Archive for July, 2006

Sex and drugs and 20th Century linguistic theory

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

I had a big conversation with Trav today on the whole sex-before-marriage thing. Oddly, given my “Go on, prove it to me” post yesterday, I think I came out defending the traditional position, although perhaps not as assuredly as nayf or Richard did.

The comments said broadly what I’d expected them to, but didn’t really touch on what I’d hoped might be brought up; I’ll get to that in a minute. First off, there’s the interesting side-issue (although it perhaps relates more closely to the point I want to make than the other comments do) of Rob’s comment:

I always thought that adultery meant sex outside marriage, so sex to someone you’re not married to. Hence ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’ seems fairly clear.

Interestingly, as I understand it, marriage in the Old Testament (where the “Thou Shalt Nots” can mainly be found) was almost an issue of property law: adultery wasn’t a crime of infidelity or immorality, but was taken to mean the act of stealing another man’s wife. Thus, it didn’t address the idea of sex outside of marriage per se, only that of taking that which does not belong to you. And yet today to define the idea of adultery in any other way than any infidelity within a marriage relationship is inconceivable to most people. From this, then, I would suggest that the idea of adultery as presented in the OT, then, isn’t especially helpful in this conversation. But what it does do is neatly lead us on to what I think is the central point (of this and so much other doctrinal conflict around at the moment) – that of language, culture and context.

The thing is – as Richard and Nayf sort of touched on in the comments – is that the ideas of sex and marriage were inextricably bound together in the Biblical mindset. The way I understand it is that it wasn’t a case of talking about “sex outside of marriage” in the way we do today; linguistically and culturally the ideas didn’t make sense apart from each other. And thus to look to the Bible for a definitive statemented answer on this one is pointless, as the cultural definition of both sex and marriage has changed almost out of recognition since the Bible was written. The commands about sexual immorality are clear enough – but what constitutes morality other than the prevailing culture? (and if you’re still at the point of thinking about moral absolutes, please go back and read the preceding paragraph about adultery again)

The challenge, therefore, is to establish (in the absence of any clear guidance) whether the lack of reference to the issue is because it is simply a cultural issue and therefore does not warrant a mention, or whether it is supposed to be an implicitly supposed and accepted idea – and if it is the former, what are we supposed to do about it within our present context?

For what it’s worth, and for those who might be getting concerned about the state of my soul, I’m far from advocating sex before or outside of marriage (much as I may wish I were allowed to 🙂 – but in my efforts to reassess the Bible contextually, this issue forces itself up for consideration and in the interests of honesty and all that lot I’ll confess it’s something I’m not 100% clear on right now.

Cat -> Pigeons

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Remind me again why sex before marriage isn’t allowed in Christianity, despite the fact that there’s no verses in the Bible that say that?

(note: As well as trying to be a bit provocative I’m actually genuinely curious here; it’s sort of so much a part of received wisdom and when pressed a lot of people seem to think that there’s a specific verse prohibiting it and stuff, but there’s not; just a lot of gumph about sexual immorality and the like – it all seems to be a bit tied in with the definition of marriage in Biblecal times which pretty much regarded the idea of sex and marriage as all part and parcel of the same deal, whereas today the process of dating/marriage is quite, quite different and thus the horrible hydra of cultural context raises its many heads and it all goes a bit postmodern. But anyway, I’d like to hear your thoughts)


Monday, July 24th, 2006

Tonight I made something a bit like Cassoulet – a sort of bean stew thing with sausages. Okay, it’s technically a winter dish and it’s, like, the hottest month ever but it’s still really rather delicious, and so I thought I’d share the recipe with y’all. I don’t really do quantities and measurement and stuff, but it’s a casserole, not a cake; you don’t really need to be millilitre accurate or anything.


  • An onion, diced
  • Clove of garlic, crushed and diced
  • Tin of haricot beans, drained and rinsed
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Four nice chunky sausages
  • Some Basil (I used fresh, chopped, but I suspect dried would work fine, as would pretty much any sort of fragrant herb)
  • Vegetable stock cube
  • A dried chilli or two, if you like
  • Some olive oil
  • Some salt and pepper
  • Half a cup of water

Preheat your oven to about 180°C ish. I’m not convinced it matters hugely about the temperature, but you’re going to be baking this for a couple of hours so you don’t want it too hot – we’re baking, not roasting here.

Get some sort of pyrex dish – big enough to hold the ingredients, and with a lid – and stick a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in it. Add the onion and garlic and give it a bit of stir to coat the ingredients with oil. Put the lid on and bung it in the oven for about five or ten minutes or something, until the onion goes soft and kind of translucent. It’ll smell fantastic.

Once it’s done, bung all the rest of the ingredients (except the sausages) in the dish and stir it all together. Then sit the sausages on top, put the lid back on and put it in the oven. And leave it there for about an hour and a half. Then take the lid off, turn the oven down a bit – you’re just trying to thicken it all up a bit now. Taste it – it’ll be really hot so be careful – and season if necessary.

Then after about another half an hour or so, take it out of the oven, spoon into a bowl and eat, accompanied by a nice red wine from somewhere in the south of France.

You’ll be able to vary this in any number of ways – I reckon a glass of red wine instead of the water would work quite well, and sticking some nice fatty chunks of bacon in it at the start with the onion and garlic would be nice. Cassoulet recipes in France vary from town to town – some people would use goose fat and duck, some would use lamb. So I reckon you could add pretty much anything – within reason – to this and it’d still work.

Things that bug me

Monday, July 24th, 2006

That AA advert, right. With “You got a friend” as the music. WHY DO THEY KEEP DROPPING BEATS? Look, it’s okay for prog-rock bands and Sufjan Stevens to do that sort of thing but it just sounds wrong and annoying when done with Gospel music. JUST STOP IT.

Channel 4 Weather

Monday, July 24th, 2006

The chart shows hot weather returning again in the next couple of days

Returning? What’s the weather been like for the last couple of days, then? “Cool”? “Moderate”?

Time to activate my patented1 amazing heat-exchanger with added Flow Rate Control-O-Matic!2, I think.

1not patented
2Amazing heat exchanger with added Flow Rate Control-O-Matic may not actually reduce ambient temperature in your room by a discernable amount, but it does look cool.

I am ashamed of my country

Friday, July 21st, 2006

The cover of today’s Indy.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Friday, July 21st, 2006

It is hard to put into words just how much I want one of these.

Doug Walker

Friday, July 21st, 2006

My mate Doug Walker is in line to be on Popworld – well, he could be, if enough people download his song from Popworld Promotes before the end of the month. He’s currently in second place and only needs another 50 or so votes to overtake some snotty little emo kids. His song is called “Stranger Than Fiction”, and it sounds quite a lot like E.L.O. – summery, shimmery pop – and it’s really very good.

Seriously, though, if you could pop over and vote for him, listen to the track or maybe even buy it (it’s only £1.50) I’ll be your best friend forever. Even if you don’t like Superman Returns..

An excuse!

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

I can’t help it, I’m a genius!

I… uh… I… what?

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

I… really don’t know what to say.