Grak-Tor!!

I hate porn. I also believe very strongly in the freedom of speech and expression, and that American law should reflect the American people, not attempt to impose the value system of one small group of that people on the rest of the nation. To be consistent in this position I find that I have to argue that the obscenity exception to the first amendment really isn’t legitimate, but is instead an imposition of specifically Judeo-Christian values that probably shouldn’t be a part of the law.

That being said, I with that all porn was illegal, that any creation or distribution of porn came with stiff fines… and perhaps prison time. I wish that porn wasn’t a part of the internet, and that it wasn’t a part of my life. I wish that I didn’t struggle with it. Unfortunately, none of the above wishes are true, or even realistic. Porn is legal, and to be consistent with my beliefs I have to say that it should be legal, much as I wish that it wasn’t. It is a part of the internet, and that’s never going to change, and it is something that I struggle with. Hopefully someday that will change, but it hasn’t yet. So, this all leads me back to GRAK-TOR!!!

Yes, I’m well aware that none of you know what that means. Unsurprisingly, I’m fine with that. There are a great many situations in which we don’t get what we want. Even more in which we get what we thought we wanted, only to find out that we didn’t really want it all that much. We are incredibly dumb people.

I’m currently reading Madame Bovary, which has nothing to do with porn so far as I can tell, but which has everything to do with being incredibly dumb and not knowing what we want. So far, the book is about a woman who doesn’t have a clue what she wants out of life and hurts everyone around her trying to figure it out. I find that I identify with that very closely, and it makes me wonder how much pain I’ve caused simply by being an idiot. I know how much pain I’ve been caused because of the idiocy of others, but I can only guess at how much pain my own idiocy has caused. I’m going to guess that I’ve probably given at least as bad as I’ve gotten.

I’m using the terms ‘idiot’ and ‘dumb’ here in a technical sense. For those of you who don’t know, and probably have never actually cared, an ignorant person is a person with out knowledge. We are all ignorant about many things, and there isn’t really anything wrong with that. Ignorance is simply a state of being that can be changed. A stupid person, however, is a person who staunchly clings to their own ignorance, even when they have a chance to change. A stupid person refuses to learn, even when he has repeated opportunities. There is something wrong with that.

An idiot on the other hand, or a person who is dumb, is a person without the intellectual capacity to learn something. For instance, it’s not that I am stupid and refuse to learn to play the piano. It’s that I have no sense of rhythm, and that I’m tone-deaf to the point that I can’t really tell the difference between listening to Mozart and listening to Beethoven (I’m told there’s a big difference), and thus no matter how hard I try, I utterly and completely fail at playing the piano.

So, when I say that we are idiots, what I mean is that no matter how hard we try, we are going to fail. We are going to make foolish decisions, ¬†we are going to hurt people, and we are going to get hurt. Hopefully we can be smart enough to eventually stop making the same foolish decisions (for instance, I’m not going to date another emotionally disturbed 19 year old), but we will still make entirely new foolish decisions. Only God can save us from ourselves.

Bible Study Burdens

Today has not been a good day. Actually, it’s pretty much been a downright bad day. Here’s the thing, today could have been a good day, it probably could have been a great day, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t. I’ve been meeting with a group of guys for a kind of floating bible study for a while now, and this week the only time we could meet was at 5:30 this morning. That’s right, 5:30… in the morning. So, I went to bed early (like 11), and got up early so that I could be ready and awake for the bible study.

The problem is, for a few days now I’ve been doing my devotions, but not really doing them. You know what I mean. I’ve been in that place where I don’t really want to spend time with God, but I do out of duty. Don’t get me wrong, duty isn’t a bad thing. If someone is spending time with God out of duty, I’m certainly not going to tell them to stop spending time with God. However, there’s a big difference between dutifully going through the motions and really doing the minimum necessary, and passionately devouring the word and spending time listening to and communing with the father. So, for several days now I’ve been going through the motions because I haven’t actually wanted to spend time with God. Ever since my fast ended really.

This morning instead of being interested, motivated, and passionate about getting into the word with a good group of men, I was distracted and ambivalent. I like ambivalent, it’s a good word, but I really don’t like being ambivalent. So, three hours later when we finally get done, I take off and head home, deciding that I’m going to take the rest of the day off… well mostly… as much as I take any day off anyway. I did a little work, worked out, and then watched anime and played video games for most of the rest of the afternoon. The thing is, I spent the entire morning struggling. I was trying to relax and watch a funny anime, but I found that all I wanted to do was look at porn.

So, like the bloody idiot I am, I did. I really don’t like porn. Even if it didn’t appeal strongly to my basest instincts and lead my mind places that I’d rather not go, it has no redemptive value. There are no strong story lines in porn, no great acting, no clear social commentary, no meaningful dialogue… mostly because it’s all about getting off as fast as you can. So, that happened, and then I repented. Still, my day didn’t really get any better.

I’m not going to say that the stain of sin follows you around, it’s doesn’t. Once something is forgiven, that’s that, it’s gone. However, I was tired, lackadaisical, and somewhat morose for the rest of the day. I couldn’t really get into the game I was trying to play, and I wasn’t particularly interested in the show I was watching. I just didn’t particularly care about anything.

However, after most of a day of this I finally got myself off my ass and took a friend out to dinner. After that the rest of the night got better… until I ran into a mutual friend of that lady I’ve been thinking about. She told me that she and a couple of other mutual friends are thinking about fixing said lady up with another mutual friend… and again my day plummets downwards. Not for long this time though.

Here’s the thing. After all of this, all the struggle, the sin, the apathy, and the disappointment, I finally did what I should have done a while ago. I went and spent about an hour actually talking to God. Not listlessly flipping through pages in my bible. Not hurriedly saying a few rote words of praise and supplication. I spent an while actually talking to him. This made all the difference. It got me out of my funk for one, but he also pointed out that I shouldn’t have been particularly disappointed in the first place.

I’m finally happy being single, remember? Did I forget that? Why yes, yes I think I must have. I need to be single for a while to solidify that… well, to let him solidify that. I don’t need to be dating anyone right now, or pining after anyone right now, because I’m supposed to be single, and I knew that… I just forgot about it. More than that, as much as I might regret spending a few days thoroughly indifferent towards him, he wasn’t indifferent towards me.

We all go through times when we don’t particularly want to talk to God, and he always brings us out of them. Why? Because he’s perfect and we’re not. I failed to look to him for my strength, which I really needed after my fast, but he didn’t fail me. He was just waiting for me to be ready, and that took some doing. I think I’m getting better about recognizing these times and turning to him during them, but I still fail miserably sometimes, and he forgives me.

So, all in all, my day sucked. However, it turned out good in the end, when I finally turned to God for help. This brings me back to what I’ve said time and again. We must turn to God. The more quickly we turn to God, the better off we are, and the faster we’ll get out of whatever funk we’re in. Turn to God and let him bear your burdens. You sure as hell can’t do it alone.