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About opalecent

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  • Birthday 05/27/1992

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    I am a college student whose greatest desire is to know God and make Him known.
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  1. Getting married in just over 2 weeks. Just, you know, so those of you who are wondering what happened to me know :)

  2. Been a while since I've been by. Liking the upgraded layout.

  3. opalecent


    Definitely one of my favorite groups of all time! Their new original song "Run to you" is breathtaking.
  4. opalecent

    How to deal with pornogrophy in a relationship/marriage?

    Hey-- I just saw this. I dealt with this at the beginning of my relationship with my boyfriend. Not gonna lie, it hurt my trust in him. What helped me was realizing that he was the exact same person as before -- I just knew more about him. He was still the loving caring guy, he was just struggling with something and needed help. Of course I don't have to deal with the intimacy aspect the way you do, and that definitely makes it tougher. I understand that it probably makes you feel disgusted... I know I wondered for years about whether he'd be comparing me to the things he'd seen. It helped me that he quit, and since I've not been on here a lot lately I don't really know a lot about your situation. But it sounds like marital counseling might help you a lot. Or even just personal counseling. There's nothing weak about going to a counselor--in fact it takes strength to own up to our own insecurities.
  5. opalecent

    Sex Positive Christianity

    Yeah, Yves, I really can't pretend that I have any good answers. I suppose that the way I want to address sex with teens boils down to "the point of sex is to enhance the marriage relationship, and it is harmful outside that context." However, instead of using "scare tactics" which to me, mean overexaggerated statements and obviously false statements, that teens with any access to the internet can debunk (seriously I've seen teens told that condoms have a 90% failure rate, FALSE...) I'd rather use information that is true, and avoid overexaggerating consequences because most teens see right through that. We need to acknowledge the reality of sex in the marriage relationship, its true purpose, and "model" (educational term) healthy relationships instead of avoiding talking about it altogether. Part of this involves talking about it and acknowledging its pleasurableness, because if we don't, we can't be taken seriously. and JAG, contrary to how you interpreted my statement, by no means am I trying to say that we should tell teens that premarital sex is ok. I just think we can't put our heads in the sand about them doing it/being tempted to do it. I can't see any way that teaching teens about avoiding harming their bodies during sex is harming their salvation in any way. If two teens are GOING to harm their salvation by having sex (which is what I'm assuming you were talking about worse consequences), they can at least prevent their bodies from being screwed up too, so that if/when they become convicted they were wrong or have made a mistake, they have a lower chance of dealing with a catastrophically bad life too. Being emotionally wracked by guilt is punishment enough. Then again, you already think I'm a heretic for not believing the damned will be physically punished. Perhaps if I was seeing this in the light of hellfire, I would imagine that making teens suffer through the consequence of pregnancy and STD's as punishment for their sin is preferable to their spending eternity in hell. Edit: and the thing is, you're right, engaging in premarital sex isn't moral. But why isn't it moral? That's what I'd like to focus on, more than just telling them it's immoral and not to do it. We don't tell that to people about any other sin. The reason for immorality isn't entirely physical harm, and it can't be entirely physical harm now because of all the ways that we have devised to protect our bodies from most of the physical harms of sex outside of marriage. So we by necessity must talk about its emotional effects and acknowledge they're less severe than older physical effects. I do know that there are lots of people who have premarital sex without screwing up their relationships.... this is such a tough topic. I just know that we are not going to succeed at bringing up teens to have healthy sexual relationships as adults if we fail to talk about sex entirely.
  6. opalecent

