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PUBLISHER Connection Communications DIRECTOR Joan Polito EDITORIAL Bekah Hanson | Editorial Director > email@example.com Nancy Reimann | Associate Editor Jerry Rood | Associate Editor Yo Snyder | Associate Editor CONTRIBUTORS Paul Bishop > Michelle Bransford Ray Del Toro > Matt Gentry Will Hall > Leigha Harvey > Skip Heitzig Stevo Jeter > Jesse Lusko > Brian Nixon Dominic Sedillo > AJ Villegas DESIGN & LAYOUT Khanh Dang | Design Director Brandon Lopez | Jr. Designer ADVERTISING Darren Arnold | Sales Director > firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRIBUTION If you are a retailer and would like to carry Static Paper, please contact: Joan Polito > email@example.com 505.344.0880
Issue #4 March-May 2012
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BEKAH: So. I guess it’s my turn to start this whole intro again…well, OK. Welcome back to Static Paper! You’re still reading it? Yes? Not using it to line the hamster cage? Anyway, this is going to be a pretty impressive issue. Seeing as how it’s all about sex and stuff. That’s, like, even better than sparkly vampires. Hey, Yo—isn’t it better than vampires? YO: I thought all that vampire stuff was about sex…or maybe it was lust…certainly wasn’t love, was it? I don’t know, I couldn’t tell, which is exactly the problem we’re tackling this issue; how do we tell the difference? That’s all fine and dandy, but truth be told, right now I’m more focused on Mass Effect 3…oh, ‘scuse me a moment, I’m receiving a distress call, I better take this… BEKAH: But they were sparkly. Like diamonds. BAHAHAHAHA. OK. Anyway…did you just say distress call? I don’t even know what that means. Can you stay on topic? We were talking about sparkly vampires, sex, and ninjas. Oh, sorry. I was thinking about ninjas while we were talking about sex and vampires. Did you just see what I did? No? That’s because I’m a ninja, silly...nevermind. We’re also gonna talk about homosexuality in this issue. That’s probably gonna be the best part of the magazine—because I wrote it. YO: Er…probably…or one of the best parts about this issue is the fact that if you’ve ever had a question about sex, you’ll likely find an answer in what we cover here. But really, one of the best parts about this issue is that we got to talk with Kermit the Frog. That’s right, the Kermit the Frog. Probably the biggest celebrity to ever grace these hallowed pages. Also, The Muppets was easily one of the best movies from last year, and I can’t wait to watch it again at home on Blu-Ray and…oh, ‘scuse me again, another distress call coming in. See, there’s these sentient machines called Reapers trying to wipe out all organic life in the galaxy and it’s up to me and my crew to stop them…so, you know…I gotta take this (man, Mass Effect 3 is THE coolest game this year!) BEKAH: Did you just say that Kermit’s bigger than Johnny Cash? Yeah…that would be no. I like penguins—mostly how they walk. I think you guys are going to love (lust? like? stalk? match.com?) this issue of Static Paper. Seriously, though. It’s full of good information. Yep. You’re finally going to get the truth. So let’s go… let’s talk about sex. And some other stuff, too. See you guys next issue. I’m on my way to my next ninja lesson. Today we’re gonna learn about infiltration and sabotage. So I’m gone. Disappeared. Poof. Told you. YO: Uh, Kermit the Frog is totally bigger than Johnny Cash, duh. But, debate that amongst yourselves once you’ve finished this sexy issue of Static (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
4001 Osuna Road NE Albuquerque, NM 87109 505.344.9146
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hen did superheroes like Superman and Nightwing start living like James Bond? At what point did superheroines cross the line from tight spandex to lingerie? Since when have casual sex and “hook-ups” been a common part of the stories in DC Comics? And why, with the rare exception of characters such as Batgirl, Batwoman, and Wonder Woman, are most of the female characters all about their sexuality and not their personality? Catwoman #1 is practically a collection of racy pin-up poses. Then there’s the supporting female characters that move and pose like they’re on stage at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. In short, they’re commonly displayed as shallow objects of fantasy and desire. This wasn’t quite what I was expecting when DC Comics said their heroes were going to be “younger, hipper, relevant, and contemporary.” What’s going on here? Well, back in the summer of 2011, DC Comics, one of the largest names in the comics industry, made a bold and unprecedented step in revitalizing their comic book titles. The entire lineup was going to get refreshed and updated as the DC Universe got the “re-boot” treatment. Every title was going back to number one, which for some titles like Action Comics and Detective Comics would be the first time that has happened in over 70 years. The New 52 (because there would be only 52 titles now) were going to update characters, change their back stories and histories, and make them fresh and relevant for today’s readers. That meant that even Superman and Batman were getting updated: hipper, younger, and more relatable. All in all, not a bad idea for an industry that’s been slowing significantly in recent years, financially at least. However, the move also had an unexpected side-effect: one that brings up the question of whether or not pop culture imitates life or if life tries to imitate pop culture—specifically in regard to our approach to sex.
One thing’s for sure, life is a bit different for superheroes in the New 52. Granted, Bruce Wayne always had a playboy image as part of his cover, so it wasn’t all that shocking to see him with various women. However, it was a bit shocking to see how he treated them—almost as disposable pleasures. More surprising was seeing Dick Grayson, the long-time Robin, one-time Batman, and current Nightwing, join the “mile high club” with an old acquaintance he hadn’t seen in years (no need for small talk anymore, this is the way to reconnect in the modern world: have sex). Over in Voodoo, the first issue is basically a pole dance. In Red Hood and the Outlaws, Starfire straight up asks one of the boys if he’d like to have sex; pretty much the same way someone might ask another person if they’d like to have lunch sometime. Perhaps the most egregious example of this “younger, hipper” approach is the dissolving of Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane’s marriage. It’s gone; like it never was. Because apparently marriage isn’t cool—only “old” people make vows and commitments to love and adore just one person. Apparently, young people don’t need good role models for marriage: They need to see their heroes enjoy the swinging lifestyle of today. More shocking than anything else in the New 52 is seeing Lois, who always wanted nothing more than for Superman to notice her, suddenly treat sex like it’s racquetball (find a partner, get sweaty, shower, move on with your day). No, this is not what I was expecting from the “younger, hipper” DC Comics. When it comes to expectations, I’m also pretty sure that DC didn’t think this aspect would be one of the most talked about elements of the New 52. New costumes, maybe. Or the newly tweaked origin stories, perhaps. But the portrayal of women and sex? That probably wasn’t high on their list of what would get people buzzing. After all, this is just an updated reflection of what modern life is like, except with superheroes. Yet it’s exactly what people started talking about. Even mainstream reviewers like the crew at IGN were surprised, puzzled, perplexed and even a bit taken aback at this extremely casual approach to sex among superheroes,
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and the overall particularly sad portrayal of women. It’s one thing when the Christian media critiques such things, but when mainstream and Christian media agree on something, well that’s bound to grab some attention. Kids were also noticing the difference. One author asked her seven-year-old daughter, a long-time fan of Starfire from the Teen Titans, what she thought of this new version. Her answer was very telling: “Well, she’s not fighting anyone. And not talking to anyone, really. She’s just almost naked and posing.” Is this really what appeals to today’s youth? Do DC’s attempts to make the New 52 more contemporary and relatable to today’s audience reflect our values in today’s society? Is this really what our culture is like? Sex is just a pastime without any need for commitment, relationship, or even emotion? Women should always be sensually appealing, regardless of what profession they may be in? (Bruce Wayne’s “girlfriend” is a reporter, or so we’re told, but I’ve never seen any professional female reporter dress, talk, or pose like she does.) Is sex in the New 52 just a reflection of sex in today’s culture—or is our culture trying to live up to pop culture? I could answer that question any number of ways: with statistics and quotes and news reports and facts and blah, blah, blah. Instead, let me just share a personal story that I think helps settle this issue. Back when I was in college, a short time before all this stuff in the New 52 was even being considered, I had a roommate who was all about “living the life.” In college that meant booze, parties, and women. After all, that’s what college is all about, right? I mean, it’s what we see portrayed in every form of media. Well, one evening—I believe it was his birthday—I was trying to get some sleep, turned on my side facing the wall (a very important detail), when my roommate returned from his birthday party…only he
wasn’t alone. He had invited a girl back to the room with him. I figured they would just grab something and go, or maybe talk a bit before going out, or…anything other than what happened. I did my best to ignore them and get back to sleep, but before I even knew what was happening, my roommate’s bed was going “squeak, squeak, squeak.” Yup. My eyes popped open as wide as dinner plates and my mind refused to accept the reality of what I was hearing. It couldn’t be, could it? It was! They were! I was shocked and horrified. It was like a waking nightmare. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, what’s the etiquette for something like that? Jump up right while they’re in the middle of things and say, “For God’s sake, I’m not asleep! Just stop a moment while I go sit in the hallway!” I panicked. I didn’t know what to do; so I went into survival mode and…played dead. I didn’t move a muscle, stayed on my side, faced the wall, and just kept hoping it was all a bad dream. I tried to block it all out, but I still heard snippets of conversation like “Come on, this is what it’s all about, right?” and “What’s your name?” And in no time at all it was all over. Soon the air was tinted with scent of cigarette smoke (how cliché can you get?). As I waited for the (happy?) couple to fall asleep, I realized a few things about sex. It was pathetic, meaningless, dumb, completely devoid of any emotion, passion, or purpose, and it was disturbingly lame. I thought to myself, “Please God, don’t let that be what I’ve been saving myself for. Please tell me there’s more to sex than that. Please tell me it’s more worthwhile than that to wait for marriage.” Now here’s the crazy thing. You know all that pointless, meaningless, relationship-less, intimacy-less, completely empty, and vapid sex all those characters are having in the New 52? Well, that’s pretty much what the reality was like. That’s what I heard in that college dorm room. Here’s my problem: It’s just accepted that’s the way it should be. Really? Why would anyone want that? We don’t want more? Vapid, empty, pointless pleasure with no attachments? Are we really so dull as to not want something more—something better? Considering my experience and what’s currently happening in the New 52, perhaps pop culture and reality reflect each other. Our culture is trying to live up to what the media portrays, and the media portrays what we’re trying to live up to in our culture. It’s an endless, meaningless cycle. It’s just the way things are and we have to accept that, right? No. I don’t think so. That’s far too disappointing, far too unsatisfying. There must be more; there must be something better. There is something better. Oh, here’s the part where he talks about that whole monogamy thing, that whole purity thing, that whole “wait for marriage” thing. That’s so old fashioned and outdated, give me a break. That isn’t any better. True, that’s what our society believes. But you can’t tell me that my horrifying experience in college, the constant parade of wrecked relationships among celebrities, the shallow, pointless relationships portrayed in media and pop culture which seem so modern and forward thinking, have actually worked out well. If you’re satisfied with the idea of empty, vapid relationships with little meaning and fleeting pleasure, by all means put this article down and stop reading. However, if there’s a part of you that longs for something more, let me tell you how you can
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I mean, what’s the etiquette for something like that?
