Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism


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Training up this child – Part 21 – What’s love got to do with it?

The joy, the tension, the laughter of our families reached our ears long before we reached the back door. As Harry and I entered the house, we saw both our families sitting at the table, ready to jump up for hugs, to admire the ring and to eat the festive dinner my mother had prepared. The little ones couldn’t really sit still, I suppose they had to sit still for quite a while at this point and didn’t know what this was all about. Everybody had a huge smile on their face. Our parents were full of excitement and happiness, the younger siblings had a shy smile full of curiosity. Harry grabbed my hand and pulled me into the middle of the room, standing in front of our families. I took a quick glance at my parents. My mother had a puzzled look on her face which I guess was caused by the fact that Harry and I both had teary eyes still.
Everyone had grown quiet, waiting for one of us to speak up. Harry was the first one to speak up. “Well. I guess, I guess I have an announcement to make.” His voice was a bit shaky and I could see the smiles vanishing a bit off the faces of our families. They knew something was wrong. “After careful and long consideration, Lisa and I have decided that we won’t get married.” The air turned tense, jaws dropped and I heard some people gasp very loudly, a whispered “What…” here and there. My dad spoke up. “Why, what, I mean, are you two sure? Why?”
Harry again took over all the talking, which I was endlessly thankful for. “Well, we talked about our situations and our relationship with God and we realized that we are either not meant for each other, or that we aren’t ready for each other in marriage yet. We both feel like God isn’t done with us in this area and we figured it was better to wait and see where he is leading us before we make a huge mistake.” Considering how things went outside between Harry and me, this was a huge lie. He made it sound like a mutual decision lead by God, which was really the only way to get us both out of the heat for now. Of course, this might have made my parents believe that I was still deeply convinced of our beliefs but it saved us both from a lot of anger at this point.
The situation went quiet again, everyone thought about what Harry said. The silence was dragging, so I ended up saying “I hope you can understand this. We’re not ready for it.” Harry’s mother and my mom both said something along the lines of “It’s okay, you’re right if you don’t feel God is leading your way.” while nodding slowly. I looked at Harry and he looked back and I tried to communicate with my eyes how thankful I was that he was doing this with me, that he lied to save me from questions even worse than these ones. My dad then said: “Why are you guys holding hands then? Are you going to stay in this courtship?” “We will see. We aren’t sure yet. We haven’t had time to discuss this yet” Harry answered. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to touch. There’s no point causing more hurt than there already is.” Harry let go of my hand. My Dad announced that it would be a shame to waste all the food and called everyone to the table.
Dinner was painful. There wasn’t much talking, everybody seemed to be in a state of tension, of embarrassment, of surprise. Right after dinner we had a very short prayer time. We prayed for both Harry and me, that we would be shown the path from here on out and that our decision was right. Harry’s parents rushed their kids to get ready and they left in a hurry. As they said their goodbyes, Harry whispered to me: “You know how to reach me. Contact me whenever you need me. Or whenever you feel like it. Nobody will know.” I quickly nodded and gave him a hug, which earned stabbing looks for both of us.
The sound of the door closing sounded as if a stone dropped off my heart. I was relieved. I was happy. For the first time in weeks I felt as if I could breathe again. And I did, heavily, a few times. I turned around to face my family. My mother gave me a look of pity, clearly misinterpreting my sighs as a sign of sadness, and hugged me. My dad was quiet, though not angry. This surprised me more than anything. We went on cleaning the house up, removing decorations, washing dishes and storing leftovers in the fridge. Dad was nice, talking through the plans for the next day for a bit and then excused himself. He needed to go to his office, pray some, talk to God about the night. He said goodnight to us and left – everything seemed so peaceful. I started to believe that it might not be the end of the world, that I still had a chance with my family. Everybody needed time to settle emotions and think, and so bed time came early that day.
As the next morning arrived I felt as if the world was a new place. I was happy, even more, I was cheerful and full of energy. I could turn this thing around! I got ready for the day quickly. And again, the morning was peaceful. No anger. No hate. No punishment. I spent the day with my mother, doing the usual chores around the house. My mother and I talked about Harry. I tried to explain to her that, though he was a great and godly man, it just didn’t feel right. My mother was very understanding, said that maybe that was a sign from God that it just wasn’t time yet. She asked me what I felt God was leading me to do next. Encouraged by her gentleness during the whole situation, I carefully told her that I might look into school some more. However my mother was skeptic of that. “What do you want to learn?” she asked. I told her that I maybe should do some more classes so that I could go to college one day. That was bold of me – too bold for my mother’s taste. “Lisa, just because you didn’t marry Harry doesn’t mean you won’t get married at all. I think you should keep preparing for the calling to be a wife and mother.” Upon hearing that I decided it just wasn’t time to talk about these things yet.
I remember the following days as the weirdest time of my life. I had hours where I felt I was the strongest person in the world, ready to do anything I wanted. I had hours were I regretted breaking my courtship with Harry. I actually missed him and the phone calls we shared. I was all alone, yet again. Then I had hours when I was completely in despair. What should I do? What would become of me? How could my life possibly work out? I had to figure out what to do with my life – just something. I still wasn’t ready to leave, but I wanted a change, that much was sure.


