I sometimes whether some people I meet have actually met a Christian before. I've always had at least one or two Christian friends, and I've never found them to be judgmental even when they knew I was leading a far from 'Christian' lifestyle.
Sure, there are Christians who lean more towards the views of my cartoon friends here; there are those in my church I would withhold certain details of my story from, but thankfully not many, and I may indeed be doing them a disservice - judging them, even - in assuming that because they are from a different generation and background to me, they would look at me differently if they knew the whole truth.
Judgmental, intolerant Christians - specifically those who are quite vocal about their opinions - are, in my admittedly limited experience, vastly in the minority.
And yet, now I come to look at things from their side of the fence, as it were, it seems that certain people expect a degree of judgmentalism from me. Some even try to provoke it; ironically, the subject of these conversations is often (though not exclusively) some aspect of sexuality. Some know that I used to be quite flirty and seem to want me to feel bad about that. Others seem intent on starting me gay-bashing, whether to catch me out as a bad Christian or to justify their own homophobia I may never know.
Well, you're all wasting your time. I know I'm not perfect, but I do know that if my oldest Christian friends had judged me instead of loving me, they wouldn't be my friends, and I wouldn't be the person I am now. And I happen rather to like me.
And if, by any chance, you are one of those people who expect Christians to be intolerant and judgmental: isn't that a little judgmental of you?
I can't quite work out, is this trying to fight fire with fire, or is it becoming all things to all people?
The girls, if you were wondering, are professional dancers, not hookers. Stop the Traffik, the group behind this little stunt, works to raise awareness of human trafficking, rather than prostitution specifically. I have no idea if the crowd on the street were all genuine passers-by or not, but I'd like to think at least some were window shopping, and that the stunned silence at the end was actually the sound of thoughts being provoked.
Whatever you think of the ethics of using scantily clad dancers to make a point about prostitution, I think it's safe to say the internet coverage if not the actual event has raised awareness of the issue.
...I do like to throw the subject in now and then, for the ratings, you know.
Plus, of course, it would be terribly remiss of me not to extol the virtues of marital sex at this point.
Married sex is AWESOME!!!!!
Ok, I guess we can move on now... What? No? You want more? You want details? Tough :p
Well, as it happens, I sort of wanted to write something about it, because that first time - the wedding night sex - was quite possibly the best sex I've ever had. No kidding. I mean, technically speaking, it was terrible. Possibly the most clumsy and awkward sex I've had in... well, possibly ever. But it totally blew my mind.
Obviously there was the anticipation; I'd been waiting to get naked with Animal for almost 18 months, so finally being able to was a great release, apart from anything else. On the other hand, the anticipation, the sense of expectation of this great life-changing moment, probably made Animal rather more nervous than was strictly necessary, adding to the clumsy awkwardness...
Moreover, there was the raw emotion of the thing. I don't think I've ever been as emotionally connected with a person before without having a similar physical intimacy. In fact, I think the lack of physical intimacy allowed us to concentrate on the emotional and spiritual sides of our relationship... I expect that's why God would have us do it that way round.
Clumsy sex aside, it was a hugely emotional experience - more so for Animal, who (don't tell anyone this) cried after giving up his virginity. For that moment alone, the sharing of a literally once in a lifetime event with the person I love most in the world, I'm glad we waited. It would have taken something special from the day if we hadn't.
At the risk of being controversial, I saw this, and thought of some of my Muslim friends, whose beliefs I totally respect, but who sometimes seem to have a slightly skewed view of how important the book is, compared to God. I have tremendous difficulty debating faith and religion with such people because to them the book is everything, and because my personal experience of God cannot be demonstrably more than a dream the book always wins.
Obviously this is not just a Muslim attitude; I guess I'm lucky in that the Christians I spend most time with and am learning most from are not that way inclined, and like me see that the Bible is only part of the story.
I think this just nicely illustrates my view of Bible worship as opposed to God worship.
I can't even begin to say what an amazing day it was. Spring had sprung and it was just a beautiful day to be doing anything, and so finally marrying my soulmate was just perfect. The service was lovely, and so nice to be surrounded by my lovely family and friends (old and new) for the whole day (although, truth be told, it was nice getting away from being the centre of attention afterwards!). It might not have been the biggest or flashiest wedding ever, but I was treated like a princess for the entire day, and isn't that what every girl wants? (Yes, fellas, it is!)
And yes, obviously I cried.
One thing we didn't quite plan for though, was the wedding night being an hour shorter than it should have been. Really should have seen that coming... Still, I can assure you we made up for the missing hour, even if we do still have a lot of time left to make up!
Somebody managed to pull a string somewhere and got our seats upgraded on the flight out to Italy too, which was a bonus; but maybe I'll go into the honeymoon a bit more some other time.
For now though, as it's Musical Monday, grab yourself a bucket, I want to relive one of those classic wedding party songs...
Yes, we danced to that (although not quite as well as in the video) - so sue me! It seemed a wholly appropriate song for Mr and Mrs Animal to depart on, and never a truer word was sung. I couldn't have hoped for a better wedding day; and I still feel like the luckiest girl alive.