Tuesday, March 02nd, 2010 | Author: Skip Moen
Newsweek: Law-Enforcement Officials Note Marked Nationwide Increase in Teen Prostitution
Over the last year, local and federal law-enforcement officials say they have noted a marked increase in teen prostitution in cities across the country. They are increasingly alarmed by the trend lines: the kids are getting younger; according to the FBI, the average age of a new recruit is just 13; some are as young as 9. And, while the vast majority of teen prostitutes today are runaways, illegal immigrants and children of poor urban areas, experts say a growing number now come from middle-class homes.
A nation without holiness in its heart will not survive. History has shown over and over that great empires collapsed after declines in personal morality. The Biblical record confirms what historians note. My travels throughout Asia years ago demonstrated that children are only one-step along the road of moral degradation when a culture embraces values that are not based on holiness. We are only following in the steps of our ancestors. Unless God grips a man’s heart, no evil will be forbidden.
America’s new racism is homosexuality. On every side, those who stand up against this practice are treated as the new bigots. We live in a culture whose only goal is to fulfill every desire of man’s heart, a condition that is described quite well in Genesis 6:5. Why are we surprised to find the children are being swallowed up in the storm of sexual frenzy? Our movies portray absolute license, our music heroes and sports figures are shining examples of sexual deception, adultery and uninhibited desire. Even the church has decided to ignore that clear descriptions of the Greek words in I Corinthians. Plurality in moral standards is nothing more than idolatry.
A family I know found their pre-teen daughter in deep depression. She was unable to function because her peers ridiculed her for not being sexually active at age 11. What does such a situation say about the general moral instruction of parents?
Families that believe God’s holiness is the foundation of our behavior will be set upon with vengeance. It has always been so. Those who prefer the dark cannot stand the antagonism of light. Even a child’s candle must be extinguished.
There is much to pray about these days. Not least is the suffering of our children. They carry a weight much too heavy for their shoulders.
Saturday, November 21st, 2009 | Author: Skip Moen
“For this shall be called woman because this has been taken out of man.” Genesis 2:23
Woman – Word play is an essential part of the structure of Hebrew. We have commented time and again about the ways that Hebrew communicates without punctuation. Using the same or similar consonant structures is just one way that Hebrew draws attention to certain words and ideas. You will remember the word play between “naked” and “crafty” in the story of the Fall. You can probably guess that “man” and “woman” are also related words (ish and ishshah) although you might be surprised to know that they are only related phonetically and structurally. They do not come from the same Hebrew root. Nevertheless, there is certainly a deliberate word play here. What does this tell us?
Phyllis Trible examines these word plays. She makes a powerful observation. “Sexuality originates in play.” The author of this Genesis text actually goes out of the way to pun the words ish and ishshah. Remember that they do not come from the same root. Furthermore, there are other words for “female” that could have been used here. But the author chooses a word play to describe the first occasion of sexual difference. God puts the man in His garden of pleasure and then builds for the man a deliberate designed companion in order that delight may be fulfilled. Before this engineering marvel, Man is the ‘adam from the earth, ‘adamah. Man is not ish, male. The pronoun “he” doesn’t exactly apply because “he” is not male as opposed to female. ‘Adam is sexless. Undifferentiated. But when God produces the ishshah from the ish (significantly, not from the earth), then there is both male and female and play begins.
Not surprisingly, the Church has ignored these implications. It has treated this Hebrew word play in the same way that it converted Song of Songs from a Hebrew erotic love poem into an allegory about the Bride of Christ. We must remember that Hebrew is a language of life – of real people, real problems and real pleasures. Too much cognitive reflection takes a lot of the fun out of living (I am sure you are nodding agreement, especially over all this cognitive discussion). Hebrew is first and foremost about living. Then it is about thinking. Sexuality is at the heart of life and living. We would expect it to take a place on center stage in God’s ordered world. When a culture pushes sexuality into the background or treats it as the equivalent of mortal sin, something is wrong. That is not the biblical view. If sexuality were not so important, it would not show up in a constant stream of metaphors about our relationships to God Himself.
Trible does us a favor by noticing that God puts sexuality in the midst of play at the beginning of our collective story. Sexuality is essential to identity. God made it good. Of course, it is good under His authority, domesticated to His purposes. But it is the first playful element of creation.
Topical Index: ish, ishshah, sexuality, Genesis 3:23, word play
Eliyahu Kitov relates the teaching of the famous sage, rabbi Akiva. Akiva’s insight bears directly on this duality resident in human beings and, in particular, with the ‘ezer kenegdo.