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Some technical issues

Dear everyone!

Unfortunately, I’m a bit stupid. WordPress has changed the blog manager system, which turns out to be way too difficult for silly little me. One reader commented that something was not right with the numbering of the my story posts, which lead me down a bunny trail, and now I messed a few things up. The issues will resolved soon and I will also update the page for the my-story posts, which is currently a bit messy and doesn’t work as it should.

I also noticed that, by accident, the last post in the training up this child series was a part I had already posted previously. This was caused by the fact that I had one (full) version published, and for some reason, this version also made it into my drafts folder. When I submitted the post last week, I decided to take out some parts (aka I shortened the post) because I thought it was too long. Seeing that this is effectively the same story in a shorter version, I decided to leave up the full post and delete the short version (of last week) as there’s really no point to keep two identical posts up (it just makes managing the links etc messy, see above, lol). I will put up another part really soon (and this time, make sure that it’s not a draft of an already-published one!).


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I’m not dead yet, I’m *alive*

Wow, it’s been ages. I really don’t know where to start.

This page is a few years old now and I have been blogging on an off for almost 2, before that, I blogged somewhat regularly. I feel terrible for not following through with things I had in mind. I apologize for that.

I never expected that life could be so worthwhile. Real life. When I started this blog, I thought, well, I have so much time. I always had – I grew up without any major media to clutter my time and on some days, it was hard to find something to do. Stay at home daughterhood can be very, very boring. So I thought, you know, there’s plenty of time to blog. It’s just like 700 words each post. That’s not a lot.

Turns out, it is. It really is. During my first few months and years apart from my family, I prefered staying at home, keeping to myself and just trying to get my life in order. That gave me lots of time to sit at home and ponder. But now, with university and jobs and friends, actual friends who care about me, my life has become incredibly busy. I still don’t consume a lot of media, because I simply don’t have the time. I prefer to spend my free time away from the computer or the phone, considering that I am forced to spend a lot of time working on the computer for university. Staying inside all day drives me nuts!

And I thought, well, I can work on a schedule. That shouldn’t be so hard. But other things come up all the time and you end up saying “tomorrow” all the time, until you suddenly realize an entire month has passed. Where’d it go? I have no clue!

I wish time would stop, so I could finally catch up. I am happy time doesn’t stop. The constant flow and development makes me so happy I could cry. All that has happened seems like a different age, a different universe. How did I get there? I have no clue.

I’ve been pretty clueless lately.

Yesterday, or maybe three days ago, who knows, I sat in my car and waited for a friend. Suddenly, a very nice memory came to my mind. Do you know those types of memories that come in fragments and feelings and colors? A memory of kisses and giggles, a fragment of me and someone walking hand in hand, getting away secretly, hiding, the smell of lush leafs and stars in the sky, the scent of summer. I smiled to myself and let that memory linger in my mind.

