Pensées on Prostitution

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Photo: Getty Images

In a recent article, an esteemed friend (Julia Beazley) wrote about the current problem we have when dealing with the issue of legalizing prostitution. In her article,  she reminds us not to ignore the real issue on prostitution. A lot of the argument about legalizing prostitution revolves around the intended “safety” that legalizing prostitution would bring to those who practice this particular “profession”. By legalizing it, we can then enforce laws that could potentially create a safer environment for women who have “chosen” to be in this field of work. Beazley reminds us that

The violence is rooted in the underlying view among the people, mostly men, that purchase them that women in prostitution are somehow fundamentally different from their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives and daughters. This misperception justifies treatment of women as objects to be bought and sold. The very existence of prostitution requires a subclass of people who are available to be bought, sold and rented; people understood to be somehow just a little less equal than everyone else.

I know a lot of fathers who will move heaven and earth for their daughters. The moment their daughter’s little fingers wrap around theirs, even the most manliest man can be reduced to tears. They dream of a bright and lovely future for their daughter. Maybe she will become a doctor or a lawyer (especially if her parents happen to be Asians hahaha), a writer, a ballerina, a teacher, or even become the prime minister (or the president if you’re not in Canada)! I haven’t met a lot of normal fathers who ever dreamt a future of prostitution for their little girl. Probably because that would be incredibly sick and disturbing if they actually did! I would like to think that as a society, we can agree that wanting your daughter to be a prostitute when she grows up is wrong.

While I recognize that lots of things happen when a child grows up, I hope that our general views on protecting others from harm would not be something we throw out because of a change in someone’s age. The prostitute in the street is not a random piece of flesh to be bought and enjoyed like you would buy a chocolate bar from a vending machine. She is a woman created in the image of her Creator. She is someone’s child. She is someone’s sister. She is someone’s friend. She is a human being. She is not a piece of commodity to be owned and bought at someone’s convenience and pleasure.

We live in a broken, messed up world. I am not naïve enough to think that just because I think someone is wrong means that everyone will think what I think is wrong is wrong too. But, in a world of relativity and lack of absolutes in this post-modern world we inhabit in, there are general ideas that most people irregardless of their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political stance do agree on. In general, we are all about love, peace, joy, and general happy things. We generally want peace instead of war. We are all about protecting the weak and oppressed against the power of the strong tyrant. And maybe this is just the idealist in me, but I really hope and pray that as a society, we would rise up to protect the weak and the disenfranchised who find themselves in the prostitution trade and remind them that they are not disposable sex objects but human beings who need to be treated with love and care. But then again, maybe that’s not me just being idealistic… maybe that’s just me recognizing and respecting someone else’s humanity. Maybe that’s just me being truly human.

 

 

Comments are always welcome. It’s ok to disagree with me and/or others, but we can disagree in a nice way that doesn’t result to denigrating or being demeaning to others in the process =)

On the importance of marriage

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Last week, I had the honour and privilege of attending the wedding of two amazing individuals, Peter (Mahaffey) and Gracie (Villanueva). I have been to a lot of weddings but this wedding definitely stood out. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding before where God was the underlying theme of the whole ceremony to begin with. I have been to Christian weddings before but there was something different about this one. Sometimes, I feel like God becomes a tag line in a wedding ceremony. The whole event is centered on the bride and groom and if God makes an appearance, it’s a brief cameo to bless their union. This time around, it seems that the event was built around the theme of God’s love instead of the love of the bride and groom. As a Christian, it was quite jarring and convicting. So this is what it looks like to have God be the center of a marriage, I found myself thinking.

During the speech, Gracie’s mom said something to the effect that their prayer that day was for God to be glorified during the wedding. I think I’m more used to prayers about how God should bless the couple’s lives rather than prayers that God would be honoured. It was one of those “really?!?” moments. While the sentiment expressed isn’t exactly revolutionary, I guess what surprised me was that she actually meant it. She really wanted the focus to be on God and not on the bride and groom. I think that really shocked me since I haven’t seen it before. During the numerous speeches, the one common thing was their constant reference to God’s love and God’s hand in bringing these two people together. It was so God-centered, I was quite taken aback.

