1960’s Sex Manual

(That ought to get some hits.)

Today I came across an excerpt from an early 1960’s sex education manual for (hopefully, dear Lord hopefully) older girls.  Shockingly… it addressed sex exclusively in the context of marriage.  ACK!  And then said terrible, terrible things!

It was a delightful look into the past.  The article cited is not long.  I’m not quite out to Fisk it, but to analyze its message, since I agree with about as much as I disagree with.  (For true Fisking, check out today’s upcoming article on my religious blog where I deal with a guy in serious need of Fisking.)

This is an actual extract from a sex education text book for girls, printed in the early ’60′s in the UK and explains why the world was much happier and peaceful then…!

Right.  Everyone has a bias.  Be sure to note here that this selection was chosen originally (Not casting aspersions on the blogger but pointing at the original author) with deliberate disapproval aforethought.  This is not a random bit of historiography but a cherry-picked excerpt from a textbook to demonstrate the evils of a bygone age.  Nowhere in the subsequent text are world peace or world happiness addressed, but because a marital sexual attitude exists with ideas that are unfavorable (and sometimes quite wrong) the whole era was terrible.  Implicitly, [the author’s] dissenting view and audience is far superior by comparison.

I suspect a bit of straw man, or at least the most offensive passage of an era in this.  I grew up in a doctor’s office and perused the medical library a fair bit, as well as digging through a lot of historical books on sex when puberty came about to Mamma Lagrandil’s Little Nerd, just because the library large enough that I wouldn’t die of embarrassment researching didn’t have modern texts.  I was a tween-ager and not thinking a whole lot about a subsequent literary career so didn’t write down info for proper citation.  So I have read about half a dozen textbooks on sex from this era, and none of this crap ever came through my head.  I would certainly have remembered it.

[In retrospect, probably a good thing.]

Shall we delve into the chosen selection that demonstrates the traumatic and terrible fate of the non-liberated married woman (and ignore the information that seems to indicate married heterosexual couples are the most sexually active and satisfied people in the world, almost like God wanted us to enjoy life and each other in the best possible way…)?

When retiring to the bedroom, prepare yourself for bed as promptly as possible. Whilst feminine hygiene is of the utmost importance, your tired husband does not want to queue for the bathroom as he would for his train. But remember to look you best when going to bed.

Try to achieve a look that is welcoming without being obvious. If you need to apply face-cream or hair rollers wait until he is asleep as this can be shocking to a man last thing at night. When it comes to the possibility of intimate relations with your husband it is important to remember your marriage vows and in particular your commitment to obey him.

Right.  I am a celibate monk.  Such mysteries are beyond me, but it is an interesting proposition.  The article (on sexual health and fulfillment) suggests that showing up at sex-time for your husband looking like a bride instead of a construction zone results in more sexual health and happiness…

Um…

*the horror*

Since men are sexually cued to visual stimulus, this seems like a pretty simple bit of good advice if the idea of your husband desiring you, showing interest, and attention.  Frankly, many of the sexual temptations in his life are going overtime to look like the object of his ideal desire.  There’s no way to spend as much time as porn peddlers and other nasty things, but the answer is probably not to quit the game altogether.  I have also heard from a woman or two that it is a nice thing to be desired sexually by someone who loves you.

There are a couple wrong things here that the next bit hows better.

If he feels that he needs to sleep immediately then so be it. In all things be led by your husbands wishes; do not pressure him in any way to stimulate intimacy. Should your husband suggest congress then agree humbly all the while being mindful that a man’s satisfaction is more important than a woman’s.

MAYBE loving and caring for your spouse means if he’s too beat to perform, you love him enough to let him recharge.  (Remember ladies that guys like sex in the morning as a general rule so there is a fair chance to pick up a rain check on this one, more horror…)

I CALL BULLSHIT on the rest.  One, guys pretty much love it when their partners initiate sexual activity.  The “I like it when they desire me” thing goes both ways.  Mans’ satisfaction is in no way more important than a woman’s.  This is one area where they are flat out wrong.  Check out how much of the Song of Songs is dedicated to describing the man’s sexual response, and how much is describing in a lingering foreplay sort of way the woman’s beautiful desirability.  There’s like a 5:1 ratio there.

Moreover, the Bible calls bullshit on this.  “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” 1 Corinthians 7:5.  Proverbs 5:18-19 sets a standard I think goes both ways interpreted by this passage.  I’m not quoting it here ’cause it makes me blush.