experience it—and yes, it has to do with all those “oldfashioned” things I just mentioned. It has everything to do with the rules God laid out for us in the Bible; rules designed not to deprive us of pleasure, but to help us enjoy ourselves more fully. I’ve been married for 13 years (that alone pretty much defies the odds). But more than that, I have been blissfully and happily married for 13 years. More than that, I discovered that sex in marriage—sex that falls within the guidelines laid out in the Bible—is fun, exciting, passionate, satisfying, fulfilling, and pretty stinkin’ hot. Pretty much everything I hoped it would be, and everything my college roommate didn’t find it to be. How is that possible? It’s not all that difficult to understand. You see, whereas the New 52 and our culture think that sex is just an activity, God intended it to be a relationship: one with very deep ties. All that emptiness, all that emotionlessness, all of that purposelessness that pretty
much defines sex in the New 52 and our culture is done away with in a committed, loving marriage. Sex isn’t just an activity for me and my wife: It’s a deep expression of our love for each other. It’s a bond and connection that we uniquely share only with each other. It’s something special that’s just for the two of us, no one else, and that’s part of what makes it so fun, so satisfying, so fulfilling, and so everything else that’s lacking in what the rest of the world has accepted as status quo sex in today’s world. Sex is something to be enjoyed with our spouse, someone who is truly special. But when everyone qualifies for that special activity—well, then as Syndrome said in The Incredibles, “When everyone’s super [or special], no one will be.” When God created Eve, it wasn’t because Adam looked a little bored and God decided a “hookup” with Eve would help keep him busy. No, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18 NIV). Did you catch that? Alone. Not bored. Not needing some activity to occasionally pass the time with. Alone. Adam needed someone to help him not feel alone; someone to connect with, to share with, to be with. Someone with whom he shared things that would be uniquely theirs. In short, a truly meaningful relationship full of commitment and devotion. Not empty, not vapid, not a fleeting pleasure but something full, something fulfilling, something lasting. I gotta tell you, never have I heard two more lonely people than my college roommate and his lady friend. Their bodies may have been in contact, but they had no connection. “What it was all about” was an empty, lonely experience. He went right out and tried to find someone else to “get with;” not because it was “the life,” but because deep down he was lonely. Sex doesn’t solve that. But when you solve the loneliness, first through a relationship with Jesus Christ, and second, through that one special spouse, sex blossoms into something with meaning, full of emotion and passion, a pleasure that lasts instead of being forever fleeting. An awesome marriage relationship results in awesome sex, and awesome sex helps fuel that awesome marriage relationship. It’s pretty cool, actually. Yeah, 13 years of happy marriage and awesome sex. That’s come about in my life because of two reasons. One, I followed the rules and guess what? It was great. Two, I’m willing to work at it. Sex isn’t about a feeling, it’s about a commitment. Love isn’t about a flutter of the heart—not all the time. Sometimes it’s a conscious act of the will. My wife and I work hard at our marriage, and we work at our sex lives as well. The payoff for all that work is, well, awesomeness. It’s the fulfillment of all the things lacking in the pages and relationships of the characters in DC’s New 52, and throughout the rest of our society. It’s the enjoyment of the very thing our culture is seeking in meaningless, nostrings-attached acquaintances. Instead of making their characters more modern, hip, and relatable, DC is just adding to the “it’s not good to be alone” problem. All those superheroes aren’t quite as cool as they think they are. In fact, their love lives are about as far from super as you can get. Following God’s blueprint is the one way sex can truly be super. Trust me, I know from personal experience (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). ø
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Whereas the New 52 and our culture think that sex is just an activity, God intended it to be a relationship: one with very deep ties.
LET’S GET IT ON!
By Matt Gentry
n this issue of Static Paper, the overall theme is sex…and music. This raised the question of whether or not there is a connection between the two. Well…“Let’s Get It On!” I heard that song recently while shopping at a local grocery store. I’ve heard that song 1000 times since I was a kid. It’s a great, super-catchy song. Oddly enough, Marvin Gaye’s classic was recently voted as the best song to make whoopee to. To be honest, I always knew what he was referring too, but admittedly, it never really put me in the mood. Call it bizarre, but the only type of music that I can think of that puts me in the mood is a new form of music called “Opera-Belchings.” It’s opera music but, instead of singing, they belch the lyrics…pretty moving, I must say. So, I started thinking about whether or not hearing a song…would actually put one in “the mood.” Better yet: Is there a connection between sex and music? After conducting quite a bit of research, I was surprised and not surprised about what I discovered—a ton of evidence that supports this theory. And it does…especially in teenagers. According to the American Journal of Pediatrics, teenagers who listen to songs with raunchy lyrics start having sex earlier than those who listen to other types of music. Young people who listen to music with sexually degrading lyrics describing women as sex objects and portraying men as “sex-driven
studs” were almost twice as likely to start being sexually active within the next two years as teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music. This has raised some pretty big questions about the increasingly close connection between sex and music. As the father of a teen, I am even more thankful for Static Radio; to be able to offer a real, quality alternative to all the other radio stations that are singing “Let’s Get It On!” All that being said, what is Static Radio doing about it? Well, I think by engaging the culture with topics like this through radio, print, and social media, we are making an impact. Are we making a difference in the lives of young people? I believe we are. In fact, this is an excerpt we recently received from a listener, about Static Radio: Static Radio takes an innovative step toward finding a way to be relevant in the culture. They are continually trying to find ways to bridge the culture and the cross in a transparent, but unobtrusive way. Static creates an inclusive environment that anybody would feel safe and welcome to contribute. Promoting constructive conversation about our faith and the culture/world we live in is something I think has been missing from many a ministry’s approach. ø
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“I DON’T HAVE SEX, SO I’M PURE.”
By Michelle Bransford
“Um…No. You’re Not.”
trying to be nice all by myself. Only by God’s grace am I not going to think ill of those around me, and it’s His grace that needs to cover my speech. What many people don’t realize is that following Christ is not a one-time commitment. It’s continuous and must be pursued every day: hour by hour and minute by minute. “Fix your gaze directly before you” means that we must look to Jesus for our every step. While it’s totally important that we have a friend who doubles as an accountability partner, it’s more important to have Jesus as your number one. Jesus says, “Follow Me.” He never said, “Follow My people.” He should be the first one you go to with everything. First Thessalonians 5:22 tells us to, “Abstain from every form of evil” (NIV). That’s a commandment; this verse in Proverbs tells us how we’re supposed to do it. It closes by telling us to, “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (Proverbs 4:26 NIV). Here, God is personally telling each of us to think before we act. If we are in God’s will with each step of life, then we have the promise that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV). Be unwavering in your relationship with Jesus Christ, pursuing Him wholeheartedly, and strive for purity in your heart, soul, body, and mind. ø
bove all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (Proverbs 4:23-26 NIV). What is purity? No, really…what is it? I hear from so many people that purity means to stay away from any sexual act. I beg to differ. Sure, the definition of purity definitely has something to do with staying away from sex, but that’s a very dictionary definition. What does it mean to remain pure in the eyes of God? First, guard your heart. The Bible is inerrant and relevant—so read it. God tells us to write His Word deep within our heart so that the Holy Spirit can remind us often of His promises and commandments for our lives. Next, we are instructed to keep any corrupt speech far from our lips: “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NIV). How often do you find yourself speaking low about someone without even realizing it? “Let your speech always be with grace…” (Colossians 4:6 NIV, emphasis added). When I read the word always, I find myself wanting to go into a dark corner and curl up in a ball. If I try to always say nice things, I will end up failing. The problem is that I am
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From A Listener
rowing up, my dad was an alcoholic, drug addict, abusive verbally and, at times, physically. As a teenager I had very low self-esteem...didn’t really care about anything, including school. I was unsure about God, couldn’t say if He was real or not. I ran away from home at 16, lived from place to place...sometimes sleeping in a friend’s car. Ended up getting an apartment with my boyfriend at age 17. We had a very dysfunctional relationship; a lot of arguing and fighting. We both smoked a lot of marijuana. For me it filled that emptiness inside, but it was only temporary. I was very unhappy. I remember it being very hard to stay happy. At age 18, I started working at a daycare where I met my friend Star.... She always talked to me even when I wouldn’t really talk back. I finally became comfortable with talking to her, so I told her about all of my issues and she said “Have you prayed about this?” I told her, “No, I don’t feel like I can ask God for anything...I haven’t done anything for Him, why would He want to hear from me?” And I’ll never forget what she told me: “That’s just Satan keeping you from God.” That was the moment that my life started changing for the better. Over the next four years I slowly started pray-
ing and learned to forgive and began to feel happier—but I was still living in sin. I didn’t realize that I had one foot in the Bible and one in the world. My boyfriend and I had two beautiful little girls out of wedlock. Then, in 2009, my sister-in-law invited me to the Women’s Bible Study at Calvary. That’s when God was speaking very loudly to me. I turned from all sin and turned completely to God. My boyfriend didn’t take it very well because I was now against sexual sin. Things in our relationship got really bad; he threatened to move out and break up with me. Though I loved him, I was at peace because I knew that following God would bring good things for my life and my girls. When he saw the change in me and my happiness and peace, he finally came to God also! We got married in March 2011 and though being married is hard and isn’t always perfect, we have a much healthier relationship because God is the center. Our girls are in a stable two-parent home and we’re raising them to love Jesus also. Without Him, we would not be together right now...so praise Jesus! God is good!
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A DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP
I didn’t realize that I had one foot in the Bible and one in the world.
