With this title I am reminded of a friends poster he taped to the wall in our high school hallway during his student council election run. It read in big bold letters, “SEX”. Below in smaller print it read, “now that I have your attention, vote for Evan.”
Sex gets our attention. I recently read an article in Relevant Magazine that compared the sexual habits and lifestyles of 18-25 year olds. When the Article was published, it should have been met with shock, awe and protest. People should have read the statistics and been outraged at the impossibility of it all. The study showed that Christians and non-Christians were relatively indistinguishable when it comes to sexuality. Both Christians and non-Christians were having sex or have had sex with roughly the same percentages (about 80%)
The Christian community did not respond in shock and protest however. I was sitting in a group of high school and Jr. high pastors and one pastor commented, “That might be the first truthful statistic I have seen about Christians and sexuality.”
Is that a problem? That we would all see the study and say… “Yeah that sounds about right; that reflects our reality.” Whether you say that with apathy or concern, it doesn’t change the reality.
Christian’s aren’t saving sex for marriage. Everything has become sexual. Not only is it a problem, but it is a problem that the Church and Christians have contributed more towards causing than preventing. Let me explain why.
If you were to turn on your TV, you would be overwhelmed by sexual imagery and language. Commercials, sitcoms, news stories, REALITY TV! Sex is everywhere in culture. Go to a movie rated PG or above and you will no doubt acting, language, and innuendo regarding sex. Yes, even PIXAR and Disney movies. I am not necessarily making a judgment on culture, although we are a bit oversexed, I am just sating the reality you and I know. We are in the age of sexting and “friends with benefits”. We have so distorted the concept of friendship that now you can have a friend with actual benefits! There are websites online that exist for the sole purpose of helping married individual’s have an affair. Sex is being talked about at school, at the office, online, with friends, with co-workers in families, etc.
Likely the only place you will not encounter a discussion on sex in on Sunday morning in your local church. Sure, perhaps your youth ministry will do a sex talk every February, or maybe your Senior Pastor might give a rare sermon on marriage. But the Church is really the only place I can think of that is immune from conversation on sex. The Church is remarkably undersexed in a remarkably oversexed culture
What is crazy is that God created sex.
I know, lets let that reality settle in for a moment, I used God and sex in the same sentence. If anywhere, the church should be a place where we celebrate the beauty of what God created. Instead we have let culture take over the discussion. Culture gets the majority voice, the majority voice, and the majority of the airtime. And we as the Church sit back and let it happen. If anything we preach against this culture that has so idolized sexuality and yet we do nothing to set our perspectives right.
No wonder no one is surprised that young Christian’s are responding about as well as non-Christians are to the abstinence and “wait until you are married” campaigns. We are overwhelmed with the reality of oversexed culture and no one is taking time to cast a compelling vision for who God created us to be.
The one place that should be safe to talk about sexuality is the Church and it seems that we have made it the only place that we don’t talk all that much about it. Don’t do it and that’s great… do it and you’re a bad person. No wonder no one wants to bring it up. We have allowed culture to have the upper hand. Culture has highjacked the conversation on sexuality, it is the lone voice in the fight, the only boxer in the ring. Culture has taken a beautifully complex, meaningful and significant theological issue and made it the ultimate marketing tool for the masses. Clothing advertisements, magazine covers, cars, ect… how do we sell it? As the saying goes, “sex sells.”
The reality is, sexuality is a very real and significant part of what makes us human, a very real part of us that was created by God, yet often when you say the word “sex” in church, there is almost a palpable discomfort that immediately engulfs the room. I think the only way to change culture is not to condemn from the sidelines, to yell and say that they aren’t playing fairly so we wont play at all. We need to get in the ring and tell the compelling and life-changing truth of who we were created to be as human beings, and how we act sexually has very real implications for our relationships, our psychology, our theology, and our humanity.
I believe we are called to be fully human, to be fully embrace the truth that we were created in image of God in full, in ALL that we do. Just as the church shouldn’t be defined by sexuality as the rest of culture is, we must stopped being defined by our lack discussion on sexuality. In order to regain the beauty of sexuality and restore it from the mutated form it finds itself in, in order to change the statistics regarding rampant sexual activity, In order to change the conversation about sexuality… we need to actually have a conversation.