That being said, 3 seconds of internet research (with really good filter settings!!!) digs up all the proof I need to say that the experts say that people enjoy the sight of their loved one… um… pleased.  So by pleasing the other one pleases self.  Terrible secret lost to most modern schools of thought, feminists and chauvinists both.

When he reaches his moment of fulfillment a small moan from yourself is encouraging to him and quite sufficient to indicate any enjoyment that you may have had.

Um… Guys are turned on by audio/visual stimulation.  So… expressing yourself makes it better for him.  Check.  Making it better for him can make it better for you.  See above.  Mostly I think that whoever picked this as an item of horror had never been married to someone they loved who wasn’t impotent at this point.

Should your husband suggest any of the more unusual practices be obedient and uncomplaining but register any reluctance by remaining silent.

BULLSHIT again.  God commands your husband to love you like Christ loved the church.  That means not doing anything to you during intimacy that makes you uncomfortable, or causes you pain.  Shout out, girl!  This is a no-means-no moment if ever I heard one.  It’s not about being selfish.  It is about teaching him how to love you better.  So teach him how to love you better.

“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word… Ephesians 5:24-26

Sometimes your husband has to give up his… ‘unusual practices’ out of love for you, his bride.  Period.  You’re worth it and that’s his command.

It is likely your husband will then fall promptly to sleep so adjust your clothing, freshen up and apply your night-time face and hair care products.

You may then set the alarm so that you can arise shortly before him in the morning. This will enable you to have his morning cup of tea ready when he awakes.

The sleep thing is not uncaring.  It’s simple biology.  So, factual statement there.  And afterwards, you have all the time in the world for yourself.  Also true.  I know that romance novels hold out the man who will do everything perfectly, then stay up all night just gazing at you the center of his world (cough, Twilight) but if you don’t want your husband to hold you to the really sick standards of porn for guys, don’t hold him to the standards of chick-porn either, eh?

I am not completely sold on the division of labor from the 50’s and 60’s as either Godly or necessary.  Neither am I sold that it was evil.  Proverbs 31 does seem to indicate some food prep, as the wife is a titan of industry, investment banker, self-employed Goddess of awesome.  I largely suspect it cut off here because the cherry-picker (again, not the blogger) thought that greeting your husband with food and drink you prepared for him was the final insult and injury.

That’s 180-degrees off of the Christian moral that serving others is better than being served.  But I’m going to hazard a guess that Christian morals weren’t a real big influence on the original author.  Outside of religious belief, selfishness is the rule, and making your husband breakfast is a crime against self I guess.

Dunno.  My dad worked 80 hour weeks when I grew up and made us breakfast every morning that I remember eating.

So, insofar as this article indicates that women in marriage MEAN less than men, and it does a couple of places, this is terrible.  Insofar as practical advice to get your husband to show you lots of… attention… um… Seems pretty straightforward and practical to me.

Someone both married, professionally trained, and very vocal about this sort of ideas is Dr. Laura Schlessinger.  She’s Jewish but has a pretty good book out called The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.  I *ahem* don’t have a husband or a wife, but I have heard many, many women call in and say, “I tried this advice, dressing up for my husband, telling him I loved him, and praising him, and he turned into a love-puppy of service in my hands!  Thanks!” -Amalgamated paraphrase.

So if the goal for an article on sex for women is to have a better sex life (and that means security, love, and interest from your husband), there is more right with this article than wrong.  Though there are some glaringly wrong things here.

Wow.  Today has been full of unexpected topics.

Where Women Today Go Wrong!…(Cough!)

Hello Dear Readers!

I came across an article on how EEEVIL the past was, how wrong and terrible previous generations had it.

This blog is about literary criticism, and this article is in fair game, so my fisking thereof from a Medieval Lutheran Literary Critic standpoint belongs here and not elsewhere.

Also… dissenting in the middle of active feminists is a messy, messy form of suicide.  The party of tolerance and diversity will rip those with unapproved thoughts to twitching little bits in the spirit of bipartisanship and understanding.

I still have novels to write so cannot afford to be diced.

Right.

Here is your reading homework.  It feels better to me to present the whole text in context before picking nits.

Ohhh this is going to be fun.

Enjoy!  (It’s not long.)

poss sella

I have had this for sometime in my files…today it must be unleashed!

For clearer reading the full transcript is below:

This is an actual extract from a sex education text book for girls, printed in the early ’60’s in the UK and explains why the world was much happier and peaceful then…!

