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[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
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Thursday, March 29, 2007

THIS:


...is easier than abstinence before marriage. Ahhh, the solution to all the world's STD problems sits right under our noses, but no one believes we humans have will power. Bio-determinism strikes again, and one sign of this is how people are desperate to have us believe that rates of pre-marital sex has always been the same. How they know this is of course a profound mystery: perhaps computer models?

Circumcision recommended to fight HIV

Check this out:

Still, men and women who consider male circumcision as an HIV preventive method need to continue using other forms of protection such as male and female condoms, abstinence, delaying the start of sexual activity and reducing the number of sexual partners, she said.

Wait, wait, wait! Back the truck up...read it again:

Still, men and women who consider male circumcision as an HIV preventive method need to continue using other forms of protection such as male and female condoms, abstinence, delaying the start of sexual activity and reducing the number of sexual partners, she said.

Abstinence: a form of protection. Idiots...how can they logically lump abstinence in with this litany? If you practice abstinence there'd be no reason to experience the fun this little boy in the picture is having. Abstinence isn't "a form of protection" on par with condoms. It is the absolute, perfect, and infallible protection. No false security in abstinence...if you practice it, you are safe. If you seek a spouse who practiced it, you are safe. Why not emphasize this? Why fund programs to cast a social stigma upon those who refuse to use condoms as opposed to those who do not practice the only truly "safe sex" (i.e. abstinence)?

Oh come on James...be realistic! People simply cannot be expected to be abstinent. Well, take that argument to God and the people who are dying from a disease that would not exist if people practiced REAL safe sex, not me.

Maybe the whole world needs to be realistic. Fight AIDS: keep your frackin' pants until married and ostracize those who don't as ones who are spreading an awful disease...because they are after all, whether it be HIV, HSV, HPV etc etc etc.

Don't mind me...I may be an extremist, but I am also very much...VERY MUCH a realist.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:56 AM [+]
+++
19 comments


19 Comments:

Snip, snip!

By Blogger Munkee, at 10:10 AM  

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And NOW, if he practices abstinence he'll be fine.
:)

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 11:07 AM  

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the pic is a little disturbing for me. pretty much sickens me.

it's bad enough putting the poor little guys through this at birth but at that age? they'll remember it forever!!!

By Blogger Susan Sophia, at 12:27 PM  

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It may not be easier than abstinence before marriage, but it certainly is a heck of a lot easier than dying a horrible death from AIDs.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:34 PM  

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It may not be easier than abstinence before marriage, but it certainly is a heck of a lot easier than dying a horrible death from AIDs.

How about BOTH: adult circumcision AND dying of AIDS? Like all forms of "safe sex" you are just gambling. Better to avoid the casino altogether.

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 2:09 PM  

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Sure!!! If someone could honestly and without a doubt say..."get the skin cut off of your ___ OR die a horrible death from aids. It is THE best way to prevent you from getting AIDS." THEN MAYBE one might put their child through the tortures! BUT...one cannot say that can they?
Please!

By Blogger Susan Sophia, at 2:12 PM  

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The statistic I read today was that it reduces the risk of infection by 60%...more than any other treatment currently available. Of course it's not as effective as abstinence. But we live in an imperfect world, with people who make imperfect decisions. Would that it were simpler (sigh).

By Blogger Liz in Seattle, at 3:13 PM  

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All of this screaming about abstinence being the only solution is great. Abstinence is the ideal solution, that is true. Abstinence was ALL my friends and I were taught, and it is what we pretty much subscribed to. And then we all ended up having premarital sex without any protection because we weren't "planning" on having sex. All of the classes at our Christian school, all of the emphasis on abstinence in our evangelical church, and i tell you that amongst me and my friends who really tried to live by it, it was a 100% failure. Each and every one of approximately 10 friends ALL had unprotected, premarital sex. I'm so thankful that we lucked out and none of us got diseases and none of but one of the girls got pregnant. She had an abortion. I know two gung ho, die hard Christian girls now that have had abortions because of unplanned, unprotected sex.

What does this all mean? It means we need to wake our sorry asses up when we think, "Oh my kid is not going to have sex, he's a Christian, he's Orthodox, he's got good friends, the girls at our church are very nice, they would never..." Come now friends, let us reason together. Of course abstinence is the only real, sure protection against disease, but is it not reasonable to live in reality for a minute?