I think that’s the one thing that people forget about marriage. Marriage is the most intimate picture we have of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. In the Old Testament, God’s relationship to Israel was often framed within a marriage context. Marriage is a beautiful picture of the divine love God has with His people. Throughout the Scriptures, we see a God who pursues His bride relentlessly. Even when the bride strays and becomes unfaithful to Him, still God woos her back to Himself. It is a picture of constant patience, grace, mercy, compassion and love to someone who, in fact, does not deserve a single ounce of any of these attributes. Even when the Brides gives the Groom a reason to leave because of her imperfections, the Groom not only stays faithful to her, but also goes out of His way to redeem the broken relationship. What a beautiful picture of heaven on earth!

What is marriage if not another way of presenting the gospel to the world? It is a proclamation of the good news that Christ brought to our world. It brings a man and a woman together while boldly challenging our individualistic culture and loudly proclaims that they are more than ok to be seen as one in the sight of men and God. It is another visible reminder that a proper marriage must properly have God in the center. It is a tangible expression of God’s love as expressed on earth.

To Peter and Gracie, I hope and pray that you would continue to walk in the ways of the Lord your God. Continue to esteem each other better than yourselves. May you daily submit your bodies and your lives wholly and completely to the wonderful and compassionate God who created you and brought you two together in His love and grace. It was an honour to be a witness to your beautiful union.

Secede in te ipsum

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I once had a blog that I titled “Secede in te ipsum”. I was reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and it was talking about the need to retreat within ourselves so that we can know ourselves.

For me, since social media plays such a big part of my life, sometimes I have to pull back so that I can have a clearer head space. My Lenten journey has been such an exercise for me. To pull away from the hustle and bustle of the virtual world so I can be a little bit closer to the real world. And not to be all esoteric, but the question of what is real becomes a very difficult question as the years go by. I feel that sometimes all the things that I view as real and important are really nothing but illusions, a shadow of something bigger and better that I am bereft of seeing. This world tells me to value “real” things – and by real, they really just mean, tangible, visible things. But sometimes, it is the invisible things that are real to me. Things I can’t see like love, justice, grace, compassion, humility, emotions. These things can definitely have its external manifestations for sure, but they’re not tangible. You can’t hold emotions in your hands. You can’t see virtues. For the most part, it’s unseen.

But these things that we can not see, they are the very thing that drives us. My fear of failure drives me to succeed. And if I have to waste my body to achieve it, so be it. I know that some people see me as successful. But whatever success I have achieved came at a cost. Bitterness, despair, lack of compassion, self-loathing, and a judgmental heart are not exactly the best side-effects of this so-called “success”. A jaded, cynical heart that looks down on others is too much of a price. It is not worth any “success” one can have.

The saddest thing in the world is to realize the success you so desperately wanted was not worth it. We need to count the cost of “success”. Perhaps, we need to re-define what success is. I know that I have had to continually revise and re-evaluate what success is to me. Before, success meant having all the luxuries that this world can offer or the high status or fame and fortune. Success meant being the best, and doing everything to make sure I am the best. While I do think that we should all strive to be the best that we can be, we must also strive not to be the best that someone else thinks we should be.

I am still on the long and painful journey of realizing that I am good enough. I must admit that the unconditional love that God offers me has been something that continually challenges me and encourages me in this journey. But, I do live in a world full of flawed human beings. It’s hard not to feel that you’re only loved conditionally by parents, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and everyone around you. It’s hard when you have viewed relationships primarily as business transactions. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. And once you stop scratching my back, well, I can find someone else who will. It’s easy to think that you’re disposable and not needed.

Maybe that’s why I keep on trying to discover what is real and what is fake. Maybe that’s why I’m trying desperately to understand what success is. Because I’m really afraid that I’m going to be an expert on illusions. I don’t want to devote my life and be someone who excelled in the trivial things of life.

I am not a failure because I’m in my 30s and not married and don’t have kids. I am not a failure because I’m not rolling in money. I am not a failure because I don’t have a job. While these things may describe my situation, it doesn’t define who I am.

As Five for Fighting says, “it’s not easy being me.” But, at the end of the day, that’s all I can be; me. I just hope I’m successful at doing that: just being me.

and scene…

Reflections on Good Friday

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A lot of the times, I really do feel that everything in Christianity is just so incredibly messed up in comparison to how the world normally works. Normally, people want to live. And yet, Jesus says that if we truly want to live, we have to die first. A lot of us would avoid pain and suffering at any cost. And yet, Jesus willingly goes to the cross. It just doesn’t make sense.

