Thursday, November 3, 2011

Christian Erotica?

I saw the words ‘Christian Erotica’ the other day and I have not been able to get those words out of my mind. I even took the time to Google these two words - that don’t go together at all, in my opinion – to find out what’s going on... who in the world came up with this? Of course, in searching the word ‘erotica’ nude photos appeared; I expected that. Why? Because – whether you put the word ‘Christian’ in front or not – erotica is pornography. The definition of erotica: books, pictures, etc. having to do with or intended to arouse sexual feelings or desires. The definition of pornography: writings, pictures, etc. intended primarily to arouse sexual desire.

What about this fiction called ‘Christian Erotica’? After a bit of research, moral erotica vs. immoral erotica is what it all boils down to. It seems those who write these stories want to give Christian married couples erotica they can enjoy reading. It seems they want to enrich the sexual lives of these Christian couples. So, writing a story detailing sex acts of a married couple makes erotica a good thing, because the characters are Christians and the story is aimed at Christians? Christian Erotica is considered moral, but these stories are intended primarily to arouse sexual desire, and, again, that is pornography. Actually, I came across the words Christ-centered porn, and I didn’t know what to think about that. I wonder what Jesus thinks about that? Some bring up the Song of Solomon to justify Christian Erotica. I’ve never read it, but I’ve read different interpretations that lead me to believe the meaning of those 117 verses in the Bible is much deeper than sexual love.

God gave us the gift of sex. His plan was not for people to engage in premarital sex, but for married couples – one man and one woman joined together in holy matrimony – to join together in this intimate (most private and personal, closely aquainted or associated) way. Intimate is key here. Some couples are okay with sexual aids, but my thinking is this: If a married couple, Christian or not, has to read erotica to aid in sexual arousal, then when their bodies join together are they making love (expressing a genuine love for each other) or just having sex for physical pleasure? I believe the latter is the case, and there is nothing intimate about that. Yes, there is physical pleasure in love making, but there should also be a real feeling of closeness, a connection that is not there when ONLY physical pleasure is being sought. Physical pleasure alone is usually about her or him (self-gratification), not him and her as ONE. Mark 10:8 and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one separate them, for God has joined them together (New Living Translation).

I don’t believe God intended for married couples to ‘have sex’ without intimacy, and intimacy begins outside of the bedroom:

1. Married couples need to talk to each other - not at each other - and they need to listen to each other. In other words, they need to communicate. Honest - speaking the truth in love - communication is necessary in marriage. Depending on the discussion, sometimes during communication a ‘moment’ happens that could lead to sexual intimacy.

2. Married couples need to spend time together; either doing things they both enjoy or one caring enough to do what the other wants and vice versa. Spending time together -having fun and enjoying each other - could lead to sexual intimacy.

3. Married couples need to respect each other, and each should appreciate the ‘good’ the other brings to the relationship. Taking time to focus on what’s ‘right’ instead of always thinking about what’s wrong with a spouse, could help one married person feel close to the other and this could lead to sexual intimacy.

I’m sure there are more ways for married couples to get to a place of closeness that could lead to sexual intimacy or ‘intimate love making’ without an outside influence like porn, whether it’s online, in a movie or a television show, or in a book.

As for books, we all have our different reading tastes and here is mine: I read mostly Christian Fiction, Young Adult Fiction (Christian Fiction or not), and I read secular novels, depending on the story. Recently I have decided to expand my horizons and read Paranormal; again, depending on the story. No Horror, no Gritty novels (there were times when I did not expect gritty, but got gritty), no stories about vampires or werewolves or monsters, and no Erotica – if the word ‘Christian’ is in front of it or not.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Madea's Big Happy Family Movie Review

Shirley (Loretta Devine) has been fighting cancer for about seven years, but it hasn't gotten her down. She's thanking God for the days she's had and accepting what is to come. All she wants more than anything is to sit down at a nice dinner with her adult children so they will all be together when she tells them the sad news.

Madea's Big Happy Family sends much needed messages to husbands and wives, battling siblings, bad behind children, teenage single parents... any family dealing with sensitive issues, disrespecting each other and keeping secrets. There were `zany' parts in this movie - I can deal with zany for a little bit, but it gets on my nerves after a while - but there were also quite a few touching and eye-opening moments. The first time I saw this movie was in the theater. The Opening Credits shows like an animated mini-movie, so I was entertained even before the movie began. My main thought after the movie was that families really need to stop wasting time and taking each other for granted. A sequel would be nice, because I would like to know what happens with Kimberly's (Shannon Kane) situation.

