Thursday, October 15, 2020

Kregel Book Review: 40 Questions on Typology and Allegory

When I went to seminary, we didn't speak a lot about Typology and Allegory, so what I knew about the topics was mostly self researched and taught. That is until I had the opportunity to read 40 Questions about Typology and Allegory.


I'll be honest, when I first opened the book I didn't have high hopes, I thought great, another text book, that is going to be dry reading. I was pleasantly surprised at what an easy read this book was. However from the moment I read "This book is an invitation to a kind of reading - a kind of seeing. But I must warn you: once you see the beauty of typological and allegorical readings in the Old and New Testaments, you can't unsee it. And you wouldn't want to, even if you could." I was hooked. Just like the book 40 Questions about Heaven and Hell, the book lays out the most common questions people may have about typology and allegory, giving good, solid definitions of both. I read the book in a little over 8 hours, this isn't to say the book is a super easy read, it is that well written and draws you into seeing the scripture for what it is. Chase truly focuses on one thing at a time, and that makes the book seem like a quick and easy read, but hold on to your hats, because he sure does pack a lot of information into those fairly short chapters!

The author states "My aim in this book is to orient Bible readers to the subjects of typology and allegory, that we might be more faithful readers of the Scripture as we behold more fully the glory of its story." I can't help but think that with this book, and the knowledge I now have, that I will be more focused on the larger story of the scripture and not just the topics that appeal to me as a Christian.

The book is broken up into 3 sections, The Bibles Big Story is part one. This covers a very high view of the Bible's story. Part two and three are Questioning Typology and Allegory, respectively. These two seconds are further broken down into three sections, Understand..., Church History..., and Indentifying. Each of these sections further discusses each topic more in depth and allows you to read answers to many common questions and possibly come up with your own not so common questions.

Over all I found this book to be an easy read all Christians, those with Doctorate degrees, all the way to your common church goer looking for a deeper relationship with scripture, no matter your education level or dedication level you will learn something about the deeper meaning behind scripture.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Mental Health and the Church

This is a post about depression and how the Church should handle depression and depressed people. There may be triggers in this article. As always, If you’re depressed, tell someone. Tell a doctor, friend, family member or counselor. I am begging you please do not suffer alone, especially if you feel suicidal.

World Mental Health Day was on October 10th.  This week, in various discussions with Christians, I have heard "you don't need counseling, a doctor, a therapist, medication, etc." These same Christians follow up with you only need Jesus. 

I am not going to lie, that is one thing that really irritates me because it shows just how much work we need to do to become more acceptant of mental illness being treated. How many Christians do you know that will go to the doctor when they catch the flu? Have a broken bone?The common cold? Pregnancy? Most everyone will go to the doctor for ailments they can see or that they physically experience. So why not mental health? 

Mental Health shouldn't be a taboo topic. According to an article by Geneva College, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), "approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S." Biola Univerisity states that this means that nearly 46.6 million Americans over the age of 18 struggle with some form of diagnosable mental illness ranging in severity from mild to severe. On average, there are 48,344 suicide deaths, most of whom have a diagnosable mental illness. To break that down further, 100,000 population, there are 14.8 suicide deaths. 

Many of these individuals will have turned to their church and their faith for spiritual guidance in times of emotional distress. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to mental illness in many Christian churches. The prevailing culture of silence along with misguided attitudes and erroneous expectations often cause suffering believers to feel shamed, blamed and very unsupported. This means that a lot of good, Christ-centered people suffer alone and more often than not in silence. And sadly enough our African American counterparts are more likely to suffer in silence even if they have the funds to seek help. 

In years past, people with mental illness were ostracized, alienated and even abused. Today, most would agree that mental illness is better understood and better treated. However, some of the contempt and cruelty of the past has been replaced with silence and indifference in the present. It is time for the church to step up and make a difference, to move beyond the taboo and reach out to people who suffer from mental illness.

