For The Love of Women

Most people have an awareness of the amazing power of a seed.

 

Within one small apple seed lies the potential for generations of fruit and produce, enough to supply a family for decades. Such power should never be made little of, for without the seed there would be no tree.

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Within human beings a similar process plays itself out again and again. The seeds in human beings, however, are not physical objects, but thoughts, beliefs, and actions. The woman who wonders what change might be possible in society one day, may find herself years later at the head of a national movement for change. A man observing with openness the suffering of the poor today, may be inspired to create in his now unseen future, an organization that will feed thousands of the hungry over generations to come.

 

But, as always, with the good, comes the possibility for the bad.

 

Murder is the perfect fruit of hatred. It is the greatest hope and aspiration of what hatred is capable of achieving. As the seed of hatred grows and overcomes all other emotions, it becomes more and more capable of its final production: death.

 

In the same way, the perfect fruit of pornography is rape.

 

Lust, the antithesis of love, is a sexual taking, as opposed to giving. It is claiming that I have the right to take and use another human being. This taking can occur solely in the mind, or externally as the act of rape. The person with hatred in their heart claims the right to end the life of another, and the person with lust in their heart claims power over the body of another.

 

In the same way that idle gossip or anger directed towards an individual has the possibility to become the seeds of darker and more fervent hatred. So in the same way, sexual fantasies about another individual, or perusing pictures on the internet, can lead to the mindset that sex is my right, not a gift I receive. As the activists on my campus have pointed out, rape doesn’t always appear to be violent on the surface. It can be taking advantage of an intoxicated person or forcing our way with subtle coercion and emotional pressure. These less obvious forms are the most common fruits of lust.

 

Since lust is something which grows from a seed into something larger and more formidable, I must ask the question: Why is lust wrong? What law does it break, or what harm does it cause our fellow brothers and sisters?

I believe an apt analogy can be made between lust and slavery.

 

The reason slavery was abolished is because men and women are not objects.

 

If human beings could be objects, then no one should have any qualm over the practice of slavery. Owning a slave would be no different than owning a dog. So why, if we detest slavery so much, do we happily support the use of other human beings as objects through pornography? What is even more bizarre is the modern reckoning of pornography. The slaves were willing to fight, to give their lives to end slavery, as was seen in the later years of the American Civil War.

 

There are many feminists who fight for the right of a woman to be a prostitute, or to work in the pornography industry. This is akin to a black slave fighting and giving his life to ensure that the blacks would forever be slaves and considered to be a lower rung of humanity.

 

Few things could be quite so backwards.

 

Just as slavery was destructive to the lives, the spirits, and the hearts of the blacks, so pornography is causing the decay of both the users and of those who participate in its making.

 

One cannot work as a slave, being denied basic human rights, and come out of the experience without great wounds, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So why do we expect that women should be unscathed by the objectifying process of pornography; or that men’s minds won’t be warped by the use of it? The reality that this is occurring is present for anyone willing to take a sober look at our societal values versus the worth of a human being. Everywhere you see examples of human worth being equated to one lonely attribute: beauty. To equate a human being to beauty alone is like saying the only value of the entire earth and all its creatures, is its oil reserves.

 

Pornography may feel like it’s right because it exploits this one God given gift, our capacity for beauty. Pornography’s use of beauty is no different than a slave owners abuse of his slave. We pretend to be the masters of beauty, we subject it, whip it, dirty it, and make sure it is so degraded and shamed that it will never have the strength to break free. Maybe then, and only then, will we finally have complete control over beauty for our own purposes. Such a life, however, is a cage. Instead of capturing beauty, we imprison ourselves. We become slaves to beauty, it becomes our master as opposed to the other way around.

 

This is not a prison unfamiliar to humanity however, because it is the prison of addiction.

 

One may recognize the futile logic of an addict in the voices of the men who make claims like, “I have needs, and my woman can’t fill my needs, so I use pornography.” This statement is rotten, decayed, and completely devoid of love. It makes as much sense as a drunk claiming that he needs drink, and cannot function without it. In fact, the exact opposite is true. He will never be free to function until he gets sober.

