Category Archives: Marriage

Sex, Worship, and Embodiment

We are embodied beings.

We interact with the world through various organs. We use our hands and eyes and ears and voices and other faculties to experience and contribute to the world. And that includes our relationships. I look into my wife’s beautiful blue eyes and she looks into mine and this act facilitates intimacy. Our hands touch one another’s, not merely as an act symbolizing mutual possession, but also as a means of enjoying and cultivating it. Holding hands is part of the relationship. It mediates and enhances intimacy.

A critical climax of a marital union is only achievable by means of our physical bodies. In intercourse the organs of one person coordinate with the organs of another for a biological purpose for which an individual human body is insufficient. Unlike the intrapersonal organic cooperation that occurs during systemic nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory processes, human reproduction requires that two human beings with different organ sets become a united whole. Only by this kind of union is this new whole, this new function, possible.

To work on discovering and describing the empirical facts about sex is a beneficial project. But to then argue that there isn’t some profound purpose driving it or that the intimacy shared by those who unite in sexual intercourse isn’t real is a mistake. Our bodies mediate our interaction with the world. Our bodies mediate our intimacy with one another. Organic union is the highest act of intimacy.

Now when I drive my body to the building that my community assembles in on Sunday morning and place my body in proximity to theirs and open my mouth and begin singing, there is another kind of union that takes place and facilitates another kind of intimacy. My voice cooperates with the voices of other humans in order to achieve a musical purpose for which an individual human voice is insufficient: harmony. To this is added the music generated by the humans playing various instruments. This mixture constitutes a new sound that is not possible for me to produce on my own and therefore in corporate worship we do not merely symbolize our unity, we embody it. The act of musical union mediates and enhances our intimacy with one another.

But it goes further than this, because musical union in worship has an object. We come together, not merely to sing, but specifically to sing to our Creator. Our music has the property of being about something—or rather, of being directed to Somebody. Our union in corporate worship then not only facilitates our intimacy with one another, but also our relationship to God.

As I mature throughout my life I become more deeply emotionally moved during worship. It is not all that rare that I will tear up. I do not pretend that there are not physical facts about my relationship to God. Discovering and describing these facts might very well be a fruitful enterprise. However to argue on the basis of the existence of these physical facts to atheism is ridiculous. To say that because thus and such occur in my brain when I sing or when I pray, therefore the object of my song or my prayer is not real is just as big of a mistake as saying that because thus and such occur in my brain when I see or hold hands with or unite with my wife, she is therefore not real.

We are embodied beings, after all.

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Are you seriously going to write a blog right now?

…my wife asks at the end of our date night. “It better be a short one.”

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Filed under Blogs Proper, Marriage, Virtue

There Isn’t a Single Backslash in this URL

Above a certain latitude, the UV index drops to, oh, you know, 0, during the winter (no big deal), and the rays from the Sun come to strike at the Earth so obliquely that their riches are stripped by the atmosphere upon entry. What goodies remain among their photons are only found in such low quantities that the skin of the average homo sapiens is incapable of deriving what is needed to synthesize vitamin D from them. Lack of vitamin D in homo sapiens is statistically correlated with depression in homo sapiens.

We are above said latitude. You do the math. (Stop saying that.)

For homework, go learn the difference between a typeface and a font, a forward slash and a backslash, a domain and a URL, and between the B and STRONG tags.

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Filed under Blogs Proper, Marriage

Donuts

A tall white male with movie star bed-head stumbles in through swinging doors donning black rimmed glasses, a grey and darker grey striped long sleeve shirt, jeans, and khaki slippers. He has clearly had a late night, but benefited from a full night’s sleep afterward (you do the math). He eyes some donuts.

GIRL: What can I get for you?
MAN: Half dozen please.
GIRL: Ok, what would you like?
MAN: Uh… how about… well, how much are the donuts?
GIRL: The top row are $1.05, and the rest are $0.75.
MAN: I’ll take an apple fritter, and… uh… is that one filled with anything?
GIRL: The maple glazed is filled with custard.
MAN: Uh… I’m trying to think…
GIRL: …
MAN: Six years of marriage and I don’t know my wife’s favorite donut!
GIRL (touched): Aww! Wow! What’s the occasion?
MAN: No occasion. Just picking up some donuts.
GIRL: Just because? Aww. I bet she’d like chocolate.
MAN: Right. I’ll take the chocolate glazed and the chocolate, chocolate glazed. Better give her options. Can’t go wrong with more chocolate, right?
GIRL (finishes taking the rest of the order): That will be $7.00 even [you do the math]. How’d you do that!?
MAN (tips $1): Dunno.
GIRL: Wow! Thank you so much! Have a great morning.
MAN: Thanks.

