I'm a very inconsistent blogger. I'm very sorry.

I was able to spend one week home in between school and interning. in that week, i felt extremely weak...loss of words, doubt in my heart, completely undisciplined...unfocused, weary, uncertain. in subtle thoughts of, "I don't crave any intimacy with the lord. I'd rather not be productive with my life. I don't really want to dedicate a whole summer to serving the Creator for lives to be changed. I'd just rather not meet new people."

and what did I experience all week? incredible moments of wisdom being showered into my life. in the most miraculous and real situations.

when my older sister needed advice about a boy situation, i mumbled unhelpful words and repeated phrases like, "boys suck." whereas, my younger sister, who is four years younger than my older sister, told her the honest freaking truth. "Leave him, run...you want a man who knows and loves jesus more than he loves you because in that, things will hold together. you are worth a million bux and i will remind you of this everyday until you really grasp it." and such. it was beautiful, hilarious, and so so encouraging. my younger, rambunctious sister was able to slap me and nina in the face and gently tell us things we always need to hear.

my mom and i were driving in the car to the market. she explains how she has a client who is battling stage four cancer...except that the battle is essentially over. she now lives in a hospice and is waiting for her time to pass over. my mom, NONCHALANTLY, tells me...."yeah, so i just asked her if she had a bible to read. we aren't allowed to bring religious matters into work, but i mean, she is dying and i found it important she knows of her savior. so i read her romans 8:38-39. she loved it."

oh, thanks mom for having an eternal impact. she is changing this world. i want to grow up to be like her. something as simple and childish as that. i am proud she is my momma and the lord is proud she is his daughter.

jenna. i didn't want anyone to come over, because i was extremely exhausted and nervous before leaving the following morning for a place where i didn't know a single person (yet). she insisted, plopped on my bed, and forced me to look at her and catch up, talk, express, love. she held my hands very tightly as she whispered prayers to the lord. beyond peaceful. beyond lovely. beyond everything i imagined.

thank you, sweet savior, for using my weakness for your profound and majestic words.


this Kiss

I haven't had one of those "experiences" in quite a while...the moments of raw truth and pure love being accepted.

this is my third time coming to the new site church, here in ridley. BRV media planted another one in ridley because quite frankly...we need it.

but can we just pause and recognize how this county needed a good church? one that flourishes, rains truth, speaks and lives out hope. kind of like luke 4.18
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
(totes my "life verse").

church is now in an old Leiper church. Stained glass windows, shades of gray and brown on the walls, an altar, pews. the whole thing.

do you know how incredible it was to have people scattered throughout the pews, arms open, wanting to just dance in the presence of the Great I Am?

Yesterday all of my passions, fears, doubts, dreams, hopes, insecurities, gifts, thankfulness, purposes....all that i am....were wrapped into one experience and exploded into the love i received.

standing next to my mom in worship. looking over my shoulder and seeing eric, a kid who graduated with christina on his knees. no one will really get it. people in ridley...well, you don't just go to church for fun. he was alone. and he keeps coming back. why? because he knows and he gets it.

overweight people. young and very old. skinny people. rough looking people. lower socio-economic classes. swarthmorians (wealthy people). everyone and anyone...ah, how refreshing to get a visual image of the kingdom.

sometimes it gets suffocating to have your community always look and feel the same...

anyway, i can't express what i felt and why i felt it. but i felt beyond free, loved, thankful. am i sad at the state of this world? why of course...am i going to change this world? why, hell yeah...but do i love who i am in the core of my being and the purpose i have for today and only today? why, jesus, i am so incredibly thankful.

i love him so much...because he gets me...when no one else does.

the first will be last and the last shall be first. the economy of the kingdom is upside down. how did i lose that? why do i feel entitled to earn more denari for a longer day's work? how sickening i am. a wretch.

"how he loves" was played. i've heard this song three hundred and seventy two times plus a thousand more. but yesterday morning, the line "so heaven meets earth with an unforeseen kiss." and people also know it as  "so heaven meets earth with a sloppy wet kiss." but honestly unforeseen was so perfect for me to hear. why do i grow dismal with the state of this world? God kissed this world, God kissed this Earth, God kissed me.

a truly depressing world would be one where the Kingdom never came and wasn't coming. but Heaven kissed earth...blindsided. had no clue. out of no where, the lord was like BAM, HERE ARE MY LIPS. (hehe) but what he is really saying is, "here is my love, my grace, tenderness, hope...everything will be okay because I did something about it."

and that was the most powerful kiss human-kind has ever known.