Favorite Character: Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) - she's honest, bold and witty.
Favorite Line: You don't feel bad for me. You feel bad for somebody who don't know Jesus.
Favorite Scenes: Something's Got to Give/Look in the Mirror

I appreciate the fact that Mr. Perry brings humor into people's lives. I've always seen the ability to make others laugh as one of the most precious gifts a person could have. This world needs more happiness; I know I could use a good laugh daily. Mr. Perry has created a character or two who can be a little over the top - zany - but as a whole I enjoy his work. Laughter is only one thing his films bring to my life. What I like most is the lessons he teaches with his movies. When she's not acting crazy and going off on people, Madea shares words of wisdom that can reach my heart like a good Bible teaching. (Don't ask her about The Bible, though, because she is not very good at interpreting Scripture). And even when Madea doesn't play a part in a movie, somebody is going to say something thought-provoking. I don't have many of Mr. Perry's plays on DVD, but I do own every movie. I will continue to support his work.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Covers

I believe a book cover should be a reflection of the story inside, so, yes, I do judge books by the covers. Sometimes that works for me and sometimes it doesn't. I don't decide to buy a book just because the beautifully designed cover has drawn me to it. I read the synopsis and if it interests me, then I buy the book. Well, not always right away. I still have so many books saved in my Amazon cart.

Some covers have been deceiving; a book that's nice on the outside but inside there's lots of profanity and other content I didn't expect or care to read. I do not like it when the cover misrepresents the content. There have also been times when the story wasn't what I thought it would be, even after reading the synopsis. I buy most books from Amazon, but I also buy books from Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million. From now on no matter where I shop, I'm going to have to 'search inside the book' to be sure it's one I really want to spend my money on.

The cover image in the corner is one that immediately caught my eye, and some others are: Sellout (Hardcover) by Ebony Joy Wilkins, Stars in the Night (Softcover) by Cara C. Putman, A Girl Named Mister (Hardcover) by Nikki Grimes, Hot Girl by Dream Jordan, Black Tuesday (Hardcover) by Susan Colebank, Saving Maddie (Hardcover) by Varian Johnson, Be Careful What You Pray For (Hardcover) by Kimberla Lawson Roby, After (Hardcover) by Amy Efaw, and Night Road (Hardcover) by Kristin Hannah.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Self Diagnosis: Uncomfortable, But Necessary

I’ve always been able to communicate better with the written word. Paper, pencils, pens, typewriter keys and now computer keys have always been my friends. And music is my friend; especially songs with uplifting lyrics. And movies on DVD and Blu-ray are my friends. But when it comes to people, it’s like I want to socialize but the thought of socializing brings on anxiety. I’d like to make a new friend or two, but the thought of those unfamiliar to me coming into my space brings on discomfort. It’s like I’m thinkin’ come and stay away from me at the same time. Sounds weird, I know. But this is how I am, been that way for a long time and it’s what I do not like about myself.

This isolation mentality is not normal. A little while back I finally asked God, “What is wrong with me?” It may have been a few weeks after that I came across an article about Avoidant Personality Disorder. I read it and I said, “My goodness, that’s me. Some of the symptoms aren’t as extreme as they were when I was younger, but that’s me.” I grew up in a household where there was always confusion and chaos. I grew up being criticized quite a bit. I was bullied in grade school and in middle school, verbal abuse mostly. Some didn’t like my light skin, some made fun of the way I walked (I have my mom’s bowed legs and my dad’s slew feet), and some always had something to say about how skinny I was. Back then it was ‘stick and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you’. Yeah, right. That’s a lie from the pit of hell. WORDS CAN HURT and it took me a long time to get over some of the things that were said to me. No wonder I had low self-esteem. Not that I even knew it at the time, like I didn’t know that I suffered from clinical depression when I was around seventeen, eighteen. People didn’t talk about those things back then the way they do today. I heard the symptoms of clinical depression a good while back and that’s when I knew what had been happening with me all those years ago. If you have a child suffering from depression, please don’t think it’s something they can just get over. Take it seriously; find out what’s going on with them and seek help. I hear about young people taking their own lives and it breaks my heart.

I am still shy today, but not extremely shy. I am not a people person; I have trust issues. I’ve been trying to work at being comfortable around others. I participated in a couple of book events since I published Choices and it wasn’t easy for me, but I communicated with people, even waved them over to my table. When I’m out and about I always have promotional materials with me and I kindly ask people if they’d like a pen or if I could give them a bookmark. Before I published Choices, I was okay with a smile and a quick hello even if I didn’t know the person, but now I’m like ‘God’s just gonna make me talk’. I understand Him wanting to get me out of my comfort zone; not much growth comes from staying in a place where I keep to myself all of the time. We all have our gifts, though, and writing is the gift God has given me. I know I wouldn’t be very good as a public speaker, so Choices is my way of reaching out. I wrote a good story, if I say so myself. If you haven’t journeyed through the lives of Shauntice, Angel, LaKeeta, Bridgette and Hope, please consider buying a copy of Choices today. I do believe you will be entertained and enlightened and I’d truly appreciate the support.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tyler Perry as Madea: Do I Have A Problem With It?

