The Birds and Bees Come to Crosspoint

Posted: September 7, 2007 in Church, Perspective

This Sunday we kick off our series, “PureSex.”  For the most part, the topic hasn’t generated much negative feedback – at least not on the scale I’d anticipated.  However, there are a few naysayers.  Someone contacted the Decatur Daily to complain that our billboards were “pornographic” (since when are bare feet pornographic???).  So now an article about our church and the paper will run in this weekend’s newspaper.  Usually they represent us fairly, so I hope they continue to do so.

I do not really understand why people wouldn’t embrace a series like this.  Look around our world:  There are sexual messages everywhere…EVERYWHERE.  AXE body spray commercials tell you how to increase your “extra-sexual perception” and pick up girls (implying group sex as well).  Cosmopolitan magazines freely visible at the checkout line at the grocery store have headlines on the front cover:  “10 positions to please your man.”  Disney World has gay pride days.  Evening sitcoms – and not raunchy ones – deal with the topic of sex all the time.  You ever watch “Friends” or even “Everybody Loves Raymond?’  Enzyte/Maxoderm commercials promote “male enhancement.”  If that’s not enough, check your e-mail junk folder sometimes and – BAM! – all kinds of stuff promoting just what barely-adult teens are willing to do in front of a camera (yikes…yikes…yikes.).

Basically, the topic of sex is one of the most prevalant topics in our culture.  There is a message implicit in all this that pre-marital/casual sex is okay, and that great sex does not come from Christ-centered marriages, but from topical gels, pills, casual ‘swinging’ lifestyles, body sprays, experimentation, etc., etc..  Any Christ-centered view of sex is deemed outmoded or outdated.  This message is everywhere.  I think a lot of this is responsible (in part) for the sexual problems that plague our culture (Read Dave’s post listing some statistics here).

When it comes to the church knowing how to deal with this topic of sex, we are a mixed bag.  We are either (1) silent about it or (2) we are so negative about it that we communicate half-truths about sex.

Being Silent?

Here’s the problem:  If our culture is screaming about sex in so many forms of media and teaching people “how to have great sex” its way, yet the church remains silent, whom do you think people are going to listen to?  Answer:  the culture, not the church.  People will believe a lie – because no one’s speaking the truth.  Think about it this way:  If you have a 14-year-old child in school who hears 14-year-old Johnny talking about how he “scored” with a girl and how everyone should try sex, yet you – the parent – haven’t or won’t talk with your kid about sex, who do you think is educating your child on this topic?

Furthermore, sexual issues are a major problem for many people in and out of relationships.  They struggle with porn, lust, extra-marital affairs, sexual-orientation confusion, and things like a lack of intimacy in marriage, etc.  Why would we remain silent on this topic knowing that it’s such a struggle for so many people?

We must speak out.  I think there’s no shame in putting up a billboard (which we have done) to promote a series that dares to address such an important topic.  People need to hear.  The simple truth is the Bible has a lot to say about sex and how, in a Christ-centered relationship, it can truly be the great intimate experience between husband and wife that seems so elusive to people in our culture.

We shouldn’t let our own prudeness or fear of dealing with the topic keep us silent.  There always seems to be some debate as to the “appropriateness” of discussing such a topic.

