I’ll Have My Fun Now and Get Religious Later…Would that work?
In this essay, I answer that question and describe the difficulties Christians face when it comes to resisting temptation, while trying to find that elusive good Christian mate if you’re not part of a congregation.
I’ll Have Fun Now and Get Religious Later… – A Theocratic Essay
By Rock Tennie
When I was a kid, I must have been thirteen when I looked around the congregation and saw that it was mostly filled with older people. Aside from my brothers, about two other families had kids our age. There was hardly anyone in their 20s and 30s.
My parents became religious Jehovah’s Witnesses when I was eleven, effectively ending the fun things we used to enjoy, like celebrating birthdays and holidays. So, it was only a matter of time before I asked them.
“How about this? How about let me enjoy life and have all the fun I want while I’m still young. And then when I get older, that’s when I’ll get super religious and dedicate my life to God?”
My mom said, “It doesn’t work like that. Because you have the knowledge now. You can’t claim ignorance.”
At the time, I felt this was very cruel of them. I didn’t ask for that knowledge. It was thrust upon me. So when I went to school and saw my peers being able to join sports teams and hang out with each other after school, peers who could talk to each other over the phone and get together for fun events on the weekends…part of me felt jealous and left out, like an alien amongst humans.
According to my parents, “bad association creates un-useful habits.” This was their justification for why we couldn’t hang out with any other kids unless they were also Jehovah’s Witnesses…and as I already mentioned, we didn’t exactly have a deep roster to choose from.
Thus…my only normal year came during my senior year in high school, following the summer my parents almost had me arrested. Here, my brothers were all out of the house. I had a job. A car. And I was part of “The Drama Club” so my friends were other club members.
It was one of the best years of my life. But the thing was, I was so behind all my other peers when it came to understanding social behavior, real friendship, loyalty, betrayal, and love. I had to learn the difference between people hanging out with you because they need something from you, or those who genuinely liked you. I had to hit the ground running to catch up. Because my peers had so many years of experience that I lacked.
As an adult…it seems the pattern repeated itself but in a way that I’m kinda proud of. It’s like every career path, job, friendship, or opportunity that I’ve ever undertaken…I was thrown into or fell into it because the people around me either perceived me to be a man who could handle it or they were setting me up for failure. I choose to believe it’s mostly the former. And I take that as a compliment.
I believe that’s why God blessed me with the knowledge early on. God knew I could handle it. Like Job, and Moses, and Joseph who went through enormous ordeals, suffering, and obstacles, God chose them knowing fully well that they could handle it.
Because if you’re not surrounded by the support of a congregation, it is tough to be a good true-believing Christian in this world. It really is. Temptation is everywhere, especially with the rise of social media, online dating sites, and the acceptance of movements that promotes and encourages the hook up culture and casual sex. You can’t escape the temptation. All you can do is resist or give in. Resisting is difficult. Giving in is easy.
“But Rock! It doesn’t have to be difficult. There are good Christians out here having that fun and enjoying life! Just because a man’s rich and travels the world, doesn’t mean he isn’t Godly or he’s not a Christian.”
Perhaps…But from what I’ve found and this doesn’t relate to “All” but enough for me to make an observation. Excluding those who were born into faith or stayed within their Christian communities…a lot of people, families, and couples committed themselves to Christ’s teachings only after they’ve had their “fun”. Meaning, they’ve made life altering choices before seeing the light. Or, they were one of the hundreds of millions who merely inherited the title of Christian while being conveniently taught that they could embrace such sinful lifestyles described at 1st Corinthians 6:9-11, and still have a place in God’s Kingdom.
Example: A man sleeps around, cheats on girl after girl before he gets one of them pregnant. Suddenly he’s a father. He has to take care of another person’s life. It changes his world and after this crucible, he turns to God for help, getting that help, and thus committing himself to Christ. He had his fun first. The same can be said for gang-bangers, alcoholics, and authority figures who abuse the system before turning to God after years of living an indulgent worldly life.
