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.

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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.

Winds of Change: Days 150-151

A double post. I’ve been working on a report for the youth ministry I’m involved with. It was due today. A copy was submitted but my team mates want me to make a couple of changes. I will work on that tomorrow and resubmit the document.

Drawing from history


I’ve finally taken the plunge and bought An Idiot’s Guide to Drawing. And I saw what an idiot I really am. All these years I believed drawing to be difficult. But, it’s not. Drawing requires a lot of hard work and you have to learn quite a couple of techniques but with a book to help idiots like me, it’s not difficult.

I always believed myself to an artist. How vividly I remember the joy I felt whenever I took a snapshot of something or someone, the passion with which I drew cartoon characters, the abstract doodles I drew in my books, the rush I got from attempts at origami, and the enthusiasm and love I poured into the cards I made. I simply love creating.

But, my visions of drawing well took a huge knock in my 8th grade art class. Our assignment was to draw a flower, I think. I chose to draw a lily. We had an indoor lily plant. I put great care into the image and took my time to shade it just right. You can imagine with what pride I presented my masterpiece. And you can imagine how my heart sank when I received it back crossed out with a red pen. My heart plummeted to the heart of the earth when I read “Do not smudge!” In the top left corner. That was a turning point in my art career. I stopped enjoying art class from that moment on. Sure I had fun with the other projects we did, but my dreams lost their lustre.

And yet the impulse to create was always there. The creativity shifted gears and became more cognitive in nature. It took the form of story telling. Creative writing essays and music (although I never had much talent for it) became my avenues of expression. I sucked at argumentative and reflection essays, but loved narrative essays. I feared descriptive essays, because I didn’t trust myself to describe something well. The exams always saw me score high marks in narrative writing as I poured my heart and soul into my masterpieces. Yet the desire to draw well was always there.

It wasn’t until I began to abstain from pornography and masturbation in the latter half of 2012 that I decided that I would learn to draw well one day. A friend of mine came to visit the lab. She was an undergraduate student who had Asperger’s Syndrome and suffered from depression. But, she was super intelligent as was her brother, whom I never met. She saw my doodles in the lab book and said that I had some artistic talent. (I always shaped and coloured arrows in.) She re-established my confidence by telling me that I just have to learn how to draw.

When I decided to add sculpture to my arsenal of modes of expression, I read from various sources that it’s important to draw your sculptures beforehand. The drawings act as a road map, a guide, a plan.

It became apparent when I created an organisation chart for the report I submitted today. Even though I knew what I wanted the layout of the chart to be like, I just couldn’t seem to get it that way. So, I had to put pen to paper which made it easier. This convinced me to buy An Idiot’s Guide to Drawing this evening. And I don’t regret the expense one bit!

The book contains 50 lessons on ranging from very easy to extremely difficult (or advanced). Yet the book is organised in such a way that they take you step by step through the process teaching you various kinds of shading techniques. They also instruct you on how to hold your pencil, what the best pencil types are, how your home studio should be, the right kind of paper to use, etc.

My 8th grade art teacher should’ve been more compassionate and taught me the things I did not know. Had she taken the time, my confidence in myself would not have been shaken so much. But it isn’t her fault entirely that I lacked confidence. Yet my belief in my artistic abilities would’ve been that much stronger.

Once I have all my wax sculpting supplies, I will buy my drawing supplies.

Art is important to me because it not only captures a moment in time, but it communicates messages. I see it as a means of self-expression and as a means to communicate my beliefs and direct people to my God. The thought and the process of art creation soothes my troubled soul and places me in connection with my Saviour. He is an artist Himself; in fact, He is the Master Artist.

Plus I’m happy whenever I create something which is both beautiful and useful. Everything I create must serve a good purpose because the Master Artist always creates things with a definite purpose.

Happy creating, fellow artists/bloggers!

Discussion Question Some people believe, including me, that if you are an good visual artist, you can switch your medium and still be great in that medium?

