For starters, I want to say that I love your work. I’m almost a little jealous of it. It seems you’ve put into words everything I’ve been thinking about religion for years but didn’t have the literary talent to articulate. I’m glad someone did. And I’m especially glad that someone had a sense of humor.
I’m single. If I have sex with a married woman (which I may as well admit that I have recently) is she the only one committing adultery or are we both guilty? If it is just her that is committing adultery, what am I guilty of? I recently told this woman that what we were doing is wrong and that we couldn’t do it anymore. Since then I’ve had to refuse sex from this woman more than once just to uphold my freaking morals. I still can’t get her out of my head, though. Every night I go to bed lonely and can’t sleep. I wake up, pace my apartment and punch walls as hard as I can. I don’t know what’s suffering more, me or my security deposit. Does the Bible give any advice for guys with "blue balls" (aside from that one line about how if a part of you offends the Lord you should cut it off, cause we just ain’t goin’ there, man).
To complicate matters, this woman is a really close friend. She says that she and her husband are in a rut. She has children. I don’t want to see this family torn apart because she’s unhappy with the current state of her relationship, sexually or otherwise. I feel that even if I’m not there to play the part of the home wrecker, someone else will be. I have no delusions of fixing things for her, but is there anything I can that might help?
How does God/Jesus feel about drinking? By that I mean occasional drinking, not alcoholism. I’ve noticed that a lot of modern Zen practitioners quote Jesus in their teachings. Is there any way Christianity can learn from Zen as Zen has learned from the teachings of Christ?
The other day a coworker told me that the Bible flat out says that all Muslims are basically animals. Naturally, I informed this person that their reasoning was based on ignorant assumptions and that if they had the sense God gave a sack of rusty doorknobs they would see things differently. Unfortunately, my Biblical knowledge was not up to par with, well, that of a sack of rusty doorknobs, so I couldn’t quote a chapter and verse to prove this person wrong. What should I chapters should I study to combat this line of thinking?
I want to thank you for turning me on to the Concordant Literal New Testament. I’m ordering a copy with my next paycheck.
I understand that I’m asking a lot with this e-mail. If you can’t get back to me on all or any of it, that’s cool. Your books and the writings on your website have brought me more relief and comfort than I can express in this e-mail. If I knew of a church that taught these things, I would be there at every meeting. For right now it’s just me and a couple of my friends at the coffee shop—but that’s something.
Thank you for your letter. It was an interesting read, to say the
least. But really, you and this other woman are both committing adultery
(I think George Costanza asked a question similar to yours on a Seinfeld episode.) You’re not going to lose your salvation over it,
but you’re going to mess up that family’s life. You did the right thing
to finally refuse this woman. Let somebody else wreck her home. We’re
not condemned for what we do, but we do give an account of ourselves
before God and suffer some kind of loss for hurting others. Avoid that.
I don't think we can add to our knowledge of God via Zen. Everything we need is in the scriptures. Thanks for all the nice things you said about me and my writing. Say "hi" to your buddies for me the next time you meet at the coffee shop, which is one of the best locations for church you’ll probably ever find.