By Bekah Hanson
eagan is president. In Hollywood, the charity single “We Are the World” is recorded by USA for Africa. Back to the Future is the highest grossing film. The Nintendo Entertainment System, including the Super Mario Bros. pack-in game, is released. The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes debuts in 35 newspapers. Microsoft releases the first version of Windows: Windows 1.0. The Tommy Hilfiger brand is established and the computer game Tetris is released. If you were born in 85, you’re the same age as Sarah Hughes, Kyle Busch, Evan Lysacek, Michael Phelps, Ashley Tisdale, Britt Nicole, and Raven-Symoné. The author of Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White, died. So did Rock Hudson, Orson Welles, and Roger Maris. And who—who in the world, I ask you—could forget the Chicago Bears recording of “The Super Bowl Shuffle”? Of course, they also win it that year—trampling over the New England Patriots with a score of 46-10. Madonna sings “Material Girl.” Murray Head records “One Night in Bangkok” for the musical Chess (and if you’ve never heard this song, I seriously suggest YouTube-ing the video. Like now. And in no way do I and/or Static Paper endorse the lyrics—if you can understand them without reverting to Google.) A stamp costs 20¢ and a gallon of gas is $1.20. The Emmy Award went to The Golden Girls for Best Comedy, Michael J. Fox for Best Actor (Family Ties), and Betty White for Best Actress (The Golden Girls). Whatever happened to Jennifer Keaton from Family Ties, anyway? Sorry—got a little distracted for a second. Hold on. I’m going to find out what happened to her since I know you’re wondering now, too. Apparently, she’s “abandoned her blonde hair and has since worn it black.” Wow. Maybe
she’s turned emo? Oh. OK. It appears she simply married an electrician, has 2.5 kids, and lives in Ontario, California. Thanks for that, Wikipedia. So we always throw this section into Static Paper—because it’s fun. You know you like it. You know you’re waiting for me to pick the year you were born. Admit it. But on the serious side, it’s also to remind us we’re only down here on earth for a little while. The Bible emphasizes how fleeting and fragile life is: “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before You. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” (Psalm 39:4-5 ESV). ø IF A TRUCK HIT YOU TOMORROW, WOULD YOU BE IN HEAVEN OR HELL? MAKE SURE YOU’RE SURE. If you have not already received Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior—do it now. Please don’t wait. With a sincere and repentant heart, pray: Father, I know I am a sinner. I repent of my sin, and turn away from it. I turn to Jesus. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, saving all who believe in Him. Fill me with Your Spirit and come into my life. Transform me. Make me into a new creation. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen. If you prayed this prayer, please contact Calvary of Albuquerque: 505.344.0880 THERE ARE PEOPLE WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU!
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ince finding out my wife was pregnant, a lot has changed. I have had several wonderful new experiences, all the way from building the nursery to dreaming of the day I will teach my son to ride a bike. But then there are those other moments, like going to that certain large-chain baby store on Black Friday that will remain nameless (I don’t want to lose my reward points), where you didn’t think a 5’3” soccer mom could be so ruthless in getting that Rock and Roll Elmo. But the most recent “dad moment” landed me in the trash—literally. The other night I was constructing a baby swing and bouncer (thanks, mom), and as I read the 25+ pages of instructions, I noticed something was missing. Actually, two pieces were missing. I went to go check the box only to realize that I’d already taken it to our apartment’s community dumpster. I thought, They’re just two little pieces—how important could they really be? Then my dad brain kicked in and immediately I put on some old shoes to go dumpster diving. Sure enough, they were strategically taped to the inside of the box. I think they put them there just to mess with parents. But the best part about all these experiences is that God is always teaching us a lesson: in the good, the bad, and the messy. Turns out those pieces were vital to the mechanism as a whole. Many people have the same idea about marriage. They often discard what can seem to be minor pieces of their marriage and hope that it will still run properly. Marriage is a big deal to God. It was instituted before the fall and before the Law. If God uses it to portray the relationship Christ has to the church, then we can understand what kind of work we should be putting into it. Sex is one of those pieces that often gets thrown out in marriage, especially as the years go on. Whether the honeymoon phase ends, the busyness of work grows, or the challenges of raising children come about, you’re beginning to operate your marriage with parts missing. Abstinence or absence of physical affection in marriage should only happen for limited reasons. One is found in 1 Corinthians 7: “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife
to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:2-5 NIV). If a person is in a time of prayer and/or fasting, it is OK to abstain from sex. It should be something communicated to your spouse beforehand. And, as Paul says, make sure to “come together again.” Another reason for abstinence would be if a man or a woman is physically unable to have sexual relations with their spouse because of a medical condition. There are two important things to remember about sex in marriage. First, sex is a part of marriage—meaning, it isn’t all your marriage is about. Physical affection is important and a key part in marriage, but it is not the whole picture. No part of marriage is greater than the whole. Sex is a blessing given by God for a married man and woman to enjoy. But, just like anything, if not seen in light of Scripture, it can become something we idolize. Second, although it isn’t all marriage is about, it is still a part. Meaning, it does have significance and shouldn’t be neglected. Just like there is a danger in putting my son in a baby swing that is missing pieces, there is a danger in marriages when sex is missing. And when we are missing pieces of marriage, many sadly tend to go to the dumpster to look for them. Many men neglect the communication piece of marriage; that’s why affairs among women are on the rise. And many women neglect the sexual piece of marriage, causing men to look foolishly in the dumpster of pornography. A single piece can be very important to the whole. I mean, would you drive your car if I told you a piece of your brakes was missing? I encourage all people, married or not, to see what God’s Word describes as the pieces that make up a complete, biblical, Christ-centered marriage. Pray for God’s help daily in fulfilling your role, and know each part of marriage is significant. Like a puzzle, each piece comes together to make something greater than itself alone. ø
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By Yo Snyder
Thrice first burst onto the indie music scene back in 2001 with Identity Crisis, and have since released a steady stream of highly acclaimed albums, including their latest, Major/Minor, which may be their last for the foreseeable future.
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ow just to be clear: Thrice is not breaking up. I know that’s a big relief for many of you. As lead singer Dustin Kensrue has said, he and Teppei, Eddie, and Riley have been friends and band mates for over 13 years. They still love making music together; that hasn’t changed. True, the upcoming spring tour may be the last chance to see them for a while, and they may not be putting out albums quite as often, but the band is not…er…disbanding. That’s one thing that Dustin made very clear. However, they are taking a break from the full-time music thing. While there’s still some uncertainty about what their future holds, one thing’s for sure: Dustin won’t be lacking for things to do. Along with being the dad of three girls under five, he’s also the worship director of Mars Hill Church in Orange County, California. As a matter of fact, his role as worship director led Dustin to think of some other things he could do with his musical talents. If he has his way, the realm of worship music might never be the same. This isn’t about Dustin making worship songs instead of doing songs with Thrice, it’s more about helping to change the landscape of what worship is. So, what led to this passion for worship and the desire to put Thrice as a band on the back burner? Well, we recently had the privilege to chat with Dustin about just that. “About three years ago I was leading worship at the church I was at before being called to Mars Hill and also leading their college group. So I was doing that, leading the college group with another guy since I was away a lot, and started feeling a call to pursue a…path to hopefully reform a bunch of worship music culture at large. I basically felt God had trained me and gifted me in a unique way to do that; just the way He’s made me, the places He’s put me, training me outside of the church. So that was a bigger thing that’s now getting worked through, and separately I felt called to plant a church with Pastor Nick, he’s the lead pastor at Mars Hill Orange County, he used to be Thrice’s manager. So we started that a couple years ago, didn’t know what that was going to look like and God just put it all together.” Now I don’t know if you caught that, but Dustin doesn’t just want to play worship music—he wants to help reform it. You may be wondering, Uh, what does that mean? Not a bad question. Why does worship music even need reforming? “I want to write songs and start to build a platform to speak into a lot of the worship music culture. One of the big things about that is it’s not very gospel-centered; it’s very like flowery law, a bunch of it. It’s, you know, all this stuff about what we’re going to do for God. Basically, I think no one is training worship leaders to be theologians. They need to be that first and foremost because they’re creating content that people are singing over and over and reinforcing in their hearts. If you aren’t careful with that, it’s a really dangerous tool, I think.” Whoa, that’s pretty heavy. I don’t know how many worship leaders today consider themselves theologians—or have even connected that with worship on Sunday morning. However, it’s not a bad notion. After all, there should be more to worship than just singing a few upbeat choruses that make us feel good before heading home to lunch, right? It won’t be an easy change to inspire, but Dustin knows if it’s going to happen, it has to start with him. He’s already preparing to carry out in his own worship life what he’d like to see happen in the realm of worship in general. “I’m a fairly intense self-studier; I just love learning. Mostly what I’m reading at any given time is theology, but I am trying to force myself to read some fiction. I love fiction, but I end up feeling like I don’t have time for it, which is unhealthy in the end if I don’t mix it up. If there are some worship leaders in the wings [reading this] there’s, I think, a good book really to start with. It’s really practical and also theologically right on. It’s Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters. It’s really great. It’s not overly heavy, but it really, really connects the hands and the heart with the theology. It dispels, I think, a lot of unhelpful terminology that’s just floating around out there. Even the idea of the worship leader being some
kind of mediator which gets communicated in a lot of different ways. It comes against the truth that Jesus is our mediator—He’s our only mediator. We worship through Him, He gives us access to the Father, and He takes away our sin. So it’s worship empowered through Jesus, not through a worship leader.” For Dustin, however, it’s not just about the music. Yes, he’d like to see change in modern worship, but more importantly, this shift in focus for his life is coming about because he wants to help change lives. “I want to see people meet Jesus in Orange County. We’re praying for 100 baptisms this year. That’s a huge goal. We’re running about 300 to 350 [in his church] right now, so I want to see a bunch of people meet Jesus in Southern California.” That being said, Dustin also acknowledges that not everyone has to go out and become a worship pastor to change lives. In fact, the best thing we can do is start changing lives right where we’re at. “I think there’s a huge need for Christians to be out in the marketplace, not only in art and music, but everywhere doing their craft well. It’s a gigantic hole, I think. People feel like they’re supposed to go into the secular world and do it all kind of for themselves and just go for it and they’re abandoning God’s calling on them. Or they feel like I gotta sacrifice my talents and all this stuff and I gotta go work for the church or something, I gotta do something “Christian.” Jesus already made the ultimate sacrifice; He made us right with God. We don’t have a sacrifice, an atoning sacrifice, to bring. We try to do that with our talents sometimes and we’re like, I gotta go do this for the church ‘cause otherwise I’m sinning, or whatever. No. God made you a certain way; go and do what He’s called you to do. It’s like Augustine said: Love the Lord your God and then do as you please. The meaning being that when you love God, your will aligns with His and He works through the natural desires that He’s already given you and redeemed in you.” In short, you don’t need a pulpit or a guitar to help win people to Christ—you just need the talents and skills you already have in the place where you’re already putting them to good use. And you need the will and desire to see those skills and talents be used by God to lead others to salvation. All in all, it’s shaping up to be a busy year for Dustin. Yet, even with all he’s setting out to do, from leading worship in a church to reforming the culture of worship, he’s still determined to make time for what’s really important in his spare time. Actually, he pretty much laughed at the idea of “spare time.” “I have three daughters under, well, one just turned five. I got that and I don’t know, I just re-did my schedule and it’s just hacked.” Sounds like his biggest need through the rest of the year is for God to provide him more time, as well as the wisdom and grace to fulfill the calling he’s been given. Also, to occasionally get together with the guys and do some music, maybe even a small tour, as Thrice. Just to remind people that they’re not broken up and that they still make good music. ø
If he has his way, the realm of worship music might never be the same.