Years ago I was watching a preview for a movie and I kept thinking that the woman standing at her front door looked more like a man. I felt kind of bad about that, because it wasn’t like I was trying to judge or anything; I was only making an observation. Later I found out that I had nothing to feel bad about because there was a man under that gray wig and behind all that make up. Tyler Perry portrays Mabel “Madea” Simmons.

Even though he had been writing, directing and performing in stage plays for years, I didn’t know anything about Tyler Perry until the preview of the movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman, inspired by the play of the same name. Ever since then, different people have criticized this man because he puts on a dress to play a woman. This is how I feel about it: The man is acting. I had no problem with Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie or Martin Lawrence as Big Mama (I loved Big Mama’s House 2, by the way) or Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire or Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari disguising themselves as women in Bosom Buddies, and I have no problem with Tyler Perry as Madea.

Why are some people always trying to find the worst in everything? Yes, Tyler Perry has flaws; we all have flaws. But as far as his work, he brings something good to people’s lives with Madea; he makes them laugh. And he’s not doing it like some comedians do, which is by making fun of another person’s weaknesses or imperfections or personal problems or using so much profanity that if there is a good joke in there, it’s difficult to find. Let me tell you, I always appreciate it when someone can make me laugh because laughter brightens my days. And, oh yeah, if you know anything about me at all, you know I’m gonna quote the Bible: A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. That’s Proverbs15:13 the New King James Version. The New Living Translation: A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.

I’ve gotten the impression after hearing Tyler Perry speak on occasion, that he’d rather not play Madea anymore. He said something like it takes four hours to get into the make-up and the entire costume, and it can get hot in all of that padding. I don’t think he feels good at all luggin' those big saggin' breasts around. I believe he said they are stuffed with bird seeds. If you have never seen the wild woman Tyler Perry created, check out the picture of Madea up in the corner. That’s a whole lot of birdseeds! But this talented man has said that as long as people want to see Madea, he’ll play the role. I do not condemn him for that choice. I applaud him for giving people want they want; a character they enjoy watching because she makes them laugh.

I admit that I’m not into everything Tyler Perry has created. I’ll watch Meet the Browns every now and then, because I like that the show addresses teen issues, but, I’m sorry, Mr. Brown is too zany for my taste. And I guess Madea can go too far every now and then, but it’s not like ‘ridiculous over the top humor’, but more like ‘this woman just does not care and in real life she’d probably be in jail a lot longer than she was in Madea Goes to Jail’. Anyway, like I said before, I have no problem with Tyler Perry as Madea. I like Madea’s humor and boldness, but what I like most is that she always has words of wisdom to share. Nobody should take her seriously when she tells Bible stories or quotes the Bible, though, because, even though she makes it funny, she does not know what she's talking about.

I haven't seen all of Tyler Perry's movies in the theater; sometimes I waited for the DVD. However, I do plan to show my support this weekend and go see Madea's Big Happy Family. I’m not going just to see Madea, though. I really like Loretta Devine and Cassi Davis.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's January 1, 2011 and Jesus Still Hasn't Come Back. Will He Ever?

Since I was young I’ve heard people talking about how Jesus is coming back one day. It’s taught from the pulpit, it’s in songs, Christians speak of it often, and it’s in the Bible (Matthew 24). But it’s been a very long time since Jesus died on the cross; almost two thousand years, I believe. Is His return ever going to happen?

On this New Year’s Day I’d like to share 2 Peter 3:8,9 (New Living Translation): But you must not forget, dear friends, that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise to return as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so He is giving more time for everyone to repent.

Romans 10:9-10: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

I feel like Jesus does, I do not want anyone to perish. If you haven’t received Jesus as Lord and personal Savior and you’d like to, just pray these words: Father, I confess that I have sinned. I repent of my sins and ask your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus is Your Son and that He died on the cross for my sins, and that He was resurrected, and by faith I receive Him as my personal Savior and friend.

Congratulations you are born again! Welcome to God’s eternal family! There is no better way to begin the New Year than to have your name written in The Lamb’s Book of Life! Praise God and Hallelujah!!!

May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you, and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you His favor and give you peace.