Or take a woman who sleeps around, gets drunk, does drugs…but then after trying her luck with one too many men, she eventually runs into one who actually rapes her and wrecks her world. She’s gone to therapy, she’s tried support groups, but it isn’t until she found God that she becomes saved and thus, commits herself to Christ. She had her fun first. These are extreme hypotheticals, of course.
When I was 27, my ex was one of the most amazing people you’d ever meet. But even she wouldn’t be who she was, the person I fell in love with, if she wasn’t forced to grow up and become more mature at an early age, having become a mother just after the age of seventeen.
Don’t get me wrong. There are people who were born Christian, raised Christian, in a community of Christians where they find love and acceptance from that community. It’s a safe haven. Why would they leave? The answer, is that their definition of “fun” is different from others.
WHAT IS FUN?
So what’s your definition of “fun”? What exactly are we talking about here?
I didn’t learn about the hook-up culture and the concept of “dating around” versus “dating exclusively” until I was 25. I’ll never forget that night. It was in a parking lot, where an older black co-worker told me about it and I was just stunned.
I was like, “Hold up. You mean to tell me, you can date multiple people at the same time as long as you don’t say you’re dating them exclusively?”
He was like, “Yup.”
I thought that was horrible. At that age, I wasn’t even strictly religious. However, I did believe in waiting until marriage for sex. I don’t want to get too far off course with my reasons for that, but the biggest one was that I simply made a vow to God that I would remain celibate.
At the time, I was deeply in love with a Colombian woman who still stands as the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. She was more gorgeous, pretty, and sexier than any celebrity or Instagram model, and we had a good relationship. I believe she loved me too, just on a different level.
One of the main reasons why we never became boyfriend and girlfriend was because of our different worldviews. Between her personality and culture, she was very much into sex and sleeping around without getting tied down to a single person until she found the “right guy.”
I believe I could’ve been that “right guy” if I wasn’t so stubborn. I’ve had many conversations with her, where it seemed our virtues and philosophy were on opposite sides of the battlefield, each trying to conquer the other. At any time, I could have abandoned my principles, which I didn’t even know were Christian principles at the time. But I defied her. My forces resist and, when it looked like I was winning the debates, she called in allies by way of a false accusation. She claimed “it felt like I was stalking her”. The false accusation was the only attack that worked because of society’s propensity to take the woman’s side.
I didn’t get fired, thankfully. This was 2011, before the MeToo Movement. But essentially, it got to a point where I felt fighting for her wasn’t worth it. And if I know she’s actively sleeping with other dudes, I don’t care if sex with her grants me the ability to fly, she can’t have me. Call it pride. Call it self-respect. Call it ego. Call it what you want.
But I remember… One of her biggest things was that she didn’t want to have children. She just wanted to have fun and enjoy life. “Fun” was the word she kept using. Life should only be about fun and if something isn’t fun or making her happy, then it has no place in her life.
I didn’t disagree with her. At the same time, I couldn’t completely agree with her either. Back then the “YOLO” mantra was strong. Year’s later, I’d sardonically joke, “You don’t hear people shout YOLO because all those who did are now dead.”
In my 20s, yeah, I wanted to have fun…but more importantly, I had a future goal in mind. I wanted a family. I wanted to get married and have children, which meant working hard to get myself out of debt so I could support that family and not be one of these dudes who’s working so much that I’m never home, leaving the streets to raise my children. My goal was to work hard now while I have the strength, energy, and opportunity to do so.
And if you have a mindset like mine…you know how to turn work into “fun.” To make the most out of every situation. Astute: having or showing an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one’s advantage. When people ask me what I like to do for “fun,” I tell them I like to read and write. I like to work out and visit my spot by the water. None of this aligns with today’s popular notion of “fun.”
So yeah…this girl and I weren’t a good match, no matter how much I loved her. Which is why its frustrating when people say things like, “If you loved someone you’d do anything for them!”
Not if you love someone else more. In my case…my future children…and ultimately, God.