Scan to watch videos and listen to Thrice.
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SONS OF GOD—A TALE OF REINVENTION
By Will Hall
stablished some time back in 2009, Sons of God consists of Aaron Newberry, Jacob Bundren, and Ethan Kattau. Newberry (singer/ songwriter) was the initial creative steam behind the band, and together they released their first EP The Genesis Prologue in 2010. The three-song demo was met with wide acceptance, getting the band recognition through Relevant magazine’s “The Drop,” Indie Vision Music, and other indie music mediums such as…Static Radio. I even remember when these three guys stopped by the station to pitch their demo, keeping a very humble attitude, I might add. It takes a lot of dedication to self-promote music all over the country, especially when you’re struggling to stay afloat on a very small budget (like most new musicians). After about a year of on-and-off touring, Sons of God hooked up with a small and relatively new record label in Nashville, by the name of SLOSPEAK. They spent a good part of 2011 writing and recording their first full-length album. After signing on with SLOSPEAK, the Sons of God decided to make things a little bit easier for potential fans, and changed their name to SONS. SONS recently finished their winter/spring tour promoting the release of their latest album, Keep Quiet, which debuted in late February. The 12-track album is a perfect example of the raw emotion and passion that the band’s known for. Keep Quiet is an edgy mix of modern rock/ indie influence, which includes a wide vocal range, impressive instrumentation, and revealing, yet relatable lyrics.
It takes a lot of dedication to self-promote music
There looks to be a promising future for these up and coming rockers as the 2012 album Keep Quiet was met with more success than anticipated. Production costs came close to being completely covered by an overwhelming $7000 provided by dedicated listener pre-orders. Even with such an initial buzz about the record, the members of SONS were still pleasantly surprised by how well it was received after the public release. You can hear the first single, “Doubt,” from the new album on Static Radio. To keep up with SONS as they continue to cultivate the music industry this year, follow them online at SONSofficial.com. ø
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TFK’S...THE END IS WHERE WE BEGIN
By Leigha Harvey
he raw energy contained in TFK’s The End Is Where We Begin is too much to take just sitting down. As the first words of the introduction’s warning come out of the speakers, it’s apparent this album is an anthem for action. When I started to listen, one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind was, I’m listening to this wrong, it needs bigger speakers and movement. My solution? Flying down the highway in my Mustang with the volume cranked. It just felt right—the music on this album contains this powerful feeling of energy and a drive for change. Thousand Foot Krutch ramped it up on this one. Somehow, they’ve found a way to mix the different styles they’ve done over the years into a new sound that packs a punch. The End Is Where We Begin is easily the heaviest record TFK has ever done. Songs like the album opener “We Are” explode off the record. When the first song rocks the cowbell, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re in for an epic musical ride. The two high octane tracks “Light up the Sky” and “Let the Sparks Fly” are the audible incarnations of the pure adrenaline high you get from a rowdy football game: so much energy. “I Get Wicked” marks the return of the sound that set it all off. Vocalist Trevor McNevan spits out some wicked rhymes on this one; this song alone should send diehard fans over the edge. TFK’s blend of rock and rap has always set them apart from the competition, and they use it as a fundamental element on the record. The diversity is astounding; it’s nearly impossible to guess where it’s going next. Which is why when you
encounter “Courtesy Call,” you aren’t really surprised to discover a hard rock song that sounds like it would be at home in a club (of course, the 40-second warning doesn’t hurt either). The most intriguing song on the album is “Fly on the Wall.” This song has a flavor different from anything they’ve done before. Driven by a melody in the strings that creates an ethereal quality, an almost disconcerting haze wraps around lyrics that paint a battle against the pain of addictions we all face. Lyrically, this album has a depth to it that may not be expected. While there are the straight-up rock songs that are pretty self-explanatory, you’ll also find songs like “So Far Gone” that really pull back and slow things down. TFK has always been a band that includes deeper and slower tracks on every album. You know…the songs that chill in the background of your mind until the pounding guitars fade away and then whisper the quiet truth at a moment when you need a gentle reminder of God’s love. TFK may be an amazing rock band, but it’s refreshing to hear them using the talent God gave them to minister to their fans through their music— especially in worship songs like “So Far Gone” and “All I Need To Know.” This is an album that really has no weak points; it’s a well-crafted masterpiece from beginning to end that will not disappoint. Change is in the air, and TFK has blazed a new trail with this record by going independent for the new release, continuing to evolve their sound, and laying down a challenge to all who hear their declaration—The End Is Where We Begin. ø
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PROTEST ART &
BY BRIAN NIXON
rotest is in the air. Just a cursory gaze at an array of periodicals, newspapers, or TV broadcasts, and you’ll get the sense that something is afoot on the world’s stage. Even Time Magazine designated their annual Person of the Year award to “The Protester.” So what’s everyone protesting? Well, it seems like everything: politicians, banks, the rich, governments, environmental abuses, and anything else you can put your finger on. And at the heart of any protest is the perceived notion of injustice—the thought that things are just not right in the world. One common feature of most protest movements is that unrest abounds: People are seeking truth, answers, and solutions to alleviate suffering or rectify abuses to the human predicament. When they don’t find them, they react—usually through protest. Even art galleries and artists are joining the protest, albeit in a mellow, thoughtful way. In the January 2010 issue of Art in America, journalist Erin Sickler stated, “Clearly, it’s time for people of conscience in the art world to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’” Sickler went on to write about Occupy Museums, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Though not an Occupy Museum protest, even the Albuquerque Museum of Art is quietly joining the protest movement with their current exhibit, “Social Commentary and Satire from the Museum Collection.” The description of the exhibit states, “This exhibition will examine artists who comment on society by drawing attention to injustice or poking fun at the human condition.” As I entered the exhibit, my first thought was, Wow—what an impressive collection of art. Even with New Mexico being the third largest art market in the United States (with Santa Fe taking most of the prestige), I was impressed with the collection accumulated by the Albuquerque museum. With works by Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), T. C. Cannon (1946-1978), Fritz Scholder (19372005), and Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945), the exhibit is brilliant in both scope and purpose. I was duly impressed as I walked around the West Gallery looking at art that touched upon themes such as war, racism,
poverty, political unrest, and the human struggle for dignity. I was particularly pleased with Stan Natchez’ Forked Tongues (1992), T.C. Cannon’s Waiting For the Bus (1977), Fritz Scholders’ Indian in Paris (1976), Robert Rauschenberg’s Horsefeathers ThirteenVIII (1972), Kathe Kollwitz’s Losbruch (1902), and Andy Warhol’s Mao (1972). The feelings that the art elicited in my mind were far ranging: from sadness to perplexity, anger to aversion. Images of unrest and injustice can do that. But what is a person to do while walking the corridors of an art exhibit? Join a protest movement raging on the outside or inside of the gallery, such as the Occupy Museums protests? Art professor Daniel A. Siedall reminds us that, “Art requires contemplation that focuses attention on the viewer developing a relationship with the work of art, not merely passively receiving a message.” If I understand Siedall correctly, my role as viewer of art is to extend a hand of friendship to the art, inviting the art—its themes, ideas, structure, composition, and color—to converse with me, allowing for a dialogue that, Siedall continues, “recognizes the importance of contemplation as a spiritual discipline that can underwrite and manifest itself in artistic practice.” Maybe Siedall is right concerning the role of art in the protest movement: contemplation over passivity. Or maybe Sickler is correct: Folks need to stand up and say, “Enough!” So what’s a Christian to do in this age of protest—artistic or otherwise? First, Christians need not be ashamed or shocked by the protests. Jesus Himself teaches us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness [or justice]” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV). By
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seeking God’s justice, at times we will confront this world’s system and government, causing a head-on collision—a protest, if you will. Now I’m not naïve enough to think all the protests in the world have a Christian orientation—they don’t. But the idea of coming into conflict with the world’s ways is not a foreign concept to Christians. Second, we need to expect confrontation or persecution for doing what is right. Jesus said it would occur. In Matthew 5:10 Jesus says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Third, in the purest sense, Jesus is the Great Protester: the One who protested the ways of evil, which eventually led Him to the cross. Jesus opposed all that was against God’s plan for humanity; all that was—and is—contrary to the kingdom of God. Finally, it must be pointed out that Jesus’ protest was not for the sake of protesting. There was an end to His protest, an intended goal: The cross led to the grave, which led to the resurrection, which will one day lead to a new kingdom. Jesus’ protest was a promise, engulfed in hope, and defined by love. And even though Christians protest the injustice we see in the world, our aim should be toward the promise of God’s coming kingdom. Jesus calls us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10 KJV). Ultimately, the fight for righteousness and justice is His battle; it’s His kingdom that He guards and will establish. Christians should wage a peaceful battle—according to Jesus Christ’s rules, according to His purposes, and according to His plan. He is the King, and we do well to follow our Leader. Like the Wall Street protesters who have a leader shout out words to be repeated by the larger group, we—Jesus’ followers—do well to mimic His voice, motto, and life. This alone is protest enough. Whatever route you elect to take—protest or not—remember to check out your local gallery. “The Social Commentary and Satire from the Museum Collection” exhibit runs through April 2012. The Albuquerque Museum of Art is located at 2000 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104. ø
T.C. Cannon’s Waiting For the Bus (1977). Albuquerque Museum of Art. Color lithograph on paper.
