The Pain of Intimacy

As I write my heart has a knife in it. My lungs buckle under the strain of gasping for breath. Pain spreads over my clouded chest as both Continue reading

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Poetry: Ruth, Chapter 4

And so we come to the final chapter of the Book of Ruth which recounts the tale of the romance of great-grandparents of king David of Israel, the ancestors of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, God the Son. In chapter 1 we saw how Naomi brought Ruth, her daughter-in-law, to the Land of Promise after the deaths of both their husbands. The story continued in chapter 2 where we witnessed the meeting of Boaz and Ruth as she and her mother-in-law struggle to make ends-meet. He is kind to her. In chapter 3 Ruth goes to Boaz late at night to ask him to take up their cause and redeem her and her mother-in-law. The story concludes in chapter 4.

The tale of Ruth and Boaz’s love and God’s orchestration was put to verse by John Bunyan (1628-1688), the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress and of many other poems, books and tracts.

RUTH – CHAP. IV.

And Boaz went up to the city gate,

And after a short space, while there he sate,

The kinsman of whom he had spoke, came by,

To whom he said, Ho, [‹1.6›] such a one, draw nigh,

And sit down here. He came and sat him down.

Then he took ten men, elders of the town,

And caused them to sit down. Then to the man

That was of kin, thus he his speech began,

Naomi, said he, who not long since sojourn’d

Among the Moabites, is now return’d;

And doth intend to sell a piece of ground,

The which Elimelech our brother own’d.

And now to give thee notice, I thought fit,

That if thou pleasest, thou may’st purchase it.

In presence of these men assembled here.

Then if thou wilt redeem it, now declare

Thy mind, but if thou wilt not, then let me,

For thou art next of kin, and I next thee.

Then said the kinsman, I will it redeem.

Boaz reply’d, if good to thee it seem,

To buy it of the hand of Naomi,

Thou also art obliged the same to buy

Of Ruth the Moabitess, wife o’ th’ dead;

On his inheritance to raise up seed.

The kinsman said, I cannot do this thing

Myself, lest I an inconvenience bring

Upon mine own inheritance, what’s mine

By right, therefore I now to thee resign.

Now this in Israel did a custom stand,

Concerning changing and redeeming land;

To put all controversy to an end,

A man pluck’d off his shoe, and gave his friend;

And this in Israel was an evidence,

When e’er they changed an inheritance.

Then said the kinsman unto Boaz, do

Thou take my right. And off he pluck’d his shoe.

Then Boaz to the elders thus did say

And to the people, all of you this day

Appear for me as witnesses, that I

Have bought all of the land of Naomi,

That was Elimelech’s or did belong

Either to Mahlon or to Chilion:

And Ruth the Moabitess, who some time

Was Mahlon’s wife, I’ve purchas’d to be mine,

Still to preserve alive the dead man’s name

On his inheritance, lest that the same

Should in the gate where he inhabited,

Or ‘mongst his brethren be extinguished:

Behold, this day, my witnesses you are.

Then all the people that were present there,

And elders said, We are thy witnesses:

May God this woman thou hast taken bless,

That she, like Rachel, and like Leah be,

Which two did build up Israel’s family:

And thou in Ephratah exalt thy name,

And through the town of Bethl’hem spread thy fame;

And may the seed which God shall give to thee

Of this young woman, full as prosperous be,

As was the house of Pharez heretofore,

(Pharez, whom Tamar unto Judah bore.)

So he took Ruth, and as his wife he knew her,

And God was pleased, when he went in to her

To grant the blessing of conception,

And she accordingly bare him a son.

Then said the woman, Blessed be the Lord!

Bless thou him Naomi, who doth afford

To thee this day a kinsman, which shall be

Famous in Israel; and shall be to thee

As the restorer of thy life again,

And in thy drooping age shall thee sustain:

For that thy daughter-in-law, who loves thee well

And in thy sight doth seven sons excel,

Hath born this child. Then Naomi took the boy

To nurse; and did him in her bosom lay.

