The V-Club.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

Friends, I have a confession to make… I am a sucker for a good reality TV series.  Reality TV is one of my guilty pleasures and I get a thrill watching all the drama unfold on my television set.  I think it is the lack of drama in my own life that gives me the space to enjoy others’ petty behavior.  Anyways, I am a huge fan of a reality TV series called Married at First Sight™.  The concept is simple:  two perfect strangers agree to marry at first sight for eight weeks.  At the end of the eight week period,  they can then decide to stay married or to divorce.  First of all, I could NEVER marry a perfect stranger.  Absolutely not! Like, dating in 2019 must suck so bad that people are out here willingly engaging in arranged marriages.  This past season there was a girl named Iris on the show.  She was characterized as smart, beautiful, loving and also a virgin.  She decided to not share herself sexually with anyone other than her spouse-to-be.  To me, Iris was legit.  Home-girl even brought herself the most beautiful white dress to celebrate her virginity.  Well, the man she married…he was not too thrilled about her choice.  In fact, he divorced her because of it. He wanted someone who had as much sexual experience as him and in the end, he walked away from his marriage to Iris.

So… what does this have to do with me?  Quite a bit! For the first time, I saw a public display of one of my fears.  As someone who is also a member of the V-Club, I fear that this gift I want to save for my spouse will be looked upon with shame, it will be the thing that disqualifies me, giving him fuel to walk away.  There is nothing like virgin-shaming.  You know, that awkward silence and weird look people give you when they find out you do not have any experience in that “department”.  I remember guys making sexual advances towards me and when I had to explain why I was not accepting them, I would get the classic response: (1) Lack of Eye Contact;  (2) Hand rubbing the back of the head; and finally (3) The Pivoted Stance.  It was as if the dude could not wait to jet to the nearest door.  All of a sudden, it felt like I had a disease.

Watching Iris leave her marriage heartbroken spoke to every one of my fears.  What if I save myself for marriage and he is disappointed in my lack of experience?  What if sex is a deal-breaker for him?  How would I know if I am doing “it” right?  OMGGGGGG talk about increased anxiety.  My friends are always like girl I wish I was in your position, if I could go back, I would have waited too.  Yeah…that’s so encouraging but they do not understand what it is like to be me.

I read a few articles that discussed the shame virgins sometimes face surrounding their choice, and my friends that shame is real.  We sometimes feel shame for being different; we sometimes feel shame for being sensual and sexually frustrated; we sometimes feel shame for wanting to throw our V-cards away.  We feel all levels of shame sometimes around something that God himself created to be good.  There is this terrible notion that if we let that piece of ourselves go, we failed the mission- we missed the mark.  Yet, this same shame speaks to us and says that if we do not turn into some type of sexual vixen for our husbands in time then we should be ashamed as well.  I have talked to virgins with high sex drives that feel shame; I’ve spoken to those who engage in casual sex and have felt shame.  It seems that no matter your moral compass or beliefs, shame has the capability of robbing us of the joy that comes with pleasure.

Yet, is not shame like that?  You will spend your whole life believing in your pursuit or call and the response of the one you love will make you second guess your covenant.  What you looked upon with pride, you now look upon with regret.  I think that experiences like Iris’ or even mine during my college years have the power to shape us.  We can either stick to our conviction, or to win the love of another we can compromise.

Lifetime™ did a “Where Are They Now?” special with the cast members of the last season of Married at First Sight™.  Iris showed up looking amazing.  She sat next to her now ex-husband, the one she came to love, radiating strength and light.  She boldly proclaimed, “It’s okay because now I am a divorced virgin, an even more rare gem.”  I sat in front of the TV, marveled at her post-break up glow, and chuckled to myself.  She was a rare gem. Yet, even if she was no longer a virgin she would have been a rare gem.  For,   she was someone who stood by her convictions.  She had so much discipline and so much confidence in herself that it seemed like all of the shame regarding her marriage’s demise drifted away.  Iris was okay! Heck, she was better than okay!

Well friends, why the sex talk?  First, I figured we are all mature adults able to have a candid conversation about something the world idolizes.  Second, I wanted to share my story to let my fellow V-club members know that there are more people like you out there.  It is rare, but we do exist.  Third, I believe that we must stop allowing shame to rob us of connection and pleasure with God and others.  Shame does not keep us out of the lifestyle of sin, oftentimes it has the adverse effect- it coaches us right into it.  We must share our stories free of shame and be able to stand by our convictions without thinking something is wrong with us.  There is freedom and acceptance in making choices for your journey.  Lastly, since when is sex not a topic of conversation for the believer?  If it was created by God to give glory to God, why do we shy away from discussing its pros and cons absent of godly covenant? In our efforts to keep ourselves out of sexual immorality, we have demonized something given to us as a gift to enrich intimacy.  The church, its people and everyone in between should be able to speak freely about all things pertaining to sex, sexuality and sexual health. So, let us open ourselves up to candid conversation to discover the power of truth and honesty.  Shying away from relevant conversation does not make us wise, but rather extremely foolish.