We've got a problem here that is getting more and more desperate because people are either in denial or in the dark about how to deal with it.

I know I'm in both the latter and the former camp at the same time.

Any realistic thoughts and ideas on how we can actually help our kids, or should we just watch this next generation pass into the same sad trap that me and my friends passed through...and I know for certain we were no exception to any rule.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:59 PM  

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Anonymous...

What you call reality ISN'T reality. We (you, me, everyone else) have made this world in which abstinence is difficult, or as you imply impossible. WE HAVE MADE THAT WORLD.

We oversex our children and ourselves to a degree never seen since perhaps Sodom and Gomorrah ...OF COURSE abstinence is hard, hell it's like telling an alcoholic not to drink while forcing him to live in a liquor store. Such is the over-sexed environment we live in. And are you willing to lay down and say: Oh well, such is reality.

Not me.

I believe IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!! We spend millions on ad campaigns to demonize idiots who refuse to put on condoms, but not a penny to demonize pre-marital sex. TV shows when they occasionally address a social issue will do they same: ingraining in our social conscience that using a condemn is good, right, moral, ethical, and THE way to protect yourself. Again...not a word about abstinence...nothing...nilch.

A very wise woman once told me that your children will do exactly as you expect of them. I think you can extrapolate that to the "village" they live in as well. They will do exactly, a little or no more, than a village expects of them. Look around: TV, movies, music, the internet, peers, many mainline denominational churches...what IS expected of our kids?

We plod on looking for band-aids to a problem for which we already have a solution. Yet we say the solution is too hard, and hey maybe you are right anon...if abstinence education (whether at home or at school) is useless, they why do we bother. Heck, why not let the Church give up on the idea too...by golly, GOD Himself is just being unrealistic in asking us to abstain.

Heck, while we are at it, we might as well go the extra mile and say that marital fidelity is unrealistic.

Look...I'm not advocating abstinence education as a solution to the AIDS epidemic, but I AM pointing out a fundamental stupidity in society that frankly Christ and His Church are able to show the solution to. Not that they will listen.

I'm sorry, but if you cannot see how these "band-aids" are illustrative of a serious blindness in our world culture, then...well then...you must be blind too.

As we continue down the road of societal condoned self-indulgence with the notion that attempts at moral restraint are useless...well you can expect MORE disease, MORE suffering, MORE money sent to ME to do more research to try and band aid people who NEVER needed to get sick to begin with. I guess, in a demented selfish sort of way I can see this as job security.

None of this had to be. It doesn't have to continue to be. Science is not going to heal us, condoms are not going to protect us, circumcision is not going to prevent anything....not in the long run.

The diseases will adapt, they will change, and new ones will arise that will not care about whether you or your children are intact. COUNT ON IT.

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 7:49 AM  

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I apologize if I implied that abstinence is impossible. I did however say that amongst my peers we witnessed/experienced a 100% failure rate.

What I meant to imply on one hand is that we are definitely failing to actually prepare our kids for abstinence. James, you were a youth worker, were you not?
This is the old mantra I heard tirelessly both in church and school all growing up, "Sex is great, if you're married!" Well, perhaps you did not see it because nobody wanted to admit that the retarded abstinence message being extolled wasn't working.

So my question is what were we doing wrong as evangelicals, and what are we doing differently and right as Orthodox? The view from here looks, I hate to admit it, much worse. I don't see that we're doing anything, let alone just making the same old mistakes. So who can wonder at what i see as bleed over when our kids aren't simply marrying non-Orthodox Christians, but non-Christians entirely.

Please, you don't have to go on and on with me about abstinence is the only solution. Abstinence is not the solution if it cannot be properly implemented and applied. I feel like i'm taking crazy pills. When I see some of the kids that I thought for sure would make it to marriage with there virginity in tact getting pregnant or getting there girlfriends pregnant and watching families rush about to get them married so they won't have a bastard child. Man, what the hell??

And yes, it may be a twisted and marred reality that i cite, but none the less, it is what Christian kids are experiencing day in and day out, and it is the nightmare that me and my friends went through. Sex wasn't great...it punched a giant hole in my heart...it did the opposite of making me feel good, it made me want to die. That's at least part of the message we should put out there.

