Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I value Focus on the Family's opinions, revere them even. After all, they're the protector of family values, a voice crying in the darkness, what's so needed today. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the badness and evil in the world, but then I remember that the Bible teaches us to hold up our candle in the darkness and let it shine for Christ. Always remember, Light always dispels darkness. Ever been on a camping trip when even the moon isn't out and it's pitch black? And you turn on your camper lantern, and presto, you have light? Or, when you walk in a room at night, grope for the light switch, and flick it on, and all of a sudden, glorious light appears? To me, that's what Focus on the Family is. As Christians, we may not feel like we're making a dent in the onslaught of wickeness. But we are, if we're doing our part.

I came across a review of the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin which quoted Bob Waliszewski and Marcus Yoars, staffers at Focus on the Family. (Note: As a journalist, I want my quotes to be accurate. The following information is from a review in The Florida Times Union.)

Focus on the Family sent out a press release a few days before Virgin came out, expressing its concern that the movie tells teens "that virginity is something to be ashamed of, something to get rid of like it was a bad bruise or a runny nose." Though Waliszewski hadn't seen the movie, he said he'd heard about it. "It's an absolute sleazefest, very, very vulgar." What about the glowing reviews, he was asked? That Steve Carell's virginal character Andy might actually be a good role model? That (the movie is saying) it's okay for Andy to wait until he's truly in love? Garbage, Waliszewski says, is garbage. "It's not worthwhile when you couch it in that vulgar and racy garbage. Whether he ends up doing the right things or not doesn't change the fact that there are teenagers in the movie theater thinking, 'Gee, I'm 17 years old and I'm still a virgn--there must be something wrong with me.'" That's the wrong message to send, he says. He cites studies that show that "most teens who've had sex say they wish they had waited."

Then the reviewer talked with Marcus Yoars, 29, associate editor of Focus on the Family's website, When asked if he laughed while viewing the film, Yoars says, "A couple of times. But I laughed very little. It's sad when you're toying with something so sensitive to people. I'll give the filmmakers some props -- they tried to make this guy somewhat unashamed about his celibacy. But what's the good in that, when it's buried under layers of crud?"

"This has gotten glowing reviews," Yoars says, "but it really puzzles me that everyone says, 'This is great! It has a great underlying moral message!' It's incredibly raunchy!"

Well, like I said, I don't go to movies as a general rule. I hear and read enough about them to scratch any itch that may crop up. But if I did, I sure wouldn't go see The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


As I stated before, I don't go to movies as a general rule, and I don't intend to go see The 40-Year Old Virgin. I have enough discernment to know that if Hollywood made anything about virgins, it would have a twisted spin. They don't understand the concept. They don't have a clue. Seems today, with the influence of TV, movies, mags, blah, blah, blah, students--children, even--are encouraged to have sex early. Experiment. Have fun. It's for your pleasure. Why deny yourself? What possible reason could there be for that? Our sexual organs are a part of our bodies, and they should be a part of our lives. Have sex. Early. Anytime you feel like. Explore.

Hogwash. SEX IS FOR MARRIAGE AND MARRIAGE ONLY. God made it that way. For our maximum benefit. Sex outside the bonds of marriage brings heartache. We say no to the good so we can say yes to the best. You say, Well, what about ?? (Hollywood stars ad infinitum) and ?? (sports figure) and ?? (anybody else you know who's doing this), etc.? They seem to be enjoying the good life. They're doing it and I don't see any bad side effects. The answer? The final chapter hasn't been written.

It's like this. We made a missions trip to Central America, and occasionally we saw nudity, such as, while driving to a remote missions church, we saw a woman in a stream bathing her horse naked (she was naked not the horse; second thought, yes he was; GRIN; writing needs rearranging!) surrounded by other people, including men, and Milton said to the missionary, "Oh my goodness. She was naked. And men were standing around, acting like they didn't even notice her. How can that be? It doesn't seem to affect them at all." I'll never forget what the wise missionary said. "It definitely affects them. The people here live like dogs, meaning, they have sex with anybody and everybody. And the poor women, they suffere the most. They have many children with many different men--with no commitment from them in marriage, which means no support, no money, no male input into the children's lives, no help at all. It's a terrible way of life, and all because of their letting down their guard in dress and lifestyle."