I was reading an article written by a pastor of the Moravian Church and in the article she relates the story of a woman whose husband had knee surgery and the church gathered around, brought food, etc. Yet when this same woman's husband attempted (unsuccessfully) to take his life, the fridge stayed its usual empty self. This goes back to the leadership of the church. This same article in the Moravian church stated that A 2016 study conducted by LifeWay Research and published in ChristianityToday revealed the horror and reality that only seven percent of church pastors discuss mental health with their congregations “once a month” or “several times a month.” Meanwhile, 92 percent of pastors reported talking about mental health in sermons or church functions “once a year, rarely, or never.” (By the way if you are a pastor looking for a great resource on mental health, I recommend the Pastoral Handbook of Mental Illness from Kregel Publishers, see review here.)

Personally, one of the worst things I believe Christians can say to those who are suffering with mental illness is that "You don't really need help." "Jesus can heal you." "You have to believe more." As one who has been diagnosed with two mental illnesses, I can tell you I have heard my share of "You don't have enough faith" comments to last a life time. As CareNet blogger Susan Roberts writes "He is the source of our abundant life. However, mental health struggles are not often the result of sin or failure. Equating someone’s depression with mental instability brought about by God as a punishment is like equating a cancer diagnosis with God striking down King Herod for denying him glory. Mental illness is not a punishment.

So what can the church do? 

The church needs to educate itself on mental illness. Whether through conferences or classes. They need to learn to speak about mental illness compassionately and in informed ways. The Grace Alliance Mental Health Website offers resources for churches and individuals that want to work through learning more about mental health and even start their own grace group to help others through recovery with mental health. NCBI has a wealth of articles for starting Mental Health committees in churches so that they can  educate members and clergy on working with those who are currently stigmatized by mental health. 

I would like to remind you all that mental health in the church is something that I feel very passionate about. You may ready my First Blog about mental health at It is Well...Depression in the church. The following is from my second blog about depression and the church. Depression and the Church Revisited

Church leaders should know that depression is a very real issue that they must address.  Some people say that depression is solely a spiritual problem while others believe it to be a physical or mental disorder.  I believe it is both.  As followers of Christ, everything we are, everything we do and everything we experience is wrapped up in and affected by the personal relationship we have or do not have with God through Jesus Christ.  Nothing touches our life that doesn't pass through His hands, with His permission.  Every problem we face, whether it is a physical illness or an unconfessed sin is a "spiritual problem".  If it is a concern to us it is a concern to Him.

Church leaders should know that depression may require medical attention.  Chemical imbalances induced by stress can trigger depression.  It is important to know that a tendency toward depression is many times hereditary, resulting in a disorder that responds well to the right medication.  Depression is not eliminated by medication.  Medicine simply levels the playing field so that the issues and problems that lead to depression can be effectively dealt with.

Church leaders should know that depression may require professional counseling.  I am amazed that so many Christians are so afraid to see a Christian counselor.  Shame and guilt often prevent those who battle depression from getting the help they need.  God gave counselors their gifts and abilities.  He must have known we would need them.  Church leaders should be quick to encourage those struggling with depression to seek out Christian counseling. 

Church leaders should be aware of the shame and stigma felt by those who struggle with depression.  These people are not "crazy" but often feel as if everyone thinks they are.  Many times a pastor or church leader can make it easier for those who battle depression by simply acknowledging depression as a reality that anyone can face.

Church leaders should know that depression is not necessarily sin.  The causes of depression are incalculable. While it is true that depression can be triggered by the consequences of sin it is just as true that depression can simply be the result of a chemical imbalance present from birth. Depression can even be a side affect of medication or induced by health problems as well as physical and mental exhaustion. For example, those who must take medicine to control high blood pressure, thyroid conditions, diabetes and a host of other illnesses are very likely to struggle with depression.  Many of the most creative and powerful leaders battle depression because they constantly teeter on the brink of burnout.

