Bacon and Eggs and Sex

Last month I wrote a series of blog posts titled “Let’s talk about Sex”.  They were inspired by a desire that I’ve had for quite some time to write a book that explores the questions and issues that revolve around Christian dating and sexuality.  Well I’ve begun the long painful process of writing a book and I’d like to share my initial ideas with you all to see what you think.  This is obviously not ready to be published but I think its pretty good.  I’d love to hear some feedback.

To keep reading, click on the picture below:

Let’s Talk about Sex 2

Let me begin with a warning. I don’t have the answer to the question I’m about to ask.  It’s a question that kept me awake at night as a young, single man; and a question that haunts the students in my ministry as a youth pastor.  It’s one who’s answer ought to be found clearly laid out in scripture.  Sadly, however, the keys to unlocking the mystery of my question seem to lurk in the grey areas or our Bible.  But before I give you the question… some lead in is necessary.
Navigating adolescence is a dangerous journey and it’s not made easier with the introduction of sexual attraction.  I vaguely remember the first time I thought to comb my hair and wear clean clothes not because my mom told me to but because of a girl in my youth group.  It was weird.  She was a girl, she had cooties, why did I want to look nice so she’d notice me.  As time flew by I, much like any other hormone drenched adolescent, struggled to figure out what God’s plan was for my sex drive and my sexuality.  I’ve been married now for 3 years and have a daughter who just learned to walk and I’m still trying to figure out God’s plan for sex.
In this post I’d like to start by looking at what scripture has to say about sex.  I feel like I’d end up with a book if I tried to go through each passage, so I’m just going to try to summarize what I’ve found.
There are numerous places in the New Testament that forbid and condemn sexual immorality.  (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 7:2; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7) Several of these texts also condemn sensuality.  Unfortunately scripture really doesn’t give us a great definition, at least in these texts, for what sexual immorality encompasses. It’s possible that sexual immorality could include everything from intercourse outside of marriage, to a quick kiss, holding hands, or even something as harmless as a hug.  It’s possible though that sexual immorality has limits within this scale, but where do we draw the line.  Hopefully we can all agree that child prostitution is sexually immoral.  We could probably also agree that pornography would qualify as sexually immoral.  But what about those less clear issues.  Do we draw the line of acceptable behavior at holding hands, hugging, kissing, making out, hand jobs, blow jobs, or actual intercourse.  In my experience different people have drawn the line in different places but where does God draw the line? What is His understanding of Sexual Immorality?
The key question that must be answered in order to find God’s plan for our sexuality is, “what is the best definition for sexual immorality”.  Like I said in the beginning… I don’t have a good answer but let me put forth a couple possible answers for your consideration.
  • Could sexual immorality be limited to casual sex? It seems to me that two people who love each other and plan to be with each other for a long time might be able to enter into a sexual relationship in good conscience but it’s conceivable that when the bible talks of immorality it is speaking of the type of sexual relationships that involve repeated one night stands with different partners.
  • Could sexual immorality be limited to adultery.  In several of these passages it would make sense that marriage is sacred and cheating on your spouse is wrong.  However there are passage where a reader would have to assume that sexual immorality means pre-marital sex in order to get that from the passage.
  • Could sexual immorality not have limits?  Could these verses be speaking of everything from a side hug or casual glance to polygamy and sexual addiction.  The more important practical question in this regard is “how are we supposed to survive our current society if this is the case.”  The only way I can see a person possibly avoiding sexual immorality (as it’s defined here) is moving to the mountains and living as a hermit.
  • In many Christian circles intercourse is really the only thing that is completely off limits.  Other things are looked down on but if you have intercourse we can officially announce that “the end of the world” is here.  But is intercourse the best definition for sexual immorality. 
 I’m going to stop before the post get’s way to long, but before I do, I’d like to briefly touch on 1 Cor 7:2.  The thing that interests me most here is that Paul tells those who are tempted by sexual immorality to get married.  Paul is speaking of celibacy and explaining that not all have that gift.  He then says if you don’t have the gift of celibacy ,or, put another way, if you do have a sex drive…  get married!  The problem for me with this passage is that marriage doesn’t seem to be a cure for any type of sexual temptation that I’m aware of.  There are married men who continue to view pornography, masturbate, lust after women they aren’t married to, cheat and do a host of other things that are traditionally deemed “sexually immoral”.  While Paul seems to talk about marriage here as the answer to an out of control sex drive, marriage in real life is rarely the answer to an out of control sex drive.
I feel like I could keep going but I’d like to hear what you think so far.  This will probably not be the last post on this topic.