Further, this whole expectation thing, wow. Does your SF expect that when you leave the confessional you'll never be back again?? Does he trip on his riassa and pull his skufya over his eyes from the shock of seeing you there again with the same sin?? Would you want him to expect you to not return to confession?? We can be realistic about the world we live in, and not at the same time hand our kids over to the enemy and say, he's going to sin anyway. We need to help our kids deal with reality. Especially, the oversexed reality that they do in fact live in. We may wish it to not be so, we may say, that's not reality because that's certainly not how we were intended to live. But the fact remains, our oversexed world is reality, just look at the billboards we drive by, the magazines on the shelf at the grocery store, the naked women walking down the street. Not all of us can move to Ruby Ridge and attempt to escape it ;) he he.

Someone suggested creating a more open channel of communication between kids and parents would be helpful, so they can come to us if they're struggling and we can help with boundaries before they get overwhelmed.

Lastly, I think Frederica has a better sense of reality when she discusses this topic with our biology in mind. "Late marriage means fighting God’s design for our bodies, and that’s never a fight we can win." The article is on her site and is titled, Against Eternal Youth.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:38 AM  

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Abstinence is not the solution if it cannot be properly implemented and applied.

Can't it? Has no one succeeded? Your personal experience aside, stats say there actually are virgins getting married and presumably they aren't all fat and ugly like me.

The problem, my friend, is that greater society does not value abstinence, does not uphold its virtue, does not even consider it as a reasonable solution...in spite of the fact that it IS the only solution. Like it or not, THAT is a reality.

You act as if abstinence as a way of preventing STD's is akin to just wishing STD's don't exist.

Abstinence education is much much much more than the sterotype of bashing someone "DON'T HAVE SEX" or the more hip (as you note) "sex is great, when you are married." I think it has much to do with relationships...with parents, with peers, with healthy communities that support abstinence. Much of this is lacking for our youth today. We should be doing all we can to support our children.

A bit of advertising to put BACK the stigma on pre-marital sex and promiscuity COULD go a long way.

And it does not help that we discount the feasability of abstinence. If it is untenable then you ought to STOP encouraging it at all...it's a waste of time. This plays right into the hand of those who are of the opinion that no one marries a s a virgin...a lie, and absolute lie that I think comes straight from hell: nothing helps us justify sin then believing "everyone does it."

Education also involes intelligently demonstrating the Orthodox understanding of sex as opposed to what kids get from TV, movies, peers at school, teachers at school etc. Lord how we need to bring the sacred back into the marriage bed. The fact that abstinence CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE, one would think would play a role in it.

Good night, look how succesful anti-smoking campaigns have gotten? Tobacco companies (and their products) are taxed at unbelievable rates...why not do the same with porn or other products that encourage risky behavior? How about TV ads that ridiculously use sex to sell? You ever see any prime time TV stars smoking? Probably not...how about NOT seeing pre-marital sex? NOT seeing promiscuity? Ban it like we ban hard alcohol ads on TV. Oh how perfectly puritan of me...FINE...we're talking about saving live, my friend. If people were serious about solutions, maybe they should consider it....BUT we all start from the base opinion that abstinence is OUT OF THE QUESTION.

And honestly, if I anticipated seeing no improvement in my confessions over my life time, well then I sure am wasting my time. So is the Church and so are the Fathers and Mothers of the Church, and so is God.

Believe it or not, there are actually some sins (let's say adultry for example, or murder) out there that I have never committed...attractive as they may be...I do not see why pre-marital sex cannot be one that can be avoided.

Frederica has some interesting ideas, I've read that before...but the predominant methodology/philosophy of our culture today has CLEARLY not understood the biology of sexuality either...their route of promiscuity and self-indulgence is what has turned AIDS into an epidemic...NOT the lack of condoms or circumcision.

Band-Aids on sin. Sure, apply the band-aid...but you will still bleed to death, albeit slower.

I just think people are overall more interested in having sex without responsibility or consequences...saying it is impossible or unreasonable feeds that lie.

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 11:20 AM  

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Hmmm...you've missed my point completely and you haven't answered my question.

I may have employed a bit of hyperbole, but it should have been obvious to you.

Can you show me this abstinence in action. Are you aware of a place where it is being played out? I told you in my e-mail, I'm looking for real answers. I'm searching for hope for my kids. You seem to think I'm looking to debunk the myth of abstinence. How does it actually work and what does it look like? I have never seen it, but I have faith that it can.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:22 PM  

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...but it should have been obvious to you.

Umm...well I've never claimed to be terribly smart.

you haven't answered my question.