And the moral of the story? In North Idaho, the prices of certain types of goods are not as susceptible to inflation. And sheesh! Do no men ever try to consider their wives’ tastes or give flowers for something other than getting out of the dog house? Not to say I’m great; I was genuinely just picking up some donuts because I wanted some, and gave a thought to what Lindsey would want too. But that wondering aloud about my wife’s taste – and by mentioning that I am unfamiliar with it, even – meets surprise is just a little sad. Come on, gentlemen!

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Filed under Marriage, Vignettes

Untitled #3

A tall white male stalks in through sliding doors in boots and a dark green snow jacket that hangs nicely on his broad shoulders, folding naturally open at the chest and contributing to an attractive profile with its hood. He is clearly in a hurry but moves his body carefully around the strangers he would otherwise bowl over on his way toward the flower stand. He eyes some roses.

GIRL: Can I help you find anything?
MAN: No.
GIRL: Do you have any questions? Can I help you in any way?
MAN: Well, how much for th-
GIRL: $9.99 for the roses, and-
MAN: I like these.
GIRL: May I wrap them for you?
MAN: Does it cost extra?
GIRL (winks): Not for you…
MAN (chuckles): Great. Thank you.
GIRL (wrapping flowers): So… are these for an anniversary?
MAN: No, just a date.
GIRL (perks): Awww. So many guys come in here and buy flowers just to get out of the dog house. It’s so nice to see a guy buying flowers just because. Where are you taking her?
MAN: Ciao Mambo, then to-
GIRL: Oh my gosh I LOVE Ciao Mambo!
MAN: -then to the new Harry Potter.
GIRL: Oh, are you into Harry Potter?
MAN: I guess, sure. Not nerdy into it.
GIRL: Well I’m sure you’ll have a great time.
MAN: I’m looking forward to it. And her mother has our 1 year old, so it will be nice to be by ourselves.
GIRL (looks down): Oh, so this isn’t a first date? She must be a girlfriend or a wife, or something close enough…?
MAN: Yeah, uh, she’s my wife. We’re coming up on our 6th wedding anniversary.
GIRL (finishes wrapping, gestures sidewards): I see. Well, she can ring you up.

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Filed under Marriage, Vignettes

Happenstance

We were sitting cross-legged with the entire surface area of our sides pressed into each other. By happenstance. That was just the way we had sat down and neither of us made a motion to change our arrangement. It was pretty cold anyway, for California. And the warmth from you felt, well, warm. Which was nice.

Plus we only had one blanket between us and we needed that for our legs.

Your large plastic Dell sat three feet in front of us and played a sometimes black and white, sometimes color, sometimes sepia cult classic. The information that was withheld from the protagonist was withheld from us, and in order to accomplish this, the director had cut up the narrative and rearranged the scenes. I had seen the movie before, but I don’t think you had.

Your battery on that laptop sucked.

It was pretty dark. Our hands were under the blanket too. I think the hairs on your left hand were brushing up against the hairs on my right hand.

By happenstance.

When I noticed it my heart started pounding, even though we were just friends. I mean, I knew you wanted me pretty bad, but… And I mean, when you reached over and scratched my back that one time when we were sitting on Ralph’s and Drew’s futon watching a movie, that made me really uncomfortable. It gave me chills, in a good way, but I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea. But what was I going to do, ask you to stop scratching my back?

So I moved my hand into yours. The entirety of the surface area of my palm and all the skin lining the interior of my digits was now pressed against all of that of yours. It was tingly. And it was cold, after all. For California.

The silhouette of a tall thin man with a gait not unlike mine, who happened to be a bit darker and handsomer than me but not as goofy, ambled toward us from the cluster of double-wides beyond the dark where we were sitting. The man it belonged to materialized in front of us, asking loudly about the nature of our film. He sat down next to us to participate. In my chest I could feel a secret joy – I was sure we were both smiling to ourselves, to each other. It was awkward, but we were humored by it.

He couldn’t know we were holding hands.

Why was Ken out in the field, in the cold, anyway?

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Filed under Marriage