Her neighbours too, gave him a name, for why,

This son, say they, is born to Naomi:

They called him Obed, from whose loins did spring

Jesse, the sire of David, Israel’s king.

Poetry: Ruth, Chapter 3

On Monday, we read chapter 1 of the Book of Ruth. The story follows the meeting of Ruth and Boaz, the great-grandparents of king David of Israel and the ancestors of Jesus Christ. In chapter 1 we read about how Ruth came to the Land of Israel while in chapter 2 we witnessed the meeting of Boaz and Ruth. The love story continues in chapter 3 as we read John Bunyan’s versification of the story of these star-crossed lovers (these terms I use quite loosely).

RUTH – CHAP. III.

Then Naomi said, Shall I not, my daughter,

Seek rest for thee, that thou do well hereafter?

And is not Boaz, with whose maids thou wast,

One of the nearest kinsmen that thou hast?

Behold, this night he in his threshing floor

Is winnowing Barley, wash thyself therefore,

Anoint thee, put thy clothes on, and get down

Unto the floor; but make not thyself known,

Till he hath eat and drank, and shall prepare

To lie him down; then take good notice where

He goes about to take his night’s repose,

And go thou in there, and lift up the clothes

From off his feet, and likewise lay thee down,

And what thou hast to do he will make known.

And she made answer, Whatsoever thou

Hast me commanded, will I gladly do.

And down unto the floor she hasted, and

Forthwith fulfilled her mother-in-law’s command.

So now when Boaz had his heart refresh’d,

With meat and drink, he laid him down to rest,

Near to the heap of corn; she softly came,

Uncover’d’s feet, and lay down by the same.

And, lo! at midnight, as he turn’d him round,

He was afraid, for at his feet he found

A woman lay. Who art thou? then said he.

I am thine handmaid Ruth, replied she,

Over thine handmaid therefore spread thy skirt,

I pray, because thou a near kinsman art.

Blessed be thou, said he, because thou hast

Made manifest more kindness at the last,

Than at the first, in that thou did’st, my daughter,

No young men, whether poor or rich, go after.

And now, my daughter, be not thou afraid,

I will do to thee all that thou hast said:

For all the city of my people knows,

Thou art a woman truly virtuous;

And now though I am kin and undoubtedly,

Yet there is one that’s nearer kin than I.

Tarry this night, and when ’tis morning light,

If he will like a kinsman, do thee right,

We’ll let him, but if not, I myself will,

As the Lord lives; till morning lie thou still.

And till the morning at his feet she lay,

And then arose about the break of day;

And he gave her a charge, not to declare

That there had any womankind been there.

He also said, bring here thy veil, and hold

To me; she did, and thereinto he told

Six measures full of barley, and did lay

It on her, and she hasted thence away.

And when unto her mother-in-law she came,

Art thou, said she, my daughter come again?

Then what the man had done she told, and said,

He these six measures full of barley laid

Upon me, for said he, This I bestow,

Lest to thy mother thou should’st empty go.

Then, said she, sit still daughter, till thou see

What the event of this intrigue will be;

For till the man this day hath made an end,

No satisfaction will on him attend.

Poetry: Ruth, Chapter 2

We’re reading John Bunyan’s versification of the Book of Ruth found in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. In chapter 1 we saw Naomi and Ruth leave Moab upon hearing that the drought in Israel ended. Naomi took Ruth, her daughter-in-law, with her to Israel after much protest on Naomi’s side. Both their husbands and Naomi’s other son died in Moab. Naomi, now called Mara due to the bitterness she experienced in life, encouraged her daughter-in-law to glean some wheat from the fields to put food on their table. And so the story continues…

In Chapter 1 we saw the The story of Ruth’s introduction into Israelite society continues.

RUTH – CHAP. II.

There was a man of kin to Naomi,

One that was of her husband’s family,

His name was Boaz, and his wealth was great.

And Ruth, the Moabitess, did intreat

Her Mother’s leave, that she might go, and gather

Some ears of corn, where she should most find favour:

Go, daughter, go, said she. She went and came

Near to the reapers, to glean after them:

And lo, it was her hap to light among

The reapers, which to Boaz did belong.