Winds of Change: Workbook Assignment for Chapeter 8

I am currently working my way through Restoring Your Sexuality Back to Biblical Foundations which has assignments at the end of each chapter. This post is in answer to the assignment at the end of chapter 8 which is long overdue. But God knows why I postponed publishing until today. The answer to question 3 is different from the one I wrote originally because I got clarity on an issue which I’ve been trying to come to terms with for a long time.

Feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post.

1. Ask God to show you some of your triggers. Write them down.
Lust, “horniness”, boredom, fatigue, procrastination, stress, anxiety, loneliness, desire for stimulation or to be energised, anger, frustration, sadness, despair, and curiousity. Phrases, keywords, scenarios and question that randomly–sometimes not so randomly–pop into my head.

2. Next write down some of the behaviours that you identified with as you read this chapter.
Selfishness, frustration

3. Ask the Lord to show you the roots to these behaviors. [For e]xample[,] the root to my frustration is that when I was growing up my dad would abuse my mom, I felt helpless and frustrated. . . .
For this we will delve into my childhood.

Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money. My dad worked for the government while my mom stayed at home to look after my sister and I. Before she became a stay at home mom, she worked as a receptionist for a doctor in the area.

I never saw myself as nerdy back then. I liked playing outside with my toys, gardening, and reading. I liked video games too. Now we didn’t have a lot of money during my formative and post-formative years so I pretty much appreciated my toys. My (“wealthier”) cousins did not. Whenever they played with them one or two would either disappear or be broken. When I used to visit them and play in their rooms, they would always tease me and leave me either crying or having to defend myself against them. I’m not the athletic type, one was athletic and the other practised karate so you can imagine my predicament. The karate kid’s sister also joined in the fun when I visited their house.

It got so bad that I just decided that I didn’t need them in my life anymore. They were from my mom’s side. There was one cousin from my dad’s side who also used to fight with me but him I could handle.

I didn’t like my mother back then because she never defended me. What mother calls the children who make sport of her son her son or daughter then proceeds to kiss and hug them? How is her real son supposed to feel? My mom’s family is big so you can imagine how often I used to hear that! When I entered the 3rd grade, I began questioning whether I was good enough to be her son. It angered me.

My dad was distant. I helped him around the yard and stuff in my pre-pubescent days and adolescence but their was a rift. My mom wanted to shield me so much that many a time when my dad needed my help in the yard she would interfere and make me stay inside. Looking back now I think she tried to make up for the abuse I suffered at the hands of my cousins. I had cut them off and immersed myself in a world of hot babes, hot sex, and rock hard masturbation sessions by that time. After being introduced to them in the 4th grade, I escaped to my paradise of lust whenever I could get a chance.

But this entry is not about my adventures in the world of pornography, it’s about explaining the origins of my triggers. I actually forgot about her role in my ill-treatment until she reminded me this afternoon.

Anyway, I experienced the unfairness of life at a very young age. And although I suffered no sexual abuse, I felt rejected by parents, as if I wasn’t good enough to be their son, that other kids had something I didn’t have.

My mom decided to stay home and raise my sister and I after seeing me stand outside my nanny’s house one afternoon when they came to pick us up. The other children had teased me. It wasn’t the first time they did that. But it was certainly the last. So my mom stayed at home for the next four or five years at which point she relaunched her career as a receptionist. My cousins still teased me and later excluded me though while she still called them her children.

The reason why my mom did not defend me was because there was a whole backdrop of family politics that I was unaware of. My dad put things into perspective for me this afternoon while we sat in my aunt’s kitchen. She and my mom reminisced about the ill-treatment they suffered at the hands of certain family members because they were not as economically strong as the others. I’m not going to go into all of that.

I know that I make it seem as if I was a victim and I am to a certain degree, but I also had a role to play in all of this which escapes me.

So the events I just described are the source of my need for intimacy, the desire to be myself with others not having to put on a mask, anger at the injustices of life, frustration with my inability to change things and loneliness. The fatigue originated from over-masturbating and over-reading. I’m a curious person by nature but my curiousity was perverted by my interest in pornography and masturbation. My boredom was simply a combination of desiring a neurochemical hit from porn or masturbation and procrastination.