“Some of our sages probe not only the words of the Torah, but each individual letter as well. The foremost exponent of this method was Rabbi Akiba. It was he who taught:
“If husband and wife are deserving, G-d’s Presence dwells in their midst. If they are not deserving, fire devours them.”
“For,” said Rabbi Akiba, “the Hebrew word for man is ish, spelled aleph, yod, shin. Remove the yod and you have aleph, shin or esh, meaning fire. The Hebrew word for woman is ishah, spelled aleph, shin heh. Remove the heh and, once again, you have esh, meaning fire.
From this we learn that there is a consuming fire in the heart of every man and woman. When they marry, two fires are brought together that are capable of destroying whole worlds, if not properly tended. To quench that fire is impossible – for it generates the life of the world. But to leave the fire as is, is also impossible for it generates evil as well.
What did G-d do? He placed one of the letters of His name, the first letter of the Divine Name, yod, between the aleph and the shin to make the Hebrew name for “man”. And He took the second letter of the Divine Name, the heh, and placed it after the aleph and the shin to make the Hebrew word for “woman.” In that way, both man and woman retain in their names the word “fire,” but when they marry, the Divine Presence dwells in their midst, in the combination of their names.
Wherever G-d’s presence dwells, that fire gives warmth and heat, but it does not devour and consume. If husband and wife do not make the Divine Presence unwelcome, its blessing rests on the work of their hands and they become as partners in the act of Divine creation. But if they make the Presence unwelcome so that it does not dwell in their midst they are left only with two consuming fires.”
Eliyahu Kitov, A Jew and His Home
. Additional information about this insight may be found in Frank Seekins, Men, Woman and Fire: The Dynamics of Divinely Created Relationships
(Living Word Pictures, 2005).
Sunday, February 15th, 2009 | Author: Skip Moen
male and female he created them Genesis 1:27
Male and Female – The difference between human beings and animals is so important to our entire perspective that it cannot be overemphasized. The world teaches that we are merely a higher evolution of animals, not distinctly different in origin or essence. The Bible has a very different perspective. The Bible doesn’t debate the proposed theory of evolution. That simply isn’t important from a biblical point of view. What is important is the deliberate connection between Man and God. There is no doubt about our connection with the rest of creation. We are made of the same stuff as the earth. But notice that God forms Man from the ground, not from the animal chain. God animates that earthly connection with His own breath. Man is the only created being with a built-in bond between heaven and earth. To be human is to recognize, nourish and exhibit this dual relationship.
The Bible says that Man was created male and female. This too is important. While it is obvious that gender is part of the other created orders, the Bible only makes this deliberate point about gender when it comes to human beings. Why? Why not just say (like the other creations) that Man was created after its kind? The Bible specifies the gender of Man because sex is sacred. It is not like the reproductive instinct of the animals. Human sexuality has a spiritual component. Of course, it is possible to ignore this component and act like animals, but that is not the way we were created. Anyone who spends time reading about the careful and deliberate creation of the woman knows that her creation is not focused on reproduction. Male and female together bring about something vital to God’s plan. Nahum Sarna points out that human sexuality is on a completely different order than sexuality among the animals. It is a gift from God. Properly understood and properly enacted, it cannot be anything but spiritual and good. God made it that way. Sarna points out that this is the reason that sexual perversion is so offensive to God. Perversion is corruption of the very nature of Man, a degradation of God’s breath in our human form.
The Hebrew words for male and female are zakar and neqevah. The pictograph for male is the combination of weapon, open hand and person. Perhaps the imagery tells us that a man is either friend or foe. His nature is to provide and defend. Neqevah paints the picture of beholding the final life in the house. The woman is the final source of life in the house. She continues the legacy. These roles are part of the Hebrew design. Man and woman bring about God’s redemptive plan together. Together they are given the assignment to multiply, steward and oversee the earth. Together they are to bring God’s image to bear on the rest of creation. Together they are His regents. None of these assignments, including procreation, are animal actions.
God made us different. Evolutionary theory attempts to make human beings the same. God doesn’t see it that way. We are connected, but we are not contiguous. Our life has not evolved. The real implication of Darwin’s thought is devolution, the transference and reduction of the divine breath to natural respiration. Once we start sliding down that path, all of God’s intentions are reduced to survival necessity. We can become animals if we try, but God intends us to become human – and He is anxious to help in that process.
Today you can rejoice in your humanity and your sexuality. God made you. Your breath is His sign of your significance to Him. Today you can be more human than you were yesterday by breathing a little deeper. Inhale His goodness.
Topical Index: sexuality, male, female, Genesis 1:27, zakar, neqevah, evolution