    Sex Positive Christianity

    At the moment, a lot of the "examples" Christian teens are exposed to don't involve the teens making mistakes. I remember one Christian book I read about a girl going to high school, and the point of the book was LITERALLY how she didn't make any of the mistakes her friends did because she was a holy Christian girl and the other girls, even though they SAID they were Christian, totally weren't because they made mistakes like (GASP) wearing their shirt with the top button undone. (.. I'm not even joking, the main character looked judgmentally at her friend for having her top button undone on her shirt.) Currently it seems like we teach teens that sex is terribly awful and catastrophic. We ignore the fact that there ARE many teens that are going to do it / already doing it. We just tell them that they shouldn't, it is sinful, and they will get STD's / get pregnant if they do. Clearly not all teens get STD's/get pregnant, and even if a lot did, we KNOW that at that age the "It's not going to hurt me" mentality kicks in. I'm pretty sure that for the teens who were already inclined to be willing to have sex, telling them what we currently tell them, turns on the "yeah right" response. And those who DO tend to buy in to what those in authority tell them, are just going to internalize a sort of self-righteous asexuality where they do "flee" from sexual sin, but also from any knowledge of their own sexuality or sex, which can make them so uncomfortable with the idea of sex that it's harmful to their relationships later. Of course some fall in the middle ground, but I doubt they will be swayed via the scare tactics we currently use. IMO, we SHOULD teach it like this: Sex between two individuals deeply in love can connect them strongly. Some people who are not in love choose to have sex anyway, because it is pleasurable. There is physical pleasure to sex, but the pleasure of emotional intimacy is deeper and more difficult to develop. Many people find that after they have had casual sex, it is more difficult to allow themselves to feel that intimacy. It is designed as something to bind us together for a lifetime. This doesn't mean that if you choose to have sex, you're immediately going to feel like you're attached for life; it doesn't work like that, but it does strengthen how close you feel. Introducing sex into a relationship too soon can cause emotional challenges and disconnects in how each person views how close they are afterwards. In particular it is a key factor (though not the only factor) in keeping many people in abusive or subpar relationships. The feelings of sex can blind you from a bad relationship and keep you from making good decisions about your future. All of this is because God created sex as something beautiful to keep you close once you've formed a lifetime bond. And stuff about STD's, etc, with prevention, but the point is to make it less about YOU WILL GO TO HELL and more about "This is amazingly special." We need to teach the stuff about God's desires for us as well, but I have never felt like the whole "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" approach actually got people into a good relationship with Him, or others, and those relationships are what it's all about. Edit: and I also think it is important for us to include somewhat casual mention of sex in sermons, church groups, and the like, to give young people examples of healthy sexual relationships. I've often heard that the way you learn to identify counterfeit bills is by intently studying the correct dollar bill. You don't learn to identify counterfeits by looking at bad examples, you learn to identify counterfeits by looking at good examples. They won't know what a healthy relationship looks like unless we show them.
  7. opalecent

    Sex Positive Christianity

    Based off this and your reply to my post, it seems like you're assuming that other Christian teens are like you. Many are, but many are not. Additionally, you're assuming that parents are responsible and respectful with their children when talking about sex the way yours are. My mom is as conservative as all get out when it comes to sex, but she NEVER talked to me about it, *not one conversation* save for a few awkwardly-worded allusions that I never "got." I have friends whose parents were abusive, some even sexually abusive. Did they have somewhere they felt they could talk about it? No, sex was too shameful. When a friend of mine came out as abused by her prominent-in-the-church stepfather (NSFW description: he had torn her ****** to shreds via pinching) SHE was the one scorned and shamed in the church. She lost friends because she had been sexually abused. Other girls who have been raped have boyfriends leaving them for being "impure." Women who are raped are said to have been "asking for it" by being dressed provocatively. This definition of "provocative" depends on who's doing the judging; you could be wearing a knee-length skirt and it wouldn't be long enough for some people judging you for having been raped. If we as a culture talked more about sex, we might know that men don't rape because of attraction, they rape because of power. We might know that most people who are raped, are raped because they were manipulated into it by a so-called friend who they thought they could trust, not because they wanted it or intended for it to happen or "led him on." (Leading a guy on is NO reason for him to rape you.) These consequences are too large to leave solely to parents. We don't leave most education to parents because we don't expect parents to know everything or be able to explain everything as well as schools can. Teachers are trained in knowledge and technique as to how to portray information to children. There is no prerequisite to becoming a parent (even parents in a church can be terrible parents), but parents don't always trust schools with sexual education because it doesn't always follow the teachings of the church. Therefore we as a church need to be educating children about sex in a way that is consistent with the teachings of the church, and yet also preparing them for the struggles and temptations that the world brings. And, from what I've seen, "Sex Positive Christianity" *does* challenge the assumptions and stereotypes of "Modesty culture," I'm not sure what you mean when you say it doesn't. By default any culture that says that women do not have to feel guilty for being attractive, challenges the assumptions and stereotypes that it is women's fault that men lust, among other things. And, for my last point, I'm going to be bluntly honest. Keeping attraction from becoming lust is INSANELY hard when it comes to being in a long-term relationship. I don't know how long you've been in a relationship, if you've been in one for long, but I can speak from experience here. I've been dating the same man for nearly 4.5 years now (I'm almost 22). For about 3.5 of those, I have been sure that this is the man I'm going to marry. My attraction to him grows steadily. Now, traditional Christian values, combined with the way we're currently trying to follow secular culture, ends up saying BOTH "it's bad to have sex before you're married," AND "it's bad to get married until you're out of college." And most grown-ups tell this to us without considering situations, and without considering maturity of the couple. Considering the fact that I'm taking 5 years to get out of college, as is my boyfriend who's a year behind me, and you'll get the awful result of us being together 7 years before we get married (much less have sex) if we follow what the "adults" in our life tell us right now. Emotionally it puts a huge strain on our relationship. Both of us want to go farther than we can, because we know we'll get married in a couple years. But we can't and we won't. The other strain is this: we've gone farther than we originally intended to (but still not "too far" according to what we believe) and once you break a boundary once, it becomes easier to break again. And breaking that boundary once is so easy. I don't know why you feel like acknowledging the fact that maintaining sexual purity is difficult, is a bad thing? To me, it's a comfort. I don't feel as alone. It's a reminder that Christ is with us through temptation. If I hadn't been told maintaining sexual purity was hard, I would have thought that there was something wrong with me, when in fact the entire reason it is hard is due to human nature. If the church were more open about sexuality than it currently is, I might even feel comfortable sharing my struggles somewhere not online. I might be able to talk about it with an older person I trust and ask for suggestions about what they did to handle temptation when it got so strong. Currently, I can't do that because of the taboo surrounding that sort of conversation and the fact that my mom is insufferably judgmental and paranoid about me. She's FREAKED OUT that I MIGHT be having sex (guess what, I'm NOT) so much so that when my boyfriend and I were discussing our philosophies on birth control, and how we would go about implementing it once we did get married, she ASSUMED that meant that we were having sex right then and sat me down for a three-hour freak-out-"talk" where she just rambled on about how my aunt had sex before she was married, and she doesn't trust my aunt, and she never had kids therefore she's got something wrong with her. That's not a healthy way to address that conversation WITH YOUR TWENTY YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. (uhh, sorry for the rant.) Edit: Why are we censoring anatomical terms in the 16+ section?
  8. opalecent