Well loves, that is it for today!  Stay safe out there.

Xoxo,

Simone

 

Reasons Why People Don’t Go To Church

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

Today’s topic has been burning on my heart for a few days now, so I thought I would address some key reasons why people choose not to go to church.  Attending church is a personal choice, usually influenced by family and friends- but today, church attendance has decreased over time and the choice between church and home has become an apparent one.  I don’t blame individuals for choosing to opt out of church for a morning in their PJs but rather I look to the current conditions of the church as reasons why individuals choose to stay home. As you guys already know, I am a Christian and an avid church -goer.  I love my local church but as I look at the condition of the universal church, I’m deeply saddened by what I see.

Individuals no longer see the church as a pillar of strength in communities, or as a voice of change and awareness for those without.  The church has become a joke among those who do not profess faith in Jesus Christ and its influence seems to be waning as time goes by.  

Today, I am going to present my TOP 5 REASONS why people don’t go to church: 

#5- The Church Focuses Too Much On Materialism.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that an individual should be able to have nice things.  I think that if a person works hard for what they obtain, they should enjoy the fruit of their labor.  My biggest concern with this focus on materialism is that it does nothing to edify one’s spirit.

I don’t think that God cares about how many cars a person drives, or how many homes one can obtain.  I  don’t think there is some kind of competition going on between man and God to see who can have the most. God owns the world and everything in it, He won!

This focus on materialism in the church is misleading and it’s a turn off.  If I didn’t know God and I came to a service and all the preacher talked about was having nice homes and having nice cars, especially when I’m fighting real demons, I’ll be slightly annoyed.  I would be annoyed that I wasted my gas to drive to church when I could have saved it for work the next morning.   God wants us to live prosperous and to have abundance, but He also wants us to feed the orphans and to take care of the widows.  If God blesses us so that we can live selfishly, then having salvation in Jesus Christ would be in vain.  Materialism brings pride and it causes man to think that they got what they have on their own.  If I could get a car on my own, why do I need God? A new car won’t solve any of my problems… The church needs to stop focusing on things and to start focusing on God.

#4-  In Church Nothing Changes…

The Church is supposed to be a place of change.  When you come into the building and sit in the pew, the Holy Spirit is supposed to meet you at your seat and work on your heart, mind and spirit.  The Church building is symbolic of our bodies, a temple that God dwells in.  If I come to church seeking something and I leave still seeking something, something is wrong.  I’m supposed to come to church seeking, and while I’m listening to the Word of God, the questions in my heart are being answered.  This doesn’t seem to be the case today.

People come to church depressed and leave depressed.  They come to church suicidal and leave suicidal.  People come into the church battling all kind of demons of their past and then someone comes and says something, making things worse.  The church seems to be a place of no change, lives remain the same.  

This doesn’t represent God’s will because everywhere Jesus went in scripture, He produced change.  Whether He was performing a miracle, having a conversation, praying to the Father, arguing with the Pharisees or preparing for Passover- Him being in the lives of others produced change, a revolution of sorts.  If Christ is the initiator of change, then why isn’t His church doing the same thing.  Change comes through the Word of God and since Christ is the Word- He is change (John 1:1)! Why come to church to go home feeling the same way?  I could have stayed home for that? Especially if I am not going to gain strength or hope for what’s ahead.  I could have stayed home for the same old, same old.

#3-  The Church Lacks Love…

No one wants to come to a gathering of mean and hateful people.  Trust me, I don’t!

Why would I place myself in the company of negative people?  Why would I come to a building to be talked about and torn down with words? Why would I come to a building to have people tell me that my curiosity in Christ isn’t sincere? Like, Why?  I could have stayed home and looked in the mirror and spoke badly about myself, if I wanted that.  Why get up and put on my best clothes, to be told that what I am wearing is not right? Really, on my first day?

I remember when we could speak to those who didn’t know Christ in love. Yes, there is a standard and everything should be done in modesty but what about those who don’t know.  Some people never grew up in church, their family didn’t go so they didn’t go.  They might not have “church” clothes, but that doesn’t mean that we can be mean to them and speak badly to them.  The biggest hurt someone can experience is church hurt, individuals are hurting because those who claim  the name of Christ could not come to them in love.  God is love (1 John 4:8).  Jesus says in John 15: 12 “This is my commandment.  That ye love one another, as I have loved you”.  Jesus approaches us in love and we should do the same.  Even in our disagreeing we should be able to talk to one another in love and mutual respect.  Those who don’t know God look to the church for direction and guidance, and if we are being mean/ hateful to one another- they are not going to want to emulate us.  Being hateful is not attractive, having a mean spirit is not pretty and it’s definitely not Christ-like.  Those of us who say we love God are going to be judged for how we treated our brother and sister, we have to make sure we live a life of love.

