Today’s episode comes with a warning: I will be reading a story full of sex and religious innuendo, or rather, religion mixed with sexual innuendo. And guilt and sweaty palms. If you find any of these things offensive, you may want to stop now. Or you may want to continue listening. Feel guilty now and confess to your ecclesiastical authority later.
The entire episode is 15:35 long. That’s minutes and seconds, not hours and minutes.
If you have problems listening to the podcast, here is an alternate download option.
Here is also the full text of the story:
Hi Pastor Moylan. Thanks for seeing me.
This rain, just seems to go on, doesn’t it? No, no you’re right, I’m not here to talk about the weather.
Well, uh, you see, I seem to have this problem. It’s with the Bible–No, no, I believe that it’s God’s word, through and through! I never doubted that, no sir! You might say that I’ve got, uh, too much love for the Good Book.
Right, and I don’t intend to contradict you, Pastor. Maybe if I start at the beginning…
It started, I think, with this good Christian girl named Mandy Reynolds in high school. She was beautiful, and I wasn’t the only guy interested in her, what with her Georgia accent and curly red hair and flirty summer dresses and…no, no sir, you’re right this doesn’t have bearing on my problem, not directly at least. Well, for some reason, we started dating, harmlessly at first, going to movies and football games and hugging and kissing a lot. We wanted to do more, but we tried really hard to not touch those “bathing suit zones” but we’d get pretty close, you know? And then we heard this one speaker at our Thursday night Bible Study and he was kind of like a Christian Tony Robbins guy. By the end of the night, we all signed these purity vow certificates, even the couples we were pretty sure weren’t going to stop having sex. But me and Mandy, we meant it, and the thing that really impressed us was that he said that if we always had the Good Book between us, a big one, not one of the pocket version, “ain’t no way we could have sex,” and plus we’d be mindful of the Lord.
Right, maybe he said the mindfulness part first.
Anyhow, looking back I think we had too much confidence, but that night her folks were out late, and we ended up in her room–yes, I know that was foolish, but anyhow, we tried to make out with her good-sized, leather-bound Zondervan NIV Personal Growth Study Bible between us. Well, uh, one thing lead to another and we were, um, grinding pretty hard against each other–fully-clothed, but with this uncomfortable book between our chests, but I guess it wasn’t uncomfortable enough to stop us, from, uh, reaching fulfillment.
We were pretty deeply shamed, and we spent the next week doing a lot of praying when we were together, and reading from that Personal Growth Bible, but we just couldn’t stand it anymore, and I have to say that I uh, put the Good Book down my pants. I thought it would be uncomfortable enough there to keep us at least from the grinding business, but we made do, so to speak.
We broke up after a lot of grinding and praying. Not long after I went to college, anyway. Last I heard, Mandy got pregnant and married the guy, had two more kids, and they’re divorced now. Right, that’s neither here nor there, but sometimes I think that maybe that old Bible worked, in that I never did get her pregnant, right?
No sir, that’s not the whole of it yet. I’ll get back on track.
At UoT, I got involved in Campus Crusade, which was a lot of fun. I did some partying, but I always brought a Bible with me on dates, and that turned off some of the girls to where I didn’t get second dates, but I had in mind that I wanted to settle down with a good Christian gal.
Then I met Stella. Stella was a TA, she taught one of the writing comprehension classes. She was dark and sassy and everything I’ve ever found attractive in a woman, but she wasn’t a Christian, well, at least not a practicing one. To tell you the truth, I still don’t know what she saw in me. Maybe she saw me as a project? We dated for two quarters, breaking up and getting back together almost every month.
Sorry, I’ll get to the point, uh, as it were. I could tell from our first night out that Stella was going to be trouble. When we first started making out, I stopped and pulled my Bible out of my backpack–what? No, it wasn’t hard cover. Yes, you’d think I would have learned by then–anyhow, when I explained to her how I was a virgin and was saving myself for my wife and the Bible was there to protect me, at first she was mad, but then it was like some light bulb clicked on. She swore to always keep the Bible between us when we were getting physical, and that she’d respect my virginity. I was relieved, because she was so smart and so like a model gorgeous, and I thought maybe she’d remember how she was saved once, and…so.