    Sex Positive Christianity

    Yves, I agree with your assessment of her pride as the source of her pain. But that is what we are currently doing to our youth: by denigrating sex, we tell those that choose not to have sex that it is good to be prideful about it. These are the people I talk about who would already choose not to have sex because it's "the right thing." Right now, until we have better education, the choice not to have sex until you're married tends to be a strongly legalistic one. Even the "reasons" we give are easy to simply memorize, incorporate, repeat, without actual meaning behind them because there is no true understanding.
  9. opalecent

    How should I tell my parents?

    If you'd like to continue lessons, have you told the people at the barn how you feel about this? They might not even realize that you're uncomfortable with the way they are communicating. You may talk with your parents the way the other posters are suggesting, but include the desire to find a way to have a mutual agreement with the people who work there if possible. Your parents may be able to mediate a conversation between yourself and the people in charge of the barn.
  10. Recently read this article and thought it was worth discussing. I'd like to start discussion/debate, and my only request is that people avoid pulling the "false analogy" card. It may be a valid argument, but I would like to hear other aspects of this link being discussed, primarily, how does this blog post affect the way you view women's role in the church and Biblical literalism? Do you agree or disagree with its premise? Individual points? (oh goodness, I sound like an English teacher, I promise I'm not guys, I'm just studying to be a math teacher.. but hey, SAT words, right?) The link: http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/men-titus-2-treatment
  11. opalecent