Behold, now Boaz came from Bethlehem

Unto his reapers, and saluted them,

And they bless’d him again: and he enquired

Of him that was set over them he hired,

From whence the damsel was, and was inform’d

She was the Moabitess that return’d

With Naomi: and she did ask, said he,

That here amongst the reapers she might be,

And that she might have liberty to glean

Among the sheaves. And she all day hath been,

Ev’n from the morning until now, with us,

That she hath stay’d a little in the house.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, observe, my daughter,

That thou go not from hence, or follow after

The reapers of another field, but where

My maidens are, see that thou tarry there:

Observe what field they reap, and go thou there,

Have I not charged the young men to forbear

To touch thee? And when thou dost thirst, approach

And drink of what the youths have set abroach. [‹1.4›]

Then she fell on her face, and to the ground

She bow’d herself, and said, Why have I found

Such favour in thine eyes; that thou, to me

Who am a stranger, should so courteous be?

And Boaz said, it hath been fully shewn

To me, what to thy mother-in-law thou’st done,

Since of thine husband thou hast been bereft:

How thou thy father and thy mother left,

And thine own native land; to come unto

A land which thou before didst never know:

The Lord, the God of Israel, the defence

Whom now thou’st chosen, be thy recompence.

Then said she, let me in thy sight, my lord,

Find favour in that thou dost thus afford

Me comfort, and since thou so kind to me

Dost speak, though I thereof unworthy be.

And Boaz said, at meal time come thou near,

Eat of the bread, and dip i’ th’ vinegar.

And by the reapers she sat down to meat,

He gave her parched corn, and she did eat,

And was suffic’d; and left, and rose to glean:

And Boaz gave command to the young men,

Let her come in among the sheaves, said he,

To glean, and let her not reproached be.

Let fall some handfuls also purposely,

And let her take them without injury.

So she till even glean’d , and then beat out

Her barley, being an ephah [‹1.5›] or thereabout.

She took it up, and to the city went,

And to her mother-in-law did it present:

And what she had reserv’d to her she gave,

When she had took what she design’d to have.

Then unto her, her mother-in-law did say,

In what field hast thou been to glean to-day?

And where hast thou been working? Blest be he,

That thus hath taken cognizance of thee.

She told with whom, and furthermore did say,

The man’s name’s Boaz, where I wrought to-day.

And Naomi replied, may he be blest,

Even of the Lord, whose kindness manifest

Unto the living and the dead hath been:

The man’s our kinsman, yea, the next of kin.

And Ruth, the Moabitess, said, he gave

Me likewise a commandment not to leave,

Or to depart from following his young men,

Until they had brought all his harvest in.

And Naomi said unto Ruth, my daughter,

‘Tis good that thou observe to follow after

His maidens, that they meet thee not elsewhere.

So she to Boaz’s maidens still kept near,

Till barley and wheat harvest both, she saw

Were done, and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.

Poetry: Ruth, Chapter 1

The author of this poem is John Bunyan (1628-1688), an English Protestant minister and author of The Pilgrim’s Progress. He versified the Book of Ruth in the Bible just for the fun of it. The Book of Ruth tells the story of king David’s great-grandmother who followed her mother-in-law Naomi back to the Land of Israel after the deaths of their husbands. I am tempted to summarise the story, but you will have to either read the account in the Bible or the narrative poem presented here. So, here is Chapter 1.

CHAP. I.

In ancient times, e’er Israel knew the way

Of kingly power, when judges bore the sway:

A certain man of Bethlehem Juda fled,

By reason of a famine that o’erspread

The land, into the land of Moab, where

He and his wife, and sons, sojourners were.

His name Elimelech, his eldest son

Was called Mahlon, t’other Chilion,

His wife was Naomi, Ephrathites they were:

They went to Moab and continued there:

Where of her husband Naomi was bereft,

And only she and her two sons were left:

Who took them wives of Moab in their youth.