2. Robert RAUSCHENBERG, The
‘Horsefeathers Thirteen-VIII’ series, (1972). Albuquerque Museum of Art. Print, planographic, stencil, collage.
Andy Warhol, Mao (1972) Color serigraph on paper. 108.3 A-J; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York i. “Art and the 99%.” p. 31. ii. God in the Gallery, p. 15. iii. God in the Gallery, p. 15.
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he debate—not that there ever really was one—of whether or not homosexuality is a sin according to Scripture is over. It is a sin. Specifically and abundantly, the Word of God points to homosexuality as an abomination: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22 ESV). If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them (Leviticus 20:13 ESV). For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:26-27 ESV). Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV).
Not in a different category—sin is sin: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV). Do you know what a reviler is? A reviler is one who “use[s] abusive or scornful language against (someone or something).” Think about that for a second. That’s in the same list, the same passage of Scripture, as homosexuality. So your sins are no less sinful in the eyes of God than homosexuality. The difference is our attitude toward our sin: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John1:9 ESV). Does that mean we can go out and commit adultery, come home, confess, and do it again in a few weeks? Not according to God’s Word: “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19 ESV). Turn back. In other words, stop doing it. Whether it’s lying, cursing, or sleeping with someone of the same sex—do a 180 and quit it. But is it really that easy? Not without help. I sat down to talk with Michael Segura, a former homosexual and leader of Identity Quest at Calvary of Albuquerque, to see what he had to say about homosexuality and the church. Q: What are your feelings on how the church deals with homosexuality? A: I believe it’s changed for the better in the past 20 years, but there’s still a long way to go. The church has become much more accepting. When I was about three years into college, I went to my pastor and tried to tell him [that I was a closet homosexual] and the only thing he said was, “Well, you’ve got to stop that.” And it’s like, I know that—that’s why I’m here! But most of them didn’t know what to say. A lot of pastors ignore the problem; they don’t know how to counsel homosexuals. It’s a very addictive type of lifestyle and a lot of people really believe that they were born that way. I think the church should—it sounds ironic—be more like the world. The world accepts homosexuals. The church needs to be the same way. Not that they be in the
your sins are no less sinful in the eyes of God than homosexuality.
church and practicing homosexuality, but that it’s not a shock. That’s what causes people to be afraid to open up. The church needs to emphasize that they welcome all people. My personal feeling is if I saw two lesbians in the church and they were holding hands, I wouldn’t go up to them and tell them to stop. I would just let them sit and listen to the gospel. They’re never going to get the gospel if someone is pointing the finger at them right away. Dr. Neil Whitehead and Briar Whitehead state regarding various cultures: “If homosexuality were significantly influenced by genes, it would appear in every culture, but in 29 of 79 cultures surveyed, homosexuality was rare or absent. Q: Do you believe homosexuality is a lifestyle choice? A: I know that you’re not born into homosexuality because I haven’t been involved in it for many, many years. I have an attraction for women now and I’ve been totally delivered from it by the Lord. I
Yet when we read the Scripture in 1 Corinthians, we see that homosexuality is not rated any higher or lower on the “sin scale” than drunks or greedy people. Because there is no sin scale. In the eyes of the holy God, we are all sinners in need of a Savior—precisely why Jesus Christ came as a man to be crucified on the cross for us. “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV). But notice again. When Paul writes to the church in Corinth, he places homosexuality in the same place as revilers or thieves.
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believe that it is a choice—but it can come at a very, very young age because of certain deficiencies. The first time that I ever noticed that I was attracted to a man was when I was 8 years old and I had a crush on my best friend’s dad, and I didn’t know why. We all are born sinners but sometimes other people’s sins have consequences on us. I believe my dad was a very good man. He raised seven kids, but he was never around when I was growing up because he worked two jobs, 16 hours a day. My dad never took me fishing or to play basketball or to baseball games or things like that. And that happens
The only difference between your sin and the other sins listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 is there’s a comma between them.
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with other people and they don’t turn out to be homosexuals, but it manifests itself in other ways. I grew up around two sisters who were more my age. My other brothers were much older than me. I started to hang around my sisters and began to imitate those traits. Once a male child gets to a certain age, he begins to notice that he’s more like his dad and he learns those traits from his dad—what it means to be a male. And then he bonds with the father. Boys bond with each other, and they begin to feel part of their own sex. They reach puberty and become curious about the opposite sex. That’s when that type of relationship starts, which normally ends in marriage. That’s a natural progression of what a normal male goes through. I feel like most homosexuals got trapped into not being able to mature into that. At some point, they got stunted in that growth process. I could never be with other guys and feel comfortable. Kids pick up on those type of things and can be very cruel. They’ll start teasing and calling them fags and pushing them away, and the more they push them away, that child becomes isolated and then he finds the gay lifestyle and the gay bars and all that very accepting to him and he feels like this is what I’ve been all along; this is where I belong. In the 1970s, approximately 10% of homosexuals claimed to be “born homosexual” according to a large scale survey....However, in a survey in the 1980s, with the homosexual rights movement increasingly becoming active, 35% claimed to be born that way.
Q: How does Identity Quest help homosexuals? A: Identity Quest ministry meets in clandestine. No one knows where the room is or what time we meet. I meet with the men first and screen them and get to know who they are because there’s a lot of ministries around where gay activists try to infiltrate and find out what’s going on. First, we show them they weren’t born this way. Almost every single person has a similar story: they weren’t close to their dad when they were young, or were molested. They never felt part of their own peer group and they ended up becoming attracted to their own sex because they wanted to bond so badly, they mistook it for something sexual. We’ve had people that are not Christians come to the group and I tell them right away, “I’m not saying it’s impossible for you, but the only way that I really believe you can fix this sin is through Christ. He’s the only one that can supply the strength. Our identity is in Christ. That’s where the healing starts. Without Jesus Christ, I can understand why people believe they were born that way. I can understand why people think they can’t change because it’s only by Him and the power of the Holy Spirit that God can move in a life. And there are thousands and thousands of people that have changed. There’s a whole group called Exodus. It’s amazing to me what God can do in your life. Right now, I’m so excited. I’m 53 years old but I want to be married someday. On my birthday, I had a date and I was so nervous and everyone’s like, “You’re just like a teenager on their first date.” And I said “Well, basically, that’s where I am.”
Q: Most people believe that homosexuality is a much bigger sin than lying, greed, or gluttony. How can we overcome that perception? A: Our overseeing pastor Kerry Rose said, “The only difference between your sin and the other sins listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 is there’s a comma between them. Your sin is no worse than anybody else’s sin.” Calvary of Albuquerque supplies holiday meals for people at the New Mexico AIDS Services. A lot of [their] staff are gay and there was a big debate on whether or not to accept the meals because it was from a church. They finally ended up accepting because there were no strings attached. Word got around the gay community—that church is pretty cool. People knew we didn’t think that homosexuality was alright, but we began to see people from the lifestyle coming into the church, sitting and paying attention to the gospel. We need to be open enough to get people to come into the church and not judge them. Knowing what we know, we should treat them just like we would any other sinner. They need Christ—love on them and guide them to where they need to be with Christ. With any sin you can justify it by saying it’s impossible to change. The reason I believe that the political part of the gay movement hates the Christians who have changed is because we’ve proven you can change and we’ve proven that it’s a choice. It’s a very rough road—yes. Pick up your cross—yes. But you can change. If people know someone in the gay lifestyle, don’t judge them on that. Love them like you would anyone else that you wanted to bring to Christ. Q: What was the bottom line? Why did you decide this isn’t the lifestyle for me? A: One bad thing after the next happened to me. I got into a bad relationship, I got HIV, I bought a gun, I was going to kill myself, I had a lover who I was with for two years that all of a sudden just left. Literally, the roof of my house fell in and almost hit me on the head. I lost my job. I was on welfare and food stamps. The Lord never let go of me. I couldn’t enjoy what I was doing deep inside. I was partying on the outside, but the Spirit kept convicting me of my sin. God was not going to leave me alone. Anytime you turn against God there’s going to be consequences. For the rest of my life, I’m going to have to live with the fact that I have HIV. Let’s pray for our homosexual friends and neighbors. Let’s love them the same way we love any other sinner—because we’re all sinners. And it’s not about us, anyway. It’s all about Jesus Christ. Without Him, we’re all dead in our sin: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 ESV). ø
i. www.thefreedictionary.com/revilers ii. Dr. Neil Whitehead and Briar Whitehead, My Genes Made Me Do It—A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation, ch. 6.
Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Religion & Politics Tracking Survey, May 2011 | publicreligion.org
PERSONAL BACKGROUND: I had loving parents. I grew up feeling safe as a child in my home, but outside of the home I was molested by men, and I was too ashamed to tell my parents. I chose to live a gay lifestyle for 15 years. I was very miserable, going from relationship to relationship. By the time I turned 35, I called out to God to help me. He did, and only by His grace I’ve been able to stay out of the gay lifestyle. Is Homosexuality a Choice? At first I believed it wasn’t a choice. I just knew I felt this way and I went for it. But in my heart I knew God is not a God of confusion. He heard my parents’ prayers for me. I knew in my heart God would not create me to be female, and then leave me walking around confused as to why I wanted to be with women instead of men. I asked God why I felt this way. He began to peel away at my past, healing my heart and soul. Yes, it is a choice. What Would You Like to Say to Young Homosexuals? Our Identity Quest Ministry is about finding your identity in Christ Jesus, why you’re here, why you feel the way you feel, and where you are going in Him—to become a child of God and no longer walk in shame and guilt.
PROFILE: JOYCE TOLER
To contact Identity Quest Ministries, please call 505.344.0880.
