Bringing Sexy Back
Valentine’s Day yet again brought us some spark of magic during one of the year’s dreariest months. Yet, the past few months within Evangelicalism has produced a firework of sparks surrounding the biggest and more confrontational discussion and issue facing the church in the 21st century: SEX.
So, what is the trend? The last decade has initiated a trend toward more open dialogue, and even church marketing, around romantic and sexual relationships. But 2011-12 has come a long way from books like Joshua Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Lately, the focus of Christian celebrity culture has been microscoping in on one matter in particular: the marriage bed.
So, who’s brining sexy back? In January, mega-church pastor Ed and his wife Lisa Young hosted a 24-hour live streaming bed-in (for those unfamiliar with this spectacle, click here) on the top of their church to promote this message (which is, no surprise, the premise of their new best-selling book): married Christians are called to have great sex. Or as the couple’s adamant perspective on the topic would prefer my formatting to reflect: GREAT Sex!
So, are there any problems with this?
Here’s a two part answer. Is there anything wrong with sex, or anything wrong with talking about it? No. Although I disagree divisively on some of Mark Discoll’s particular decisions in his book Real Marriage, you can read in my review here that his identification of sex as subject needing discussion, and his passion to do his best to speak biblical truth on the matter, is commendable. And, is sex a good thing? I would further champion that the Bible is clear about God’s ultimate ownership of sex as He is its designer and creator. And because we are not just spiritual, physical, and emotional, but also sexual beings, and because sex (and all its grievous misrepresentations and abominations) is the topic of the zeitgeist, it needs to be talked about. There are people with questions. The church needs to be there with biblical answers.
So, are there any problems with the Young’s, or the Church’s massive push to promote marital sex? I would say yes. The problem isn’t sex itself. The problem is in how we talk about it.
When it comes to talking about sex, I agree with Ed Stetzer that hype doesn’t help. The church doesn’t need new gimick’s to turn heads, to which we can then shout out a “biblical perspective” on marriage and sex. What the church needs is discipleship. And although these prominent pastor’s and their wives are trying to churn some waters, the diverse and serious questions that many men and women are asking about sex are one’s that, pastorally, are not best talked about over the airways. The answer to everyone’s personal and private questions is best done in the intimate setting of discipleship and mentoring. Writing for Christianity Today, Matthew Lee Anderson reminds that unless the church seeks to talk about sex through the biblical model of growth and communication, “older men teaching the younger men,” and “older women teaching the younger women,” efforts at sharing and engraving the biblical paradigm for sex and marriage in the hearts and souls of believers will ultimately fail.
Anderson also causes us toe ask this question: “what about modesty?” As the activities of the marriage bed are become increasingly sensationalized, the principles of modesty, self-denial and sacrifice for the sake of another, and chastity seem to take a role of secondary importance- not as principles of behavior, but as characteristics of our way of talking about the matter of sex.
Additionally, it is also a little sad that the “bed-in” itself is such an outlandish example of the sort of sensationalized marketing that makes people like John Dunne cringe. The experts over at churchmarketingsucks.com remind us that although the topic is important, “lounging in you PJ’s” with your wife on top of a building will probably make one roll their eyes before they look at the stunt as credible.
And what worries me most is, since “sex sells,” I sometimes have to wonder- does all the attention on Christian marital sex from the marketing mammoths of Christian celebrity culture stem from a desire to see healthier marriages… or to net even larger schools of fish into church pews and seats? As John Ortberg jokes- what better way to draw people to your church than to teach on these three things: sex, the end times, and will there be sex in the end times?”
Although the matter of how we communicate the truth about marital intercourse is a serious topic, I can’t help but chuckle when reading that the “bed-in” ran into its own difficulties when Ed Young needed to be taken to the hospital for an “eye injury” sustained for being out in the sun too long, two hours before the 24-hour event finished.
Clearly, bringing sexy back can be dangerous. Not only for one’s physical health, but for the theological health of us all.
 Quoted from this helpful article by Ed Stetzer http://www.christianpost.com/news/how-should-we-talk-about-sex-66891/