My parents also raised me not to trust people not even church pastors. So when I was ready to seek help in my teens for my addictions, there was no one I could really turn to. This fed my loneliness and perfectionism.

You see, one of my main reasons for falling into the porn trap was the idea that I needed to be prepared with sexual knowledge before I get married. I thought that I needed to know where and how to touch my wife to satisfy her sexually, to have an arsenal of sexual positions ready for her pleasure and mine, to know what pleases me. I bought into the lie that my penis had to be longer to reach her g-spot so that she would not seek out another man or, God forbid, an animal. I bought into the lie that you needed to experience sex mentally, physically or both prior to marriage to gain experience and be an awesome lover.

But, I learned that it just ruins your life, your love, and your spirituality. Sex and sexual health topics becomes your god and you look out for no one but yourself. Your lover becomes a tool to satisfy your (dare I say, perverted?) desires which cheapens any bond that might’ve existed between the two of you. And even though I have never been romantically involved with anyone before, I have seen the above scenario play out many times in my family to know that that is not the way God wants us to live.

Winds of Change: Days 59 and 60

This entry is for Days 59 and 60. Today is Day 61.

Please note: This entry contains mature subject matter towards the end.

Poetry Contest

I entered the wepoetsshowit.com Poetry Contest, but didn’t make the final cut. I am a little sad about it (who wouldn’t be) but realise that there’s next month too.

Sauna Studies

Prior to knowing who the Poetry Contest finalists were, my focus had already started to shift from poetry to saunas. This shift in study material isn’t a new thing. I seem to study a different topic or aspect of a subject every week. Nudity fascinates me. At first it was the bad kind of nudity (pornographic/erotic); now it’s  the “good” kind nudity (non-sexual, practical). However, my interest in saunas transcends nudity. It’s about the etiquette, history, cultural connotations, methodologies, taboos, and identities that are shaped by and involve saunas.

I love learning about people: their histories, languages, customs, protocols, etiquettes and taboos. In the past, I read up on the Celts mainly because I have some Celtic ancestors; the history of the British Isles for the same reason; the Germanic tribes because they were instrumental in the fall of the Roman Empire; the Crusades and Medieval Europe because they shaped the world we live in today; the slave trade for the same reasons; and Biblical, classical and ancient history–to name a few.

Doing it anyway

Tonight I read halfway through an article for my literature review because I’m doing what it takes to finish. I didn’t feel like reading the paper at all. But, I started and ended up reading further than what I intended. I will most probably wake up at 3:45 am in the morning again to continue reading the paper and editing my data. My plan is to gradually lessen my sleeping time.

Addiction Focus

My church’s officer selecting committee asked me to be next year’s youth leader, but I declined. I am not ready to assume such a position until I’ve got this thing (pornography) beaten. It won’t be fair to the youth and will only be hypocritical of me. Plus I have to finish my studies.

Frank (my accountability partner) and I spoke on Monday. He doesn’t think that I had a relapse since I didn’t ogle the guy. I, on the other hand, believe that I did because I acted presumptuously by placing myself in a position where the probability of seeing some flesh was high. Even though I wanted to, but didn’t want to receive a neurochemical hit, the fact is I got one.

Porn addiction isn’t like being addicted to masturbation where you can distance yourself from the behaviour. Masturbation is a physical thing that requires manual stimulation of some kind; although you can orgasm just from watching porn with no manual whatsoever but that requires a conscious decision not to stimulate yourself manually and only to rely on mental stimulation, to give yourself over to porn completely losing all sense of self-control. Pornography is more psychological. A mere sexual thought is, according to the strictest set of criteria, a trigger and forgetting yourself in the thought, a relapse. One’s mind plays tricks on you revealing the truthfulness of Jeremiah 17:9. So, having an accountability partner, talking openly and freely about the addiction, and seeking to know God are of the utmost importance if one wants to be free.

I asked Frank about “justifications” and “motives” because he said that I justified my investigations by saying that I wanted to know the truth about wearing skimpy underwear. But, he couldn’t answer me. He said that it’s an individual thing. God has given each one of us a sense of right and wrong. In the innermost reaches of our hearts we know what we’re really about and that we should seek to know the Still Small Voice (of God). In time he said I will begin to distinguish my thoughts from the addiction’s and to recognise God’s thoughts. It’s almost like OCD.