That’s not how it turned out, of course. I ended up spending many nights over at her place, and, and, well, she kept her word. One of the first nights, she brought out this huge Bible that she had checked out from the library–I think I’ve seen smaller suitcases–and uh, we were undressed within an hour, but that Bible stayed like a wall between us, an there was no grinding…just, uh, touching. Some nights she would only touch me with a Bible, maybe rubbing me with one in a sheepskin case, but only after touching herself with it, and right. The Bible is less effective when we’re unclothed, I see that very clearly now.
She had this small hardcover edition that she stuck…sorry, I think I’ll stop there. I can tell you don’t really want to hear.
I think the worst thing, and I’ll stop talking about Stella after this, was when she tore these thin vellum sheets from one Bible and used them to, uh, grab me with them. She would read from them first, stuff like about Lot’s daughters, and David spying on Bathsheba, and most often from the Song of Solomon.
What? Oh, just how often were we doing…oh, I see you mean that as a rhetorical question. I’ll move on, then. Stella dumped me, anyway. Started dating another grad student. We never talked again, though when she gave me back some of my stuff, I also got all of the Bible she had bought while we were dating.
So, now we come to my wife. That’s right, my Mary. No! No sir! She’s not into this kinky stuff at all. And that’s the problem, well, not her problem, but my problem.
You see, I did pretty much remain a virgin until our marriage, but without a Bible, it’s uh, been difficult to consummate our marriage. She let me put one between us on our wedding night, like it was letting the Lord into our marriage, but she absolutely refused to let me do it again. I snuck one into bed with us, you know, just kept it under the pillow where I could see it or touch it if needed, but that only worked twice. Now she makes sure there isn’t a single Bible in the bedroom with us, and well, I just can’t perform my duty, so to speak. I’ve had to spend the past week on the couch. I’m worried, Pastor Moylan, you’ve got to help me, help us.
What’s that? Normally you’d consult the good book, right. I can understand your hesitation, Pastor. What if you assigned readings? You know, the Bible’s available online now, I could look up.
Another appointment? Sure, I understand. Can I stop by later this week? After Bible study, perhaps?
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Two recent news stories impressed upon me the fact that I will always be some kind of Catholic. Even if it’s ex-Catholic. My first step in rejecting religion was exploring my own. This started as what I later knew to be feminist critique of Catholicism. The more I learned, the more it seemed clear to me that women had a larger role in this religion than I was ever allowed to know growing up in it.
I still keep tabs on the Womenpriest movement and hope that someday the Church of my birth becomes something I can be proud of. I still think of Mary Magdalene as an integral part of what the Church should be (and is, even if it’s denied). And recently, these stories made me smile and be hopeful.
Feminists (even if they don’t use that word) are trying to get stories from the Bible that include positive depictions of women read more often during Mass. Proof of their desire for a female representation of the Divine, they gather in their churches while mass is not in session to share in their subversive readings.
Every day, there are more and more books that discuss the historical underpinnings of Christianity from a feminist perspective. Here is an interview with a recent author of one such.
I have to post this, since it’s lolreligion. By now, I’m sure everyone has heard that a particular Christian called others to join in prayer at the bronze bull on wall street to ask god to “shift from the bull and bear markets to what we feel will be the ‘Lion’s Market,’ or God’s control over the economic systems”. Which itself sounds super creepy. via etal. Now, attentive biblical scholars will tell you that there is a huge difference between worshipping a golden half and worshipping a bronze bull. I mean, they’re both metal cows, but that’s where the similarity ends. God didn’t say anything about bronze bulls. Just trees, golden calfs, & so on. So, they’re obviously in the clear. Still, this is funny:
from sf_drama stolen without permission.
I was recently doing a survey recommended to me by BoingBoing. One of the questions involved a poor person giving money to a charity vs. a rich person giving the same amount of money to a charity. It reminded me of the parable of the widow’s mite.
Now, I have often been told, as a moral relativist/Aristotelian ethicist, that Judeo-Christian values stand in opposition to moral relativism. In fact, one of the major reasons my brother-in-law converted was because it was clear to him that god was an absolute; this was comfortable for him because, as a mathematician, he was comfortable with absolute values. My father and my sister both have made arguments to the effect that if one believes in the Divine, an absolute, one cannot be a moral relativist and vice versa, a moral relativist cannot accept any absolute.
When I reread the parable, however, it seems to me that Jesus is advocating moral relativism: the widow gave all that she could, an act more moral than any other who had donated money that day. It was not the effect (the money gained by the Temple) that was important, but the circumstances, manner, and intent behind the people acting.
