Tap, tap, tap… Is this thing on?

So… I realize I have committed the number one blogging sin. I left without saying goodbye. Saying goodbye is hard, and I didn’t want to go. I left you, my readers, hanging. I apologize for that, truly. I kept holding on to the hope that I could find a way to stay, but it was time to close this chapter and move on to new projects. I will no longer be adding new content to this site, but the old content will remain available, and I will continue to respond to questions, comments, and emails. The domain reneamac.com is expiring, and the address will revert to http://www.reneamac.wordpress.com.

My life has been enriched by this journey—a sentiment which recalls this blog’s original title—and the journey isn’t finished; it is pressing onward into new chapters. So, dear readers, I have one more favor to ask. As this project has come to its end, I have been able to devote myself more fully to a new blogging project, one which I have excitedly spoken about on this site on several occasions. As you know, I contribute regularly to Thinking through Christianity, a site that aims to promote and facilitate thoughtful, nuanced, and civil conversation about life and faith. Won’t you join in that conversation? Add us to your reader, like us on Facebook, keep up with our tweets. I dare say if you have found this website fruitful in anyway, you will not be disappointed.

There is nothing left to say here except thank you. Thank you to my faithful, faithful readers. You who have stayed with me through this blog’s remakes and restarts, its emotional outbursts and awkward silences. To my faithful commenters, bravely joining the conversation, and making it better, lending your stories, your questions, your wisdom, your love: thank you.

Rooting for you, always,
Renea

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Risky Obedience

Hello, I have a question of obedience to God and honoring my parents. I was never raised in a Christian home. But I have asked for Jesus’ forgiveness and cleansing. Only this year have I become serious about God. I was introduced to an amazing church that is very close to my heart. I am apart of the youth. I have recently turned the age seventeen. With that, I have made close connections with friends at the youth. But I also find myself in love. He’s three years older than me. He is a die hard Christian and I repect him for it. My mother found out we were friends from a “friend” of mine and went balistic. I was not to talk to him ever again or see him. I know her concerns and I have been very opened minded about them. We are going out, have been going out for eight months now. We respect my mother’s wishes and barely ever talk. Maybe once a month we speak. I don’t see him very often either. I find myself struggling more and more with staying away from him. I just feel it isn’t enough. I’m trying to grow and let God mold me through this trial. But it seems I’m rejecting it. My obedience towards God is a tough one. I want to listen. I want to do what is right. Yet, I feel conviction a lot still. I appreciate any type of help. Thank you.

Hi Cassandra,

I’ve been thinking a lot about your letter. It’s tough to give very much advice because I only have a small picture of what’s going on, and there’s a lot going on. It would help to know what your mother’s concerns are.

The thing that keeps coming back to me, though, is that you said you feel like you’re rejecting God’s way by going out with this guy even though you hardly see him. If your relationship with this guy is negatively affecting your relationship with God in any way, then something’s gotta change. If the Holy Spirit is giving you that gut feeling that what you’re doing is wrong, prayerfully go with your gut. One thing I do know: Every time we reject the Spirit’s gentle nudging and convictions, it gets easier and easier to reject him and harder and harder to listen and do what is right.

One more thing comes to mind. Paul sums up his discussion of personal convictions in Romans 14 with this statement: “But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning” (New Living). If this idea applies with issues that are a matter of personal conviction, how much more might it apply to the clearer issue of honoring one’s parents?

Rooting for you.
Renea

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Long Distance Marital Masturbation

When I travel away from home, my wife and I exchange videos through technology, she masturbates and sends the video to me and I use it to masturbate as well, some times we send pictures of each of us and both use it to masturbate. I only use my wife’s videos to masturbate. May I know if is a sin? It really helps me and her when we are both aroused. It also helps her have orgasm.

Thanks for writing. There is no biblical support for the idea that mutual masturbation in marriage is a sin. This is something that both you and your wife benefit from and with today’s technology, you are able to be together in a way even when you are traveling—it isn’t ideal, and it does not replace actually, physically being together, but it is something that helps during the temporary time you’re apart. We do know that the Bible recommends being together as regularly as possible:

Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them. (1 Cor. 7)

I would say that we do need to safeguard our uses of technology because accounts can be hacked into and so forth, but as to whether or not what you and your wife are doing is a sin, it is not. I hope that helps put you at ease.

Grace and Peace.
Renea

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Parents, Bellybuttons & Honor

When it comes to getting your belly button pierced… What if we’re only getting it pierced for the summer? And only showing it off with our bathing suits? Is that wrong? Sincerely, A teenage girl who really wants her belly button pierced this summer.

Hi TGWRWHBBPTS,

Thanks for writing! Read what I think about bellybutton piercings here in a response to another young woman asking a similar question. Please note: As I hinted in that response, we are obligated as Christians to honor, respect, and obey our parents insofar as they are not asking us to behave counter to God’s explicit commands. If your parents have strong views about piercings, it is better to demonstrate Christ-like, self-sacrificial love (1 Cor. 13) to your parents by respecting their wishes (especially while under their protection and care). Do this by giving your desire for a piercing to the Lord for the sake of your relationship with them and for the sake of your relationship with Christ.

For His Glory,
Renea

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