Something weird

I’ve been waking up a lot at night to find myself clutching or repositioning my penis or scrotum–never both. Sometimes I find myself masturbating in my sleep too, but I stop when I realise what I’m doing. What troubles me though is that I’m not horrified when I find myself masturbating in my sleep or “sleep jerking” as some people call it. I used to be horrified. Now I fear that . . . No. I won’t let even entertain the thought. So, the amount of sleep I’ve been getting is even less than expected.

Poetry

I would like to write another poem. Although I tried writing an acrostic poem on character I didn’t get very far and it was no good. Oh well, c’est la vie!

Winds of Change: Opening Old Wounds

This is the entry for Day 31 of my journey. Please be warned that I am brutally honest in this post as we examine a subject that perplexes me to no end and that the material is mature in nature.

Yesterday I wrote about the compulsion I experienced on Sunday morning to expose myself to a drunken man while looking out of my apartment window. I resisted the thought and moved away from the window. In that post I said that I am no exhibitionist. Well, I spoke to Frank, my accountability partner, and he encouraged me to bring the matter before God and to ask why I have this urge. This is what I’ve been doing ever since—I got very little sleep last night as a result. Frank also encouraged me to practice theophostical prayer, but after doing some research I do not think I will do so. I have my reservations about it.

That said, I will now tell you my story.

A classmate exposed me to pornography and masturbation at the age of 9. We were in the 4th grade at that time. In that same year I started drawing pictures of girls with holes in their dresses which their privates on display. These things I drew in class. Soon I was filled the desire to let other people see me naked. Once I almost gave in to the thought of exposing my genitals through my parents’ bedroom window to our neighbours across the street in broad daylight. Thank God I didn’t do it.

Throughout my primary and high school years I imagined walking to the train station from school with my genitals hanging out through my pants’ zip, but I never acted on this.

I got involved with nudism last year, which basically amounted to me walking around naked in the apartment when no one was at home and reading people’s stories online as well as taking part in a couple of fora and browsing pictures online. Earlier this year I went on my first and only nude hike, influenced by all the reading I did. It was awesome and distressing at the same time as I didn’t know why I wanted to go on the hike. Along the way I came across a cyclist. At first I didn’t know what to do: should I put on some clothes or should I just continue walking? I did the latter because that is what my “heroes” did. I don’t see this incident as an exhibitionistic act as I had no intention of exposing myself to anyone—in fact the time of day was such that I didn’t expect to find anyone on the trial. I was only acting out a nudist fantasy of mine. But, the drawings I did in school and the desire I had of exposing myself are exhibitionistic and a form of acting out the porn I filled my mind with.

Last year from March to October I took to hiking nearby trails with my genitals hanging out of my pants covered by a jacket. When no one was around I would unzip the jacket but whenever I sensed people around I covered up. I did this on dark streets as well. But, I would never intentionally nor “unintentionally” expose myself to anyone because it’s just wrong. These acts were done under a compulsion.

When these exhibitionistic thoughts (of walking in public with my genitals exposed) became very disturbing (almost taking over my thought life), I went to see a psychologist for help. That was from March to June last year. Instead of helping me with the problem she tried to exacerbate it. We spoke about my porn addition and masturbation addiction. She wanted me to release the beast, to give in to the urges to look at porn, masturbate and walk with my genitals exposed. She did, however, sense a disconnection therefore she encouraged me to hike without my shoes, to lie on the ground and connect with the earth.

Usually when exhibitionists expose themselves, they do it to get a certain reaction out of their victims. Some look for shock, others admiration while a minority desire a reciprocal (sexual) response from their victims. I had no such desire with the “walking fantasy”. In these fantasies the behaviour is acceptable. However, the only time I desire a reaction is when I wonder whether people can see me from the street when I stand at my window in the middle of the night.