Let’s Talk About Sex

Okay parents this one is for you.

For quite some time now I’ve been frustrated with the stereotypical Christian teachings on sex, dating, abstinence and the like. This will be my first of hopefully several blogs on the topic. The messages that we are sending students, and more importantly the way that we are sending that message just flat isn’t working. A recent article in Relevant magazine by Tyler Charles reports that “80% of young, unmarried Christians have had sex. Two-thirds have been sexually active in the last year. Even though, according to a recent Gallup poll, 76% of evangelicals believe sex outside of marriage is morally wrong.”

The scare campaigns and purity contracts aren’t working, period. In fact the statistics for evangelical Christians who have had premarital sex seem to be rising. So what should we do? Tyler Charles believes that the abstinence message needs a makeover. I’m not 100% sure that a makeover will cure the ills that seem to riddle the churches view of sex and sexuality but it’s a step in the right direction. What Mr. Charles fails to do in his otherwise very enlightened article is to provide a makeover message. He points out the flaws in our current endeavor to keep kids from getting pregnant but doesn’t offer a solution.

Unfortunately, that’s where I find myself. I see some of the same problems that Charles sees and like Charles I don’t have a perfect system or orthodox methodology that we can all use to teach our kids what healthy Christian sexuality looks like. I do however want to highlight some problems with our current methods in order to hopefully lead the way in developing the facelift that our message on sexuality so desperately needs.

The one thing that I can say needs to take place in order for things to change is that we need to talk about sex in our churches more often. For so long it’s been a don’t ask, don’t tell topic that has been quieted in the church. It’s simply not comfortable in a church environment to answer questions about r mutual masturbation or oral sex. It’s not even socially comfortable to type those words in a Christian blog. The only way to change that, is to fight through the awkwardness and just talk about it. Teens desperatly need positive messages about sex and about the changes that they are going through as post pubescent walking hormones in Junior Higher form. The hush-hush attitude needs to stop.

Secondly, the stupid, false, and demeaning analogies need to be mercilessly slaughtered. Remember that students need honest, mature, real answers. They don’t need bad analogies or inappropriate jokes to lighten the mood. And to be honest. Most of the analogies that I have heard, run absolutely contrary to the message of the gospel. Please take the time to watch this short video so that you can see what I’m talking about.

Though I don’t agree with Matt Chandler on everything, he’s spot on here. The message that many Christians receive about sex is actually counter productive. It’s anti-gospel. We need to remember and remind our students that the gospel comes with grace, even for our sexual histories. At the same time we need to balance our message, not with a list of do’s and don’t but with thought provoking questions that help guide students to their own conclusions about sex, sexuality, dating, and physical/emotional boundaries within dating. It’s my opinion that we need to stop giving answers to students and start asking questions. They are smarter than we give them credit for and they will figure it out. But lets come along side them and guide them through the correct questions to ask, and help them explore the implications of their answers.

Here are some ideas of what I would call good questions.

“Okay, so lets say that you decide to have sex with your boy/girl friend. How do you think that will affect your relationship in the short term? How bout long term?”

“What do you think are the pro’s and con’s of setting up emotional, and physical boundaries in a relationship?”

“What are the pro’s and con’s of different physical displays of affection in a relationship. For example pros and cons of holding hands, kissing, becoming exclusive, spending time alone, making out, oral sex, intercourse, etc…”

“What factors come in to play when you are trying to make decisions about who to date, kiss, sleep with etc…”

I could go on but hopefully you get the idea. One thing that, in my opinion you probably shouldn’t do with your kids, is have a sex talk. Now I know this is probably a controversial topic and I may change my mind later but this is where I stand now.  I don’t want to tell you how to parent but I would like for you to think through what you do.  I know that the decision to have or not have the sex talk will depend on you and your kids but for most teenagers that I’ve talked to “the talk” that they had with their parents, if they had one, was awkward, uncomfortable and did not lead to any future talks.

What you should do, is comfortably deal with situations when they come up. Our culture is very comfortable with sex and the topic will come up, just give it time. Just take the issues as they come. Ask what your kids think about certain scenes in movies, or what they think about their friends who just started dating so-and-so. Be casual, honest, and listen to what you’re kids have to say. As you develop an atmosphere that is open to questions and isn’t judgmental, the chances of your kids coming to you with questions rather than going to Google with their questions will increase dramatically.