop by Adobé

This commercial isn't real, and neither are society's standards of beauty.


It's funny (sort of) because it's true... Pro-pixel intensifying fauxtanical hydro-jargon microbead extract ftw!

Nicked from jesserosten.com.
Full post and behind the scenes vid here.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bible Musings: the Son of God

Oh dear, should I be doing this? Another Bible study, another awkward question I've been asked a few times: Why do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?

I'm not sure I can put the whole answer to that in one reasonably sized post, but let's make a start anyway; and let's start with the negatives.

Jesus is not the Son of God because of the virgin birth. The Son of God was not conceived at a specific moment within the body of a virgin. Neither did God have sex with Mary in any way we would understand it (look up the definition of 'virgin' sometime). Jesus, the human, was conceived supernaturally to be the vessel for the pre-existing Son of God.Jesus was the son of God before the virgin birth - in fact, before anything:
And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (John 17:5)


Jesus is not the Son of God because of anything he did or said. He did and said those things because he is the Son of God. And no, he didn't run around Galilee going 'Look at me! I'm the Son of God!' - if he had done something that stupid he would have gotten himself killed.
For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:18)


So if he didn't say it, why believe it? Well, when my car breaks down (and it does) and I call the RAC, and within an hour a big orange van with the RAC logo all over it pulls up behind me, and a man in RAC overalls gets out, calls me by name, fixes my car, and gets me to sign that bit of RAC headed paperwork that they always give you a copy of but you never know what to do with, I don't need him to say 'I'm the RAC bloke'. A person's actions demonstrate who they are.

What do you mean Jesus didn't have an orange van and a uniform? OK, if you want more, here is why I believe Jesus is the Son of God:
But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end.
How will this be, Mary asked the angel, since I am a virgin?
The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:30-35)

When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. (Luke 3:21-22)

A voice came from the cloud, saying, This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him. (Luke 9:35)

The angel Gabriel said he was, and God himself said he was. Twice. Well that's good enough for me anyway.

There are plenty of verses I could point to where Jesus basically does say he is the Son of God without using those words, but it seems rather superfluous to start adding those into the mix.

So, why do I believe Jesus is the Son of God?
Because he said so.
Because the angel Gabriel said so.
Because God said so.
Because he is the way that God relates to us, and we relate to God.
Because somebody needed to take the rap for all the bad stuff I've done.

Because God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Musical Monday: Captivated

Animal is a church music geek. Me, I just know what I like - and what I love. And one church songwriter I love is Vicky Beeching. I expect regular visitors (do I have any yet?) will hear more from her on Mondays, but for now sit back, relax, and enjoy this...

Friday, 20 January 2012

Filth on Friday - some facts about internet porn

Well that might drag some visitors in from Google anyway :)

As it seems to have been Sex Week (or No-Sex Week) on this blog, Inow seems a good time to start my new weekly column about pornography. Now, you may have the impression from this blog that I'm an average, clean living Christian girl. You may have the impression that I'm some kind of ultra-feminist. Either way, you may be surprised to know that I've seen porn. It's a sad fact that most people these days have - with over 4 million pornographic websites out there, it's almost hard not to.

However, I am not talking about a hijacked site or an ill-advised click from some spam or dodgy link. I have been among the 68 million daily search engine requests for porn. I thought it was harmless fun. I thought it would spice up our sex life. And, for a while, it did. But I'm not here to talk about my past sex life; I'm merely making the point that my opinions on porn are not based on religion or feminism, but from having watched and enjoyed it myself.

But all that - and why I stopped enjoying it - is for another week; first, let's take a look at those facts about internet porn.

The Stats on Internet Pornography
[Source: OnlineMBA.com]

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Sex, marriage, purity and being a BarlowGirl

This is a question I ask myself more than other people ask me: why would a reasonably attractive, healthy woman in her 20s suddenly give up sex? It certainly wasn't because I didn't like it!

Neither is it because I believe sex is in some way evil, or sinful in itself. On the contrary, I believe God made sex to be fun, something for us to enjoy.

So, I ask myself, why not enjoy it? Why torture yourself with this born-again virgin stuff?
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Gen 2:24)

'One flesh' is a symbol of the inseparable union God intended for husband and wife, and in the act of sex, it finds its physical expression. I believe God intended sex to be fun for one man, and one woman, within the confines of an inseparable union - marriage.