I already wrote an essay about how “Godly Men Don’t Care About Money,” specifically materialistic things. However, what prompted me to revisit a question I asked in my youth was this video…
That video has over a million views and it’s not for the faint of heart. The lady pretty much talks about the standards today’s women have when it comes to the kind of men they want to be with. In the comments section (it’s mostly men), people are bringing up that the woman in this video is a Christian, married to a preacher. A lot of people are saying that Christian women don’t exist anymore. And the ones that do are already married or taken.
Of course, I disagree with the notion. I believe there are good Christian women out there. They do exist. But as Proverbs 31:10 tells us, they’ll be hard to find.
“Oh, what about a good man. Good Christian men are hard to find too!”
I bet…but between men and women, who is expected to be the one to go out and find the other sex? Who is expected to be the one to make the first move, to be the pursuer.
Relax. I’m not trying to diss women, but to acknowledge men and women are different. Stefan Molyneaux once pointed out that “Men benefit from competition, while women benefit from cooperation. A man can get kicked out of the village and still survive, if not, do better. While a woman who’s kicked out of the village has a slimmer chance of survival.”
I know that sounds extremely sexist. But generally speaking, is it true? Consider also, this video, from a woman, where she lists 50 REAL Differences between Men and Women.
So, when you hear people make horrible comments like, “Christian women don’t exist anymore…” even though I disagree with what they’re saying, I understand why they’re saying it. Between men and women, women are more susceptible to going along with the herd mentality. If popular culture says a thing is “cool” and “acceptable,” women are likely to go along with this out of fear of isolation and ostracism.
Again, I apologize if any of that sounds offensive. However, if you look at current events with a wide lens…we’ve had horrible men taking advantage of women, men like Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, R. Kelly. As I did research on all three men and watched their documentaries, I’ve found that one of the main reasons why they were able to rack up such a high victim count, was because the women were vulnerable. I believe what made them vulnerable was the lack of knowledge over what they could have done, and a fear of what would happen if they didn’t go along.
Fear…If you ask anyone what they fear the most in this world, what would they say?
When I was 18, my first girlfriend told me. For me, the fear is drowning. Which is why I hate being on ships boats and the wide open sea. But for her…she said she was afraid of being alone. So when I heard she had gotten pregnant just a month after graduating high school, I wasn’t surprised.
I told myself… “Whelp. Now she no longer has to worry about being alone for at least 18 years.”
When it comes to finding a “Good Christian Man,” I do think it’s more difficult for women than before.
And I blame Satan, the demon who runs this current world, this current system of things. Think about all that’s happened in the past decade. Everything good Christian men used to do to pursue women for the sake of marriage, has been turned upside down.
We can’t approach you on the street, work, gym, or in the mall, because the culture deems this harassment or catcalling. We aren’t going to speed dating events. I personally tried online dating but found it was messing with my perception of reality.
And even if we get you to go out on a date, or even a couple of dates…there’s the pressure, the expectation of sex. I once had a girlfriend who wasn’t a virgin by any means, but she knew I was. I made it clear that I was waiting till marriage to have sex, but I don’t think she had the discipline to wait that long. Out of respect for her who might read this, I won’t go any further than that.
If a man or woman believes in remaining celibate until marriage…if your mate is not a virgin, can they exercise discipline and go six to twelve months of no sex while you’re getting to know each other? This is 2020. Not the 1950s. Back then they had guard rails like public shame from the community for promiscuity. At the very least, other than the Papas who were rolling stones, it’s not like they flaunted it for all to see.
Nowadays, we have porn and even mainstream TV shows that promote and encourage such sexual immorality. Don’t even get me started on the pressures young people face from their cultural leaders preaching from the pulpit of Instagram.
One could say, it’s mostly men who are pressuring the women to have sex. But would those be “good Christian” men? Shouldn’t that be a red flag that you have the wrong guy? Jesus Christ and the Apostles all talked about the sin of sexual immorality, adultery, and being promiscuous. So if a man’s pressuring you to have sex when you’re not even married, the question you have to ask yourself, “Is he a good Christian?”
“I’m a good Christian, Rock. And I had sex. That’s all I’m saying. And you or nobody else is about to judge me. Only God can judge me.”