When retiring to the bedroom, prepare yourself for bed as promptly as possible. Whilst feminine hygiene is of the utmost importance, your tired husband does not want to queue for the bathroom as he would for his train. But remember to look you best when going to bed.

Try to achieve a look that is welcoming without being obvious. If you need to apply face-cream or hair rollers wait until he is asleep as this can be shocking to a man last thing at night. When it comes to the possibility of intimate relations with your husband…

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Heaven is Really Doing This?

Last weekend I took some friends to go see Heaven is for Real, the latest offering of mainstream  Christianity on film.

The film recreates, as far as we know it, the actual experiences of a four-year-old preacher’s kid who had a supernatural vision of heaven while he was gravely ill.  People are skeptical, and his family has to chose between their Family (capital letters for members of the Trinity) and his job at the church, where everyone is embarrassed and uncomfortable with a little boy with visions of heaven.

This is a very well-made film.  The days of sub-par production values on excellent stories (Flywheel) are long past.  Randall Wallace’s film has every touch of serious professionalism.  Establishing shots, sets, casting, this film has it all.

Greg Kinnear plays poor family man (and pastor) Todd Burpo, with a sympathetic, strong, and sensitive character that every woman in the audience will compare to their own husbands, to their own husbands’ detriment.  Young Connor Corum does a wonderful job playing Burpo’s son Colton.  Thomas Haden Church (whom I’ve enjoyed ever since Wings) does what he does best as straight man and best-friend Jay Wilkins.  Kelly Reilly is beautiful and charismatic as Burpo’s wife, but does not have much heavy lifting to do in the script.

Beautiful shots of the American farm country, a fantastic church building, a home the Waltons might enjoy, and background music that mixes orchestral work with CCM all combine for a constant drumbeat of emotional warm fuzzies.  This film goes for the heart with all the subtlety of a Thugee priest in an Indiana Jones flick.  Most time it works in the wonders, so well done that the blatant manipulation doesn’t overwhelm.  The top-twenty list of touching emotional moments are all here: Tucking kids in at night, beating up bullies to defend The Family, kids overcoming their fears, mother’s tears when their children are sick, road trip songs, church softball games, honest handyman stories, emotional band moments, mourning the fallen soldiers… you get the idea.

Apart from the heavy-handed sentimentalism, this film is an excellent matinee choice.  It is the film equivalent of a heated massage chair: powered, soothing, penetrating, and persistent enough to relax the stiffest muscles.

Now for the Medieval Lutheran breakdown of the film.  Spoilers follow.

This film tries so very had to make me happy, but I walked out of the film as sad as I’ve ever been after a well-performed Hamlet.

Todd Burpo, as a character, demonstrates everything wrong with a popular, friendly pastor who fits right in with American culture everywhere he goes.  He doesn’t preach about the Bible, he preaches about children’s stories, preaches about how dedicated people are, and how proud they are of their own courage and loyalty.  Missing in the entire film: The concept that Jesus died to pay for our sins so that we could live forever.

You know… The Gospel, also known as how we get to heaven.

Burpo has, by context, led an entire funeral without ever once giving the soldier’s mother hope that she and her son would be united in heaven.  What could he have spoken about, instead, since that is the New Testament’s commentary on the grief of loss?

He hasn’t preached the message that a worker is worth his wages, and it is the duty of a church to support those called to preach the Gospel whenever it is possible.  That would be quoting St. Paul, you know, out of the New Testament.

When his daughter responds to verbal teasing by physical assault, Pastor Burpo doesn’t have a word to say about loving our enemies, about patience and kindness leading others to repentance, or even the words of somebody or other about turning the other cheek.  Nope.  Pastor Burpo wants to teach his daughter to punch better.  So much for three more passages of the New Testament.

When his son Colton claims that he was taken up to heaven, Pastor Burpo questions whether or not it could be possible.  So, he has never read, or never believed St. Paul’s claim that he himself was taken up into heaven, whether in body or in spirit he did not know.  It is not even necessary to go past the very first book in the New Testament, where Jesus assures the lestes (thief/murderer/bandit) on the cross next to him that he would be with him that very day in paradise.  Paradise… otherwise known as…. heaven?!?

Why find such things in the Bible when you can have a nifty praise and worship band and some track lighting for your pulpit?  Basically Pastor Burpo until this moment has been the pastor of a church without preaching the hope of resurrection, the letters of Paul, the Sermon on the Mount by some dude named Jesus, or speaking about the atoning death of that same Jesus for our sins.