We all have memories like that. They are what remains when everything else is lost. Nobody can take them from you. They are yours to treasure. And sometimes, these memories make you so happy that that very moment existed. The entire world has a reason to exist because that one moment existed for someone, at some point in history.

What I’m trying to say? I have no clue. Spring is coming. Don’t stay at home waiting for life to happen to you. Go out. Go somewhere. Go hike, ride a bike, do something stupid. Meet with your best friend, buy one of those teen magazines and read it to each other while sitting in the grass in the sun. Giggle. Drink good wine. Breathe in deeply. And for one moment, realize that life is all around you and enjoy the fact that this moment exists. It’s a good one, believe me.


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Meet Mr Smith – The Wiry Little Guy

Today is the day we finally meet the first member of the League. Chapter 4 describes Eric’s meeting with “the wiry little guy”.

So, Eric’s sitting at his favorite café waiting to meet the first member of the League (after getting an anonymous note with the date). He has no idea who he’s waiting for, but at some point, the waiter whom he seems to know well tells Eric that a man is waiting for him at another table – a ‘geeky dude':

I looked over toward the bookcase and saw a large, muscular man sitting snugly in a tall, wingback, leather chair only ten feet from where I sat. “You mean the big guy?” I asked Deuce [the waiter]. “No, the wiry little guy with big glasses and high water pants, sitting right there. And beware, my friend, he’s toting around a most awful smell.” (p. 33)

It turns out they are talking about the exact same man, and Eric walks over to find out what’s going on. The man tells Eric that he was the one who sent the note. Eric is puzzled – he has no clue who this guy could be. But:

The more I studied this man, the more familiar he seemed. His manner was reminiscent of something, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. He was hulking. His clothing covered it well, but as you looked at him more closely, it was obvious that this man was not just big; he seemed to be cut from marble with a Greek chisel. He was beyond Hollywood handsome, and his presence was truly statuesque and awesome. He smelled of Tide laundry detergent with a hint of peppermint. His jaw was square, his silvery-blue eyes were intense, and his grip, when he shook my hand, squashed my fingers. (p. 34)

Wow, talk about admiration! On a side note, am I the only one who is reminded of Christian Grey? Either way, this guy doesn’t sound like a wiry little guy. He sounds downright awesome, the kind of guy the other men want to be like, the kind of guy women want to date. Right?

Have you guessed who this guy is? I’ll tell you right now, it is (drumroll) Mr Purity.

Now, what we see here is a stark contrast between Eric’s perception of this guy and Deuce the waiter’s perception of that guy. Eric’s (supposed) authority in matters of faith functions here as an expression of the fact that worldly culture’s view is distorted. The reader is faced with an image of ‘purity’ that they have probably encountered before – after all, people might have pointed out their ‘nerdiness’ or at least ‘weirdness’ before. Eric’s authority allows him to say “It’s not you who’s wrong – it’s society failing to see the beauty and strength in you.” In this way, Eric tries to lift the doubts young people encounter if they try to follow purity teachings. While I agree that some people might see some things differently, I find that this stark contrast – especially in this context – is something very dangerous. After all, there aren’t just different ways to look at things, there are wrong ways and right ways, Eric’s way obviously being the right way because it is the (supposedly) biblical way. This right-wrong distinction makes it very difficult for any person to reevaluate personal convictions – the fact that Eric’s tale here mentions that Mr Purity is a messenger of the actual, real God of the Bible, and that Eric, as a believer, sees what he really looks like makes it almost impossible to reevaluate anything without being blamed of some sort of ‘sin’ causing a change of mind. That is, anyone who sees something that differs from Eric’s perception is by necessity mislead and suffers from a distorted view of ‘truth’.