#2-  The Church Tries Too Hard To Do Nothing…

We try too hard….  We change the style of music we play, we water down the preaching, we try to talk like we’re hip or cool.  We try too hard.  We don’t have to present an image that we are not, to attract people to the church. Whatever a church use to attract members is what they are going to have to use to keep the members they gained.  So if it was the music ministry that attracted a majority of the members, the music ministry is going to have to stay perfect to keep them.  Those without Christ is not looking for something that isn’t real… We have to be real in our presentation of Jesus Christ.

This realness is not a “raw” everything goes type of mentality because that’s not real, that’s popular.  Yes, as Christians, we have struggles.  Yes, as Christians, we get discouraged.  But no, as Christians, we do not use sin as a crutch for not living a life that’s pleasing to God. We don’t use crutches, that’s not real!  Being genuine goes a long way!  

We spend so much time trying too hard to do nothing.  We aren’t proactive in the world around us.  People are still poor, people are still homeless, people are still struggling.  We have all kinds of atrocities happening in the world today- in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo.  The church is supposed to be that beacon of light during these time, influential enough to get things done, yet we do nothing.  We try too hard to attract non-believers and yet we do nothing impressive.  Gaining resources to eliminate poverty is impressive.  Supplying a third-world country with clean drinking- water is impressive.  Making sure that children receive an education is impressive, but building a bigger stage to look like a rock band is not! 

And Finally…#1 – The Church Has No Standard…

We have compromised our standard for what’s popular.  We have made everything acceptable in Christendom.  Everything!  If you can imagine it, it has or will be acceptable in the modern Church mode.  We use the excuse of “judgement” to not keep a solid belief system.  If I preach a belief system that does not condone alcohol, then I’m judging my brother.  If I preach a belief system that does not condone adultery, then I’m “judging” my sister.   Placing judgement and uplifting a standard are two different things.  Judgments are reasonable conclusions that we come to, every single day.  We make a judgement based on what is presented to us; who we should be friends with, what restaurants we should go to, and what cars we should drive.  We make judgments that we believe will keep our families safe based on the information given to us.  Every single day, we make reasonable conclusions.  Uplifting a standard, says that I am creating a way of life based on a belief system and I am not accepting in my (personal) life anything that is contrary.  So if I believe drinking alcohol is wrong and that is my standard, my friends cannot bring alcohol in my home and help themselves.  They cannot buy me alcohol because that goes against my belief system.  So if I am a pastor and God’s word says that He is against adultery, I am not going to practice adultery and bring that lifestyle into the church and “make” God and His people accept my lifestyle.  My lifestyle goes against His standard.

We’re so concerned about numbers and whose tithing and whether or not we can get more money that we compromise God’s standard and we allow anything and everything to happen in His house.  This is not appealing to a non believer.  

The world, knows its standard and does not apologize to anyone for having that standard.  Why, as the church- do we apologize for our standard? Why? Why do we bend over backwards to make ourselves into something we are not, nor was called to be?  The world (according to the Christian faith ) is in darkness, yet there is order in their darkness.  We are the children of light but we are so full of chaos…why? That’s backwards.

Well guys, I hope you come to see my point of view in the light of things.  As a Christian, I believe that it’s my job to represent Christ.  I am supposed to love like Him.  I am supposed to give like He did.  I am supposed to share His goodness with the world.  If I am not doing any of those things then I am doing Him a great disservice.  It is not my job to make myself bigger than someone else.  It is not my job to compete with my brother for the most attention.  It is not my job to be my own god, but rather it’s my job to live my life with purpose through Jesus Christ.  Today’s post might seem a a little preachy but I want to encourage you to reexamine your life and your walk with God.  Are you a Christian? Or are you just one in label only? We can be labeled all kinds of things, that doesn’t mean that label speaks to who we truly are.  I encourage you to really understand what the label of Christian means.  This means you have surrendered your heart, body, mind and soul to Jesus Christ- you’ve decided to follow Him.  That’s a tall order but it’s rewarding.  If we place our focus on Jesus, He’ll do the rest.  He’ll draw hearts, save souls, and change minds- that’s His job not ours! 

Until next time,

Mo 🙂

P.S. I use the term universal church to represent the “church” as a whole.  There are local churches that are doing some great things in the body of Christ. Open Door Ministries ( SC) would be a great example, also Bethel Church (CA) is a great example as well.  This problem in the “church” goes beyond each individual church but as a collective body of believers (the whole group).  Therefore the term church is used loosely to represent all of those who believe & serve Jesus Christ.