  • “What if my 12-year-old child sees the billboard?”  I guarantee you that your 12-year-old child has seen much more than our billboard just waiting to check out at Publix or watching prime-time sitcoms or talking with friends.  If you don’t believe that, then you need this topic more than you think you do (especially week 4:  “What Satan is teaching your kids about sex”).  Besides, does the Bible you give your kid to read not have Song of Songs in it?  Do you censor Paul’s letters were he speaks about sex?
  • “I think it’s approprate to talk about, but not advertise that we’re talking about it.”  Um…what?  Remember, we’re a church trying to reach the UNCHURCHED, not satiate the CHURCHED.  People out there need to hear God’s truth about sex, and we need to be inviting them to hear.  From day ONE, we’ve been building a church for the people who do not go there yet.  That’s the mission – to reach people for Christ, not pour all our resources into people who already know Him and should be helping us reach those who do not know Him.
  • “Some people might leave.”  -sigh-  Some people might.  The last time we did a series like this, a person who had been coming a long time got up and left in the middle of a song and never came back.  (btw…we’re doing that same song again this Sunday).  Basically, he was offended that we sang a song in church where a man celebrated “his woman.”  Again, are you offended by Solomon’s words in Song of Songs?  The song we sang pales in comparison to that book in its content.  Even if you’re one of those people who stretches his/her theology and interprets Song of Songs metaphorically about Christ’s relationship to the church, the imagery is STILL explicity sexual.  Yes, people might leave – but this usually has more to do with one’s personal prudeness than actual biblically-based motives.  Let them leave.  Again, we’re not here to satiate Christians who want to superimpose their agendas and beliefs onto ours .  We’re hear to connect people with Christ.
  • “We’re no different from the culture if we talk about it explicitly.”  I take this one to mean that in some way talking about sex makes us as “lewd” as an AXE body spray commercial.  Solomon spoke of his wife’s breasts.  Does that make the book pornographic?  No, our message is different.  And people need to hear a different message.  And they won’t hear it if we keep our mouths shut.

Instead of worrying what might happen as we address the topic, people ought to be more worried what might happen if we don’t.

Being negative?

On the one hand – when the church finally does speak up – it focuses so much on what NOT  to do that it inadvertantly applies such a stigma to sexual behavior that we forget – at the right place and the right time – it’s meant to be something wonderful.  As Dave says from time to time, it’s as if we preach and believe that sex was invented in a dark alley behind a porn shop and forget that sex is a creation of God and meant to be enjoyed between husband and wife.  Again, I say read Song of Songs if you do not believe that!!

Of course, there is a time and place to speak out against bad behavior.  Teenagers need to learn to not have sex before marriage.  We need to let people know what the Bible says about things like homosexuality, bestiality, lust, etc.  But our message usually stops here, with what NOT to do.  Consequently, I believe people – Christians – often grow up never knowing what TO DO.  Having been communicated as such a negative thing their whole lives, a stigma is applied to it that keeps it from being wonderful in marriage, when it is appropriate and God-designed and wonderful.

I think this only increases one’s temptations.  People have sex drives, folks.  If the culture is showing people how fun it can be, yet we’re only telling people how wrong it is, people – especially those whom we’re trying to reach with the message of Christ – are going to turn to the culture for answers.

Sex was designed by God to be something wonderful shared between a husband and wife who have Christ at the center of their marriage.  We need to redeem sex from the dark alleys and illicit web pages that our culture has placed sex in and restore it to the right place God intended it to be.

On a personal note:

When I was a teenager, I went to a Baptist youth camp in Texas called Centrifuge (they had various camps around the country).  I was a teenager, and was already struggling with a lot of issues of lust and more shame than a 15-year-old should have.  I signed up for an afternoon ‘elective’ called NFL – Not For Ladies.  There were about ten guys in this class.  The speaker was a guy who was the spitting image of Gallagher, the comedian.  And for 90 minutes on each 4 of the days that we were there, we discussed sexual issues openly and honestly.  We talked about body parts.  We talked about masturbation.  We talked about situations you might find yourself in one day.  We talked about forgiveness and overcoming shame.  We talked about marriage.  No topic was off-limits.  We brought sexual issues out of the dark closets and exposed them to the light.

I left that camp feeling liberated from my shame and equipped to handle situations that I might face one day.  I firmly believe that class made a difference in how I lived my life from then on.  I managed to avoid so many traps in high school and college because someone – years earlier – had dared speak openly and honestly about something most people weren’t talking about. 

I can proudly state today that the only woman I’ve ever been with is my wife.

By the way, I gave my life to Christ at that camp.  I thought you should know that, too.

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Comments
  1. […] (On a side note:  Why are we talking about sex at Crosspoint?  Read Dave’s post here, or read my post here.) […]

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