Also, I want to add this one fragment of thought to this: Eric’s description here is very reminiscent of ‘secret knowledge’ type of groups and societies. Eric implies that certain things can only be seen if you follow XY or Z. That is, followers of his teachings can see things the average person cannot see, or only in a very distorted version. Apart from the fact that in this way, Eric excludes a large number of people from his group, it also creates a feeling of community and superiority. ‘Seeing truth’, in its most literal sense, becomes an ability that is exclusively given out to a chosen group of people, a sort of supernatural ability.

This also ties in with a statement that can be found at the very bottom of Leslie’s girl magazine homepage (Set Apart Girl): “In Every Generation There Are a Few” is what this little, sneaky line reads. Again, this is along the same lines of a selected group of people who share knowledge that is inaccessible to others. But back to Eric.

The two of them chat some more about Mr Purity’s appearance, but it’s just more of the same old, until we get to the point where Mr Purity gives the following remark:

“I know you contacted Great Sex. That was a bold and brash move on your part. I realize you and Leslie have a special relationship with him in regard to your marriage; however, Great Sex is very private, and God has very strict authority over his public presentation. He called me into his office last week and told me you are writing a book that aims to prove his existence. I don’t need to tell you how delicately this must be handled, Mr Ludy!” (p. 35, emphasis mine)

Note the bolded parts. Why would God be concerned over people knowing that Great Sex exists? Why does it need to be handled delicately? Again, is this some sort of secret knowledge? Secret society? Is knowing about the existence of Great Sex something that unbelievers must be barred from? If so, why? So they don’t… become believers? I mean, if you knew that you would have Great Sex if you were a conservative Christian… wouldn’t you convert or something? Become a Christian? Isn’t this completely illogical and weird? I honestly have no clue what to say about this other than the fact that I believe Eric is trying to imply that this is a very secret knowledge, and that even believers have to (secretly) work to get it. Of course, I realize the God of the Bible wouldn’t be too hyped if you presented great sex in public – the act, that is. But in Eric’s tale, it wouldn’t be an act that is being presented – hence there wouldn’t be a display of, say, naked bodies or defrauding images. It would be an actual, living person, waving at the crowd saying “Hi guys, I’m great sex, look at how awesome I am!” I really can’t see why this must remain so secret, and why Great Sex would be so concerned that his existence stays a secret.

Also, why would Eric want to prove the existence of Great Sex in the first place? Has anybody ever doubted that he exists? It’s not like unbelievers think sex sucks – in fact, most people would probably say that they’d had great sex at least once. The distinction between what unbelievers think of as great sex (that ugly, mean guy, the Imposter) and what believers think of as great sex (Great Sex) has already been made earlier in the book. I thought Eric wanted to expose the Imposter, who, by the way, was admired by all unbelievers in the café in the first chapter. So, obviously, it’s totally unnecessary to prove that it exists. But again, I can’t help but think of this as a tool to form a secret society/community type of feeling.

Continuing with the conversation Eric has with Mr Purity, Eric learns that Mr Purity is the bodyguard of the League:

You see, Mr Ludy, I am the official bodyguard of the inner life. My responsibility is to protect the ever-maturing Christ-life within the hearts of God’s children. (p.39)

Now here, purity is about more than just sex. It’s about the whole inner life of a believer. That, in turn, implies that sexual purity (which is not present in unbelievers) ties in with the entire inner life (of an unbeliever). So… a lack of sexual purity weakens your entire inner life to attacks from evil forces. Sounds a bit far out? Well, this is actually what I believed in. There is no real difference between sexual purity and a purity of the entire being. It’s pretty much the same mechanism. This is one of the reasons why sexual impurity is such a big deal: It opens you up to all kinds of attacks on your spiritual life.

Now, Mr Purity doesn’t want to let Eric meet the rest of the League until he taught him a lesson or two (what what, Eric needs lessons in purity? no way!). Next up: The Deal!

 


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Jonah

Why do people leave behind everything they ever knew, people they love, security, their entire life? What makes you take such radical steps? Are you not afraid of whatever will happen next?