A Sobering Look at Sexuality

I edited my paper--as in, i cut it and made it short. i didn't include the evolution of pornography. essentially, what used to be "hard porn" is now soft. example: Playboy, lad mags, etc.

For the sake of time/research, my paper is about heterosexual men who consume pornography. I recognize there are other issues, like homosexual porn, etc. but this is about heterosexual men consuming porn, but most of all it is about the industry. my goal is for the industry/producers to be held accountable, because they are the ones carefully constructing the way sexuality is portrayed.

also, don't mind the grammar/punctuation mistakes! hehe. OH and i recognize some material is really graphic but that's the point, right?

In the last sixty years, sexuality has been commoditized and sold to millions of men through the increasing acceptance and usage of pornography.  As Gail Dines coins it, pornography has become a public health issue because young men, commonly starting at eleven years old, are developing their sexual experiences through degrading, virtual images, and this ultimately affects their perception of women (xiii). Not only is pornography a type of entertainment, but also it has evolved into becoming our main source of sexual education and standards of sexual expectation.  In essence, pornography has become the American culture.  In Dines’ novel, Pornland, she critically analyzes the harms of the pornography industry: “In short, [pornographers] are businessmen from start to finish, not innovators committed to our sexual freedom” (x).  The lack of sexual freedom in our culture must be evaluated, for sexuality is being defined and controlled by businessmen in the sex industry.  Because of pornography, sexual imagination and emotional intimacy are stolen from relationships and we are left with a society numb to malicious and disdainful acts towards women that are common themes in pornographic material.  Through the novels Pornland and Getting Off,  Dines and Jensen discuss the evolution of pornography, explore the content of two pornographic genres, and explain why pornography is detrimental to sexuality as a whole.
The content of this “arousing material” thrives off of the main idea that men should sexually and physically dominate women.  This domination is often seen in the forms of the submission of women to sexual acts, the aggressive interactions of men, and even violence committed towards women.  Today, the industry utilizes the domination in two central genres: “features” and “gonzo” (Jensen 55).  Features attempt to imitate a story line with actors, a plot, and dialogue; gonzo is solely sexual acts that are recorded.  Gonzo has become one of the biggest moneymakers in the pornography industry; this speaks volumes since gonzo, “…depicts hard-core, body-punishing sex in which women are demeaned and debased” (Dines xi).  Both features and gonzo highlight the way a woman’s body can be objectified and sexualized through the intentional facial expressions, body positions, physical contact, and verbal dialogue included. Men are aggressive by pushing a woman’s head or body in a certain position and penetrating her.  There is often a blatant expression of discomfort or pain on a woman’s face, and some pornographic films admit in their goal of inflicting this pain. Pornography blurs the lines of legal abuse and “sexually arousing material,” and almost all pornography consumers and pornography producers overlook this issue.  In almost all of these films, there is sexual and verbal abuse towards a woman.
Dines describes the intent of pornography:
In porn the man makes hate to the woman, as each sex act is designed to deliver the maximum amount of degradation. Whether the man is choking her with a penis or pounding away at her anus until it is red raw, the goal of porn sex is to illustrate how much power he has over her. (xxv)

This description of a scene in pornography is not uncommon; such brutality is typical.  Classic acts, in which they are shown in almost every film, are those of double penetration, double anal, double vag, and ass-to-mouth.  “DP” is when a woman is penetrated vaginally and anally at the same time; double anal is when a woman is penetrated anally by two men at the same time; double vag is when a woman is penetrated vaginally by two men at the same time; and ass-to-mouth is when a man removes his penis from a woman’s anus and, without cleaning it, places it in her mouth (Jensen 59).  Terms like DP and ATM are popular in the industry, and that alone is a grave danger to the way sexuality is being expressed in America.
Pornography is a billion dollar industry; the producers have to find creative ways to send their movies over the edge and remain “desirable” to men to keep sex selling.  Most people would claim to be appalled at the physical and verbal content within pornography; however, the popularity of the material is becoming deeper than individual pleasures and is contaminating people’s perceptions on a national level.  As Dines interviewed young college men, she recalls, “Some of the worst stories I hear are from men who have become so desensitized that they have started using harder porn and end up masturbating to images that had previously disgusted them.  Phil told me, ‘Sometimes I can’t believe the porn I like’” (Dines 93).  The meaning and expression of sexuality has been at risk for decades and has become so deformed that young men are becoming comfortable with images they never thought possible.  Sex should represent mutual affection, intimacy, and respect between two people.  However, the porn industry has carefully constructed their videos to convey the message that porn culture is desirable because of the absence of intimacy.  Detached from commitment, pornography offers men an escape into which their “wildest fantasies” can be played out with the click of a button.  With fulfilling sexual desires through the Internet and/or the media, pleasure has become a cold experience
Almost all of pornographic material reinforces the idea that women are nothing but sluts and whores and are objects to ridicule.  The evidence of this idea through verbal language is astronomical, for derogatory words are continuously being said in gonzo and features.  As Jensen states, “But it’s also clear that a common message of pornography is that all women are whores by nature; it’s intrinsic to being a woman” (Jensen 112).  Men in the movies are almost always using words like “slut,” “whore,” “bitch,” “cunt,” and anything that promotes the dehumanization of a woman.  A commonly seen instance in porn consists of a man telling a woman, “Choke on that dick,” and physically grabbing her head, slapping her face, and forcing his penis into her mouth (Jensen 62).
To see further into the intent of pornographic films, Jensen explains:
Women in pornography tend to get treated by men as either objects of desire or objects of ridicule.  That is, men see them as things to be either fucked or made fun of, or both.  For example, a pornographic website that focuses on gag-inducing oral sex asks, ‘Can these fuck toys be any dumber?’ That sums up the way men in the pornographic world think about these women. (122)