    Sex Positive Christianity

    How do we know that there are fewer problems with one or both members of a couple struggling to be unfaithful? First of all, we are younger members of our church and probably less perceptive of the older married couples and whether or not they may be having affairs. Second of all, we are younger members of our church and probably MORE perceptive of those around us having premarital sex. Lastly, it is incredibly likely for any affairs to be incredibly hush-hush and private, and it's no wonder why; when they DO come out, there is an overwhelmingly negative and judgmental response by the church (due to its being sin) instead of a response of "let's help." Teens having premarital sex are more likely to "get caught" by someone who has authority over them, and teens are more likely to spread tons of rumors. So, ultimately, I'm NOT going to make any sort of statement as to whether premarital sex or adultery is more common in the church today. I don't think it is possible to know, because even if we were to take a survey, the self-reporting problem is impossible to counteract especially when there are so many social and emotional consequences to admission of cheating or being cheated on. Now on to the topic at hand. I, personally, am in favor of "sex positive Christianity" in the way that it was described (for the most part). Why is this? Because I think the consequences of sex-negativity have longer-lasting and more negative effects than the possible effects of sex-positivity. Here are, by my personal opinion, the effects of sex-positivity compared to the current situation. Feel free to challenge any of them, since I'm going to be speaking from my own experience, but I don't know if there are any scientific studies about this stuff, and if they are, a study coming from a secular point of view may not convince anyone anyway (unless you agree with it in the first place... /s) So, on to my comparison: Current Situation: Potential Pros: Children and Teens do not hear church-based information about sex until it is traditionally appropriate. Adults don't have to explain complicated questions to younger children. It's supposed to keep teens from having premarital sex, in particular babies out of wedlock. Potential Cons: Children and Teens are exposed to sexualized media simply by walking out of the house, and have no influence from within the church as to what it means or how they should interact (see: walking through any shopping area). Given the prevalent amount of sex that increasingly young children are being exposed to, avoiding talking about it in church only gives them the feeling that it's something they need to hide. C and T are exposed to sexuality by their peers, even at Christian schools (my boyfriend's friends showed him porn in around 6th grade) and have little knowledge of what its effects are, why it is wrong, or how they should relate to it. Sexual desire and lust are conflated, leading to everybody feeling guilty for a natural function of their body, instead of realizing that it's what they choose to do with physical and visual stimuli that can be sinful, not whether or not their body naturally responds to it. (Similarly, women are blamed for the majority of this, leading to girls not only feeling guilty for having sexual desires, but also feeling guilty for wearing comfortable clothing in hot weather or having naturally large breasts. Girls become increasingly uncomfortable with their bodies. I have heard some women say that they could not bring themselves to touch their own breasts while measuring themselves for a bra due to the emotional discomfort.) "Taboo" topics TEND to cause more curiosity about them than talking openly does. They also tend to cause more misconceptions. Not to mention, failing to talk about "safe" sex (yes, I know it's not truly safe) means that the teens who do make bad choices, make catastrophically bad choices. If my teen makes a bad choice, I'd like them to at least make a bad choice that has a smaller chance of screwing over the rest of their life. Christian schools with very strict no-dating or no-hand-holding policies (ahem, the second one was my school) teach students to hide their relationships with the opposite sex and fail to teach students how to have actually healthy relationships with the opposite sex, in particular with regards to boundaries. Instead of being taught how to hold healthy boundaries for themselves, couples are held to a physical boundary that is ridiculous for even middle-school relationships, which forces them into hiding a very positive aspect of life. In other words, people are taught to feel shame for any physical contact with the opposite sex. This has a profound effect on relationships later in life. The "mental (and physical) block" upon entering marriage. I don't know if you've heard of this, but there's a disorder called vaginismus which can disproportionately affect women coming from conservative backgrounds due to its links to psychology. If neither partner has knowledge of this disorder (which, if you've grown up not discussing sex very much, it is unlikely -- I didn't until I started educating myself about sexuality through the internet) it is easy to assume (by the guy) that the woman does not love him or does not want sex, and (by the woman) that all sex is painful, or that there is something incredibly wrong with her. This disorder does not go away simply by having sex more. In fact, it can be made worse due to the emotional pressure and stress. It must be specifically treated and can take months to years to overcome. People grow up not knowing how their body works, how birth control works, etc. You don't magically learn these things by getting married, and you don't magically learn these things through premarital counseling because pastors are not scientists. Not only does talking about sex to authority figures feel terrifying (and you avoid it in social situations), talking to sex with your boyfriend and/or girlfriend is a daunting task. You need to know how to communicate what it is you do and do not want to do, and say why or why not something makes you uncomfortable. When you transition into engagement, you SHOULD be comfortable enough with each other to start talking about sex. I know that for me, admitting any sexual desire at all turns into an immense feeling of guilt and shame. I know that's true for a lot of us here because I see the masturbation threads and the way people beat themselves up for WANTING sex with their long-time boyfriends or girlfriends. This leads into a hard time talking about sex with your husband or wife. How do you communicate about it? Do you just expect to be quiet and the other person knows what you want? How comfortable are you with certain things in the bedroom? Your spouse? What happens when something they do is unpleasant but they really like it? How do you communicate how often you want it? Can you talk about these things without dancing around the subject? Do you feel like it's something that you CAN discuss? Avoiding questions and discussion, giving trite answers to deep questions, and marginalizing those who have made mistakes, is an incredibly easy way to drive young people out of the church, particularly the thinking ones. Sex Positivity I'm not going to spend as much time on this one because it's getting late, for one, and for two, I've probably covered most of the "pros" of this through using the "cons" of the previous one. Pros: Children and teens have a positive example of healthy sexuality that they can look up to and emulate Children and teens learn to discuss sex in a mature manner and learn how to treat their bodies and others' bodies respectfully through example People understand what challenges and rewards their sexual choices can bring them, and realize their significance. Teens who would originally not have had premarital sex, still probably won't, usually imo because their parents brought them up with a strong sense of morality and "doing what's right." This part of someone's character is independent of whether or not you know about what sex is. Teens who would have had premarital sex (due to curiosity, desire, or disregard for rules) will at the very least have a better chance of not getting pregnant, and at best gain a stronger appreciation for sexuality in the marriage and choose to wait due to an educated stance, not due to legalism. This is a better reason to avoid sex than for the majority of those who were simply taught "don't do it." Cons: Teens might be given a venue to think about sex more frequently, and thus might want it more. Children will learn about what their parts do before they fully understand, and if not properly instructed, may try to imitate. Sooo yeah, there's my novel about this subject.... hope you enjoy it?
  12. opalecent