The name of one was Orpah, t’other Ruth:

And there they died ere twice five years were gone;

And Naomi was wholly left alone.

Then she arose, and her step-daughters with her,

To leave the land of Moab altogether:

For she had heard the Lord had visited

Her native country, with increase of bread,

Wherefore the land of Moab she forsook,

And to her native place her course she took,

Her daughters with her: whom she did desire,

That to their mother’s house they would retire.

The Lord, said she, be kind to you again,

As you to me, and to the dead have been.

God grant you each may be with husbands blest,

And in the enjoyment of them both find rest,

Then she embraced them, and there withal,

Down from their cheeks, the tears began to fall.

They wept aloud, and said, Most surely we

Unto thy people will return with thee.

But Naomi replied, Wherefore will ye,

My daughters, thus resolve to go with me?

Are there yet any more sons in my womb,

That may your husbands be in time to come?

Return again, my daughters, go your way,

For I’m too old to marry: should I say

I’ve hope? Should I this night conceive a son?

Would either of you stay till he is grown?

Would you so long without an husband [‹1.3›] live?

Nay, nay, my daughters, for it doth me grieve

Exceedingly, even for your sakes, that I

Do under this so great affliction lie.

And here they wept again. And Orpah kiss’d

Her mother, But Ruth would be not dismiss’d

But clave unto her: unto whom she spake

And said, Behold, thy sister is gone back,

With her own gods, and people to abide,

Go thou along with her. But Ruth replied,

Intreat me not to leave thee, or return:

For where thou goest, I’ll go, where thou sojourn,

I’ll sojourn also. And what people’s thine,

And who thy God, the same shall both be mine.

Where thou shalt die, there will I die likewise,

And I’ll be buried where thy body lies.

The Lord do so to me, and more, if I

Do leave thee, or forsake thee till I die.

And when she saw the purpose of her heart,

She left off to desire her to depart.

So they two travelled along together

To Bethlehem, and when they were come thither,

Behold! the people were surprised, and cried,

What, is this Naomi? But she replied,

Oh! call me Mara, and not Naomi;

For I have been afflicted bitterly.

I went out from you full, but now I come,

As it hath pleased God, quite empty home:

Why then call ye me Naomi? Since I

Have been afflicted so exceedingly.

So Naomi return’d, and Ruth together,

Who had come from the land of Moab with her:

And unto Bethlem Judah did they come,

Just as the Barley Harvest was begun.

The Fight

Samson squeezing two pillars in a Philistine Temple

Samson bringing the house down

And now a story I shall write;
It shall be about a fight:
In Israel a man there was
With arms of steel, heart of brass
Battle-hardened stripes had he
Many sprung from trickery.
Hair as long as he was tall,
His weapon once a donkey’s jaw.
What fame he held
As he Philistines felled;
In vengeance and passion
They died in like fashion.
That is, until a woman he met.
To win her love he made a misstep,
Confiding in her where lies his strength.
So her people him to naught did rend;
For she shaved his locks of dread
And he to the Philistines was fed.
The Spirit of God from him departed
Until his faith anew was started.
His gauged out eyes deterred him not
As a servant boy led him to a spot
Between two columns he rested his arms
He prayed, the Philistines stayed unalarmed,
Then he squeezed the two columns
Turning a jovial moment solemn.
Thus, in the end, he won the fight
A man’s strength lies not in his might,
Neither in his passion nor in fashion
But being the Lord’s dearest possession.

Book Review – Prophet: a novel by Frank E. Peretti

Prophet by Frank E. Peretti

Prophet: a novel

Imagine having your world shaken to the point where you don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. Imagine having to choose the wrong just so that you don’t have to acknowledge your mistake. Imagine having to control co-workers and the stories they pursue just so that your conscience can remain violated and your secret remain undiscovered. For some people, like Tina Lewis, this is reality although they would never admit this little fact to themselves—let alone to others.