Very true. Romans Chapter 14 teaches us that we will all be judged as individuals based on our own convictions. So if you believe you’re a good Christian while still living your lifestyle, it’s not up to me to say whether or not you have a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s all based on our “convictions.”
CONVICTIONS? What does that mean?
Well…If I believe that committing adultery is a gross sin that offends God, and yet I do this, I’ll have to answer for that. I’ll be judged for that, because I KNOW it’s a serious offense. I do believe that sin is sin, and we are all “sinners” no matter what we do. However, the Bible makes it clear that some offenses are very much heavier than others. Blasphemy being one of them. Murder is another. As is adultery.
Bringing me back to the title of this essay. Because I have the knowledge, not just from a Christian foundation early on, but also from reading the entire Bible by the age of 30, cover to cover. I can’t stand on ignorance. I can’t say things like, “I didn’t know.”
Would it have been better, easier, more fun, if I simply stick my head in the sand and avoided that knowledge? Ignorance is indeed a bliss. Imagine the peace and serenity one would feel walking through the rich Germanic forests…if they were unaware that they were being stalked by a pack of wolves. Imagine how refreshing it would be to get a cool drink from a pond in the middle of the desert…if you didn’t know a crocodile was creeping up from just below the surface.
Let’s be honest. One of the main reasons a lot of people don’t like to pick up the Bible is because they don’t want to know what God thinks or how he feels on a particular subject. Like the people of Jeremiah’s day, they go to the “priests” who tell them what they want to hear and regard this as truth.
Jeremiah 8: 10-12 says, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord.”
Sound familiar? Prophets and priests who will say “peace” when there is no peace. People who say “it’s okay. God still loves you. God accepts you just as you are.”
If one priest says sex before marriage is wrong, and another says it’s okay to have sex before marriage, which one are you likely to listen to? What do the Scriptures say?
More importantly, what does it say about you if you don’t want to know the truth?
“How about this? How about let me enjoy life and have all the fun I want while I’m young? And then when I get older, that’s when I’ll get super religious and dedicate my life to God.”
I think deep down, that question showed the wickedness of my own heart. And by wickedness, I’m referring to the fact that my heart wasn’t inclined to do what’s good in God’s eyes, but was good in my own eyes.
And it’s understandable, right? “It’s not fair that everyone else is having a good time!” is the sentiment that comes to mind. Reminds me of the parable of the Prodigal Son. In Luke 15:11-31, Jesus tells of man who had two sons. The younger son asked the father for his inheritance early, and as soon as he got it, the younger son traveled to a distant country and squandered his inheritance, living a debauched life, spending everything he had.
A famine hit the country and he became impoverished. He was tasked to work as a swine herder and saw that even the swine was getting fed more than him. No one gave this young son anything.
After suffering this, the young son came to his senses and realized his sin. After some time, he returned to his father. The father ran to embrace him, kissing his face, calling for others to bring him the best robe, a ring for his hand, and sandals for his feet. They brought out a calf for a feast and celebrated. For the son was “dead, but has come back to life again.”
However, the eldest son…he felt as I would have felt. All this time, while the youngest is off doing whatever he wanted, having all that “fun” until his fortune ran out, the Oldest Son was working hard for the father, never disobeyed him, and not once has the father ever so much as given him a goat to enjoy. So to see everyone all celebrating the return of the youngest, it made the Oldest feel some type of way and he wasn’t having it. He refused to go in.
The father’s reply was, “but son. You have always been with me and all the things that are mine are yours.”
When I first read that about three years ago…I felt ashamed. Because honestly…I empathized with the Older Son. Since I’ve reconnected with God, I felt like I’m trying my best to do what’s good in God’s eyes. I’ve resisted a lot of temptations, chose not to get involved with worldly movements and sought out some congregation that I might call home. But I’ve suffered terrible loneliness. I still felt the scars of false accusations and the resentment towards Jehovah’s Witnesses false dilemma fallacies from my youth. All of it was holding me back and I contemplated suicide a lot.
