June 3, 2011

Let's Talk About Sex

I have only been a pastor now for a few years. However before that I was just a regular person. Some of my friends from the time I was just a regular person (eg those from Jr, High, High School and my Undergrad) every now and then surface via Facebook or some other medium to ask a question. Sometimes it is theological, sometimes practical, sometimes it is about Jesus and sometimes just general religious wondering.

The question below came the other day from a teacher friend of mine who is now living in Calgary. The following blog was my attempt to answer her.

Her question is about sex. She was wondering how she could teach kids that abstaining from sex until marriage is a good thing. In our highly sexualized culture that is a difficult task indeed. 

I answered the question one way. I suspect you might answer it another. I would love to hear your answer to this difficult question.

When I was a teen these girls wrote the soundtrack to 'talking about sex'....baby.

I have a question for Pastor Christopher, not Chris...

So we're doing family life (aka sex ed) in my religion class right now. Do you have any good advice for reaching kids about why it's important to abstain til marriage?

Good question. I am assuming by good advice you're looking for something better then; God, the bible, or the church says so.

When it comes down to it once we leave those reasons behind things get a little tricky. If your looking for an air tight logical Christian reason why people should wait for marriage to engage in sexual activity that will make sense to all people in all times I really cannot give you one.

I can remind you of things you likely already know. They are compatible with Christian teachings, but they should not be confused with them. First generally speaking men and women approach sex from a different emotional vantage point. Men think of sex as something to do that will deepen a relationship.Women think of sex as the out pouring of an already deep relationship. This disconnect will potentially cause a lot of emotional scaring when the relationship ends.

Second no matter how hard one tries no sex is 100% safe. Of course this may not mean a lot to them, after all 99.99% is still pretty good. Third almost everyone I know that was sexually active young in life regrets their first few partners.

Even if they agree with all of this, all these points do is get a person to the stage where they are willing to wait until they are older to have safe sex, with a committed partner. So this more brings me in line with guidance counselor advice than pastorally advice.

When you dig into Christanity at least on this topic you don't really find the 'if you do X then Y will happen. And you wont like Y." (Well that's not entirely true. You will find verses like that, but they fall on deaf ears in the classroom.)

Instead what you find is something that is a little more like a story than a proverb. I like to tell it like this;

God made us, and he choose to make us both male and female. He could have done it some other way, but he didn't. He decided to make us with interconnecting parts so to speak. That means sex was God's idea therefore it is not something to fear or think of as dirty. Sex was part of the plan, part of the design.

If they don't beleive you show them Song of Songs (Or Song of Solomon).

But like just about everything else we were not susposed to just go off and do whatever we pleased with our body parts and our sexual drive. This is the first lesson of the story. God made us and he has something like owners rights over us. This is hardly limited to sex, but it certainly includes it.

It is worth noting that this is generally true for all peoples, but it is even more true for Christians. As Christians we have willingly said Jesus is Lord and master. We have promised to follow his instructions.

Moving on.

Part of the design that God gave us includes any number of drives or desires. This includes things like sex, thirst, sleep, hunger, the need to play, to be loved among others. Our sexual desire can be compared to  hunger.

We feel hunger so there must be something we can eat. However just because we feel hunger that doesn't give us licence to eat whatever we please. Somethings can not be eaten at all (rocks) others can but shouldn't be (poisonous mushrooms) some can given permission (other peoples food) while some can 'whenever' we feel like (our own food).

But even saying that we can eat our own food whenever is not really correct. There are times we have to control our impulse to eat. If we never denied ourself food when we wanted it what would happen to our body?

This is the second lesson, we have to control our sexual desire.

It is worth noting that most people agree with that. Very few if anyone would say they have the right to act on their sexual desire whenever and where ever they are. That would after all lead to any number of problems crimes and ackward moments.

Heck you can even ask them how they would feel if thier parents desided to have sex in the living room while they had friends over. They are after all following their natural desires and they are both consenting adults.

Anyway moving on. Last point.

Marrige and sex for the Christian function together. Marriage is a bonding of two people so closely that they become something  more like one person than two. This bonding is true on good days and bad. On the days we are easy to love and the ones we are hard to love.

As I said above sex is part of that connecting process. It bonds two people together and it reinforces said bonds. Sex is reserved for marrige because marriage is susposed to be a life long bond. Sex without that bond becomes cheap, frivolous and potentially emotionally damaging. It lacks the commitment to be together as a couple through thick and thin.


That was my answer. Did I miss something? Did I get something wrong? Please add your two cents! I look forward to hearing from/ learning from you.