Remember, authenticity and transparency bring healing.  As pastors and leaders we must be willing to practice emotional integrity, freeing those we love and lead to do the same. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Judgmental Christians...

I am often seen as a judgmental Christian. Fine. I am judgmental. I could throw out the scripture of Matthew 7:1 Judge not, lest ye are judged." However, we are judge not so that we can judge well. 

What can't we judge? We must not judge “the hidden . . . purposes of the heart” of other Christians based on their decisions, actions, perspectives, words, or personality that concern us if those things themselves are not explicitly sinful (1 Corinthians 4:5). However, there are things we can judge. Christians must judge the explicitly sinful behavior of a professing Christian.

Jesus said a “tree is known by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). When do the hidden sinful purposes of the heart reveal themselves? In a person’s explicitly sinful behavior. That’s why Paul didn’t even have to be present to pass judgment on a man who engaged in sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 5:3). And he explicitly instructed the Corinthian Christians to pass judgment on him too (1 Corinthians 5:12–13).

When we sin, our Christian brothers and sisters have an obligation to judge us. They must not condemn us, but they must, out of love, call us to repent. Such judgment is a grace, an expression of God’s kindness (Romans 2:4), and we only compound our sin if we take offense. If our sin is very serious and our church determines that we must be disciplined according to Matthew 18:15–17, we must keep in mind that the purpose is to pursue our redemption not damnation (1 Corinthians 5:4–5).

So last night I wrote a blog called Beyond 4 Walls. Tonight, I was chastised for posting the blog, stating I hadn't spoke to the person. I did attempt, I explained, based on earlier comments that the church was offering online services, that I felt the original poster just doesn't like the way the church is being lead. I still feel that way. He even said as much to another commenter.

But let us not judge other Christians’ hidden purposes of the heart as sinful if they disagree with us over the best course of action. We may discuss and persuade, but we may not judge. Jesus will judge. It is for him alone to bring to light what is now hidden and to commend or rebuke (1 Corinthians 4:5). Let us “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, [bear] with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Beyond 4 Walls


Earlier today in a group on facebook, someone wrote "UMC in VA had abandoned the church." This is simply not true. The church that he attends is offering online services but not in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The truth is a lot of churches are having to look at alternative ways of worship. 

I understand the feeling of abandonment. However, as my Bishop stated, we are to do no harm to our fellow man. When we speak of doing no harm, it means to avoid all evil of every kind, including not showing up to a building where people may end up capturing a virus that could potentially kill them. What I believe this person is saying is that nothing is going to make him happy until he can get back in the church and actually worship sitting in a pew. I get it, I am not happy that we can't be in church, but I feel like God is doing something greater.

You see, I look for silver-linings in not being in the church. One church right now doesn't intimidate people. They can pull up in their cars, they can hear a message about God online through social media. Even the church of England has recommended that churches continue with online services when they return to their buildings, even the official website has online prayer office daily. God has moved the church beyond walls. 

Andrew Hall of First Baptist church in Huntsville, AL says "Church isn't necessarily the building, the Church is the people." I think about Ferguson, MO and one of the chants that the people called out "Get out of the house and into the streets." In other words, "Get out of the pews and into the streets." COVID-19 has taught us that we need to move beyond the walls. 

Yes, there is comfort sitting in the church, walking in shaking hands with those we know and love, definitely comfortable. Yet, God has given us a door to the world. Everyone one of us has a ministry, and we have a mission field. The Coronavirus pandemic calls us to a new location – the streets redefined. The call to the streets is a metaphor for leaving places of comfort and going to the inconvenient spaces in the margins. If physically being away from our sanctuaries – mosques, temples, synagogues, and spiritual houses of worship makes us uncomfortable – perhaps worshipping in place is where we need to be. Perhaps we have become so comfortable behind those walls, we have lost our prophetic imagination to be the church without the bricks and mortar surrounding us.