Maybe I should re-phrase that. It just doesn’t make sense in the natural order of things. Because in the heavenly order of things, it’s the only way that actually makes sense. The Bible speaks of Jesus being someone who became man and identified with humanity  so much so that we can never ever use the excuse “well, you just don’t understand” to Him. He actually does understand. Like a lot. Because he was put in the same situation as you are now in. He lived in a broken, fallen world, filled with corruption and politics (some things never change), teeming with both nice and mean people. If you think that you’re the only who was falsely accused of doing something you didn’t do, well that happened to Jesus. If you think that you’re the only who was forsaken by friends when the going got tough, that happened to Jesus too. And on the off chance that you think that you’re the only who has enemies in high places who wants you dead, yup, Jesus got that too. He identified so much with humanity, that years later, many would still deny His divinity because He wore the garment of humanity so well.

Why would the cosmic king of the universe deign to debase himself by being human? Here’s a hint: It’s the same reason why people do unbelievably crazy things for others. It’s because of love. A love that is so incomprehensible that words cannot even begin to convey what it means. Sometimes, I do think that our limbic system cannot fully understand the emotions that such love can make us feel. Our amygdala doesn’t even know how to process such a thing. (Yes, my undergrad is in Psych… lolz) That is what I am forced to wrestle with and rest in during Good Friday. I truly stand amazed that such a beautiful thing can happen through the most horrific experience. Crucifixion is right up there at the top when it comes to ways to torture people. The Romans mastered it and perfected it into an art. And through this violent and heinous act, the antithesis of Pandora’s box is opened. Whereas Pandora’s box released all manners of evil things in an otherwise perfect world, Jesus Christ’s death on the cross released love, grace, mercy, compassion, and all manners of good things in an unimaginably flawed world. This is the awesome beauty of the cross. What was meant to be a hopeless and tragic event becomes the event that would bring countless Christians hope and joy.

My friend, Renee, and I recorded a remix of a song called “Lead me to the cross”. Since it is Good Friday today, I hope that the lyrics of this song becomes the prayer of our hearts

Quote of the Day – Jan. 31, 2013

Absolutely love this quote. As I celebrate yet another year, I need to believe and live out the truth of this quote more and more!

“It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect. Such freedom is my best description of Christian maturity, because once you know that your “I” is great and one with God, you can ironically be quite content with a small and ordinary “I.” No grandstanding is necessary. Any question of your own importance or dignity has already been resolved once and for all and forever.” – Richard Rohr

Wednesday Writings – Jan. 16, 2013

Today’s Wednesday Writings is going to be a little bit different from the past posts. What’s so different about it, you ask? The words that I will be posting is accompanied by music. That’s right. I’m sharing a song that I wrote to you guys. I’ll be posting the lyrics and if you want to listen to it, just scroll down to the bottom. Hope you like it!

I never would have done this if it wasn’t for a special friend of mine who encouraged me to record it. She definitely made me sound way better than I truly am. Thanks Renee! If you would like to listen to her work, click here and listen! You will not be disappointed!

Whisper
Lyrics: Sid Sudiacal
Melody: Sid Sudiacal
Vocal Producer: Renee Robinson
Music Producer: Slantize
Vocals: Sid Sudiacal
Backing Vocals: Renee Robinson

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Whisper

Verse 1

Sitting here alone and upset, thinking about the mess of a past that still haunts me

Wondering what I can do, my status is so confused, happy I’ll never be

Why am I so unchanging? It seems I never learn anything that You teach me

Lord I deserve to burn

Chorus:

With a whisper You say You love me

You’ll never let me go

With Your blood You came to free me

My sins are made no more

Verse 2:

The waves are crashing down, my world’s falling apart

I hurt Your heart again

The guilt I feel condemns, it leaves me feeling dead

Wishing my life to end

Why am I so unfaithful? I fall for every trick

Apologies for my actions, I ask You please forgive

Bridge

I’m standing here, eyes full of tears, can’t eat, drink, think, nor sleep

If I’m not with You

I’m utterly destroyed and grieved, in this life find no relief

If ever I lost You

But You know me, feeble and weak, give me the strength that I need

Help me to follow you

Friendly Fridays

One of the things that I love about having my own website is that I get to have a platform to share my thoughts and ideas with the rest of the world. However, a lot of “my” thoughts have been greatly influenced by my interaction with a lot of great and wonderful people I like to call my friends =) I’m thankful that I have such a diverse group of people who are smart, kind, and absolutely amazing. This new addition, “Friendly Fridays”, is a way for me to highlight the writings of some of these amazing people. So, don’t be surprised if you get a random message from me asking you to be a guest blogger because I really think that what you have to say is important to the world.

