Lust is violence

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.”

The Bible teaches that we do not live in a world absent God. But more than that, God is not merely one more piece of “furniture” in the universe. He’s not something that can be ‘added to’ or ‘removed from’ the world without consequence. Rather, if God exists (and He does), then His Being undergirds all reality. And humans, being made in his image, are sacred in their being (both soul & body).

This is why humans are charged not to murder, for man is made in the image of God, and is sacred — including his body. The Human Body, then, has a value that is unique in creation. This is not to say that all creation is invaluable, but rather that humans–and their bodily integrity–have a certain additional value in virtue of their unique status as God’s image bearers.

When we lust, we are taking, we are using, the body of another human being for ourselves. We are profaning something sacred. We are taking something holy and treating it as something common, as if it were there merely to satisfy another appetite — but it’s not. It’s involved in the very creation of more humans. You cannot separate the meaning of the human body from the object of the human body. If you could, one could be violent with human bodies — destroying them — just as you can do with an inanimate object, such as a tree or rock. But we know that’s wrong. We know it’s wrong to be violent with other humans, because they are not mere objects.

When we lust after other humans, seeking to take them for ourselves, we are denying their meaning and value. Even if the other person we’re lusting after is a willing participant, that does not remedy the issue. It only means that they themselves are denying what their body is for, that it is something sacred. And when we affirm them in that denial, that does not absolve us, but rather means we are encouraging them to deny themselves. Imagine if someone were harming themselves — say cutting — and they knew other people would pay them money to cut themselves, and they took a certain pleasure in other people viewing them cut themselves, would the person who pays the cutter in order to watch them cut be absolved? Because the cutter is willing? God no.

And when we engage in lust, pornography, fornication, whatever it may be, using the body of another, and affirming them in that, we are profaning the sacredness of their body.

God made humans sexual creatures. Sex isn’t bad or evil. The union between a man and woman in intercourse is deep and profound. It isn’t just material. The Bible says, “the two shall be one”. But that oneness is meant to illustrate a covenant relationship. It’s an outward expression and demonstration to the other that you are saying, I am entirely yours, and that each is saying that to other. To do that with your body, but not your being, devalues yourself and them.

Thoughts Reading Maps of Meaning – Preface

What motivates human behavior? Reason? Economics? Genetics? Culture? Pleasure/pain? Why do we act as we do, say as we do, live as we do? Why do we do so in any given moment…

Thinking about Persona: JP relates an interesting experience he had. He began to listen to himself talk, and realized he didn’t necessarily believe what he would speak. He heard an inner voice starting criticize him (“That isn’t true. You don’t believe that”). He knew the voice came from himself, but wasn’t sure which voice was really his: the one talking, or the one criticizing? To his relief, he found the inner voice was his. But then, why was he speaking as he did, if he didn’t really believe those things? He concluded he was actually just repeating other people’s thoughts as if they were his own. Because he understood them, he would say them, even if he didn’t believe them. In these moments, he was embodying the culture, an ideology, a persona.

“It took me a long time to reconcile myself to the idea that almost all my thoughts weren’t real, weren’t true – or, at least, weren’t mine” (Maps of Meaning, p. 11).

I think an implication is to pay more attention to what we say and why we say it. Where is our speech coming from? Is it coming from us, or are we merely embodying a persona? If we don’t take responsibility for our speech, we’ll be captive to the speech of others — even from our own mouths.

I suspect as the books goes on, Jordan will explain his vivid dreams/nightmares as coming from the collective psyche (collective unconscious? Ala: Jung). I wonder, however, if the source isn’t ‘the collective unconscious’, but rather the influence of rebellious elohim.(Read “The Unseen Realm” by Dr. Michael Heiser). I suspect Peterson may have been experiencing genuine spiritual attack from all too real spiritual beings. Peterson & Jung, however, don’t go there because they each doubted the factual existence of such beings — thus, they hypothesize ‘the collective psyche’. I could be wrong.

Dreams are a mysterious thing. LORD, would you give me wisdom and insight in understanding the nature and purpose of dreams — in particular, how to properly interpret them in all their dimensions (source, meaning, application) in Jesus’ name.

In Maps of Meaning, Peterson describes how he was led to Jung. It was through the religious nature of his dreams, and his seeking to understand what they were and what was going on (p. 12). This quote of Jung’s for instance, resonated deeply with him: “It must be admitted that the archetypal contents of the collective unconscious can often assume grotesque and horrible forms in dreams and fantasies, so that even the most hard-boiled rationalist is not immune from shattering nightmares and haunting fears.”