So, when I asked God what the root cause of my exhibitionistic desires is the word intimacy flashed in front of my eyes. Now there are confusing reports about the cause of exhibitionism. Some experts say that it’s a power thing, much like rape, while others say it’s a sexual thing. Exhibitionists tend to masturbate to their fantasies or to the memory of the incidents. Some even masturbate during the exposure. So, there is an element of sexuality there. Some exhibitionists have erections but most don’t.

At first I thought that I was driven by power, but now I’m not so sure. I believe that these exhibitionistic thoughts and acts of mine are driven by a need to connect with others and with God. I do sense an element of lust in it as well since the urges, thoughts and acts have their root in the porn I consumed in my teenage years.

I would like to make an important distinction here between nudism’s exposure and that of an exhibitionist. Andrew Toth, the author of The Exhibitionist, defines exhibitionism as:
“a predetermined act whereby the exhibitionist singles out a person (predominantly female) or a group of people, and sets up a situation whereby he exposes himself to them, and only to them, in order to elicit a reaction.”

He explains the difference as follows:

“The complexity of this apparently simple act was well illustrated to me when I visited a nudist beach in Sydney one Sunday afternoon. I sat atop a rock, gazed out at the wall-to-wall genitalia and I knew it wasn’t exhibitionism. About an hour later I saw a male, beef bayonet erect, strutting his stuff along the water’s edge. That wasn’t exhibitionism either.

“A short while later I noticed a young man, in his late twenties, I’d guess, casting furtive glances in the direction of two females sitting nearby. I recognised the signals immediately and looked more closely. He was sitting side-on to the girls, knees drawn up close to his chest so that his penis was hidden between his chest and his thighs, but visible to the girls. As I happened to be sitting quite close by, I caught a partial view of this sizable erection; the girls, mid-twenties I’d say, were getting the full view; they started to giggle. That’s exhibitionism!”

(I came across that post last night as I searched for answers on the internet. Andrew Toth published the post on an exhibitionism website. I don’t feel comfortable sharing the link because it has links to porn sites. I didn’t see any porn.)

I agree with the definition and illustration because I see it play out in my own life.

Frank, my accountability partner, also asked me to find out what my triggers for these thoughts and behaviours are. They are mainly driven by stress, frustration with the way things are—my situation, and lust. Them being driven by frustration about situations explains why the thoughts took over my life last year. The more I entertained the thoughts, the more frustrated I became and the more prone I became to those thoughts.

I am not proud of this side of me. It repulses me. But, I can only thank God for keeping me from exposing myself to people. David in Psalm 115:4-8 ESVUK says: “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” And that is what has happened to me. The porn stars were my gods and I became just like them. They are exhibitionists. And in my heart I became one too.

*******
As a final word and to show how much this subject distresses me, I should say that in addition to losing quite a large amount of sleep over this last night, I also woke up twice to find myself masturbating. I stopped as soon as I understood what I was doing.

Winds of Change: Damaged Goods

In this post I am very explicit as I bare my soul. The post deals with sexual damage so I will be adding to the sexual imprinting list as found in Winds of Change: Day 06. You are advised not to read this post if you don’t want to know this side of me which I am VERY ashamed of, by the way.

On Friday, I printed chapters 3-7 of the sexuality restoration book my accountability partner gave me. I read through chapter 3, entitled “Sexual Damage” and did the assignment.

Sexual damage

Sexual damage follows improper imprinting and perpetuates more damage and wrong sexual imprinting. Where sexual imprinting is the act of recording a sexually stimulating activity, sexual damage is the result.

Damaging others

In addition to the list of firsts in Winds of Change: Day06 , I was sexually imprinted and damaged when my male cousin (same age as me) and I had anal sex and “sword fights” and what not. I damaged him by exposing him to porn in 4th grade and he later damaged me by exposing me to gay stuff and skinny dipping (in a sexual context). My sexual relationship with my cousin lasted till we were in the 7th grade. I only taught him to masturbate when we were in the 5th or 6th grade, once I stated to ejaculate. I’m not proud of all of this and am not looking forward to telling my future girlfriend or fianceé about this in the future. I’m single, by the way.

