Thank you for your near seminal work. I think I will be able
to forward this URL to quite a few people, and it should do quite
will. My overall sense is that it may tend to alienate and drive
away the people that might need it most (although you have gone
to *great and beautiful lengths to present the truth in a non-judgmental
and edifying way. I think the thing that is missing is the balance,
or flip side of the coin, that so many people are aware of. People
that are in sexual imbalance will most certainly want to read
your message to help themselves, but if they encounter obviously
false (to them) claims it could discredit the whole message.
Kind of like the 'you'll go blind' factor. I saw this in my own
life with drugs in the late 70's. There was all this talk about
the dangers and damages, but not a one about the joys and goodness.
Once I experimented and found out that nobody talked about all
of them, I threw the message out the window entirely. God be
thanked, He saved me from my heedlessness.
The following comments don't all have to do with the Bible, but maybe you can find a way to incorporate or answer them. Hope this stuff is welcomed and helpful.
How can we "surely say that 'solo-sex' is not part of God's original design for man"? God's original man was male and female, having no counterpart. In any case, I think we stray into unclear places when second guessing God's intent, which is not supposed to be discerned or discernible. You'll notice I talk about my interpretation of God's intent a lot here, but I also use "I believe," which I think helps others to receive things.
"Masturbation can never be fulfilling and satisfying..." This is definitely not going to jive which many people who find masturbation as fulfilling (or more so) than traditional sex. (My life after death friend once commented that in his life review he got to re-experience all of his orgasms, and that many of his most pleasurable were alone).
Turning one's focus inward upon oneself leads to "shame, sometimes excessive introversion, often low self-esteem, self-consciousness and detachment from normal social roles"? Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is within. How else do we get in there, but to turn inward. If we don't like it when we get there, we are forced to confront our inner demons, and thereby do the (spiritual) work of conquering evil the best (only?) way it may be done. Remember, he uses us for that purpose... I believe that God's plan for us to put off our old man and put on our new definitely involves us knowing (being at one with) every part of our old man in order to put it off. I think personally that this is the nuts and bolts of spiritual warfare.
You wrote, "Sexual expression in any other context is destructive to wholeness." I agree with this, but so is all sin; and sin definitely has purpose. You might also use the word holiness, but understand that we are here to be broken. Our hardened hearts are removed and replaced with fertile ground mostly when its boulders are ground to dust. I believe this is also God's clear design, where human love is something we "fall" in rather than rise to; and we are become like wheat beneath the threshing and milling stone.
You wrote, "instant gratification is the goal of many" Hence the saying "faster than hell." Everything on earth goes faster than heaven, because heaven is slow. Alternatively, we are expected to live, work and be here effectively in this fast world (yet without sin) or else waste our talents. All of this has to be a process that is experienced along the way of being, rather than a goal to be instantly achieved, right?
You wrote, "living without sexual expression does no harm and can often be of great benefit because it allows libidinal energy to be refocused into socially redeeming activities." I definitely agree with this. Discharging sexually limits our creative potential, and the greatest gift (I think) that God has given us. There is a limit to everything though. Jesus also said that the kingdom of God is like a little bit of leaven, that leavens the whole batch. In this context, libidinous energy would certainly be classified as leaven.
We are in the time of chaos when the batch has (almost) already been leavened. I think the idea anymore is not so much to focus on socially redeeming activities (for me at least) as on love which will result in many good works, and on withstanding Satan in the midst of many trials and temptations which requires us to get our hands dirty once in a while. (Fair pun in response to "The instructions in this volume will save many a young man from 'swelling' the list of the unfortunate...)
You wrote, "men and women are always far better off if they remained sexually inactive until marriage" I think this needs supporting evidence. My first take would be that it is not right to include the word always. There a number of situations which might be cited as exceptions which attacks the credibility of the statement. It is also like saying mankind is always better off not engaging in sin. That statement doesn't carry a lot of weight at ground zero, as you already know. "The fall of man in the Garden of Eden was a fall into self-centeredness" is the primary point of the fall in the first place. We are here to find our way back, and he is here to seek and to save. "In real life not all choices are between right and wrong, but often between degrees of good and better." Everybody say "A-MEN" to that one hundred times!!!
"Stir not nor awaken love until it please," and the Song of Solomon give us a good picture not only of marriage but also of our individual relationship with Jesus Christ"... this from a guy who had how many wives and concubines?
Cultivating "an inner purity that constantly vitalizes one's intimate personal relationship with Jesus the Bridegroom of the church." Of course the opposite is also true, which is that our inner purity is not a result of any works we do, and that our relationship with Jesus is vitalized significantly as well." I don't think that I am arguing that we should sin so that grace may abound, but rather that our focus is not on upsetting the apple cart as much as it is on growth. Often, the most significant breakthrough occurs through breakdown. When all the effort is in maintaining inner purity, it becomes a thing held on to, a thing of the ego and a thing which slips through the fingers...
"Christian leaders taught that instinctual energies could be sublimated and re-channeled into productive and creative actions in the world. This concept has largely disappeared in our time when the focus is on self, self-realization, and self-fulfillment." Right. This is now different time (I think) a time for self, self-realization, and self-fulfillment... In a way of speaking these are our creative energies being channeled into other productive capacity, i.e. the bride making herself beautiful for the wedding...