Well a societal attempt at Abstinence education might look like the following...since that'll never happen (I'm pretty sure...but I don't want to be the one to agree with naysayers and say it is impossible to teach abstinence, because I don't believe that...we've just decided we don;t want to) I'm include a brief look overview of how I will teach abstinence too.

Let me further expand on some of my notions here (some indulgence into fantasy...sort of)...many say that abstinence education in the public sector has failed. I'd argue, in fact, that it has never really been tried and I again reference the success of anti-smoking campaigns and the extent to which that effort has been made and continues to be made with statistical success.

Do you realize that the tobacco producers are probably the only product manufacturer in the US that is REQUIRED to spend advertising dollars on persuading people NOT to use their products? How about warning labels? Each product comes with an extensive and varied label warning of the danger of using that product. As I noted before taxes abound on tobacco ("sin taxes" we call them). And OH how smokers are more and more being ostracized such that we are sure (ummm..I actually question some of these stats...but no one cares) they are killing their own children, they are killing their coworkers and indeed they are killing everyone within 30 feet of them...all of this beign a part of the grand plan to eliminate tobacco. And all the legislation we are now able to pass (like here in Washington recently) is even remotely possible because we are succeeding in indoctrinating children that smoking is bad. Some believe the recent plateau of smoking stats (after 20 years of steady decline) has led to the sudden war against 2nd hand smoke that ought to get the decline running again.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of the arguments used to discuss reasons for hammering smoking may just as easily be applied to sexual activity outside of marriage. Cost to the public, danger to the public, spreading of disease, health of the individual, etc etc all may applied to Sexual activity which predisposes a person to an potentially deadly STD.

Wouldn't it be nice to see a porn industry sued by someone with HIV? I mean if fat people can sue McDonalds (or at least an independent filmmaker can make a film warning of the dangers of McDonalds as opposed to the dangers of personal choice on whether to eat there ALL THE TIME) why couldn't a sex addict with HIV sue Playboy enterprises? How about heavy handed regulation of the porn industry....talk about sin taxes...wooo hooo...crack down on internet porn, make it completely inaccessible except through a paid permit via the government. Or better yet, like tobacco, don;t let anyone publish porn online with paying a heavy tax and advertising dollars that warn against internet porn and extolling the benefits of abstinence before marriage. Warning labels...yes how about warning labels on trashy magazines (not necessarily porn) but books that show unmarried sex in a positive light? Or warning labels on condoms? Or warning labels on lingerie? Billboards? TV commercials? How about taxing the use of sex as a selling tool? etc etc etc

If we seriously want to try "Abstinence education" as a society, then we would adopt a multi-billion dollar campaign (financed in large part by sex selling taxes from the porn industry or whatever stupid ad might opt to use sex to sell) to seriously re-educate ourselves. We'd no longer have studies make headlines showing what methods we can use to KEEP HAVING ILLICIT sex and stay "safe", but instead studies that show the virgins still exist and marry as such and remain disease free.

Major Prime-time sitcoms would have their characters learn 1/2 hour lessons about the importance of abstinence and how one can manage it. ER episodes would have "victims" of STD's come to the realization that THEIR sexual misconduct brought this onto themselves...there would actually be guilt and personal responsibility held up as virtuous. We'd see condoms fail, we'd see circumcision fail, we'd see limiting partners fail and we'd see abstinence succeed.

Again, I truly believe that wise woman who told me that your kids will live up to your expectations. And given that these days they garner more info on sex from media and their peers well should we wonder at their (our) difficulties in succeeding with abstinence?

Could this radical abstinence program happen? I doubt it...but then again if you look at all we have done to smokers and to the smoking industry in the last 15 years, would anyone in the 50's have believed it? No way...they'd call such government restrictions crazy....unconstitutional...unthinkable invasion of our freedoms. Of course they also wouldn't (don't) believe how over-sexualized we are today either. Maybe someday if we ever get serious about fighting AIDS we might REALLY consider a serious attempt at Abstinence education.

To address your specific question with the assumption that society isn't going to change or pursue real abstinence education: I would hope we ARE doing as much as we can to protect, educate, and empower our children to withstand the pressures of this culture. I believe...and you may call me naive...that it is possible. I dunno about you all, but I learned NOTHING about sex from my folks. Nothing...zilch...I relied solely on the government (schools) and my equally ignorant and horny peers for my understanding of sex. I don't expect this is terribly uncommon and besides more and more parents are following the government program ANYWAY.