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By Ray Del Toro
I willfully admit that I am often looking at the “greener grass”—when God is trying to work on me right where I am.
here I was, centered on the floor of my living room, attempting to trim the extremely over-matted hair of our little Shih-Tzu (and part Energizer bunny) puppy, Purdy. Purdy only weighs four or five pounds, but she definitely knows how to put up a fight. Her efforts to evade the attempted haircut—combined with her short attention span—kept my frustration level on a consistent rise. Everything was a distraction to her. Everything. The ceiling fan, the television, my wife snacking in the vicinity, her tail, and especially what our other dog (Pal) was up to. You might have already concluded that the haircut did not turn out as I would have hoped, but it was entirely Purdy’s fault. She wouldn’t sit still. She wouldn’t stay put. In those moments, I wished that I was some sort of dog whisperer like we see on television. I wished I could tell her that if she would just stay focused—stay still—it would all turn out as planned. I was trying to improve her quality of life by getting rid of the tangles in her fur, but she was too worried about everything else in the room. In my frustration, I had a thought: Am I ever like Purdy? Does God ever get this frustrated with me? Am I this easily distracted? There are moments (or seasons) when there is no shortage of distraction in our lives. We see how God might be working in a friend’s life, and become discontented with the current place the Lord has us. We see what God is doing through this church or that church and start
wondering if God might be calling us to leave our current fellowship and go there instead. Or we might see a marriage within our circle of friends and want what they have. We are more prone to distraction then we’d like to admit! I have recently committed tiny portions of Scripture to memory. One is found in Proverbs 28: “a faithful man will abound with blessings” (Proverbs 28:20 NKJV). It’s a verse I repeat to myself in my head when distractions arise in my personal life. I willfully admit that I am often looking at the “greener grass”—when God is trying to work on me right where I am. I don’t want God to look at me as I did Purdy. I know that there are moments when He looks at me and says: “Just focus; just stay put.” God has been telling me to be faithful lately. Solomon was serious when he asked, “Who can find a faithful man?” (Proverbs 20:6 NKJV). Faithfulness is a dwindling attribute, especially in our society. So, if I can offer any word of encouragement to you it’s this: Be faithful. Unless you are confident God is moving you, stay put. I don’t know what you’re going through, I don’t know where God has you, and I don’t know the plans He has for you. But—I know that God is faithful. I’m thankful that God is faithful when we are faithless. I’m thankful that His patience lasts infinitely longer than ours does. And in light of that gratitude, we must be faithful. ø
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LET ‘EM SEE YOU BLEED
By Jesse Lusko
here are more than a few qualms one could raise with the most illustrious agent in Her Majesty’s secret service: the foremost being that he should probably be dead by now or at the very least an old man swimming in venereal disease. With that said, James Bond is easily the most immortalized pop culture icon of our era. His film legacy will have spanned 50 years with Skyfall set for release in November 2012. Whether you prefer the classic Connery, the flamboyant Moore, or the skull cracking Craig, Ian Fleming’s 007 has defined for all of us just what it means to be a secret agent. ‘Q’, the MI6 weapons specialist portrayed by Desmond Llewelyn, had this exchange with Bond during his final appearance—and it captures the Bond persona: Q: “Pay attention, 007, I’ve always tried to teach you two things: First, never let them see you bleed.” Bond: “And second?” Q: “Always have an escape plan.”
In 2 Timothy 2:22, Paul assigned this mission to all believers after him: “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (NKJV). This task is steeped with dangers as difficult as any double-o operation. The terrain we are in is flooded with lust. At every turn, our society revels in sexual desire. The first time I was exposed to pornography I was only 7 years old (it’s estimated today that the average age is 8). Most friendships around me—throughout middle school, high school, and college—were completely focused and obsessed with joking about and swapping tales of sexual experience. As a middle school student, I had innumerable conversations with friends about going as far as we possibly could with the girls we were hooking up with. I remember the jokes made about friends masturbating multiple times a day. Having gathered firsthand intelligence in these obstacles, I can say
that if we’re going to accomplish this mission we need to invert the first part Q’s advice. We have to stop hiding our weaknesses. Guys and girls alike who are wrestling between an overly intimate relationship, porn addiction, homosexual feelings, and a desire to pursue Jesus need to step into honesty. Our temptations come loud and clear—so should our confessions! Attempting to flee from lust and pursue righteousness while never letting anyone see us bleed is a hopeless objective. We must deliberately surround ourselves with godly people who can call on the name of Jesus with us in the thick of it! With no doubt I can say the greatest reason I escaped lustful addictions, had sex for the first time on my wedding night, and have a marriage that is intact is because I have specific trustworthy guys in my life that I immediately, deliberately confess sin to. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-6 NKJV). Walking in the light means exposing our real selves. Confession means agreeing with the truth. We must agree that we have bowed down and worshiped our desires, ignoring the God who made us, and together admit how desperately we need the cross. Stepping into the light will not only cleanse us, but will also secure rich friendships with one another. “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 NKJV). Shocking news of a marriage self-destructing, a girl getting pregnant, someone coming out as a homosexual, or a sudden departure to atheism, was hemorrhaging; but it was kept covered for a long time. In Scripture, the notion of a private life is simply called walking in darkness. And these “private issues” will come to light someday. The question is: Will it cost you everything or cleanse your sin? If we want to accomplish this mission and enjoy the benefits of righteousness, faith, love, and peace we have to realize that letting them see us bleed is our only escape plan. ø
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e’ve developed an interesting relationship with the crew over at Astro-Zombies, a locally-owned comic book shop. Although Mike D’Elia and his employees don’t necessarily share the same beliefs about Jesus and the Bible as we do, they’ve become great, cherished partners of Static Radio, and especially The Guide. They provide many of the comics we review for The Guide, helped out with our comic book-themed Winter Ball by providing prizes and more, and we helped them out with their much needed annual sleeping bag drive for the homeless over the holidays. In general, they are just a fun group to chat with about what’s happening in the industry and with all of our favorite superhero characters. So who are these guys and why would they want to help out a bunch of Christians who like to use pop-culture as a tool to spread the gospel? Well, we sat down and had a chat with Mike, the owner of Astro-Zombies, to learn a little more about him, what he does, and why likes partnering with this ministry.
The day-to-day world can be a complicated, sometimes scary place.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO WORK WITH STATIC RADIO AND SPECIFICALLY WITH THE GUIDE?
Mike: Stevo approached me. He and I have gone from being customer/ store-owner to being friends. We talk about our families, life, jobs, and often times spirituality. In sharing these talks and ideas, we gained a great respect for each other. When he had the idea to get us involved, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A COMIC BOOK SHOP OWNER?
Mike: It happened by accident. I was working at a record store, and a friend and I started discussing the need for a vintage 80s video game arcade. I thought it was a great idea and began to research it. The more I did, the more it snowballed into a toy store with video games and scifi “B” movie rentals—and we began to carry some comics, mostly indie titles. As time went on, we expanded and began to carry a full-run of superhero comics and graphic novels.
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT SUPERHEROES IN GENERAL THAT DREW YOU IN AND MADE YOU WANT TO CENTER YOUR CAREER ON THEM?
Mike: I was never a huge comic guy growing up. It wasn’t until I was turned on to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that I began to frequent a comic shop and start collecting. Like I said, the concept just kind of grew out of a talk with a friend, but as I researched and it began to grow I realized the potential to do something fun that I enjoyed and possibly make a living doing it.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE REVIEWS THE GUIDE PROVIDES ARE VALUABLE TO READERS?
Mike: I like that you guys aren’t afraid to “push the envelope,” so to speak. You don’t just review “safe” things that your average reader will agree with, and you don’t sugar-coat reviews or write generic reviews. You give well-written, fair reviews based off facts—not just some reactionary opinion. I think that, in this day and age, it is uncommon and well-needed.
WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE SUPERHERO AND WHY? WHAT ABOUT THEM INSPIRES YOU?
Mike: Don’t know if I have one favorite, but I can relate to a character like Spider-Man who’s more of an average guy who fights this struggle of “with great power comes great responsibility,” or The Hulk, who is a really nice, mild-mannered guy but who has a raging demon inside him that certain people or events bring out. I guess I’m able to relate on a more personal level with them, so those are the characters I’m more drawn to. I also enjoy some of the independent comics. They often tell personal stories or struggles and can be great reads, as well.
HOW DO YOU LIKE PARTNERING WITH A CHRISTIAN MINISTRY THAT USES THINGS LIKE COMIC BOOKS, MOVIES, VIDEO GAMES, MUSIC, AND ANYTHING ELSE THEY CAN TO HELP TELL PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS?
WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE STILL ENJOY COMICS IN GENERAL AND SUPERHEROES SPECIFICALLY?
Mike: While my spiritual beliefs are my own, I do think the important thing is for a positive message to be heard and reaching the people who need to hear it. Anything can be an instrument when used properly, and these items are just the instruments to reach another group of people with a positive message. What’s the old quote? “The end justifies the means”—very fitting in this case. ø
3100 Central Avenue SE Albuquerque, NM 87106 astrozombies.com // 505.232.7800 Scan to visit their website!
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Mike: There are some great stories and time-tested characters and there’s always a new adventure or a new twist to reel you in. The day-today world can be a complicated, sometimes scary place. I think people enjoy being able to open a comic and enjoy a bit of an escape from the day. No better way than in the pages of your favorite hero.