"Taking all these things together it is difficult to build a case for masturbation as something which is innocuous," I agree a lot, as I said though the balance should be provided for credibility, edification and outreach. I also add below what I for things in moderation, and remembering that it is also a sin to make others wrong. For with the pure of heart, all things are pure (lawful).
1. It objectifies women and men, making them the objects of our sexual pleasure (in our eyes), and not the awesome-potential, children-of-God beings that they are. This encourages us to under-respect, under-serve and ultimately cheat and rob them of the dignity they deserve and which we could have so easily given them. However this makes them into hapless victims which in turn, forces them to value themselves and demand dignity of others. This is a very godly quality that gets cultivated only this way as far as I know.
2. It is a form of use (where another person is the object of the fantasy). As a side comment, people sometimes give themselves in sexual pleasuring to God (which I think, removes a lot of the objection). One possible benefit is that all forms of use are contractual in nature on an inner level (i.e. there are no victims) and serve our purpose ultimately.
a. The part of ourselves that does not know the difference
between us and anyone else suffers deeper separation and harm
than the object of our fantasy (i.e. we hurt the body of Christ).
In turn, the wounded body of Christ goes all the way to the bottom,
so that it can be there to meet the suffering and dying world
with compassion and understanding.
b. The desire energies of everyone that are directed to a certain person are preserved and carried by that person (Many people in the public desire eye are thriving and addicted to receiving these energies). The result is to significantly alter the energy and genetic structure of the person receiving the energy (going forward through generations), but also (and more significantly) joins the energies of the generating sources, resulting in much impurity to the pure (but help to the impure). Another result of this is the birth of goddess (different that Goddess) energy children (I mean really irresistibly attractive children). Outward beauty and irresistibility puts a damper on inner development usually, which causes hardship, which leads to deeper inner development; with the end result being a beautiful humanity, outwardly and inwardly. There is also a trend toward the God to human relationship (which is one to many) rather than time honored one to one.
c. Timing for the release of creative energies is interfered with.
Through masturbation, discharge of the energies not only occurs at a low threshold (as we observed), but becomes periodic in nature. In other words we become a kind of strobe light, discharging whenever we reach a particular threshold, rather than a camera flash; allowing God to choose the perfect 'kodak moment' for the release of those energies. I am not sure what the good side to this is. For sure God redeems all.
d. Because the underlying nature of spirit world, it is easy to form energetic relations with unclean spirits. Once these unclean spirits become attached and dependent upon us we are forced to wrestle them to the ground, giving us added strength and helping rid the universe of unattached unclean spirits. The more adept we get at it, the more advanced spirits we get thrown at us.
3. The trained focus becomes on the pleasure derived from the
sexual act, rather than fulfillment of a partner (you alluded
to this), but the problem compounds that if the pleasure decreases
with the existing partner, then the desire (considered by the
ego as 'the right') to be pleasurably fulfilled drives people
outside of their primary relationship. Once the initial failure
is confronted though, the desire to derive continuous great pleasure
from a primary relationship yields great rewards in stimulating
fidelity and interest. A form of breakthrough occurs that could
not have occurred without the earlier breakdown in my experience.
4. This inverted focus on pleasure instead of godliness actually pushes people into more and more compromised erotic situations (to heighten the dulled pleasure or service the addiction). The lower the 'potential' of the target, the more pleasurable the discharge. Men select women (or other men or other acts) for pleasure that they would never consider being with long-term, which forces later sin of separation from initiated purpose. Conversely, these actions uplift those temporary objects, where they would go largely unloved and ignored otherwise. I have seen many women go on to better relationships than they can possibly have dreamed of coming out of such a "use" arrangement (or ending up broken messes, which I think, ultimately carries the same exact lesson and benefits for them).
5. People learn to thrive on the germinational energy that comes with new relationship and sexually released creative potential. This behavior allows people to not address the charge (growth and energy) within themselves that would be forced by long-term relationship, and thereby to become stagnant. God in his mercy brings a host of other change-motivating factors into play (e.g. STDs, jealousy, impotence, etc.) bringing the individual back to the path of steady growth (or further breakdown, as they may require).
6. All permissiveness adds approval to the behaviors of others who may become similarly entrapped. On the flip side, respect is lost between those that ego-permit each other to be less than they can be; and once this respect is lost is nearly impossible to regain. The result is that they have to work much harder to respect themselves and grow a great deal in godliness from it.
7. Sexual climax is propagated to at least the 5th or 6th dimension (that I know of, I have heard up to 9th), having profound effects on the low-order four-dimensional beings, who are constantly impulsing us for that reason. Again, when we see the damage and destruction in our lives as a result, we will deal with those forces, as planned from the beginning.
8. It arranges for us to become accustomed to access the energies of different people as we wish. There is a overall lack of privacy that results between us and others. Ultimately however, all privacy is to be lost and any benefit of modesty goes by the wayside. I believe we are on just such stepping stones now, as you know.
9. Fear of not enough pleasure actually becomes a major motivating factor in our lives. God answers our fears with manifesting the reality of them (so that we can see that the fear was not so bad after all). When we get what we feared most only to find out that we can handle it (through him), we are able to release it and move on to the next lesson.
March 17, 1999
Lawrence L. Hoppis firstname.lastname@example.org
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