IF, and I stress if, Colton’s experience is from the Lord, I can see what the Most High would need a miracle to break through to Pastor Burpo’s skull to turn a focus towards…

Wait… Jesus said that if we didn’t listen to the Bible even people coming back from the dead wouldn’t convince us to repent…

And sure enough. Pastor Burpo goes to a secular, anti-Christian shrink instead of turning to another pastor.  He uses Wikipedia to look up near-death-experiences instead of breaking open a Bible and seeing if anyone is in heaven (Jesus said that God is God of the living, not the dead, by the way, which requires the dead to be alive… somewhere… with God… um… I will remember the name of it in just a second.)

So, naturally, Pastor Burpo neglects to do the one thing he is commanded to do in the face of a spiritual supernatural explosion.  He never tests the spirit behind the revelation.  There are angels of light!!!  No need to remember (if Pastor Burpo ever read it) that Satan likes to use that disguise, because they sang pretty music.

[Folks, if there was ever a single scene to sum up the problem with America’s failing church, it would be when Angels show up not with a word or message from God, but pretty music.  God doesn’t send messengers, he sends a praise and worship band.  That’s how you know it’s from Jesus because they sound like a keyboard synthesizer playing major chords…]

Yes, folks, even though I believe that young Colton saw everything that he said he saw, I am still not sure if he went to heaven.  Every single thing he saw in his vision could have been provided by The Enemy and demons.  Pretty sure demons of whatever rank like to play dress-up to get you to trust them, or anything but God, his Son, and his Word.  Angel of light?  We’ve got that suit.  Space alien abduction?  Sure thing.  People see amazing visions of past lives in hypnosis (originally taken from German shamanism.  Do the research.)  NO demon could have possibly been around while the Burpo family’s baby was dying, or seen Todd’s grandfather when he was young to pretend to be the right person.  No demon has ever appeared claiming to be Jesus… wait… Jesus said that exact thing was going to happen!!!

Modern Protestants beat up on the Catholic church for the doctrine of purgatory, but they love this film.  Folks, the idea of purgatory got started when a man in Roman times, waiting to be executed, told his dream about heaven (including purgatory) to other Christians (who like Pastor Burpo never bothered to test the spirit) and the rest is history.  So this is exactly the same theological process, divorced from God, dependent on supernatural special effects, totally driven by emotion, untested in spirit, and changing the doctrine of the church (didn’t the Bible say something about demons preaching false doctrines?)

For example, it didn’t make it into the film but in the book young Colton fills his father in that all the males in heaven will have to fight for Jesus.

Um… what?  What happened to the prophecy that in heaven we would train for war no longer?  On one hand I have God’s Word. On the other hand, the very real, potentially poisonous experiences of a four-year-old boy.  Now, the Bible is nowherer near as adorable as Connor Corum’s portrayal of Colton Burpo, but I’m going to plant a red flag on that, and remain in doubt.

That’s what made me sad.  I walked out of the movie theater with a bunch of Christians who bubbled about how wonderful the movie is.  They didn’t notice the total lack of the Gospel.  They noticed the supernatural experiences.  They cheered as the pastor betrayed the teachings of Christ and cheered on his violent daughter’s betrayal of the teachings of Christ.  They never noticed that the church was not obeying the call to support their pastor.  I heard no one but my good friend whose blog I have already quoted here on this film, mention anything theologically wrong with this film at all.

Folks, many more “Christian victories” like this film and I’m going to believe that Satan is not waging war against the church in America.  He has already taken it out.  Oh, the Christian heartstrings and hormones are working just fine.  It doesn’t matter that everyone’s ignoring or ignorant of God’s Word.  We can ID him from a painting and spend time with The Holy Family (ours, not God’s).  Isn’t that what it’s really all about?

Satan has apparently shot the American church right between the eyes, where it was already too numb to feel the blow.

But seriously, this movie is pretty, enjoyable, and perhaps usable as a teaching tool to discern truth in the popular culture.

 

Didache, thank you

There is an anonymous edition of the Didache available on the cheap at Amazon.com, and I had the pleasure of perusing it after it came up in church Wednesday night.

The name is short for “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles to the Nations”, if I’m translating it on the fly from Koine.   The Didache didn’t get included in the New Testament when it was later compiled, but that does not take away from its importance to any Christian or historian who wants an idea of what the early church believed in practiced.