God is calling us to the highways and the hedges, to compel people to come in that His house may be full. (Luke 14:23, ESV). God doesn't work by accident. In fact, Brad Larson says "He is intricately intentional with how he guides our lives. The people around you — the ones you love and the ones you loathe — are his image-bearers and they all need the grace of Christ." 

It's time to stop worrying about if a Bishop will allow you back into your building, because God is calling you to something greater, He's calling the church out from behind the walls, and straight into the mission field...will you answer? 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Cross and The Flame: A futile argument

Quotes are in italics; with links to the quotes where possible.

Recently the UMC's logo of the Cross and Flame have come under attack. 
Adopted shortly after the merger of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the symbol relates he United Methodist church to God through Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame). The flame is a reminder of Pentecost when witnesses were unified by the power of the Holy Spirit and saw "tongues, as of fire" (Acts 2:3). The two tongues of a single flame may also be understood to represent the union of two denominations. The two separate flames represent the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church coming together to form the United Methodist Church.

Now coming from an ancestry that is European-American, I have a hard time believing that a symbol that has withstood the test of time, and was adopted at the height of the civil rights movement has suddenly taken on a hateful meaning. In fact, I personally don't believe it has taken on that meaning at all, except by some who are foolish enough to want to lead people down a path straight to hell. Now I personally can't say what it means to be black in America. I have distant cousins who are black, I have friends who are black, and I even asked on Facebook and one friend said "Well, I wouldn't think that Methodists are cross burners."

In fact, I did a bit of digging, when I searched churches with Flames in their logos, I came up with no less than 2,170,000,000 results, when I searched churches with Crosses in their logos, I got 2, 370,000,000 and when I searched churches with flames and crosses in their logos, I had no less than 61,800,000 results.  And those are just individual churches; the PCUSA uses a cross made of flames and a dove as their official symbol, the Churches of God, use a flame surrounding the cross, and the Free Methodist also use flame symbolism in their logos. 

Similarly I don't think that this is an issue of the cross and the flame. I believe instead as one minister pointed out it is to remove the cross from Christianity. You see the cross is what is offensive to people. Think of the multitude, "And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and to them, "If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." Mark 8:34

 In Greek the word deny is aparneomai. It is a strong word meaning that a person must refuse to be thinking about oneself.  This is a strong statement. It is a picture of complete denial of one’s desires and wishes. Lately I have spoken to several atheists, and the one thing several people have said to me is "I don't know what I believe in and frankly I don't want to be a Christian because it will mean I can't have fun." Really? Some Christians are the most fun people I know. 

Jesus said we must take up our cross. In Christ’s time everyone understood the meaning of the word cross. Flavius Josephus tells us the Roman soldiers literally crucified two thousand people on crosses on one occasion. To carry your cross meant that you were dragging it along and eventually you reached the place where the soldiers would crucify you. Therefore, Jesus’ point is that you must be so committed to denying yourself that you are willing to die for Christ. No one will truly follow Christ who continues to be more interested in himself or herself than in Christ. Jesus does not give us the option of calling Him our Savior and Lord while continuing to satisfy our own desires and wishes. We must deny ourself to the point of death in our following Him. This is the character of a true follower of Christ.

Now I know a lot of "Pastors" will say I am crazy, but it's honestly without a doubt in my mind what I feel is happening in our society and there will be a lot of other churches that need to lose their logos also...for fear of offending someone.  However, I look at the liberal church and I see all of the evil that John saw in his Revelation; however, I want to take a look at those seven churches and I want to show you the lessons that I recently read about and actually agree with

Ephesus
The lesson in the letter to Ephesus teaches that truth and love must go hand-in-hand. A church that upholds doctrinal purity at the expense of showing love is just as flawed as a church that upholds congregational harmony at the expense of truthful teachings. Instead, Jesus reveals that a church fashioned in His image must teach God’s Truth in love.

