Written By: Krista Redman
We live in a world where Miley Cyrus’ “twerking” received more press than actual world news. Her performance has received attention from people all across the political, religious and cultural spectrum ranging from negative to neutral. American sexuality has consistently sought to outdo itself; women and men alike turn themselves into objects for the sake of entertainment. But what other alternatives are presented just as consistently? How are people meant to develop a healthy sexuality in the wake of a culture that speaks up to condemn but not to correct or enlighten? Christians have generally held a strong negative opinion towards an over sexualized culture but often offer no healthy alternatives. The cultural perspective on human sexuality at large seeks to repress sexual expression as an uncomfortable evil in itself.
For example, in the movie Mean Girls, there is a scene set in a public school health class where the teacher begins a dialogue warning his students of the dangers of sex more as a scare tactic to prolong the nervous deposition most teenagers have towards their own sexuality than an actual education. “Don’t have sex,” he says “Because you will get Chlamydia, and die. Alright everybody take some rubbers.” This is considered sex-ed in the public sector of education. Having attended a public school this interpretation is not far from the truth of what happens in sex education classes.
However what is more discouraging is the typical Christian school reaction to state mandates to educate students about sex. Again a movie reference tells it all. Saved! is a satire targeting American evangelical culture set in a private Christian school. The premise of the story is main character gets pregnant while trying to redeem her boyfriend from his impending homosexuality. She gives herself to him as a last stitch effort to answer the question WWJD? She finds out later that this was not the most Christian option at a mandatory sex education class held by Dean Pastor Skip who ends his talk standing in front of an anatomically correct slide show saying “Good Christians don’t get giggy with it until they’re married.” Although these movie references seem a little exaggerated, they speak truth about our society’s response to sex.
Both approaches leave much to be desired. Both choose to ignore the reality of our created nature, leaving either the option of a condom or marriage as the remedy.
Genesis one speaks of the oneness of man and woman. Song of Solomon contains hoards of poetic and analogical language about the joys of togetherness not only between man and woman but the holy reality of Christ and the church. It links our sexual experiences to our relationship with Christ. It is strange, because in a very real way marriage is not about two beings it is about three. Sex in its purest form displays the reality of the Godhead, therefore our sexual understanding and awareness should reflect this as well.
The problem arises with what to do with the people sitting in those classes, or in those small groups, or in those sermons that supposedly address the unmarried but give them no space to connect with this reality. It is as if all the single people in the church are dormant, like there is a light switch within them waiting to be (no pun intended) turned on by a spouse. Until that time however they are left to themselves not able to even begin to understand their sexual nature without the cover of marriage.
This is not something that only affects singles in the church, married couples are also given the silent treatment. It is as if marriage in itself gives those two people the blessing of a healthy sexuality. Granted every couple must prayerfully consider their own sexual limits but it seems like as soon as two people become one the church leaves them entirely to their own devises.
Why does this happen? In communities that understand the reality of the Scriptures and the calling and higher reality of marriage why is it that so many people are left to themselves? Christians of all people should understand the essentialness of having a healthy and godly sexuality. Part of this means opening a dialogue that is honest, biblically based, and communally bound.
Of course this topic is uncomfortable. But in in way that is to be expected because sex is one of the most vulnerable of human experiences. Adam and Eve hid in shame because of their nakedness when they fell and in a way this is the same reality that plagues churches today and most Christian’s depositions towards their sexuality. But the wonderful thing that Christians need to live out in their communities is that Christ has conquered this shame and this fear in the ultimate sense. Therefore we should as people being conformed to his image and in full awareness of this reality seek to reverse this shame.
This does not mean that everyone should walk around like a Berkley student and use nakedness as a form of self-expression or that couples should go around sharing all of their sexual experiences. But there should be a sense of comfortableness from all sides. In short we can no longer hide in the bushes from God and from each other.