Tina Lewis, a character in Frank E. Peretti’s Prophet, is a content manager at NewsSix, the news department of Channel 6. Falling in league with the devil, she tries to suppress a story that would weaken Governor Hiram Slater’s chances of re-election. But John Barrett Jr. is determined to have the truth come out. John Barrett lost his religious kook of a father in the fight for the truth and would lose his estranged son if he did not take a stand and see the Truth prevail. In the process he sees through Tina hearing her cries and those of the City, shares his deceased father’s pain, reconciles with God, accepts his destiny and sees justice served at a cost to the chagrin of Tina Lewis and associates.

Never before have I encountered a story that is so real and has such depth. Although Peretti doesn’t delve deep into a character’s history as Lionel Trilling in The Middle of the Journey or Netta Musket in A Daughter for Julia, he does an excellent job at characterisation, communicating the characters’ backstories and their growth on the various issues explored in the novel. One of those issues being abortion as well as the privacy laws that allow minors to have abortions without parental consent or knowledge and the malpractice the secrecy engenders.

Peretti goes into a lot of detail sometimes repeating scenes and cues in the newsroom that the reader was already familiar with. Peretti spent a great amount of time describing the layout of the room and how the other reporters in the room were editing their news packages before John Barrett entered the room to edit the story he was working on. That said, he described the workings of a news room set in 1991 very well. If you did know how news gathering, sifting and broadcasting worked, you’ll have a better idea after reading this book.

His details made the story real to me. The main characters were well-crafted, the plot gripping, the gospel presentation well done, and most definitely thought provoking. One thing he set out to achieve was to have his readers consider where they stand on the issues of abortion, human rights, their relationship with Jesus, and the masks they wear. The supernatural dimension of the book was a bonus and quite refreshing for someone drawn to the supernatural and well-versed in science fiction and fantasy. Peretti also made use of different points of view not restricting himself to only telling the story from John Barretts’ perspective. At critical moments he switches views or uses John’s prophetic gift to give the reader insight into the reactions or motivations of the characters involved in a particular scene.

Prophet is 575 pages long (excluding the front and back matter) and could most probably have been cut by 10 to 15 pages due to the amount of detail. The book was published in 1992 by Living Books, a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

If you are into the fantasy, science fiction, or religious fiction, get your hands on a copy of this book. Peretti presents both sides of the abortion issue and some insight into the influence the media has on our behaviour and the choices we make. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in learning more. And if you just want to take a break from your regular diet of (genre) fiction, read Prophet. It will make you think.

Dictates of Society

I overheard an interesting conversation yesterday between two friends, one of whom is a foreigner. They spoke about people conforming to cultural norms and how young people in the town I was in conformed to the dictates of fashion. As soon as a new style is revealed men and women adopt it. The foreigner used the gyms where she works as a gym instructor as examples.

The foreigner went on to encourage her friend to not conform to his culture. She said that people here conform so much that even when they don’t conform to the cultural trend, they conform to the counter-cultural one. As a non-conformist in her home country people don’t understand her anymore. She has become so different from them. With time she became confident in who she was, her limitations and her excellencies. Her friend, she confirmed, had done so too.

What I found interesting is that whether we conform to society, cultural norms or the dictates of fashion, or not, we will always conform to something. Even the non-conformists conform to an ideal. With humans there will always be an ideal. Those who don’t claim to cling to any ideal are holding on to that ideal. There will always be some standard we or others have set. Non-conformists in essence merely rebel against the standards of others while choosing to set their own. In so doing, sometimes unknowingly, they live up to the non-conformist ideology–a standard others have set.

In Romans 12:2, Paul encourages the recipients of his letter who were living in Rome at the time, as well as Christendom at large, to not conform to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. He calls Christians, or followers of the Way as they were also called at that time, to not submit to cultural norms and practices as far as they are outside the will of God, but to be transformed from the inside out into something wholly other than the humanity they knew. God was calling His people higher. But this transformation process or metamorphosis entails conforming to the standards of heaven, the everlasting principles of the Kingdom of God which basically is “faith that works by love” The Ministry of Healing, 1905, p. 169.