Symrna:
Like the church in Smyrna, Christians are persecuted worldwide in obvious and insidious ways. This letter warns all Christians that although we may suffer greatly, the length of tribulation will be short compared to the promise of eternal life.

Pergamum:
Like the Christians in Pergamum, it’s easy to normalize the non-Christian behavior of those around us and allow that behavior to dilute our values (1 Corinthians 15:33). But the Bible urges us to “not conform to the pattern of this world” but be transformed by the renewal of our mind in accordance with God’s Word (Romans 12:2).

Thyatira
Just as some in Thyatira’s church were led astray by a false prophet, Christians today fall prey to cult leaders, occult practices, and other false teachings. To share in Christ’s victory, we are to avoid these “so-called deep secrets” of Satan (Revelation 2:24) and hold firm to Christ’s teachings.   

Sardis:
Today, Christians can fall into the trap that ensnared the church in Sardis if we merely go through the motions of practicing our faith without really feeding our spirit. We can avoid becoming “the living dead” by engaging in our faith through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship.

Philadelphia:
The message to Philadelphia shows us the blessings that come when we maintain our faith despite life’s tribulations. In fact, those who persevere despite weaknesses will stand strong as pillars in Heaven.

Laodicia:
Like the church in Laodicea, it’s easy to become complacent in our faith during times of abundance. Christ warns us in this revelation that he will “spit out” lukewarm disciples. Instead, Jesus urges us to keep seeking the Lord’s face even after His hand has bestowed riches in our lives. 

So while we are arguing over a cross and a flame, we are becoming more and more lukewarm about the gospel, this is just a way for the enemy to distract us from exactly what he fears, loss of power. Personally, I am sick of these arguments. In fact it's due to these arguments that many of the atheists that I have come in contact with have rejected the church once I start talking with them. 

Our arguments over frivolous things have watered down the gospel. I have had people who are LGBT ask me "If my wife and I come to church, would we be welcome?" My first question is "Would you be open to the gospel? And I don't mean a watered down version of the gospel?" They look at me, and ask "What does that mean?" I tell them, "Yes, you are welcome in our church, but I can't promise you that I won't step on your toes when I speak about sexual immorality; however, what you do with that information, is completely up to you." 

Because of what the world has decided the Gospel should be, pastors are hungry prestige, that they are willing to keep the gospel watered down. People tell me that I am antagonistic, controversial, contentious, yet, I don't see any of these people actually contending for the faith in meaningful ways. 
Author Kenneth C. Haugk defines antagonists as “individuals who on the basis of nonsubstantive evidence, go out of their way to make insatiable demands, usually attacking the per­son or performance of others.” Yet much to the consternation of many, my views are backed up by substantial study, scripture and even peer reviewed articles. In fact my friends tell me that I am probably stepping on the toes of many Christians. To step on toes is to insult, or upset one, especially by getting involved in something that is one's responsibility. This was very evident last night when a member of a UMC Clergy chat told me that "to participate this in this group you have to be a member of the clergy." Well frankly, the group is public and there is no way to tell who is clergy and who isn't. What bothered the person is that I was stepping on toes and basically challenging the group. 

Again this is something that renders our gospel void to outsiders.  Last time I checked my baptism into the church renders me a minister of the gospel; not a piece of paper from the District, Conference, or any man. After all in our tradition this call is grounded in a Wesleyan understanding of servant ministry and servant leadership that affirms that all Christians are ministers by virtue of their baptism. (The Christian as Minister)

I have spent some time this week, thinking about the Musical Hamilton, I have been thinking about Aaron Burr's song "Wait for it". 

Hamilton doesn't hesitate.
He exhibits no restraint.
He takes and he takes and he takes
And he keeps winning anyway.
He changes the game.
He plays and he raises the stakes.
And if there's a reason
He seems to thrive when so few survive
Then Goddamnit I'm willing to wait for it.
I'm willing to wait for it...
I'm willing to wait for it...
Life doesn't discriminate
Between the sinners and the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes.
And we keep living anyway
We rise and we fall and we break
We fall and we make our mistakes.
And if there's a reason I'm still alive
When so many have died
Then I'm willin' to- then I'm willin' to-
Wait for it... Wait for it... Wait for it...