I believe that a loving, prayerful, educated, and spiritual environment can accomplish much for our children. You cannot just slap the hand and say no...but a steady dose of love (especially father to daughter), example (EXAMPLE!!! Husbands love you wives...show them the joys of marriage!), and timely reasonable education (tell the REAL truth...STD's are a joke to high school kids, I can show them very clearly that NO STD is a joke. They kill) All of this might just usurp popular culture.

Read "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters" I think we underestimate the power our devotion, commitment, love, and RULES have on our children. Sons or daughters. Our job is to protect them...I think we can do better than condoms and circumcision does against STD's.

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 2:26 PM  

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I know I'm not the wise woman James is referring to but I have said many times that our children will do what we expect them to do. I more say it regarding their behavior at the ages we have in our home. If we expect them to be monkey's, they'll be monkey's!
In this our expectations are so much more about perception!!!
I'm not the best with words so I'll let this article I found speak for me...it is well worth the 2-page large print read!
http://www.parenting.umn.edu/programs/familiesWithTeens/infoSeries/factSheets/expectations.pdf

By Blogger Susan Sophia, at 5:40 PM  

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http://www.parenting.umn.edu/programs/
familiesWithTeens/
infoSeries/factSheets/
expectations.pdf

By Blogger Susan Sophia, at 5:41 PM  

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I know I'm not the wise woman James is referring to but I have said many times that our children will do what we expect them to do.

Are you serious? OF COURSE YOU ARE "THE WISE WOMAN"

:)

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 7:44 AM  

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Such an incredibly hot debate... I must side with Anonymous #1.

James says:
"I do not see why pre-marital sex cannot be one that can be avoided"

Why? Because we all "sin". There are precious few who are virgins at marriage. How many of you on this blog are part of this elite club?

If you can't do it... how can you expect your children to... We'd all love them to, but if they don't succeed (like maybe you didn't) are you not going to arm them with the necessities to avoid deadly illnesses and unplanned births?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:38 PM  

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Anonymous, your logic is off-track. First of all, non-Orthodoxy does not have the right diagnosis of sin, and therefore cannot and does not have the right treatment for it. Without removing accountability for one's own actions, still, being in the confusion and guilt trip of non-Orthodoxy changes the situation substantially. One indication of the difference between Orthodoxy and non-Orthodox Christianity is that non-Orthodoxy sees guilt and shame pretty much as moral virtues. Orthodoxy sees them as passions. Guilt, in the sense of cowering before God's supposed judicial wrath, is not really the Orthodox view of things. Shame, in the sense of morbid introspection and masochistic self-punishment for the sake of self-salvation, is not Orthodox at all. In that sense, shame is Judas. Godly sorrow leading to repentance is St. Peter.

That "we" were not able to do "xyz" has little or no bearing on what our children will do or be able to do, unless I raise and teach my kids the same way my parents raised and taught me, which I'm not.

Lastly, from your view of sin it is difficult to believe that you're Orthodox. You seem to think that sinful actions in general, and fornication in particular, are inevitable. They aren't. Persons have the power (yes, real power) of choice.

I'm surprised that you see sexual abstinence as a virtual impossibility. This might be indicating something about yourself to which you should attend. This is like a junky believing that the whole world probably shoots up.

That being said, I'd add that abstinence in itself probably isn't the answer. You can't get a positive virtue from a sheer negation. Practical holiness is the answer.

By Blogger Patrick, at 8:51 AM  

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Hey James!

Finally back to reading some of my old blogroll :) I hope you and the family are doing well.

I just wanted to plug a book that I really like - "Real Sex" by Lauren Winner. It especially speaks to people my age and thereabouts who grew up with signing the True Love Waits pledges, but the sentiment begins to wear a little thin when you've gotten through college and beyond and you start wondering what you were waiting for in the first place. So, maybe not so helpful to you know with your kids, but I would suggest it anyone, especially if they have teen/college and beyong people in there lives.

That was a horrible photo, by the way. I know this is not the subject at hand, but over 20 years ago my mom decided against circ'ing my brother, and soon after her best friends son woke up with a diaper SOAKED in blood after his circ. I can't imagine circ'ing my sons, although I'm sure their dad will have some say in the matter :)

By Anonymous Arielle, at 10:38 AM  

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