Here's an archaic saying. I stress archaic because it's not totally applicable today, but it's thought provoking.
When I saw him, I liked him.
When I liked him, I loved him.
When I loved him, I let him.
When I let him, I lost him.
That does apply to certain situations. My mother always said, "The man can get up, zip up, and go on his merry way, but the girl has the heartache--and sometimes a baby." Of course sometimes the girl doesn't care if she loses him, because she wants to get on to her next quest. Blech. And then sometimes the guy does stick around after doing it. But there's a downside to that: no commitment. Jerry Seinfeld said, "Why buy the cow when you're getting the milk?"

The one thing I applaud Hollywood for is making a movie about someone who's a virgin. It's an oxymoron, in my mind at least since that state of being seems so far removed from Hellywood, as one preacher calls it. Wonder if someone offered a million dollars each to virgins in the Hollywood movie scene, if there would be any takers? Kinda' like that Demi Moore movie I didn't see?

Where is innocence? I love that word! Webster's says innocence (or variations) means, "lack of knowledge of evil; chastity; unacquainted with evil; lack of worldly experience or sophistication." I happened to see a couple on the TV show The Wedding Story, and interestingly, they vowed not to kiss while they were engaged and to wait until they stood at the altar and were pronounced man and wife. The show emphasized how special that kiss was to them. Course I secretly wondered if they were doing it but not kissing (I always wonder that in today's world), so they could say they'd saved The Kiss. Probably not, because it did seem so special.

Ah, innocence. And romance. Remember Maria and Captain Von Trapp dancing on the terrace with the baroness looking on (The Sound of Music)? Now that's innocence and romance. Today's Hellywood knows nothing about either one, IMO. Or what about the TV series Pride and Prejudice (or was it Sense and Sensibility?). Reviewers raved that the sexual tension was very high yet the hero never touched the heroine! How did the moviemakers do it, they asked?
How did the characters in the original novel achieve? Simple. NBC. Heehee. That's what they called it in the religious college Milton and I attended. No Bodily Contact.

The reviews for the virgin movie are glowing. "As crude as its humor is, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is incredibly sweet and quite smart, too, over the top yet somehow real," writes one reviewer. "The 40-Year Old Virgin is the most pure fun I've had at a movie in years. Bless its rude, sweet heart."

But what does Focus on the Family have to say about it?

Monday, August 29, 2005


If you've watched any TV at all, or read any newspaper, you've probably heard about the new movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin. My ears and eyes perked up when I first heard about it, because I strongly believe in being a virgin before marriage. That should be the premise of all Christian love stories. Get the ring, then the thing, is my mantra to singles. The Bible is explicit.

"Flee sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?...Therefore, honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Just like the mommy who keeps her three-year-old out of the street, the Bible tells us to keep sex within marriage. This boundary is for our own good. God isn't some big, long-beared man sitting on a throne somewhere in the big, wide universe trying to withhold something good from us. No. He's reaching down, holding out that something good, and saying, Here. I created this, and it's for your pleasure, and the best way to use it is how I designed it. It's kind of like that Mattel or Playskool workbench toy with different holes and different screws that fit into them, and seeing a child trying to put the square one in the round one, and it just doesn't work. God's saying, Sex and singleness don't go together.

Maybe my next blog will be titled, "Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder." That is so true. I can still remember the first time my dh and I came together as man and wife. I can still remember the aura that surrounded us. I can still picture the scene, me so shy getting out of the shower and slipping on the white nylon negligee Nana had bought me, and walking into the Holiday Inn motel room, my back to Milton who was sitting on the bed as I put things in my big blue Samsonite, killing time, not knowing what to do. I'd already seen him when he came out of the bathroom in the navy blue nylon pjs Nana'd bought him, and I thought my heart would jump out of my chest. Then....ah, I'll save that for another time. Maybe one day you'll read about it in my as-yet-unpublished novel echoing our own love story. So romantic, so pure, so spiritual...

Back to The 40-Year-Old Virgin. First of all, let me state that I don't go to movies. Okay, maybe one every three or four years, and I vow I'll never go again. Like Pearl Harbor. My minister brother said I'd enjoy it, so Milton and I went. When the shooting up scene came (bombing of Pearl Harbor), I started crying, and they kept shooting, and I kept crying, and then I noticed the moviemakers were repeating the same shooting over and over to make it longer for effect, and it sure had an effect on me. I put my popcorn aside and ran out. I couldn't take anymore violence. Oh, and I can't remember when the lovemaking scene happened--before or after the shootout, but I nearly blanched at that. They weren't married, which infuriated me that they had to do "it," (or am I getting mixed up about this movie and The Notebook, which I also saw; my second movie in years and years) and I thought, Hollywood, you don't know what real romance is. You have no concept of "Taking the hard right over the easy wrong." And then, the skin that was shown repelled me. Of course Lifetime movies are now showing so much skin that they're now on my taboo list. But that's another blog.