Of course I was afraid – more than that. I was terrified. Making the decision to leave an entire system of beliefs, relationships and home, without an idea of how life could possibly work, that’s not easy. No one said it was. The question that remains is what could possibly scare you so much that jumping off that cliff into the unknown – without knowing if there was a net to catch you, with the very real possibility that this might end really, really badly – was better than staying and trying to change things slowly.

For me, that was god. It sounds counter-intuitive, but my fear of god made me leave.

When god calls Jonah to be his prophet, Jonah reacts very differently than all the other prophets before him. He doesn’t obey. He doesn’t stay. Instead, Jonah leaves everything behind and boards a ship, with strangers, to a place he doesn’t know. Why did Jonah leave?

Sometimes I think that Jonah and I have a lot in common. Staying meant obeying for both of us. The fear of what god would do to us if we stayed made both of us get on that ship. The fear of what god would do to us. Not the belief that there is no god, the pain caused by relationships, the sad memories. No. The knowledge that god wasn’t done with us yet, and that whatever he had in store for us would not be any good.

Jonah was haunted by god, and god did terrible things to make Jonah return. So Jonah does, and he obeys the lord, and subjects himself to things he doesn’t want to do, things he doesn’t feel are necessary or right. And finally, it turns out that everything Jonah did was just a big game. Nineveh wasn’t destroyed (which is a good thing), but Jonah can’t help but ask why god would do such terrible things to him. God, Jonah says, is compassionate and loving. Jonah knew that God wouldn’t destroy Nineveh. Why was all this necessary? We never find out (yes, you could argue that without Jonah, Nineveh would have been destroyed – but why Jonah? Why not pick a person who would want to do it?). After all things are done and over, Jonah sits outside the city and wishes he was dead. Jonah is empty, angry and has lost all hope. But God isn’t done with him just yet. God let a plant grow for Jonah, so that he could sit in its shadow. And Jonah is happy about that. But then God destroys that plant just to lecture him some more. And Jonah? Well, he is angry, and he still wishes he was dead. We never find out how Jonah’s story continues, but me, I never expected Jonah to jump up and praise the lord. I don’t think he did.

Unlike Jonah, I didn’t return. And god didn’t haunt me (of course, I’m not a prophet). Unlike Jonah, I managed to escape god’s grasp on me. I think that returning would have resulted in similar feelings for me. I believe I would be like Jonah, sitting in my small hut, asking god why I of all people have to be in a situation I really don’t want to be in, why my prayers aren’t being fulfilled (but my husband’s are). I think I too would wish I was dead, angry at god.

Jonah’s life after returning was bleak. Unbearable. Jonah had a choice, though: He could have decided to die that night on the ship, or in the fish. He decided not to. On that night on my ship, I made a different decision: I would rather die than return to whatever god had in store for me.

It’s not about a lack of belief, or about things in the bible that just don’t add up. It’s about a genuine fear of what he would do to me if I obeyed his every word.


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Meet Mr Smith – The League

Sorry for the delay – I had a family emergency (nothing bad though!) and was needed to keep the show running at my aunt’s house. It’s over now, so I’ll get back on track asap!

Chapter 3 is called “The League”, and, to be honest, not very interesting. It’s just 5 pages long, and all Eric does is describing that ‘Great Sex’ has agreed to be interviewed, but not after letting Eric wait for 12 weeks. Eric describes being lead into the middle of nowhere by a blue Pontiac. After arriving at the final destination, a muscular guy tells him

“Mr Ludy, you’ve got your wish. You’ve earned yourself an interview with Mr Smith.” (p. 29)

Eric explains that this 12 week wait seemed rather long, and because he absolutely needed something to publish, he interviewed others during that time. This turned out to be a good thing, he says, because:

“Great Sex, contrary to popular myth, is not a singular force as is Imposter Sex. In a manner of speaking, Great Sex is part of a team. […] Great Sex is the leader of an entire band of superheroes. […]

Those interminable twelve weeks forced me to investigate this oft-overlooked band of superheroic cohorts.” (p. 29-30)

This band of ‘heroes’ is what Eric calls “the league”. What stands out to me in this passage is that it’s actually not that bad of a passage in some ways. For most people, good sex doesn’t come through a singular force (the physical aspect), but please note that it can, and that’s alright too. For most, there’s more attached to it. For some, this might be love, trust, respect, for some it will include commitment, for others it will include being spontaneous, and others again don’t need love and trust, but rather adventure or the unknown. So yes, for each and every person, great sex doesn’t consist of the bare physical aspect, most will find that a number of aspects will add up to what one considers “great”.