Sexual damage also occurred when my sister witnessed one of our “sword fights” and wanted to participate. I didn’t want her to be involved so I gave her something “harmless” to do. This only happened once and I didn’t rape/molest my sister nor have an incestuous relationship with her neither did I consider having one with her–just so that we’re clear. Incestuous relationships disgust me even more than masturbation does.

I also damaged our cousin’s cousin when I exposed him to porn.

Anger toward sex

The book also talks about the loss of innocence causing anger to sex. I also experienced this. One day when I was 13 years old, I took a scissors and cut off all the pubic hair that I had at that time in anger. They were the cause of my insatiable sexual appetite, I thought. I wanted to regain my innocence.

Body image issues

As a result of masturbation and pornography, I developed body image issues. I had acne on my back while growing up. In my ignorance, I let my mom pinch out the whiteheads or zits or yellow pimples which left me with dark spots. I also did it when I was alone and ran my hands over my back. And I was scrawny. This is very graphic and personal, please skip:My penis curves to the left and points up. It is also thick. So, naturally I wondered whether I would measure up, whether I would be able to satisfy my wife and not hurt her, whether I would make her so satisfied that she wouldn’t want to leave me, whether I would be able to reach her G-spot and cause her to have the greatest orgasms ever, etc. End of graphic and personal description. I also wondered whether I had HIV due to my earlier sexual activity with my cousin because my penis was thicker than what it was and I lost a lot of weight. I hated my face.

In good humour

The chapter also lists the telling of jokes about sexual issues as a cause of sexual damage. My maternal extended family does this a lot. But, it’s also a form of sex ed in our nuclear family as these jokes give rise to questions which my parents answer.

Hearing parents

Another cause of sexual damage is children hearing their parents have sex. I walked in on them once– as described in Winds of Change: Day 06–and heard them have sex once, i.e. I heard the bed creaking rhythmically late at night. As an adult I did hear our two neighbours (both men) having sex in the flat next door. The one partner bleated like a donkey. He was very loud and actually rose me from my sleep.

Rejected

My cousins who were my age on my mom’s side of the family teased me a lot. They were wealthier than what we were and always used to play with my toys. For some reason my toys always ended up broken. So, I just cut myself off from them. I was still friendly with each other but I had nothing to say to them. I was rejected for wha reasons I don’t know. But, I always lived with the hope that they will accept me for who I am.

Exhibitionism

I would like to talk about my exhibitionistic thoughts. I just realised the following now. There was a time since my exposure to porn that I drew female stick figures with a hole in the front of their skirts and dresses that revealed their genitals (mostly pubic hair). I used to draw it secretly in class. I stopped drawing these pictures for some reason. The desire for such exposure I later adopted in high school when things really came to head and my identity crisis was in full swing. I would imagine walking home from school with my genitals hanging out through the zip of my pants. It wasn’t to shock anymore but rather to say “I am here.” This I realised last year. Like I said, I did walk around like that in public, but never exposed myself to anyone.

This need for recognition and intimacy with others fed my desire to be naked around others in socially acceptable settings. Since watching Oprah’s interview with Matthew Fox, who played Charlie Salinger in Party of Five, and hearing him say that the best part of life for him was to chill in a hot tub or in the sea with naked with his friends, I had the desire to have that kind of closeness and acceptance with my friends. And that is why I was conceptually drawn to nudism.

This is where I’m supposed to delve into my experiences and share with you the analysis I did. But, this post is so long already and you have stuff to do. My next post might not be a continuation of this but I will most probably return to this topic in the near future.

One last thing

I dread having to share all of this with my girlfriend or fiancée and risk being rejected. I am not ashamed of what I did and thought especially the damage I did to others. I told my dad about my sexual relationship with my cousin and he was cool about it. This happened in the 10th grade. He said that God forgives. And I believe that. But, I still have to be honest with the woman I will marry before we get married. She has the right to know where I have been and how the Lord has led me. She has to know what she’s buying into. This makes me wonder if I will ever get married. I mean no woman would want, respect and love a man like me. So, yeah, let me stop here. That’s a post for another day. 🙂

Thanks for reading.