Right now it seems that the liberal church keeps winning, and they are changing the game, raising the stakes; and so many conservative pastors and pastoral candidates are falling behind and they aren't surviving. Like a young Hamilton, it is time for conservative churches to start speaking up against their bishops, and stop allowing for a watered down gospel...may be it's time for churches to stop being scared of the contentious, antagonistic, controversial Christian...may be it's time for them to embrace the laity who are willing to fight when so many are terrified to walk out on the front lines because they may loose their churches, because frankly, I am sick of pastors who won't speak out, I am sick of pastors who water down the gospel, because should they anger the wrong person they won't have a church next year. 

It's time to stop the fighting over logos, and start fighting for the true Gospel, it's time to FIGHT over the SOULS of the LOST! In fact, I challenge every minister that I know that lives in this area to come to town with me and pray with the lost; just spend some time walking around the downtown area and pray with the homeless, pray for those at the bar, pray for the kids who are riding skateboards, pray for the lost, pray with the member of the LGBTQIA+ community that has been rejected by church and how they change their minds when they see people who love them unconditionally. I literally have people who come back and ask me questions about my faith because I don't judge them, I just tell them, "Here's the truth of the Gospel, do with it what you will." I plant a seed and others water it and God brings the increase. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Houston, We have a Sin Problem

It has come to my attention that as Christians we are to be okay with objectification and sexualization of women over the age of 18. Evidently I not only stepped on toes today, but I stomped them with my article on asking Christians where they were when Netflix was showing other films labelled as soft porn, and the fact that children had access to those films. 

But there is really no defense for the lack of outrage at the objectification and sexualization of women. Matter of fact, there are lists, and lists of films that objectify women. Matter of fact the internet movie database lists no less than 629 movies that objectify women; over 300 movies with bare breasts, over 290 movies with female nudity, 152 movies with full frontal female nudity. Seriously? But it's okay because the women are all over 18 (at least we hope).

In less than a second, 0.42 of a second to be exact, google pulled of 1,280,000,000 porn sites however, only 206,000,000 churches show up in 0.51 of a second. I hate to say this, but it's the only thing I can think to say right now, HOUSTON (CHURCH) WE HAVE A PROBLEM! It is far deeper than a movie about a dance troupe that twerks. It's far deeper than really any thing we have remotely ever considered! We have a SIN problem. 

This issue of a movie is people's wake-up call. In my previous article I never said it was good, which seems to be what people are saying that I have said. The story line was good; the acting fair and the dance could have been toned down. So here is what I am asking, Why are we letting our daughters look up to women like Shakira? J-Lo? Lady Gaga? Madonna? Brittany? Why are we letting them get into competitive dance? Competitive Cheer?  Two things that can be seen as objectifying women and sexualizing them? 

Naomi Parker Fraley

Men want to argue that it's because these people are over 18 that they can do this, but what would happen if we, as Christians actually stood against the sexualization and objectification of women? What if we gave our daughter's women to look up to like Susan B. Anthony? Eleanor Roosevelt? My personal heroine as a child was Naomi Parker Fraley, you best know her as Rosie the Riveter. Mrs. Fraley, who had worked in a Navy machine shop during World War II. Give our daughters something wholesome to look up too. 

I think a friend of mine said it best "We have reached this point because "Christians" don't like others sins, but they do like their own sin." In other words, we want to see others do better, but we don't want our own sins pointed out. Well, I hate to say this, but I am here to point it out...we complain that people aren't doing enough to point out the wrongs in the world, well I just pointed out the wrong and it hurt a lot of people...this is your wake up call church...