Back to The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Reviewers are proclaiming it funny. One reviewer said, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin is the most pure fun I've had at a movie in years. Bless it's rude, sweet heart. It's easy to make a sensitive drama about a deadly illness. It's a cinch to make a big epic with elephants and sieges and flaming catapults. But to be this funny? That's brutally hard."

Why, sir, is it hard? Perhaps you're desensitized. Perhaps you've seen so much...smut?...or, okay, softer...garbage...that your funny bone's broken?

I was intrigued with the title. After all, the hero and heroine in my novel are virgins, as pure as the driven snow, as pristine as a white, sandy Florida beach, just like my dh and I were on our wedding night. Now, the 40-year-old thing...well, I don't know. I mean, it would be hard to wait that long to do it. Hollywood should've titled it The 25-Year-Old Virgin. That would've been more realistic. Shoot, my dh who's a minister and before that, a minister's son who never veered from The Straight and Narrow was nearly foaming at the mouth to do it. He made it until he was 21, when he married me. We believed that Jesus is coming soon and will come like a thief in the night (read the Left Behind books), and that was pounded into our heads all our lives, and we stil believe it and are looking for the return of the Lord. But Milton always prayed, "Lord, come soon, but pullllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeze let me get married first. Please?" GRIN

So when I spotted a review of this current Hollywood movie with the headline, "AT THE MOVIES: Evangelical group sees nothing funny about 'virgin,'" my eyes were glued to the page (forget FBP {floating body parts re: the craft of fiction} for a moment). What would evangelicals have to say about The 40-Year-Old Virgin?

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I love the verse in Song of Solomon that says, "I found him whom my soul loveth. I held him and would not let him go" (3:4, KJV). To me, that speaks of two things: finding the right person and staying married to him "till death do us part." I've written a Christian love story (novel) with this verse as its theme. It was inspired by Ruth Bell (Mrs. Billy) Graham's prayer-poem, "Let Him Be Like Thee," which she wrote as a teenager before she met Billy Graham. Interestingly, my novel echoes my own love story.

I memorized Mrs. Graham's poem when I was a teenger and prayed it frequently. Here it is:

Let Him Be Like Thee

"Dear God," I prayed, all unafraid
As girls are apt to be,
I do not want a handsome man,
But let him be like Thee.

I do not need one big and strong
Nor one so very tall
Nor need he be some genius
Or wealthy, Lord at all,

But let his head be high, dear God,
And let his eye be clear,
His shoulders straight, whate'ever his state,
Whate'ever his earthly sphere.

And let his face have character
A ruggedness of soul
And let his whole life show, dear God,
A singleness of goal.

And when he comes, as he will come
With quiet eyes aglow
I'll understand that he's the man
I prayed for long ago."

One day, God sent a man into my life, and at our wedding, I read this poem (prerecorded because I was so nervous and shy), and I also read my response poem to this one, which talks about the man God sent to me. That was a few years ago :), and our love story continues...

Love is an act of the will, a choice we make. Over time, we see our differences in marriage, and we might be tempted to think the grass is greener over there, and that's when we have to decide to love and to keep loving. My parents were married 67 years, and my dh's parents are about to celebrate 61 years together. Wow. Now that's commitment.

I'm thankful for the role models my dh and I have had. If you don't have a role model to follow in your marriage, borrow ours. The Apostle Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ." Follow after the ones who have long-lasting love stories.

You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

More about Christian love stories

I love love stories, especially Christian ones. Love makes the world go 'round, as the old saying goes. How many people are married, or want to be? They all experienced a love story. There was something that brought them together and led them to the altar. Romance is the name of this genre in IRCS (formerly CBA; the Christian publishing world), but I prefer to call the ones I write love stories. Nicholas Sparks refers to his stories this way too.

As I said, the genre I'm talking about, in IRCS standards, is romance. There's a big range out there, from the more formulaic to a broader story. I like to read Heartsong Presents novels (Barbour Publishing); I also write for them. Steeple Hill (Harlequin) produces formulaic romances too. The hero and heroine meet close to the first part of the book, and they need to appear often in the story. In other words, there shouldn't be too many other characters the story focuses on. But I love the broader stories, too, and there are plenty of them.

The 2005 Christy Award in romance went to Kristen Heitzmann this year for Secrets; finalists were Catherine Palmer's Wild Heather and Gayle Roper's Winter Winds.

An important aspect of a romance is the happy ending. And this is the end of this post. I've got to head to the post office.