The friend who wrote this inaugural piece to “Friendly Fridays” is someone who I met in university. I asked this person if they were willing to write something for this website and the rest as they say is history. Of course, when you ask someone to be a guest blogger, the question of “so what do you want me to write about?” pops up. For me, I wanted this to be a place where people can write about anything they want to write about, provided they write something that is encouraging and uplifting. Here’s the thing. We live in a world full of negativity. In many ways, I want this website to be a virtual safe place where people who believe in different things, have conflicting opinions about issues, can come together and treat each other with respect and love. Plus, I’m giving you an opportunity to say something. The idealist in me would like to think that you would use this opportunity to say something good. I want to know what motivates you, what your passions are, or hear about the way you overcame struggles and became victorious over your problems. I want to know your story.

And so, with that in mind, this person sent me this article. I remembered reading it for the first time and going, wow, I did NOT know that about this person. This article tackles a fairly controversial issue from a very vulnerable point-of-view. Irregardless (yes, that’s a word!) of where you stand on it, I hope that you are inspired by it. I know I was. Due to the delicate nature of this piece, the author has asked me to withhold their name. However, don’t let the “anonymous” fool you into thinking that this is not real. Coz this is real. And raw. And just plain amazing.

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I just finished watching October Baby: a film about a girl with many health problems who discovers that they are all due to a failed abortion. She goes on a search for her birth mother and  is rejected. The only way she is able to move on with her life is to forgive those that hurt her. The message is that life is beautiful; that is a message that I firmly believe.

One of my secrets – that few people know – is that my parents could have aborted me. Before my mom found out that she was pregnant, she had to have an x-ray. For some reason, they forgot to put the protective shield over her abdomen. When my mom discovered that she was pregnant, the doctor was concerned that the baby would be born with birth defects due to the x-rays. The doctor gave my mom and dad the legal and medically accepted solution of abortion. My parents refused because they are Christians. They believed that life is precious and a gift from God.

When my mom was close to delivery and in a great deal of pain, the nurse refused to listen to her. Instead, she gave my mom an epidural. The baby shot back up the birth canal and both my mom and the baby almost died. They were only saved by the forceps that the doctor used to deliver the baby. And that is how I was born.

I’ve only ever told a few people about this story. Mostly, people who know me really well are just glad that I’m alive. One friend had actually been through a similar experience. Her father (and his family) wanted her mother to abort her because she was a girl. Her mother refused and was divorced. She is one of the most gifted, brilliant people I know, and is presently doing her PhD in cancer research.

One reaction that I didn’t expect was the question: “So, is anything wrong with you?” On one hand, I understand it. On the other hand, who are they – or who is anyone – to judge what is “wrong” with a person? I do have things wrong with me; for one thing, I have blood vessels very close to the surface of my skin from the forceps. I’ve been asked why I don’t get surgery to remove them; I reply by telling them my story. My story reminds me that my life is a miracle.

Despite my appearance and some health problems, I’m still worthwhile, wonderful, and special in my own way. And no one that I know of would ever wish that I had never been born, or declare that I am unworthy of life.

Sometimes I wonder if maybe all the medical problems I have are due to that one x-ray. I wonder if the miracle of my birth hasn’t been overshadowed by a mistake. And I ask myself, couldn’t God have stopped it from happening? But God doesn’t make mistakes. And when I think about my life, my family, my friends, and life in general, I know that none of it is unplanned. God blessed me with life, and now I have the opportunity to bless others.

So, I’m passionate about life. And things that threaten life – mainly abortion, suicide, and abuse – they hurt me. One of the biggest lies I’ve ever encountered is the one that my life is my own; what I do with my life won’t hurt anyone else. It’s a lie. Abortion hurts everyone; so many of my friends have been hurt by having abortions. I wish many times that I could have stopped them. My cousin’s suicide in my second year of university left me vowing to never have a friend feel like they have no one to turn to. Even right now, I’m living in a community where people hurt themselves and each other on a fairly regular basis. There is an incredible lack of self-esteem or value of human life. It’s sad and it blows my mind. I want them to see that they are special; God has a plan for each of them, regardless of what parents, nurses, doctors, or even themselves, think. Because God made them; that fact makes their lives precious, planned, purposeful…

And beautiful.