There are four translations from the late 19th through early 20th century attached, one of which will fit any reading level.  I enjoyed getting the Greek text first, so that I could compare my own interpretation of the original language with the translators who followed.

Traditional church members will recognize the structure of a Catechism right away, stating the basics of the Christian faith and then expanding on them.  Reform and Baptist scholars who want to focus on the early church, who want to “get back” to what the church originally taught have an equal duty to investigate what the actual teachings were in the early church, which this definitely is.

The Didache is not just a translation or summation of scripture.  There is an element of human tradition already present.  How long could a guest preacher stay in your house?  What should you do before being baptized?  these sorts of questions arise quickly.  Abortion is directly mentioned, as well as a verb I’d translate “corrupting prepubescent children” to be woodenly accurate.

Some of this is quaint.  Some of it is shocking in its square challenge to modern American Christianity.  (You could not take communion if you hadn’t reconciled with another member of the church!)  I do not believe the Didache is equal to scripture, or even authoritative over modern church behavior, but it is interesting, informative, and accessible for a modern church facing ancient problems.

Highly recommended.

Humble Visions: Nightmares, Dreams, and the Presence of Christ in Mark Peske’s debut book

Mark Peske From Nightmares to Sweet DreamsTrafford Publishing released Rev. Mark Peske’s debut non-fiction book From Nightmares to Sweet Dreams: Letting the Presence of Christ Transform our Worst Memories this July in an act that highlights the potential in the oft-maligned vanity publishing industry, the ability of ‘outsiders’ with next to no chance to break through into traditional publishing venues to give their dreams an chance.  In full disclosure I have known the author, a Christian missionary to the Cass Lake Ojibwa, for eleven years.  That is the risk of vanity presses.  If I had not known the author personally I would have missed out on this excellent resource of hope and healing for those who face emotional pain and traumatic memories.

Mark Peske is a seminary-trained, ordained minister in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, but in person he attributes most of his knowledge to life experience on the job.  This attitude dominates Mark’s work with a first-person narrative format.  Mark does not lecture.  There are no outlines, flowcharts, or Bible studies in this book.  Mark conveys the information gathered in many years’ work with the oral-tradition oriented Ojibwa in like manner.  The book is organized in mosaic fashion, stories of a slightly different color blend together to depict a single image: The pain of past memories, whether they are wounds done to us by others and a hard world, or self-inflicted wounds, continue to effect us until they are healed.  Rev. Peske does not argue that they are healed by the presence of Christ in the memory.  He relates it happening, again and again.  This is an excellent approach to a relativistic and post-colonial culture, since Mark keeps a gentle, persistent flow of narrative to the Christian savior.

From Nightmares to Sweet Dreams: Letting the Presence of Christ Transform our Worst Memories is not an easy read in many ways.  The traumatic memories that Peske recounts in the book run the gamut from the common (a little girl’s fear after a scary movie, a parent’s realization that they cannot always protect their children) to the terrible (physical and sexual assault, arson, and even killing).  It is telling that Peske makes no effort to differentiate.  His book presents each trauma as its own issue, worthy of attention, compassion, and healing all on its own.  The variety proves to be a valuable choice.  The reader with a profound trauma is not presented with a Pollyanna Christianity Lite unequal to their real pain.  The reader without a great trauma is not presented with an Emergency Room Gospel that cannot reach down to their own private daily worries.  There is a tile for all readers in Mark Peske’s mosaic.

When Rev. Peske does describe his thesis directly, he does so in a humble and narrative fashion.  The author discovers the power of this truth, he does not invent it or give in to the pitfall of self-congratulation.  Mark presents himself as a fellow-sufferer.  At least one anecdote is about one of his children, and another describes his own fears for his sons.  In this age of high-powered, high-energy preachers who make headlines and fortunes, Mark Peske presents an imitator of Christ the High Priest as described in Hebrews, who comes alongside with compassion.

The book’s thesis is simply stated: Jesus was present when you were hurt or afraid.  He is present now.  He loves you and you will never be alone no matter what pain, shame, or fear comes your way.  Story after story this maxim of Christian theology provides the sufferers with comfort, and leaves the reader with the same comfort.  Mark Peske provides us with a vision of Christ present in the pain of others, over and over again, and by the last page one finds comfort in the idea that the God whose very presence has soothed so much pain, healed those wounds, is with us all.

If it weren’t for a vanity press, I would not have this chance to recommend this novel to any and all.  It is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle e-book.