As American citizens, we do not have to look far to find glimpses of pornographic content.  Recently, Rush Limbaugh was recorded calling law student, Sandra Fluke a slut and prostitute. CafePress sells shirts with the term “Donkey Punch,” which refers to a move where the male punches the female in the back of head or neck prior to orgasm with intents of her “bucking like a donkey.”  Such examples are not only flooding porn sites, but are invading the news, clothing companies, advertisements, and systems.  This porn rape culture, a culture where the lines are unclear between illegal harm to women and pleasure for men, is polluting the minds of people everywhere.  Women are objectified into the simple belief that they are only worthy of sexually satisfying men, while men are being stripped of their masculinity and are being programmed to believe they are not men unless they dominate women.  The meaning of sexuality has been so tainted and perverted that most people do not know what healthy sexual experiences entail.  Because of the porn industry, sex has become simply become a service, where men demand and women supply.  Not only is misogyny the central theme to pornography, but also the videos are extremely discriminatory to all who are not heterosexual males.  The lack of discussion about the harms of pornography is further evidence in how consumerism has carefully constructed pornography to be accepted into mainstream culture.  Exploring the pornography industry is crucial in order to redeem sexuality in America, for this industry is controlling our society and molding it to be impersonal, misogynistic, and abusive.
To produce a healthy society, where sexuality is constructed by our own, natural experiences, we must raise awareness and become pro-active to end this industry.  Although the distortion of sex is undeniable and the pornography business is powerful, that cannot be a justifiable excuse to continue to allow the horrendous and blatant dehumanization of women.  Pornography is infecting the minds of children, adolescents, and adults and poisoning the perceptions men have of women.  The message pornography conveys is simple: degrade, abuse, violate, and dominate women.  For the identity and worth of a woman be centered on body parts and the ability to perform sexual acts, women and men must take a sobering look at how it truly affects society and personal relationships.



it is exhausting wanting to be elsewhere and wanting a different lifestyle. to be prettier, more adventurous, smarter, etc.  most days it is a constant battle to fight the lies of, "transferring from APU was a mistake. you loved it there. you could have had a better life there." talking with my friends from APU is always bitter-and-sweet. bitter because i desperately want to be near them and have the life i used to have. basically the glossed versions of my time at APU...when things went well, when things were exciting and sunny and beautiful. not when i felt lonely and/or disconnected from the lord, and especially when i felt like i just was searching for more.

so why do i always skip over the victories of my college experience, both at apu and jmu? why do i so quickly forget the moments of "this is a beautifully fruitful and nurturing season in my life." i am not sure why i forget. but i don't want to...so this post goes out to the incredible, both little-and-small, victories of my time in harrisonburg just this week.

-getting two pints of cake batter ice cream from klines last week and not being judged by my housemates.
-giggling with Evi as we chat boys and think it is funny. (humor similar to middle school).
-spending hours with Sara and Lindsay as we did studied together yesterday. I think I am fueled by other people's energy.
-the warm weather today. the fan is blowing in the kitchen and i sure do love the feeling of summer. there is nothing like it and i'm addicted to the feeling.
-simply living in a house with so many awesome women.
-the late night texts Evi and I send as only a wall separates us...silly things like "I am tempted to text him. tell me not to." and then complete forgiveness and no judgment when we gave in and did. whoops!
-the adrenaline rush when i complete a kick-ass paper.

it's all about perspective, right? I know I will truly miss harrisonburg this summer.