The same is clearly reiterated throughout the New Testament:
But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. (1Cor 7:2)

Precisely because sex is so much fun, us weak humans are often tempted to abuse it. Marriage is held repeatedly to God's ideal for sex, and the way to avoid that temptation.

But why marriage? You're as committed to Animal now as you will be in 66 days time, why wait for a bit of paper?

Well yes, I am as committed to him now as I ever will be, but I am not his wife. For us, marriage isn't about a bit of paper and a ring, it's about having a big party committing our relationship to God, and receiving his blessing. It's God that will seal the marriage, not a registrar.

But let's not forget that although sex is fun, it makes babies. It seems obvious to me that well-balanced children need the influence of a mother and a father. (I'm not judging single parents here; they're doing a tough job under imperfect circumstances, and the ones I know deserve nothing but respect for how well they do so.) God intended from the outset for us to go forth and multiply, and for children to be brought up within that family setting.

And let's not forget the other potential side-effects of extra-marital sex - after all, a baby is the nicest thing you can catch from having sex.

But what if he's rubbish at it? I'm trusting that we'll be compatible. He's my soulmate, a gift from God in every other way, so why would a loving God (who invented sex to be fun, remember!) leave me wanting in the bedroom? What I am certainly not going to do is take a test drive. We'll learn as we go along.

And what of purity? This may seem weird, but Animal's virginity means a whole lot to me - I wish I had treated my own with as much respect. I think this celibacy thing would be a whole lot harder if we both knew what we were missing, but more importantly, he's willing to share with me something he's never shared with anyone else. How can that not be special?

Final thoughts:
  • It breaks my heart that the one thing I treasure most in my fiancé is the one thing I can never give him back.
  • Although being a born-again virgin is not easy, it is possible with God's strength. And I have no doubt that it well be worth it in the end.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Musical Monday: Barlow Girls

OK, so BarlowGirl is a Christian pop-rock girl band, best known (by me, but I'm almost totally ignorant on such matters) for my favourite version of O Holy Night.

But it seems that before they were famous, another Christian pop-rock girl band met these sisters - Barlow's their last name, ordinary girls they don't live in the fast lane, they don't rate with the guys that score 'cause they don't flaunt what the boys want more - and wrote a song in tribute to them and their stand on purity (that 'God has one perfect man already chosen for us; therefore we have no need to worry ourselves in searching for him. When the time is right, we know God will bring us together').

You may want to ignore the slightly icky and ill-advised line about their Moms, but I gotta say I love the sentiment of this song:
No girl should feel she has to trade
Her body for love or be an old maid


And yes, there are guys who are willing to wait - just ask this BarlowGirl on her wedding day ;)

My only question to the world is this:
Why the hell did nobody play me this song in 2001?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Why I hate religion, but love Jesus

I know I said Friday would be music day, but I changed my mind. I'm a woman, deal with it. I decided Musical Monday had a better ring to it, and I've got a similarly alliterative idea lined up for Fridays, maybe starting next week. For now though, here's a poem.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Confession time

Sometimes this celibacy gig really, really sucks. Something tells me this could be the longest 73 days of my life.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Seriously?

Some parents, it seems, will blame the TV for problems that are not really problems.

I'm pretty sure I was jumping in muddy puddles before Peppa was a twinkle in Daddy Pig's eye. And probably demanding chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for all the good it did me. (Just say no, parents!)

A sense of perspective can be a healthy thing sometimes.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Bible Musings: The Holy Spirit

I'm not sure if this is something I want to make a habit of, but I'm going to blog a Bible study. But before I do, I should point out that I'm just some chick with a couple of mediocre A-Levels who is doing her best to get to know God. Personally, I don't believe booksmarts is the best way to do that. Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship, and you can't get that from reading a book. Don't get me wrong: I do love my Bible, but the fact is that I met God before I'd read one word of it for myself. I have since read it all - although most bits only once, which isn't enough, so I won't pretend to have all the answers.

I'm quoting from the New International Version of the Bible because it's widely accepted as accurate and comprehensible, and the one we use for in-depth study at church. I've linked to the whole chapters rather than individual verses because out of context the verses can be misinterpreted, and if anyone is following my train of thought I'd like them to see the bigger picture.