By Yo Snyder
fter five long years, we finally get to see where our choices have led us. BioWare releases Mass Effect 3 this March, one of the most ambitious and successful gaming trilogies of this generation. It’s all about to come to a close, and the really cool thing is that its conclusion—in a small way—is entirely up to you. The choices you made in the first two games have an impact on the final chapter of this story. Your destiny has been forged, and now you’ll see its fulfillment. From the very first game, Mass Effect set itself apart; it let you shape the story. Other games had “morality systems,” to allow you to play as a good guy or bad guy. But letting you kill off major characters, making you decide which member of your crew should live or die, letting you build your own romantic relationships, and forcing you to make big decisions that would reshape the game’s universe—that hadn’t really been done. Mass Effect 2 took things a step further. Your decisions in the first game shaped the world of the second, and by the end of it, it was conceivable for everyone, including your character, to fail the mission and die. Obviously, your choices played a huge role in that. Now, with the entire galaxy threatened, it’s up to you to help unite the various species you’ve encountered through the choices you make—to help defeat an unstoppable force determined to wipe out all organic life. Epic stuff; and the outcome hinges on you. Life is a lot like that as well. Granted, your choices probably don’t affect life in the galaxy as we know it, but they can have an eternal impact. First, our choices affect our eternal destiny. You have one, you know, and it’s entirely up to you whether or not you fulfill it. What is that destiny? “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV). Your destiny is to know God. Your destiny is to have eternal life through knowing Jesus Christ. Your destiny is to live forever! How cool is that? Well, it’s only cool if you choose to fulfill that destiny. The other choice we make that has eternal impact is whether or not we share that good news. Each and every day, we encounter people who don’t know what their destiny is; they may not even be aware that they have one. Will you engage with them? Will you choose to make a difference? The way we choose to interact with oth-
ers, what we choose to say or not say, shapes their eternal destiny. I know: epic stuff and way more exciting than a video game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see how everything I’ve done turns out in Mass Effect 3, but more than that, I want to make sure I finish well in life; that the choices I make mean that one day I’ll hear God tell me, “Great job, you got the good ending.” Or, more scripturally, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21 NIV). ø
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16 NIV). There’s a lot of confusion about what love really is. Some confuse love for lust. Some confuse love for sex. Some confuse love for wanting a cute puppy dog. The point is, not everyone knows what real love is. But there’s a sure-fire way for you to discover true love—and you don’t even need an account on match.com. If you want to know love, get to know God. When you do that, you’ll be able to test every other relationship against your relationship with God in order to tell if it’s truly love or something else. You may be surprised to know that the Bible actually has the ultimate love test (that’s right, all those magazines didn’t come up with the idea on their own). Look at 1 Corinthians 13. See if what you’re feeling fits the criteria of being patient, kind, not envying or boasting or rude or self-seeking or easily angered or…well, read it for yourself and take the test. The good news is that we can know love. We can know love because we can know God. And we can know God because Jesus Christ paved the way for us to know Him with His death and resurrection—which, when you think about it, was the ultimate expression of love. ø
the good news
Check out more reviews on movies and games at gameandmovieguide.com
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By Bekah Hanson
K. I don’t usually cry when I read books—not including The Hunger Games—but this book definitely made me cry. A lot. And laugh…even more. I know the movie’s out. I hear it’s getting some nominations. But I can’t watch a movie before I read the book. (Except for maybe Harry Potter, the movies are just never as good. Never.) So I picked up The Help over Christmas and read it slowly. I didn’t want it to end. You never do with good books, right? It’s the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi. The Help is about what it was really like to work as a black maid in the white homes of the South. For Kathryn Stockett’s first novel, it’s an amazing piece of fiction. “This could be one of the most important pieces of fiction since To Kill a Mockingbird…If you read only one book…let this be it.” I don’t usually agree with NPR, but they were dead on with that review. The characters are real. The story line is real. And there’s something we could definitely use a good dose of: reality. One of my favorite parts happens close to the end. Aibileen and Minny (two of the black maids) are talking about writing the book. They speak about how the book will expose the abuses (and surprisingly poignant love) they encounter working with different white families and raising their children: We can’t pull out Minny’s section; it’s the last chapter of the book. It’s about getting fired nineteen times in the same small town. About what it’s like trying to keep the anger inside, but never succeeding. It starts with her mother’s rules of how to work for white women…I want to speak up, but I keep my mouth shut.
The Help also has an interesting subplot. Aibileen is the maid for the Leefolt family—and she’s raising little Mae Mobley. The mother doesn’t want anything to do with her daughter. But Aibileen is there for her. She tells her stories. And the stories are important. She teaches the young girl about “Martian” Luther King. People didn’t like him because his skin was “green.” In fact, in one of the cutest paragraphs, Mae Mobley is reenacting the Woolworth counter sit-in with her baby brother, telling him he has to stay sitting no matter what she does to him and warns: “No violets.” (She meant violence, for those of you who didn’t pick up on it.) Then she dumps a box of crayons on his head. Skeeter, the white socialite who came up with the idea for the book, truly expresses the point of it all: I watch Lou Anne slip away in the parking lot, thinking, There is so much you don’t know about a person. I wonder if I could’ve made her days a little bit easier, if I’d tried. If I’d treated her a little nicer. Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, we are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought. I have to say that the ending surprised me. It didn’t seem as if the book properly led in that direction. All in all? Definitely worth the read. ø
Kathryn Stockett, The Help (New York: Berkley Books, 2009).
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We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.
ome people think that God is down on sex, like He’s some kind of prude. I don’t know where they get that idea, because the Bible certainly doesn’t support it. C. S. Lewis wrote, “Pleasure is God’s invention, not the devil’s.” God invented sex. He thought it up, and He built the sexual impulse and sexual passion within us. If you think God sees sex as something merely functional, just for procreation, you’re misinformed! There’s a book in the Bible that gives us a true perspective on God’s attitude about sex. Read the Song of Solomon—you might gasp a few times as you do! For instance, in chapter 5, most scholars believe that the last part of verse 1 is God speaking to Solomon and his bride: “Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones!” In other words, God is saying, “Enjoy each other.” He is blessing the married relationship because it is holy to Him. But because sex is God-given, it must be God-guided, God-governed. (After all, who knows more about it than the one who thought it up?) Sexual love has its place, and that place is within marriage. If you take it out of its proper place, you’re inviting trouble. Think of it this way: When I work outside in the garden, the dirt is in its proper place. But when I get it on my shoes and track it all over the carpet, it’s out of place—as my wife will quickly tell me. Or think about fire: Fire is great in a fireplace where it’s under control. But take it out of the fireplace, and it can destroy everything. Solomon makes this same analogy in Proverbs 6:27-28: “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?” (NKJV). Sex is like a fire, and it has burned many marriages and many relationships to the ground. People say, “What’s wrong with premarital or extramarital sex? People do it all the time, and they seem happy.” But they’re only considering the beginning of an affair. The final effects are disastrous for those who make this a lifestyle. You can lose your wealth, your home, your family, even your physical health—and you could die. Those are the consequences. I had a friend who said, “Christianity is so negative with all those ‘thou shalt nots.’” I told him, “If you saw a sign on a door that read ‘Do Not Enter: Explosives!’ would you think that’s an infringement on your freedom? God is trying to protect you and your future relationship!” Face it, folks: Hollywood has lied to us. They say that an affair is glamorous, that it’s “free love.” No, it isn’t. There’s a huge cost. And they talk about “safe sex.” What does that mean, exactly? I think any sex outside of the parameters of a committed marriage is dangerous. Solomon wrote, “Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:15-18 NKJV). That’s a poetic way of saying this: Sex in marriage is like drinking pure water out of a fresh well. When you take it out of that context (that is, outside of marriage), it’s like drinking water from a sewer. One will delight and refresh you; the other will poison and destroy you. One is a river; the other is a swamp. God’s will for sex is this: abstinence until marriage, fidelity in marriage… and enjoyment within marriage. Remember that last part—God is in favor of it! But since it was His idea to start with, we should follow His guidance. Instead of playing with fire, we should desire a marriage that is built on friendship, intimacy, commitment, and consistency. That’s what keeps love ablaze! ø
Because sex is God-given, it must be God-guided, God-governed
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YO: Well, hello Kermit.
n March 27, celebrate the return of the beloved Muppets with the release of their latest movie, The Muppets, on Blu-ray and DVD. How I Met Your Mother star Jason Segel worked hard to bring the Muppets back to the big screen. And while fans all over the world were a little nervous over whether or not time had changed Kermit and the gang any, it was unfounded. They proved to be just as delightful, funny, and endearing as ever. I was excited when I heard the Muppets were returning. When I found out I’d have a chance to actually talk with Kermit himself…well, I think I peed a little in my excitement. And so it was early one November morning before the theatrical release of their new movie that I had a chance to talk with one of my all-time favorite celebrities:
KERMIT: Hi-ho, Yo. How are you, my friend? YO: I’m doing really well. It’s such a special treat to get to talk with you, so thank you for your time today. KERMIT: Oh, no worries. I’m happy to talk with you; I’m really happy to do that. YO: Well let’s dive right in since we don’t have much time. After a long break following Muppets from Space, what made you decide to get the gang back together and do a new movie? KERMIT: It’s been a long time since we have done a big film. We’ve done lots of other smaller projects over the years, like television specials and stuff for the internet, which was great fun. But you know there’s nothing like being on the big screen. I love being 30 feet wide. Miss Piggy tries to slim down a bit, but she’s about 40 feet wide. But I love it, and the best part is we had Jason Segel come along, who’s become a great friend, and he had a nice idea for a script written really from a fan’s point of view of the Muppets—and Jason’s a huge fan. So it was great to get to work with him. YO: I know a lot of movies today use a lot of green screen effects, but I’m thinking that would be kind of challenging for you. So how do you work around the whole green screen thing if you have to do special effects shots? KERMIT: That is a very good point, my friend. I do have to be careful with that. I actually—a lot of people don’t know this—but years ago I worked on green screen as a ping-pong ball model. It’s all that showed up was my eyeballs, so it worked out very well. But mostly I do the blue screen myself; it seems to work better in my case. I can never do the weather on a local TV show. You know, I just disappear. It’s what I like to say: When working on green screen, it’s not easy being green. YO: Well, that’s true. So with this new take on the Muppets and the new movie coming out, how do you think Jim Henson would feel about the new start for the Muppets? KERMIT: Well, you know I remember Jim well. He was such a huge part of everything I ever did, although frankly I’m not sure what it was he was doing. He was always there and he was a person I really enjoyed having around. And it is a new start for us in a way. This film sort of allows us to get a bigger audience, and part of the idea is that we would appeal to kids