What Eric fails to acknowledge is that there isn’t a fixed band of superheroes for each and every person. Sex is as individual as the people who have it. Eric tries to sell this as a “one size fits all” kind of deal when it really isn’t. He also fails to acknowledge that some people are simply not compatible. You can’t expect to invite all those “superheroes” Eric will interview in the following chapters into your bedroom and everything will be fine. That’s not how humans work! Because, I have to say it again, different superheroes for different people.

Additionally, Imposter Sex is described as a singular person, whereas great sex is not. This is a very clear description of what Eric believes of ‘worldly’ relationships: There is only one singular aspect, the physical aspect, which corresponds to the “root of evil” – Jimmy the Shrimp aka selfishness. Eric doesn’t even acknowledge the possibility that non-christians can experience what he supposedly experiences. And this leads me to one of the major problems of this book (sex books of any type, to be honest): If you choose one of these binary options, you can’t possibly experience the other. If you experience ‘biblical’ sex, that necessarily means that you haven’t experienced ‘worldly’ sex. If you did, in fact, experience ‘worldly’ sex, then you can’t experience the ‘biblical’ version because you have lost too much. It’s impossible to objectively contrast these two, but then again, can you ever compare and contrast sexual experiences, especially those of different people?

So, you probably guessed what’s next: Before Eric lets us in on his interview with Mr Smith (aka Great Sex), he’ll tell us more about his interviews with the other members of the League. Next up: The little Wiry Guy!


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Meet Mr Smith: Jimmy the Shrimp

So Jimmy the Shrimp. In this chapter, Eric wonders why God would create sex in the first place. If Eric (and the reader) were to create the world, this is what he would consider:

So when the Garden of Eden comes into view and it’s time to craft our very first human being, it just makes sense – knowing what we know now – that we should leave out the excretory and reproductive systems. (p. 15)

I don’t think I have to say all that much here, let me just… So there are two really gross things about being a human being – sex and… shit? The major problem here is the association of sex with something that most young women (the major audience of this book) will find very gross. This creates an image of sex as something very undesirable – would you want to touch the excrements of another person in any way? No? Well, having sex is very, very similar to that. At least that was my first idea when I read this passage, and I bet I’m not the only one who was put off by the thought of sex in connection to the excrement image.

What follows is Eric’s recollection of a particularly cold morning. He put on warm clothes – even long underwear (he stresses this three times, I am clueless why this is so relevant as opposed to the jacket and gloves he was wearing) to go to the gym. So he gets out of the car in front of the gym, and there’s this guy wearing shorts. Eric is surprised (he put on long underwear, after all) and observes the following:

I gasped with horror, and before I could analyze and thusly quash the words I was about to launch from my squack box, I blurted, “How do you pull off those shorts?” – Sex creates problems we certainly wouldn’t have if it didn’t exist. (p. 16)

Seems like a weird train of thoughts? It is! So why is sex to blame for the shorts-situation? Here’s the solution:

As far as he [the man in shorts] was concerned, I was not only a sexual deviant but a rather rude one at that. My point is, sex caused that very uncomfortable scene! (p. 16)

Ok, Eric, listen: Sex did not cause that uncomfortable scene. Your (and the man’s) perceptions about socially appropriate behavior and stereotyping caused that scene. Your belief caused that scene. Don’t blame sex. It didn’t force you to ask that question, and it didn’t tell the man who you were probably gay. What really, really, caused that scene is the fact that you can’t take a single step in this world without thinking about penises and vaginas, because you were taught that you are supposed to be thinking about penises and vaginas at all times. This is not what normal people do.