Here is what the scripture tells you about sin: 

MY Sin may be A Secret but IT'S NEVER PRIVATE

"You may be sure that your sin will find you out." Numbers 32:23 (NIV)          

Sin DOES LONG TERM DAMAGE

"Don't deceive yourself: You can't make a fool out of God! Whatever you plant is what you'll harvest. If you plant in the soil of your sinful nature, you'll harvest destruction. But if you plant in the soil of your spiritual nature, you'll harvest everlasting life!" Galatians 6:7-8 (GW)

"Because of your stubbornness in refusing to repent and turn from your sin you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For there is going to come a day of judgment when God will judge all people according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who seek God . . . but for those who are self-seeking and reject the truth and practice sin, they will face God's anger."  Romans 2:5-8 (NIV/NLT)

It's time to wake up church from your slumber, it's time to realize we have accepted sin far too easily and that is why we are where we are! 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Where were you? A Challenge to Christians over their Boycotts

Christians, parents, woke folks, where were you in February when J-Lo and Shakira were shaking what their mama's gave them. You act like hyper-sexualization of dance is something new. It's not. But where was the outrage when other pornographic films were released and influencing people, young people, because you can access porn on just about any streaming service without parental controls. 

I am a huge foreign film fan. I love a good foreign film. I love Science Fiction, I love a good comedy or adventure film, I also like classic films.  

The first thing you need to realize is that 1) Cuties is a foreign film. 2) U.S. courts have ruled that the First Amendment protects "indecent" pornography from regulation, but not "obscene" pornography. People convicted of distributing obscene pornography face long prison terms and asset forfeiture. However, in State v. Henry (1987), the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that obscenity was an unconstitutional restriction of free speech under the free speech provision of the Oregon Constitution and abolished the offense of obscenity in that state, although it remains an offense on the federal level. Child pornography is illegal in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is not protected by the First Amendment, and even if not obscene, it is not considered protected speech, according to New York v. Ferber.

So I have a couple of questions, where was your outcry against the movie Immoral Tales. Immoral Tales (FrenchContes immoraux) is a 1973 French anthology film directed by Walerian Borowczyk. The film was Borowczyk's most sexually explicit at the time. The film is split into four erotic-themed stories that involve the loss of virginity, masturbation, bloodlust, and incest. 

The film is separated into four stories:

  • The first story involves André (Fabrice Luchini), who takes his 16-year-old cousin (played by Lise Danvers) to the beach to perform fellatio on him in tune to the waves of the incoming tide.
  • The second story is titled Thérése the Philosopher, an adaptation of the novel of the same name. It involves a teenage country girl (Charlotte Alexandra) who intermingles sexual desires in her imagination with her dedication to Christ after being locked in her room.
  • The third story features Elizabeth Báthory (Paloma Picasso) as a countess who murders young girls in order to gain eternal youth by bathing in their blood and a girl (Marie Forså) putting pearls inside her vagina.
  • The final story involves the daughter of Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia Borgia (Florence Bellamy), having sex with her male relatives. 

Before that there was a film called Blue is the Warmest Color.  Not realizing this film was a lesbian love story I did watch this one, but as soon as the graphic sex scenes came on, I realized that this was a pornographic film. 

The Plot: 
The film follows Adèle, a French teenager who discovers desire and freedom as an aspiring female painter Emma enters her life. The film charts their relationship from Adèle's high school years to her early adult life and career as a school teacher. The premise of Blue Is the Warmest Colour is based on the 2010 graphic novel of the same name by Julie MarohThe Sex scenes were extremely graphic and even at the Cannes film festival the film shocked some critics with its long and graphic sex scenes (although fake genitalia were used). 

I literally looked for articles against this film from Christians, who decried the film and it's showing on Netflix. I looked for people who boycotted Netflix and there was nothing available. So where were you? And please don't give me the line, "Oh if you are over 18 it's fine for you to star in a pornographic film, but not in a film like Cuties." 

