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July 23, 2012
Posted at 12:18 pm

*One Flesh*

Today I posted the first four chapters of a new Christian romance called One Flesh (since I don't include the title page, I'll mention that the epigraph is Genesis 2:20-24). I dithered about posting this novel. It's not that I don't like it - I do, not least because it's a fictionalization of how my wife and I met and got married (for the record, we met in late March of 1979, and got married on August 29 of that year). It's that I've had a terrible time making it clear, while at the same time making it fit for public consumption. Precisely because it's my own story, too much of private matters got into the first draft, and I had to rewrite the story so thoroughly that I dubbed the revision Version 2.0. I've since been as ruthless as I can with the story, on two or three separate occasions, but it's always hard for an author to be entirely objective about his own work (OTOH, sometimes the changes editors demand are contrary to the author's style and nature, and to the nature of the work; editors aren't infallible either).

I nearly skipped this one because I'm not entirely confident that I've managed to extrude everything that ought not to be in print. I don't, by this, mean shameful things; I believe the Bible when it says, "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Heb. 13:4) This verse clearly assumes that married couples will do more in their beds than merely sleep (our society seems to think that couples never just sleep in a bed), and my wife and I are as happily married in the physical sense as in any other, as ought to be the case. No matter what anyone tells you, there is not one single word in the Bible which says that sex is intrinsically wrong; it is the wrong use of sex which the Bible condemns, just as it condemns drunkenness but not alcohol, and blasphemy but not the use of God's name.

Rather, I mean by "everything that ought not to be in print," things that are private. There is nothing sinful in using the toilet, but no one in his right mind makes a public display of it, either in reality or in fiction (though a bowel movement is just as much a natural function as sex, and depicting one would be just as realistic as depicting sex - those who use the realism claim are hypocritical). There are things in everyone's life, married or not, sexually active or celibate, which are rightly private, and I have exerted myself to omit all such things from One Flesh. But I'm not completely certainly that I've achieved my ideal.

I am, therefore, going to list this as an adult book (though these days children quite possibly know more about sex than their parents, both because society and government force such knowledge upon them, and because parents in general - there are exceptions, of course - have abdicated their responsibility to be their children's primary instructors in all things). I don't think that there's anything genuinely objectionable in it, but as Darvin Carpenter says (if you're not reading that series, I suggest you do - it's got more of me in it, it's my primary focus, and the writing is better and more consistently better), it's better to be too careful than not careful enough. :)