Back to creation. So, why did God create sex again? Eric states that, if you’re not just going to leave out sex in creation, why not make it really really painful? There wouldn’t be rape, or unwanted pregnancies or VDs if sex were painful. However, Eric believes that this wouldn’t solve the problem behind the whole sex debate. Here’s why:

You know how in mobster movies, you find out that the Mob has been laundering money through a series of front companies. and no one knew that Jimmy the Shrimp from the west side of Chicago was actually the deviant behind the whole murderous affair? The problem with Sex is a lot like that. There’s a Jimmy the Shrimp behind this whole Sex thing, and it’s making the whole bottle of milk go sour. And whether Sex was removed from the picture entirely or the act of Sex actually became painful, the problem (aka Jimmy the Shrimp) would still be at large, finding himself a new flunky and creating a new front behind which to hide his deviant behavior. Sex just happens to be his chosen front. (p. 18)

I think this is a very accurate comparison. Eric is right, sex is not the problem. But who, exactly, is Jimmy the Shrimp?

Selfishness. Yep. That’s the sickness; that’s the problem. It’s that’s (sic!) simple to describe. Selfishness (aka Jimmy the Shrimp) is the essence of everything wrong, not just with Sex, but with everything else on planet earth. (p. 19)

The concept of selfishness vs “dying to self” is a huge one in conservative christianity in general (cf. JOY – Jesus first, others second, yourself last) and the Ludyverse specifically. It shouldn’t surprise that Eric sees selfishness as the root of all problems – or, as he mentions a page later – the Flesh. The Flesh is what makes us do all evil and bad, and, due to our fleshly nature, human beings are bound to follow their fleshly desires, aka to sin, to do bad, to be selfish. On top of that, there is no stopping it. You can’t just be a good person, as Eric explains:

You see, the catch is, you are free as a bird to do bad, mischievous, crude and debased things, but you are not free to do godly things. Being loving, pure, kind, and good-hearted doesn’t seem like much of an ambition until you realize that no matter how hard you try, you can’t pull it off. You are stuck on a one-way street called Sin, and there’s no going the other way. (p. 21)

This is quite a bleak outlook on life, but it captures very well the essence of conservative christianity: It is simply impossible to be good in any way. You are governed by your flesh and there’s no escaping it – your flesh, your selfishness, rule everything you are. The only way (which Eric also mentions in the following passage) is making God your only master. That means that your flesh must die (aka “dying to self”) in order for God to use you for good things, to make you pure and noble. This is an either-or decision, which also means that if you do not believe in the God of the Bible, it is absolutely impossible for you to do anything good in your life – even those acts you might think of as good and noble are perverted by the underlying selfishness of the flesh. Eric explains this problem in connection to sex:

Sex is a carrier for Jimmy the Shrimp’s agenda. You may want Sex to exhibit the beauty and romance of heaven in your life, but as long as the Shrimp stands behind it, Sex will always only be selfish, lust-driven, and perverse. (p. 23)

Basically, what this boils down to is that without a clear belief in the God of the Bible, all sex you have will be perverted, and dirty. Even if you remained a virgin untill marriage. Even if you never looked at porn or had sexual thoughts. Only through believing in God in a particular way can you make Sex something acceptable and fulfilling.

Now, taken all together, it is very hard to criticize Eric on these ideas. If you did have sex outside of these belief systems, you might go ahead and say that Eric is wrong, that you are very satisfied with your sex life and whatnot. But you see, this chapter and the one before it serve to build up a defence system against this argument: YOU see Imposter sex and, like the women at Starbucks, think he’s the hottest guy in town. Your opinion is invalid because you have no idea. Eric knows what really great sex feels like, and you’re just going to have to go ahead and believe him. And if you don’t… well, that’s probably your flesh trying to stop you from becoming a believer.

Next up: Eric’s steps to really great sex.

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