again, who haven’t seen us. But I tell ya, I keep finding more and more that most of those young kids already know who we are. I think their parents have introduced us, even when we haven’t been on a regular TV show. So in terms of what Jim would think…I believe he would still be very supportive of everything we do. And that’s what he was looking for, for the Muppets to go on and on and on; so, I think it would be great. YO: You know, I still watch The Muppet Show with my kids on DVD and they love watching it. What do you think the odds are of this movie giving you a chance to once again get on TV and do like a Muppet American Idol or something like that where you’d have a regular TV show? KERMIT: Well, you know, it’s interesting. Obviously it would be great to do another series. I’ve had so many fans—you know we’ve been traveling all over the world doing PR for our film—and so many fans come up to me and ask when we’re going to bring back The Muppet Show, the original Muppet Show, you know in our little Muppet Theater with our red curtain and all that stuff. I actually think that might be a fun thing to do. But it all depends on hopefully the film doing well; and if the film does well, maybe we’ll do more films and maybe a series as well. That would be terrific. YO: Personally, I would love to see you guys back on TV. So what is the current status of your relationship with Miss Piggy? ‘Cause I know that from film to film that changes. Do have insight you’d like to share? KERMIT: Well, I guess I have the ultimate insight on that…I get asked that question a lot, and when someone asks about the current status of our relationship, it’s really an hour-by-hour accounting. It can change drastically within a few minutes. You guys, you all know Miss Piggy, so you understand what I’m saying. Right now, currently, I’m in New York City and I’m promoting the film and I’m talking to you over the phone. Piggy is also in New York City, but she’s not here with me. She actually already hit the streets earlier in the morning and she has my credit card, so the status of our relationship currently will change in the next few hours. YO: I see. Well, thank you for clarifying that. What was your favorite part of making this new movie, especially since it’s been about 12 years since Muppets from Space? What was your favorite thing that happened during the making of this new movie? KERMIT: Well, I tell ya, it’s hard to pick one particular event, except for breaking for lunch every day because I love that part. But I have to say the
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best part about any project that I do with the Muppets and all my friends is that, you know, we’re like a big family. We’re like a big rap company. I mean, you know there’s bears and chickens and pigs and rats and frogs and we all come together and we all work together as though we’ve never been apart. It’s great to have a group of friends like that who know each other so well, and getting back together is always the best part. YO: Are you going to be part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year? KERMIT: I think all I’m doing in the parade this year is being a balloon. Which, fortunately, I personally don’t have to do. YO: So you get a stunt double. KERMIT: Well, otherwise I don’t know how that would work, they’d have to pump me full of helium and tie strings to me, so, I’m kind of glad they have an actual balloon for that job. YO: What do you hope people will take away from this new Muppet movie? What do you hope will be the one thing they walk away and say, “Man, I really appreciated...that”? KERMIT: My whole career in show business has been about singing and dancing and making people happy. And I hope they walk out of the theater whistling a nice song and having a nice smile on their faces. That would be really nice if I could give that gift for the holiday season; I would love that if I’m a part of that. And the smell of buttered popcorn—I think that’s always good. YO: It’s always good to have that, especially when it’s on your shoes as you walk out, that stickiness on your shoes. KERMIT: Exactly, and watch out for the gum. Some of those Muppet fans are pretty sloppy people. YO: Well, Kermit, thank you so much for your time. Again, it was a real honor to talk with you. I’m a huge fan and I cannot wait to see the movie. So thank you so much for sharing some of your time. KERMIT: Yo, I hope you enjoy it; it was great to talk with you this morning. ø
Disney The Muppets DVD & Blu-ray Avialable on 3.20.2012
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By Paul Bishop
lirty Fishing? What in the world are you talking about? Unfortunately, I’m being serious. There was a Christian cult back in the late 70s and early 80s called the Children of God who had their female members use sex to entice new male recruits to be a part of their cult. Their mixed-up belief was that it didn’t matter how they got folks “into the kingdom of God”—they just needed to get them there. Does it matter? Can’t we just do anything to get people saved? Let’s check it out… Now, it’s true the Bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:15,“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (NKJV). Yes, it says be ready to give a reason for your hope in Christ— but it doesn’t say to do whatever you want to get them interested in God! In fact, when we read the verse and consider what it says in context, we come up with the opposite of “flirty fishing.” Let’s take a deeper look… It starts back in verse 8, where it says: “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9 NKJV). Being tenderhearted and courteous doesn’t sound like tricking people with sex. It’s telling us to live a life that is in coherence (to be logically consistent) with the God of purity and forgiveness that we serve! (You can explore this further when Jesus prays for His disciples—and for you—in John 17.) Peter continues in verses 10-12, where he quotes Psalm 34:12-16: He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil. Peter is making it pretty plain here that we are to refrain from evil. (And, the last time I checked, having sex with someone you’re not married to is one of the things the Lord calls sin!) So, sex and evangelism? They don’t mix. No flirty fishing going on here. As the apostle Paul said: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints” (Ephesians 5:3 NKJV). One final thought for you… Did you know—no matter what you have done in the past—that God can forgive you? He loves you. Not because of who you are, but because of who He is. When you sin (not only when you do something wrong, but also when you aren’t perfect), there is a penalty for sin. The penalty for sin is death! That’s not exactly good news. Again, God can forgive you—but there’s a price to pay for that forgiveness. I have good news for you. Jesus paid that price. He died for your sins. He died so you wouldn’t have to. But you need to receive His gift. You do that by: 1. Confessing your sins to Him. (Confess means to tell God what you have done that is contrary to what you know you should have done. He already knows everything you’ve done, so you’re not telling Him anything He doesn’t already know.) 2. Repenting from your sin (repenting means to turn 180 degrees from what you are doing) 3. Trust that Christ is God, died for you, and was raised from the dead. 4. Ask God to forgive you for your sin, based on who and what Christ did for you. 5. Ask God to guide you in this new life you are living. 6. Get a Bible—and read it! (I would recommend starting with the gospel of John.) Finally, get plugged into a good Bible-teaching church. Start living the full life God made you to live! Father, thank You that You have started a good work in me, the good work of salvation. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Complete that good work You have started. Let me find true joy in my life by first loving You and becoming the person You have designed me to be. Let me not be shy in telling others about Your great love for them. I ask this in Your Son’s most precious name, the name of Jesus. Amen. ø
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unday nights are my favorite. I have the honor of hosting a show called Shock Therapy Live with my friend, Pastor Nate Heitzig, and we always have great discussions. We also get a lot of amazing questions thrown our way. Shock Therapy Live tackles anything…and I mean anything. Our philosophy is that if you’re bold enough to ask us, we better be bold enough to answer. We also believe the Bible is the place God has given us answers—to everything. There is nothing in all creation where the Word of God hasn’t spoken; thus, the format of the show. You ask us and we’ll tell you what the Bible has to say. We may interject opinions at times, but we stand on the Word as our authority for tackling issues. As I was approached about this issue of Static Paper, and knowing the theme was sex, I immediately thought of an episode where we were asked a very important question regarding lust. We had special guest Lenya Heitzig on that evening and the following is a transcription of the segment. I hope it’s helpful to you, and if you’d like to obtain the full podcast of Shock Therapy Live you can do so at mystaticradio.com/shocktherapylive CALLER: What in the world is lust? I’ve asked people and I have no clue…and I’m talking sexual lust. I don’t know what it is. STEVO: What…like define it? CALLER: Yeah. STEVO: Define sexual lust. That’s a great question. CALLER: I don’t…I have no clue. I’m sorry. LENYA: Well, lust is desire for things that are wrong…so it’s a desire gone bad. You can lust for anything. You can lust for money, a car, your neighbor’s house. Think of animals. Have you ever seen a cow lusting after a sunset? Or lusting after a Starbucks? You drive by and go, “Oh man, I wish I had that Ferrari.” I mean animals don’t lust, they have animalistic instincts, right? So the reason they have more calves is an animalistic instinct. Human beings are different. We have a soul and we have feelings. When we have these feelings…those are what God wants us to bring under control. That he would like us to control our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions and so lust is wanting something that’s not really yours or should be yours. STEVO: Does that answer your question? CALLER: Yes and no. Forgive me. STEVO: That’s OK. Keep going. If it doesn’t answer, let us know what’s up. CALLER: Well, because I talked to a friend when we actually went to Pagosa Springs earlier this year and I asked her again what is lust? I’m like…I don’t even get those feelings anymore and she’s like, well do you think that feeling is wrong? The desire for sex? …and I’m like whoa… LENYA: No. The desire for sex is not wrong. God made sex. Sex is good. It’s the context of sex. Ok? So a fire in a fireplace is good. But if the fire gets out of the fireplace it’s not good because it would burn down your house. It says the marriage bed is if you guys agreed and you’re married and it’s in the right context. But something that’s burning outside of the fireplace, which you might call lust, that’s inappropriate. NATE: But even there we gotta take it in context because even Paul talks about lust when telling people that they should if they can…not get married at all. He basically says that’s better. In modern vernacular he says, “Hey, if you are so burning in your passion…If you are so horny that you can’t control it—then get married. Because it’s better for you to get married and live righteous than to live in sin and have sex outside of marriage.” So Paul acknowledges that you have lust before you’re married and that it’s better to not fall into the sin that lust would bring you into…
shock therapy live
There is nothing in all creation where the Word of God hasn’t spoken.
LENYA: I think lust is more of a male issue in the sense that Nathan just said “horny.” For a female, we wouldn’t call it lust. We would call it romantic…chicks with romance novels can be as bad as a guy with pornography. STEVO: According to this definition, does that make it impossible for me to lust after my wife? Do I just desire my wife and that’s OK? LENYA: Right. STEVO: So then you can’t even use that word [lust] in marriage? LENYA: Right. Because you are supposed to desire the wife of your youth. Look at Song of Solomon. He talks about…her twin peaks [laughter from childish boys, i.e. Nate and Stevo]. I’m saying it’s appropriate. Solomon said he thought that his wife was beautiful and he names different parts of her: “Your garden enclosed is my wife… as my sister my wife.” And he says…you know…let me come into your garden …I think it’s really important that you do have proper sexual feelings for a husband or a wife but outside of that context…no. STEVO: So you don’t lust, you just desire…in its proper place you would never use the word lust. NATE: I think that even outside of marriage…the desire to want to be married and have sex isn’t necessarily lust. I think what sets it apart as lust is when it becomes the thing that’s controlling and consuming your mind, because lust is something that controls you and consumes you. The lust for money is something that when you have that it’s constantly controlling you and consuming you that that is what you must have. If you have the lust for sexual desires that becomes something where it’s controlling you and consuming you… where it’s completely normal for a man or a wife to say “I want to get married. I’m attracted to this spouse. I want to have sex with them someday.” That’s completely normal—but lusting after them is a different level of that. LENYA: And if you want what God wants then that desire is a good desire. If you want something that God doesn’t want…then that’s lust. ø
Listen to Shock Therapy Live every Sunday night at 7 PM on Static Radio 88.3 FM.
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03. 05. 06. 10. 11. 13. 15. 16. 18. 20. 21. 22. 24. 29. 31. 32. 34. 34. 35. 36. 38. 41. 42. 44. 46. march-may 2012 1st Words: From the Editors Sprinkles the Edge: Sex with the New 52 the Jocks: Let’s Get It On! Proverbs: “I Don’t Have Sex...” Testify: From a Listener Flashback: Shuffle: 1985 the Heart: Marriage without Sex? the Sound: Thrice Underground: Sons of God Soundcheck: TFK Culture: Protest, Art & Social Commentary the Movement: Homosexuality and the Sin Scale Pause: Stay Put the Thought: Let ‘Em See You Bleed the Beat: Astro-Zombies the Guide: Mass Effect 3 the Good News Book Report: The Help the Source: Playing with Fire the Talk: Being Green Aim: Flirty Fishing Shock Therapy Live: Lust Static Strip Index
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