For me, if I wasn’t married or had children, and it looked like there was no hope of that ever happening, then what’s the point of being alive. When Jesus talked about taking up the cross and following him, I felt I was doing that each and every single day in which I didn’t take my own life.
That doesn’t sound like fun…does it. Even King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:18, “For an abundance of wisdom brings an abundance of frustration. Whoever increases knowledge, increases pain.”
Honestly…Even prison inmates can get married and have children. Ted Bundy did some of the most heinous things imaginable to women and you still had female fans wanting to be with him.
However…in reading the Bible a 2nd time, I’ve come to understand that the suffering we feel as Christians trying to do what’s good in God’s eyes didn’t come from Christ’s teachings…it’s because Satan’s has made this world so that it would be difficult to be a good Christian.
If you’re a good Christian and want to marry someone with Christian values, in a world where it seems those who do what’s good in their own eyes are getting married, having children out of wedlock and seem to be enjoying the life you wish you had, it’d be difficult to hold on to those Christian values.
It’s like walking by a store that’s being looted in the middle of a George Floyd riot. Everyone’s doing it! Free TVs? Xbox? Food? Why not? What’s that? God commanded us not to steal? But still, this is for a cause. You can ask for forgiveness later! Right?
When a man such as me understands that my suffering isn’t due to Christ teachings, but a wicked demon who’s determined to bring everyone else down with him…well…As I was with my Colombian paramour. I’m stubborn. I believe in the scriptures and I keep Jesus’s words close to my heart.
“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he returns in his Glory with the father and the holy angels.” – Luke 9:26.
And as for those enticing lifestyles, the people, the romance, and things that I lack.
“Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all things will be added onto you.” – Matthew 6:33
Unlike the 30-year-old Rock, I have found something to keep me going. The 30-year-old me wrote to get published as an author. For fame and money, seeking glory from humans. The 33-year-old me still writes fiction stories for fun, that passion will never burn out. But my most fulfilling works are my essays spreading the good news. There’s a Greek word for it, called “Gospels.”
I want to be a fruitful and productive tree. I honor Jesus Christ because he died for our sins in one of the most agonizing ways imaginable. I truly endeavor to serve him as my real Lord, bending the knee to him like the characters revering their Lords and Ladies in Game of Thrones, or The Tudors.
To me…this work…my writing, my purpose is my “fun”. It wasn’t always like this. But I’m glad it is like this. I suppose this is what the Apostle Paul meant when he talked about rejoicing in our suffering.
Romans 5:3-5: “3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Not to mention, if the worse I ever had to deal with was loneliness (which only strikes around birthdays and holidays). I haven’t had to deal with poverty, jail, children out of wedlock, STDs, getting jumped or shot at, the loss of loved ones, a debilitating sickness or injury, unemployment, struggling to make ends meet, getting caught in a scandal, getting addiction to drugs, alcohol, or sex…So I’d say I’m alright.
I’ll end with this…if you are like me, man or woman, who have lived their whole lives on the straight and narrow, resisting temptation and defying the world’s pressure…have faith. You’re not alone. Everything I revealed in this essay, well, it’s not the type of stuff one would post on a Facebook wall. But that doesn’t mean people like us don’t exist in this world.
Every day, at the start of your day, in addition to everything else, make sure you pray for the strength, patience, and wisdom to endure this world. Remember Job and all of God’s servants before you. God sees you. He loves you. He hasn’t ignored you. But perhaps what you’re going through, you needed to go through to make you a better person, as opposed to things easily given to others who didn’t work or earn it.
And say, you do die, having lived your whole life without finding “the one” or not knowing what it’s like to have sex or be loved by anyone other than your family and close platonic friends…Trust in God. Even if it’s not known to us, there was a reason why it turned out like this. Trust in him, that his Will is being done. And if my being a lifelong bachelor served his purpose, I’d say it’s been an honor.
Do as I do and turn your mind to something else. Hint…the loneliness doesn’t strike when your mind with occupied by other things. It’s like Pres. Teddy Roosevelt said. “Black care rarely sits behind a rider who’s pace is fast enough.”
It’s why I love staying productive.