    An interesting take on "modesty rules."

    I couldn't agree more. Guys, I don't think you realize that I'm not posting this to be anti-modesty but rather anti-legalistic stance on modesty. This is probably the best way I can describe it, and it's not rules-centric at all -- it's about how we live. The point of the article was not to say that guys being creepy = girls being sexy, but to point out what the "modesty rules" the way we currently address them in the church does to women's psyches. It does to women's minds what the "creepy rules" in the article would do to men's minds. It's calling for a change in the way we approach modesty, not in a removal of the concept entirely. We need to approach modesty in a way that doesn't vilify women for being women.
  13. opalecent

    An interesting take on "modesty rules."

    I think it was criticizing modesty "rules" more than the concept of modesty in itself. When you think of the large number of "rules" that girls get told they MUST follow, in order to avoid being immodest, it becomes overwhelming and exhausting, in addition to incredibly guilting due to the vagary surrounding the "rules.: Just because you're a girl, now you MUST be very VERY careful about every single thing you do and wear because otherwise YOU are the reason that boy is lusting and YOU are the guilty one. Even though people don't mean it this way, the way it comes across to young women is that it is entirely their fault if a young man at a church group lusts after them. The point of the article was to to come up with a set of "rules" that provide the same feeling of guilt, shame, and self-hate for simply being a member of your gender. Not to go and say that guys should follow these rules or that the "creepiness rules" are somehow equivalent in respect to sin, or that fear = lust, or anything. It's entirely a "what-if" scenario. Also, since you're speaking as guys, I don't think you have any idea how terrifying it is to be alone with even a well-dressed man on the street late at night.
  14. opalecent

    First kisses.....

    I WAS waiting until I got engaged to kiss. That was when I figured, you know, engagement would come within a reasonably soon time frame. After about 3.5 years, it got to the point where we said... is it worth it? It was literally tearing us apart, we are such affectionate people in general. It might work for less naturally-touchy people. Or people who manage to get engaged within a couple of years. We prayed about it, and overall we feel like it was the best choice. That being said, it DOES make it harder to draw a hard and fast line. We have to continue to step back and re-draw boundaries. Constantly. And stepping back is a LOT harder than never crossing the line to begin with.
  15. opalecent

    Parents vs Love

    Ok, guys, I'm resurrecting this thread and I know it, sorry. Speaking from experience, the road of choosing boyfriend over parents is a long and hard one fraught with LOTS of heartache. I'm continuing in my path because I know my boyfriend has integrity, is a hard worker, my equal, and is ultimately worth the struggle. We've already worked our way through this far (it's been 4 years, guys!) but marriage is still tooooo far in the distance because I REALLY want my parents' support... yet it's sooo tantalizingly close. I said it depends because... let's be honest, I can't say I disagree with my choices. I'm happy where I am. However, if you really don't think you love him, he's a jerk to other people but not you, and your parents say they dislike him for reasons like "he's a jerk" and not tenuous made-up reasons like "he's too tall for you and you'll have to have a C-section when you marry him and you need to marry a man who doesn't make any decisions" ... then you may want to reevaluate the relationship. I don't know if it's worth driving that large rift between you and your parents. It is *very* hard to mend.