So, the point is that no matter what we say or do, we will always conform to some standard, decree, rule, norm, ideal, pattern or principle. There is no way of escape. It is a fundamental part of life.

Winds of Change: 316-296 days to go Part 2

This post is a continuation of the previous one and mainly deals with my relationship with my professor and struggle for freedom.

On Thursday, 29 May (313 DTG), I got a panic attack during a conversation I had with my professor. I was completely unprepared for the conversation although I knew it was coming. He had asked me to analyse data in a certain way and perform some experiments. I was still in the process of figuring out how I would go about carrying out his requests and also troubleshooting what I already did. He backed me into a corner. I lied instinctively. I confessed the truth immediately. And panicked. I don’t know to what degree my face contorted as my heart began to race, my breathing became shallow and my mind froze. It was the most horrible and the most humiliating experience ever. I said a quick prayer and God helped me gain control. It wasn’t a full blown panic attack, but it came pretty close in my books. Ever since then I am going about systematically to meet his requests.

It couldn’t have been any clearer how addicted to approval I am. Two fellow students I related the incident to said that they overcame their fear of authority figures by relating to them on other stuff and just realising that they are human. My accountability partner said that Joyce Meyer’s Approval Addiction is a good book. His mother-in-law struggled with approval addiction until God freed her from it. Joyce Meyer’s book was instrumental.

I see the danger of it, but I will share my thoughts on approval addiction in a Ramble which I’ll write once I worked through the book. Maybe the Ramble post will be in the format of a personal essay? We’ll see.

Another realisation I came to during these past three weeks is that I’m stuck in a cycle—a Cycle of Interest. In this cycle I move from reading about writing to nudity & nudism to sculpture to skimpy underwear. This Cycle of Interest is the source of the frustration I described earlier because my life, my interests consist of more than these four subjects.But I guess that because I don’t have the economic strength at this moment I cannot realise the goals connected to those interests.

This Cycle of Interest is another reason why I adopted the I-just-want-to-get-it-over-and-done-with mindset based on the belief that if I give my interests in skimpy underwear and in photographs of nude activities I would like to do one day the attention they want, they will die out eventually. I mean there are only so many things I would like to do nude. So, when I get the photos I want I will have no excuse to look for more photos of those activities. The photos in my Flickr account also serve as a reminder of what I’d like to do one day. So, by having them in my collection I don’t have to actively remember that I want to skinny dip with friends (in a particular place); run in a field of wild flowers; sunbathe on the deck of a yacht; wake up and stand by french doors as morning sunlight enters the room and warms my body as I look out over an open field without any fear of being seen, breaking the law or the gender body taboo; or hike nude in the mountains with some friends.

So that’s where I am in life at this moment.

May it go well with you until next time!

E

Winds of Change: 323-317 days to go

Today I have 316 days to go (DTG) for a year of abstinence from pornography. I am also 16 days away from celebrating my second year of abstinence from masturbation! The post that follows was written yesterday to summarise the whole of last week. In it I discuss my thesis, nudity & nudism and some other things.

Please remember to take part in the poll. There is only one week left and so far only four people responded.

I’m sorry that it has come to this, but my time is not my own anymore. I’ve been working late this whole week and have been too tired to write every night. So from now on, until my situation changes, I will post once a week.

Changing approach

I realised today (318 days to go (DTG)) that the reason I struggled with writing my literature review is because I’m trying to make my ideas fit into a mould that is foreign to me. It’s not my style. Let me explain. My research is based on previous student’s PhD and MSc theses who wrote his literature review in a certain way. I’ve been trying to copy that format with great difficulty because my writing style leans more toward narrative writing. He described the biological big picture of his PhD thesis and then the individual elements he studied followed by the theoretical framework he applied. But, my natural inclination is to describe the individual elements as I encounter them during my description of the big picture—as you would do when relating a story. When introducing a new character in a story, the story teller usually gives a brief description of the character as well as some background information. That’s how my articles were written during my internship.

So, tomorrow I will go to my co-promoter and ask her opinion. But, my literature review has been a laborious exercise up to now. And I usually like reading and writing review articles.

