Tom’s Turn — Actually, Christy's Mostly
My five year old grandson told his grandmother that one of the girls in his class thinks he's “sexy.” Trying not to look stunned, Patty replied, “Well, Cole, what do you think that means?” “That means,” he replied immediately, “that she thinks I'm REALLY cool.” Overhearing, his momma quietly wiped her brow and whispered, “Whew!”
With a local clergyman and his wife making headlines in their bed and saying things like, “We want to bring sex into the church and to bring God into the bedroom,” I asked Christy Suggs, our Youth Director, to give us her viewpoint. Christy has a wonderful perspective on the issue because she is a leader in CLER Ministries which has been providing sexuality training in church settings for many years. As for my perspective, I am one hundred percent behind the notion that the church should be talking about sex – even if the minister's also trying to hawk a book. But that whole notion of “bringing God into our bedrooms,” though a good thing as far as that minister and his wife mean it, needs a bit of qualification. For it reminds me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's words about those who piously long for heaven or think they should always be thinking of God. The German theologian remarked that “for a man in his wife's arms to be hankering after the other world is, in mild terms, a piece of bad taste, and not God's will.”
God in the bedroom?
Most of you probably saw Ed Young Jr, senior minister at Fellowship Church, make headlines this weekend. Ed and his wife, Lisa, got in bed together Friday morning to talk about sex. Their sex-talk-athon started at 6 AM and ended 24 hours later. That in and of itself may have caught headlines, but to make sure he made the cover of the Star-Telegram they did this on the roof of his Grapevine church. My gut reaction was to say this was a publicity stunt to sell his new book, Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse. I want to think it is more than this though. Young says the goal was to point to the importance of frequent sex in happy, long-lasting marriages. Lisa was quoted saying, “We want to shout it from the rooftop what God says about sex.” I couldn’t agree more.
It is important for the church to have a voice on this topic. We turn to the church for guidance and support with many issues, but for some reason sex is a subject we are afraid to talk about. I have had the privilege of working with CLER Ministries and the Eighter’s Camp Program for 15 years now. And there we talk about sex. Our church has many connections to the program with the number of youth and adults that have attended the camp throughout the years. The program’s purpose is “To provide soon-to-be ninth grade youth with factual and spiritual sexuality information that will help them view sexual intimacy as a gift from God intended for the marriage relationship. To enlighten youth to the dangers, risks, and consequences that can occur when God’s gift of sexual intimacy is used outside of a loving, committed relationship.”
Our Area camping ministry needs to be applauded for offering this program for our youth, but this cannot be the only place we speak the message. We, the church, need to have the freedom to speak the message within our four walls. This means Bible Studies (yes the subject is discussed in the Bible, see Song of Solomon for an example), Sunday school lessons, and sermons. Let’s be honest… it is not an easy subject to approach. It makes people uncomfortable. But if we cannot broach this subject in a loving community that allows us to ask questions, then where will we turn for our answers.
P.S. As I finished this article I received an email from Bluefish TV, a company that sells religious curriculum, advertising their new DVD series Healthy Loving Marriage. The subject is being addressed everywhere we turn. Is it the message we want spoken? Will we let others speak for us? Or will we have the confidence to give our voice?
Thanks, Christy, for sharing your thoughts. It’s good to know my family and I won’t have to struggle alone with our “sexy” kindergartner!
I’ll see you and your guest next Sunday. Bring the whole family. Remember to share a ride, to wash your hands often, and to share the love of God even if only with a smile. To prepare for worship, please read Mk. 1:14-20.