Now a word about Cuties, and yes, I watched the movie. I know what it's about. The film stars Fathia Youssouf, Médina El Aidi-Azouni, Esther Gohourou, Ilanah Cami-Goursolas and Maïmouna Gueye. The plot revolves around a French-Senegalese girl with a traditional Muslim upbringing who is caught between traditional values and Internet culture. According to the filmmakers, the film is intended to criticize the hypersexualisation of pre-adolescent girls.

Cuties: The Plot

Eleven-year-old immigrant girl Amy originally from Senegal, lives with her mother Mariam in one of Paris's poorest neighborhoods. In an apartment along with her two younger brothers, she waits for her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. She helplessly witnesses the suffering of her mother, whose polygamous husband is preparing to return from the country with a second wife. She is also bored during prayer and more generally of the religious values ​​that her aunt seeks to transmit to her.

Things turn swiftly, as Amy is fascinated by her disobedient neighbor Angelica's twerking clique called Cuties, an adult-style dance troupe which has contrasting fortunes and characteristics to Mariam's religious customs, values and traditions. The pre-teens practice for a competition and do not hesitate to adopt revealing outfits in the image of their older competitors. Encouraged by success and the quest for recognition on social networks, Amy decides to incorporate into the choreography gestures of sexually suggestive dance moves that she has seen on videos.

Following a humiliation at school, she sends a compromising photo of her vagina on social networks, which causes her to be rejected by her classmates. Following a quarrel with the rest of the Cuties, they ban her from performing with them at the dance contest. While her father's wedding is on the same day as the final competition at Parc de la Villette, she is determined to dance with them. Sneaking out of the house in her dance outfit, she pushes another member of the Cuties, Yasmine, into a lake, so that the Cuties have no choice but to allow her to dance with them. The highly suggestive dance routine shocks the audience. Suddenly thinking about her mother during the routine, Amy bursts into tears and leaves before their performance ends to join her mother. Upon her return, she runs into her aunt who blames her for her outfit and recent attitude. Amy's mother intervenes by telling her to leave her daughter alone and then hugs her to reassure her. Amy implores her mother to allow Amy to not attend the wedding, in order to demonstrate her disapproval. Amy's mother permits her to not go, but states that she herself must go to fulfill her duty as a wife. Amy then abandons both the traditional wedding dress and her sexy dancer's outfit, and, in jeans and a t-shirt, her hair down, she goes out to play jump rope with a group of girls.

I tend to agree with Common Sense Media, that "Maïmouna Doucouré has created an evocative, compassionate portrait of young girls finding their identity and values". But I also see where the dance moves can be considered sexualization. 

Oh, and it's not just Netflix, Fawsome Films often puts "B-side" cheesy soft porn films in their lists. In 2016 they added 
Housewives from Another World. As I said when I started writing I love films, so when I see a classic movie poster with something stupid like "Housewives from Another World" written on it, I automatically think, "Oh, 1950-60s sci-fi film." Imagine if you can my horror when I realized it wasn't a cheesy sci-fi film, but rather a porn film, the opening scene was a man having an extramarital affair with full on frontal nudity. When I looked at the plot on Fawesome Films, it read: Karen catches her husband, Max, with his neighbor, Rita. The alien, now inhabiting the body of Karen, works to prevent the secret development of space exploration satellites. 

So Christians, where is your outrage when Netflix and other streaming companies show real pornographic films? Why weren't you protesting then? Why is it okay to show a movie with graphic Lesbian sex or even a cheesy B-side movie starting a "Pet of the Year"? Oh, wait I forget, it's okay as long as the people are over 18. Or isn't sin, sin in the eyes of God? 

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 

Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

James 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Mark 7:21-23 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

You notice that God doesn't say "Well one of these is less than another." He calls them out as equal, they are all evil. So where were you? Where was your outcry? After all pornography, is pornography and is equally evil. 

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