I’ll be honest. When I picked this book out I believed I was going to be reading about a period of American history that has always grasped my attention, the time of the baby boomers. Instead, what I received was historical study of the sexual revolution that occurred in Western Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. The joke would be on me if this book had not been so fascinating.
I have had questions answered by Faramerz Dabhoiwala that I would have never thought to ask if I had not read The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution. Questions like, what role did the Catholic Church play in the sexual attitudes of Western Europe in the 17th century were answered.
I can’t imagine the amount of time and energy that Dabhoiwala spent researching for this book. The result however is a word picture laid out for the reader that explains how Western Europe went form a place that once criminally charged fornicators to a land where homes were built to care for prostitutes who were the result of men’s failings. The parallels to American history are obvious and vast.
Most informative of all is the context that Dabhoiwala provides by interspersing literature, letters, and other documents from that time period. While not for the reading of many young readers, an adult can visually discern the changing in prevailing attitudes toward sexual subject matter. Most interesting to this reader is the writings of church leaders of the time.
This book took me some time to read. At almost 500 pages this book is full of detail that can sometimes weigh the eyes and mind of the reader down. I however picked this one up by mistake, yet I am glad I did. I would recommend this book to older readers interested in watching the evolution of a society.
When I think about the people who lived during the historical timeline provided to man in the Bible, I wonder how tired they must have been. Think about it. As a 21st century human, much of our labor is done by robots and machines. If we need to get somewhere, we simply jump into a vehicle that carries us miles and miles and only needs occasional fueling and care. Through technological advances, the life of the 21st century human is a breeze compared to those of ancient times.
Then why is one of the most common words I hear from humans today “tired?” In my brief ”how do you do” greetings with people, one of the answers I most often receive is “I’m tired.” Just as much as I receive that answer, I give it as well. It’s not that I am lying when I give that answer. I am tired and I have no doubt that the people who provide me with the same information are tired as well. But why are we so tired?
I wondered how often people in scripture complained of being tired. I assumed it would be a great number. Study proved to me though that only once in the King James translation of scripture could the word “tired” be found (2 Kings 9:30). Also, the word “tired” only appears once in the English Standard translation (Jeremiah 12:13).
This is astounding to me. Why would people who had a life so much harder than mine complain so little about being tired? Of course the probable answers to this question are many. I am not surprised though that the Lord provides that answer to why one group of people were so tired.
Going back to the verse mentioned above, Jeremiah 12:13, we find Jeremiah saying: “They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns; they have tired themselves out but profit nothing. They shall be ashamed of their harvests because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
Perhaps I am tired because I have been working on the wrong things. This passage in Jeremiah should serve as a reminder that seeking things that are not in accordance with God’s will for your life will wear you out. Why are we so tired? We are so tired because we constantly place great value and importance on the things in this life that God finds no favor in. It is so easy to talk oneself into believing that what we want to be important is somehow in accordance with God’s will. Is there scriptural evidence to support your desire though?
As I prepared a Bible study to work on with my children today, I was brought to the verse of Mark 12:28-30. Christ reminds us that we should seek to love God with all of our hearts and souls. He makes no exception of clause for those things that we want to or have been fooled to believe are important. Could it be that it the things in life that distract from us loving God with our entire hearts and souls that make us / me so tired? I’m tired of reaping thorns.