 

Now, I want to make something completely clear. There is a vast difference between a man who is addicted to pornography and is struggling to become free, than a man who openly uses it without a concern. The man struggling for freedom will stumble, but he recognizes the truth, even though he does not have the strength to live it out, yet. Like an alcoholic trying to achieve sobriety, he will falter in his pursuit and pick up the bottle again, but he must never lose hope. In our efforts to be free of our addictions, in our weakness, strength grows.

 

There is always hope.

 

My prayer is that all feminists, male and female, will come to understand the destructive nature of pornography and fight for its abolishment as the blacks did to destroy the practice of slavery. Any man or women who claims to support feminism, and at the same time supports pornography, is simply a liar. I do not mean that in a condescending way, but as a statement of fact. The two are completely incompatible, and the gains of feminism will continue to be reduced and shoved backwards, so long as the other remains.

Lessons Learned From Life on the Bus

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Many people when they hear the phrase Public Transit react with disgust or frustration, as though they were remembering someone who had wronged them personally. On the other hand, many praise its value for society (truly it is impossible to do without in larger cities).

 

Raised in a small city, I never used public transport. So when at the age of twenty three I moved into the “big city” suddenly I had an opportunity to use this widely discussed service. As an ex-hitchhiker I found it both effective and extraordinarily useful. True, there are a few situations for which transit leaves much to be desired, like trying to return home while lugging several bags of groceries. Otherwise, I was impressed by the fact that I could get within walking distance of almost every corner of the city, albeit not always in “good time”.

 

There is a second quality of using public transport in the big city that still makes a lasting impression upon me. Our communal transport is an unintentional source of gathering, a place where people who would have no other reason to come together, find themselves face to face, in conversation, and at least if only by proximity alone, sharing a mutual experience. Though there is much pain and discord, I have also seen many truly humbling acts of kindness during my frequent trips on the bus and subway.

 

Ironically, as population density increases, so does our anonymity. Public transit has the potential to be one of the last strong bastions of community between residents. I can’t help but feel a sense of camaraderie when I notice someone I know riding the same bus as me. There is an unspoken awareness of the fact of, “Hey, we’re in this together!”

 

The most poignant and urgent needs of humanity can be seen so plainly while riding the bus: The hunger and fatigue on the faces of those carrying overburdened bags of empty cans onto the bus, or the despair of a drunk and homeless man, riding only to keep warm, or the stressed and belligerent mother who may be using the only skills she learned in a broken home. In our offices, schools, and homes it is easy to bypass the poor, the needy. When we travel only from house garage to parking garage we need never brush shoulders with the homeless, with the working poor. On transit however, it is all but impossible not to encounter the suffering of the disabled, the despair of the addicted, the pain of those who have been mistreated or abused.

 

In this reality lies one amazing and awesome opportunity: every transit rider has the daily opportunity to reach out to someone who needs compassion, to offer a listening ear to a lonely heart, in effect to reach out in so many different ways with small acts of kindness to those who may otherwise receive none. True, many simply shove their earphones in or bury their attention into their cellphones, and pretend that the suffering doesn’t exist, but those who take this route become shrouded to their own humanity.

 

Their is a temptation we experience when we recognize the brokenness of humanity: we try to flee, doing everything to convince ourselves that we are different or somehow above it. In order to achieve this end we must close off our hearts, to allow our compassion to wither away. A psychologist who doesn’t recognize his own capacity for mental illness, will never have the proper insight to profoundly help those who come for aid. As a wise man once said, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” If I don’t see my own vulnerability to end up no different then the homeless or intoxicated person beside me, I am blind to the very reality of human existence and weakness, and thus I cannot be a light to the feet of my brother or sister.

 

On one hand we could look at all the inconveniences of public transit and lament why our fortunes have been so poor as to land us a bus pass instead of a new car, but on the other hand we may recognize that within our common transportation lives the riches of God’s kingdom: jewels, diamonds, souls, beyond reckoning and without valuation. Instead of seeing all the reasons why public transit has made our lives worse, we might instead look at the immense opportunities at how we might make someone else’s life better.