Just to make it even more challenging, a friend was asking me recently what I made of these verses:
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. (John 16:13-14)

So. The Holy Spirit then. These verses are just a small part of what Jesus said about the Spirit, who would come to us - Jesus' followers, both those present at the time and those here today - after Jesus returned to the Father. The Spirit is characterised here by truth; elsewhere he (I'll use 'he' because I'm not an ultra-feminist; that's another discussion though) is called the Counsellor, (or Friend, Comforter, etc depending on the translation) essentially referring to his task of bringing people closer to God and His truth.

Jesus goes on to say 'All that belongs to the Father is mine', highlighting the close relationship between Father, Son and Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has clearly been active since the beginning of time:
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

But he has only been active in a more personal way since Acts chapter 2, which describes the event Jesus speaks of in the verses above, the Holy Spirit coming to be with (to comfort) Christ's early followers. I wish I could explain or describe how the Spirit is with me, but the fact is that God is (and should be, by definition) beyond my understanding or ability to properly explain.

The personal closeness with the Spirit, though, is described by Jesus elsewhere:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever (John 14:16, emphasis mine)

So the Spirit has always been here, but until after Christ, was not accessible to everyone.

Now, on to the sticky bits....
He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and will tell you what is yet to come.

The Spirit will speak what he hears (from either Father or Son, but as we know they are together, it doesn't matter which). Because of the intimate, personal nature of the Spirit's relationship with Christians, he (the Spirit) was able to speak truths directly to individuals. All of this - i.e. most of the New Testament - was 'yet to come' at the time Christ said these words. In John 16:12, Jesus had said that he had much more to tell his disciples, and in the verse above he is reassuring them that through the Spirit, he would tell them the rest later.

And speaking of telling the rest later, I've gone very long already. Serious congratulations if you made it this far! I may pick up on some other points from the original conversation later, but for now that is my reading of the verses in question. Always happy to be educated by more experienced Christians though, so if that's you feel free to comment :)

Friday, 6 January 2012

Music Day - I'm Ready

Over the last year and a bit I've been listening to more and more Christian music - some of it surprisingly good!

I've always liked rock chicks, and one of my favourites at the moment also has a nice geeky name - how cool is it to be named after a character from Tolkien? Anyway, I love this track - not so much for the music, which has a more country style than some of her music - but because the lyrics could come right out of my life.



I'm ready to be all that you have made me to be...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

2011 v 2012

There were a couple of big moments for me in 2011 - I got baptised; I turned 25, and got The Ring* for my birthday (well, on my birthday, it was for agreeing to marry Animal**); then I moved out of the house I've shared with my bff for the last few years and into the house that I will soon share with Animal.

All pretty big things, and although 2010 will always be the year my life got flipped, turned upside down (that's another story, more of which I may share if anyone asks), I think it's fair to say that 2012 is going to be a whole lot more awesome.

The reason for this expectation of awesomeness? Only the most exciting, terrifying event imaginable. Yep, in about 81 days (who's counting?) I will be Mrs Animal. 

I honestly have no idea what else the year will bring... my plans extend as far as the honeymoon, and then everything will have changed for me.

So, I guess, watch this space...

*Not a LotR geek reference, an actual sapphire & diamond ring.
**The drummer in my life

Monday, 2 January 2012

So that was Christmas...

I hope you had fun.

There is an interesting phenomenon I've noticed the last couple of Christmases, which is that of people asking me really weird questions, based purely on the fact that I'm one of those Christians now. I don't mean sensible questions about why I believe all that baby Jesus stuff, I mean silly ones like these...

Q: You do know Jesus wasn't even born in December, don't you?
A: Well, so what, smart-arse, you don't believe he was born at all but you don't have any problem partying down do you?

Q: Doesn't it bother you that most of the people singing about Jesus aren't Christians?
A: Well, since for 24 years all I knew about Jesus was what I learnt from Christmas Carols, no, not really. Admittedly Christmas songs barely scratch the surface of the tip of the iceberg of what Jesus is about, but it's a start. They showed me He was there, so that when the time came I had some idea where to look for Him.

Q: Did you know Santa is an anagram of Satan?
A: Yes, I did, and I see he brought you a dictionary this year. Not before time either, dead hick.

Seriously though, don't let that stop you all asking me about these things. I do like having sensible conversations about them, either here or in private emails, but some of these questions just come up repeatedly from friends, colleagues and relatives, for whatever reason. Still, why not start the year with a rant, eh?