Jung’s explanation of JPs experience was “the archetypal contents of the collective unconscious.” JP found that to be a more plausible explanation than Freud’s “wish-fulfillment” and focus on sexuality.

Jung believed the best solution for such occurrences was to contextualize the imagery “by means of comparative mythological material.” This led JP down the road of studying mythology. When he did study such material, it did make his horrible dreams disappear. But, he notes, the study and success of that endeavor also fundamentally changed him so that his view of reality is now very different from when he was younger.

In the conclusion to his preface, JP summarizes his worldview. He believes the world can be validly construed in two different ways: (1) as a place of objects, where science is master. (2) as a forum for action, where values (moral and otherwise) are master. With respect to science, he seems to content to say what factual is whatever science says. With respect to values, he seems to believe universal myths are our best teacher. The structure of universal myth, he believes, contains three fundamental elements:

  1. Unexplored Territory (Chaos), the encountering and confronting of such is essential for our transformation and growth.
  2. Explored Territory (Order), the areas of life we’ve mastered and demonstrated competence.
  3. Individuals mediating between the two (the Individual actor), whereby we creatively explore, grow, and subdue chaos.

He then utilizes archetypes as symbolic representations of the above: The Great Mother (creative and destructive, nature), The Great Father (protective and tyrannical, culture, cumulative ancestral wisdom), The Divine Son (the archetypal individual, creative explorer through ‘Word’ and adversary).

I have sympathy and resonance for his claim that the world as a forum for action is real, just as real/true as science while not reducible to it — that Value and Truth are just as real as Matter and Energy, and that we must comport ourselves in humble submission and accordance to that reality. I also think his schema of Chaos/Order/Individual(mediator) is a helpful way of framing the world. But I’m not sure of the grounding of such a hypothesis, as true, in fundamental mythological archetypes. That’s where I currently have some skepticism.

He goes on to delineate our experience as we mediate these realities, which I also think is helpful, but too detailed to summarize here given that I’m tired. It’s worth reading though.

Having read the Preface, I am excited to go through the rest of the book.

Why I’m Writing

I’ve struggled with bouts of depression since I was a little kid. Recently I went through another instance of this — where my faith, my family, my friends, my work, and productive hobbies seemed to hold little interest for me. This was not a fun experience because I’ve assumed that as I age, hopefully growing in maturity and wisdom, that I would experience more consistent joy and motivation. One thing I can say, is that I now view periods like I just went through differently: instead of trying to get them to end ASAP, I now also try to learn from them. What benefit can I take away from what I just experienced that might help me in the future.

For a number of reasons, I think it’s time for me to begin writing regularly, even if it’s just 15-minutes per day, but I’m hoping it will be more than that.

I don’t know what to write about though. I suppose a helpful place to start is ask myself: what do I want? What do I hope will come from this? And I can think of no better way to go about that question than prayer.

I know that I am uniquely and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). I know that I am made in Your image (Genesis 1). I know that you have good works prepared for me to do, from before the beginning of the age (Ephesians 2). I also know that you work with us. You desire to co-create through us, not just dictate to us. That’s part of what being made in your image is, as well as participating in your divine nature (2 Peter 1), and being destined to rule and reign with you (Revelation 20 & 21). But Lord, my own heart is a mystery to me. What is it that I most want? Father, hear my prayer, what is it that I most want? I know you’ve made me for Your glory, and I know You’re interested in the desires of my heart (Psalm 34), so give me clarity on what is the work I’m made for, which will bring me sustaining joy, bring You glory, and be a service to the world.

Lord, I believe the time has come for me to grow up in my calling as an adult – as a minister of your gospel – to put away childish things. I need help ruling my own heart. I do not want to be selfish, but I feel as if I must begin with working on myself before I can help lead or teach others. Father, I am asking for your help and grace to grow in the following:

  1. My faith and surrender to You.
  2. My love, patience with, and attention to those around me.
  3. Clarity on my calling — on its meaning, value, and significance.
  4. How to act and comport myself in the world — how to act in the midst of chaos and the unknown — how to extend Your Kingdom — bringing love, order, peace, and joy in the midst of trial.
  5. How to live in an orientation of listening and paying attention.
  6. How to bring my flesh in submission to my Spirit.
  7. How to communicate Your Gospel in a loving, winsome, and clear manner.

Lead me Father, in Jesus’ name.

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