I may actually agree with the state representatives of Tennessee in the following, though probably not for the same reasons:
A proposal that would allow the state Department of Education to develop a curriculum for the academic study of the Bible in public schools has passed the House.
The legislation sponsored by Rep. Mark Maddox was approved 93-3 Tuesday. The companion bill unanimously passed the Senate last week.
The bill would require school districts that elect to teach the course to do so with an approved textbook in a manner consistent with the state and federal constitutions.
The legislation prohibits the use of any religious test or association when assigning teachers for Bible courses.
There is quite a range of how “academic study,” “approved textbook” and teacher selection might be interpreted and implemented. I, personally, would positively delight in teaching the range of academic approaches to the Bible today, especially if I could use a primo text like Bart Ehrman’s The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. The techniques and theories used by even the most devout biblical scholars would challenge many assumptions held by your average Bible Belt Christian. For example, I think that most scholars could agree that the assignment of authorship of the gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is extra-biblical, and that New Testament wasn’t assembled until over 200 years after the death of Christ.
“Academic study” would imply that students would be introduced to competing claims, including ideas accepted by many mainstream Christians that the so-called five books of Moses actually had multiple authors, that Paul didn’t write some of the letters ascribed to him, and that there is overwhelming evidence that whoever wrote Luke and Matthew plagiarized off of the gospel with Mark’s name on it. Such impartial, non-sectarian academic study would truly encourage critical thinking and create an environment for more nuanced approaches to religious claims.
I’m not so naive as to think this is how things would play out. After all, 16% of US science teachers are creationists, and
Despite a court-ordered ban on the teaching of creationism in US schools, about one in eight high-school biology teachers still teach it as valid science, a survey reveals.
US courts have repeatedly decreed that creationism and intelligent design are religion, not science, and have no place in school science classrooms. But no matter what courts and school boards decree, it is up to teachers to put the curriculum into practice.
So much for trusting teachers to teach the approved curriculum. Instead of proper academic study, the high school students Tennessee will get Sunday School six days a week. There go my dreams of an enlightened, not quite so fundamentalist Christianity rising up from the heart of Clinton country.
Religion Dispatches has a very interesting deconstruction of a well known Old Testament story, one used frequently to support “the Culture of Life” (forgive my scare quotes, but they scare me!), but which, RD argues, ought to be understood to support Justice.
Spark is a category for sharing links. No intense commentary, just a link & a brief reason you might want to click on it. Something to Spark your Mind to Flame, if you will.
The Interfaith Alliance is keeping tabs on the race for Pastor in Chief of the United States of America and sums up the top ten creeptastic moments that remind us that, and I quote,
no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States
Good thing we have the constitution protecting us from these boobs, right? …Right?
With the recent hubbub about Obama’s pastor’s political thoughts (I know everyone here thinks exactly like their respective pastors, priests, and wardens) I think it’s important to remember that someone’s religion should not impact their political achievements. This goes for Obama, for Romney, and for Wynne As someone who would love to be politically active at a local level (I missed my opportunity to run for City Council last year), it’d be nice if religious really wasn’t a qualification.
George Carlin picks apart religious traditions & superstitions: “Suppose they hand you an upside down backward Chinese Braille bible with half the pages missing [for you to swear to tell the truth on]. At what point does all of this stuff just break down & become just a lot of stupid shit that somebody made up?!”
Spark is a new category for sharing links. No intense commentary, just a link & a brief reason you might want to click on it. Something to Spark your Mind to Flame, if you will.
First, there was John’s dabbling in mapping lolCats onto traditional religious images. Then, the folks over at Cracked gave us some awesome lolReligion interspersed in their 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On (scroll down for the lolDog in need of a
Catholic exorcism). But it didn’t stop there, oh no! Someone linked John to Agnostic Kitteh who in turn showed us the lolBible (any translation of the Song of Solomon that includes the phrase “U iz so cute! U iz so hawt!” has to be good). [I skipped the lolPrayer that would be ever so useful if anyone had the cell number of The Divine.] But yesterday, while perusing teh intarnets, I discovered a host (and I mean that in the full, angels-singing, sky-filled-with-heavenly- meaning of the word) of lolReligion. I’m not saying that it’s John’s fault (or that he deserves the credit), but this is so up our alley here at MoF. I’m just sorry I didn’t think of some of these: Read more >>