My experiments went well last week. We have to repeat one of them though. During a meeting I had with my promoter (a.k.a. my professor) on Friday (319 days to go) I saw while we were going over the results that he was giving me advice on how to write up that experiment in my results chapter. I don’t know why it didn’t register before. I was most probably trying very hard to decode what he had asked me to do in terms of future experiments.

During Friday’s meeting, he asked me to do a calculation but my mind went completely blank. I really struggled to do it. I didn’t expect him to ask me to calculate something—a very simple thing, I might add—on the spot! Nada. Nought. Zilch. Nil. Absolutely nothing went through my mind. I did try to answer the question though but my answers were all wrong! Surprisingly I didn’t feel like a failure.

Fatal attraction to complexity?

During this week I discovered that I am drawn to complexity. Nudism offers a lot of complexity because it and the nudity it celebrates affects a person and society on so many levels. Some keywords associated with the philosophy are freedom, health, sun, surf, acceptance, confidence, body image, non-sexual, sexual, perversion, moral, amoral, immoral, choice, judgment, legal, and self-control, to name just a few. As you can see from this list, nudity engages us in the religious, moral, legal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, health, and political spheres all at the same time. Which sphere is more affected depends on the situation in one finds oneself and the values with which you judge nudity. As I have said many times before, even ad nauseaum, I am not a propounder of social nudism because it breaks the gender segregation taboo which I believe is a moral principle. And even if the gender segregation taboo is not a moral principle, I cannot in good conscience break the taboo while I retain membership in a church that upholds it. It would be hypocritical of me. And I am not a hypocrite.

You can see how easily a discussion on nudity and nudism can let me go on a tangent. So, what I wanted to say is nudity and nudism are complex topics which my mind is drawn to in order to figure them out. I am inclined to dissect the issues they create and those that created them in all the spheres of life. This would ultimately make me an expert in nudity and would lead me in the direction of gender studies which I also interests me. I just decided to stop gathering information. I have other complex things that need my attention.

So, after I decided to quit studying nudism and the body taboo, I read some more articles on it. I also contacted nudist organisations in my area to ask if they know of any places remote, unofficial, nudist-friendly places where I can skinny dip and sunbathe nude without having to worry about shocking people and embarrassing moments. I am still waiting to hear from them. I also contacted places I would like to vacation at in the near future to hear whether the owners or managers are okay with nude sunbathing and swimming. The owners did not have a problem.

I felt uncomfortable contacting owners of holiday accommodation asking them whether it’s all right to sunbathe, swim and lounge around nude. I didn’t want them to think that I was a nudist. And I worried how it would impact my witness for Christ. So, I just decided that I wouldn’t ask owners about this anymore. It gives the wrong impression. I asked the owners if they permit these activities because one nudist on an online forum had said that it’s a good idea to call the management of your remote, unofficial nudist-friendly accommodation and alert them to your intention of being naked during your stay there. I’m not a nudist, won’t be naked all the time and don’t want to give the wrong impression so I won’t be contacting any more owners or managers.

Library expansion kit

On my way home from school on Friday, I picked up three books at a discount store for US$1.00 each. One book is Simon Cowell’s autobiography while the other two are novels: a literary fiction novel of a Muslim guy and a story about a man who runs away when disaster strikes or when he messes up. Today (317 DTG) my uncle lent me John Grisham’s The Innocent Man which is based on a true story. I have to finish Jack J. Blanco’s Witness: A fresh look at the New Testament church and its book review as soon as possible.

One step closer

Today (317 DTG) I also bought steel wire for my future sculpting endeavours. All I need to buy now are calipers, wooden planks, clay, foil and masking tape. I’m pretty excited. I will tell my parents about my desire to sculpt when I go to buy the planks. Clay will be the last thing I will buy.

In summary

Not much happened between Monday (323 DTG) and Thursday (320 DTG) except for me analysing data, preparing a report for the meeting with my professor and figuring out things related to nudism, as already discussed.

I had a wet dream yesterday morning (318 DTG).