Posts Tagged ‘sex’

url-7-600x385The title alone should cause some neck hairs to stand at full attention, but after reading a recent Nerve magazine article, it’s definitely another reason why teens need godly adults in their lives to help them identify truth & health vs. deception & moral corruption.

The author, Kate Hakala, uses input gathered from teens about the top 10 reasons they feel that hooking up with a stranger is actually a good thing.  The author holds nothing back, and obviously her own morals are severely lacking.  It’s a shame that people are buying into this, but then again, a lot of her research is coming from the perception of teens themselves…or at least that’s the angle she’s taking…I’d like to see the source research on this where it was teens that actually responded, vs. college/university students and younger adults.

Now might be time for some of us parents to have a morality chat with our youth…not dwelling on the obvious of what’s accepted and happening, but rather on the ‘what ought to be’ and the consequences of walking outside God’s moral boundaries.

Sex is one of the biggest topics of conversation on the minds of young people age 12-19.  If they aren’t talking about sex, it’s a good chance they might be experimenting with it.  So if this is one of the most talked about topics among young people, and they’re searching for answers about sexuality, then why are so many families and churches avoiding the conversation?  I don’t know all the answers to that, but being a parent and someone who has worked in vocational church ministry for quite some time, I think I know a couple of the most common reasons;

FEAR– we tend to avoid the things that cause us fear, and talking about sex can send many of us hiding in a corner pretty quick. Many parents and churches fear this topic because they either don’t have the answers, and/or they don’t want anyone else to know it they don’t have the answers!  Plus there’s the fear that if we engage in these conversations, our young people might just want to know more…and we fear more interest=more knowledge…and more knowledge=more sparked curiosity…and more curiosity=more exploring…and more exploring=looser boundaries and convictions…and this all could lead to….dancing…just kidding!  But we fear if we start the conversation, then we’re just opening the door to the bottomless pit of despair and anguish that we feel kids will fall into.  It might also be the fear of offense (at least within the church) that churches often come under from parents.  Every time I’ve talked to parents about an upcoming series to students on sexuality, there are some that feel it’s not the job of the church to talk about those kinds of topics.

I think there’s more to fear in not talking about sex and sexuality with our kids, then there is to fear if we do talk about it!

NAIVETY– Even in today’s culture, parents can often get wrapped up in the perception that their kids would never do anything that is ‘bad’ or that their parents told them to stay away from when they had ‘the talk’ at age 6.  I’ve heard countless parents make comments re: issues we would talk about in youth ministry, and when the ‘sex talk’ came around, parents would assert that it isn’t something their 14 year-old is struggling with or needs to hear.  “There’s other more important topics out there to discuss” would be something I would hear.  Parents, and even some church leaders, can become naive to the things young people face…even those who aren’t looking to get involved with sex, sexuality, dating relationships, are lured in and confronted with the concepts of sex and sexuality on an almost daily basis.  If your kid has access to: other kids, other adults, internet, TV, music…outside influence…then they’re having messages about sexuality thrown in their face everyday.

Just because it isn’t being talked about at home, doesn’t mean your kids aren’t getting the message from other sources.

Salt-N-Pepa at least had a couple of things right in their 1991 hit song Let’s Talk About Sex…there’s both good, and bad things to talk about!  There’s some awesome privileges and freedoms about sex, but there’s also some harsh consequences when we try to abuse the gift God gave us in sex and intimacy, and it’s intended gift between a husband and wife.  Even a four-hit-wonder group like Salt-N-Pepa knew that sex was a topic we can’t avoid talking about…because everyone’s talking about it…

Let’s talk about sex for now to the people at home or in the crowd
It keeps coming up anyhow
Don’t decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
Cuz that ain’t gonna stop it
Now we talk about sex on the radio and video shows
Many will know anything goes
Let’s tell it how it is, and how it could be
How it was, and of course, how it should be
Those who think it’s dirty have a choice
Pick up the needle, press pause, or turn the radio off
Will that stop us, Pep? I doubt it
All right then, come on, Spin

Now of course the culture is going to spin a different tune on what sex is and how it ‘could and should be’!  Just because we might want to delay the conversation…or in extreme cases eliminate it all together…doesn’t mean we can shut the voice of culture.  Our society tells us that sex is a fantastic demonstration of passion and intimacy between two people (and not everyone agrees on the gender specifics of the two engaging in the act!), and that having sex is a normal part of sexual and human expression.  What we never seem to hear about is the damaging consequences of sex outside of the boundaries that God set for our pleasure and well-being.  Check out the end lyrics of the song that resonate the extreme ‘downs’ that go along with the intense ‘highs’ of treating sex as a flippant way of engaging in ‘normal’ human relationships;

There ain’t a man alive that she couldn’t get next to
She had it all in the bag so she should have been glad
But she was mad and sad and feelin’ bad
Thinkin’ about the things that she never had
No love, just sex, followed next with a check and a note
That last night was dope

My question is this: if parents and the church aren’t talking about sex with youth (for whatever reason)…then who is? (because you can bet someone is!).  If we feel it isn’t an appropriate topic to discuss, within families and the church, then who/what is the appropriate voice…and when?

So instead of freaking out, why not take advantage of the tremendous influence parents and the church still has on our young people, and intentionally engage in the conversation?  One of the reasons I appreciate Jonathan McKee and his Youth Culture Window, is the intentional approach he has in addressing the issues that matter in youth and family culture.  I’d like to share 5 of his recent blog articles with you on the topic of sex, and how parents and youth leaders can walk through the ‘sex’ conversation with youth.  Obviously parents need to show wisdom and discern the age, readiness and appropriateness of the talk, but the important thing is that you start the conversation.

If we as parents and the church don’t take the initiative, satan will more than gladly allow us to defer to the influence of media, peers, culture, and deception to shape our kids views of sex.  If you have any thoughts on these articles, or on the topic of talking about sex with your kids, we’d love to hear them!  And if you’ve come across any solid teaching/resources on this topic…share the wealth please!

Shhhh!  Don’t Talk About Sex
Four Facts About Sex We Can’t Hush- Fact 1
Four Facts About Sex We Can’t Hush- Fact 2
Four Facts About Sex We Can’t Hush- Fact 3
Four Facts About Sex We Can’t Hush- Fact 4

**If you’re a church or school leader and looking for creative ways to communicate with young people and parents on this uber-important topic, I would suggest someone like Brett Ullman.  Brett is a good friend and colleague of mine who’s been speaking to youth and families for over 10 years on topics like media/faith/culture, sex and dating, biblical manhood, and self-injury.  Brett’s the.sex.talk. (coming spring 2012) would be a worth-while investment to bring to your church or school…so why not give him a shout and inquire about it before he starts getting booked up!?!

Got this video from a ministry newsletter today and just had to share it!  It’s a creative video with a very powerful statement about God’s purpose for marriage…not just to make us happy, satisfied, and to fulfill our desires…but to make us holy!  The guy in the vid is Jefferson Bethke, he’s been doing creative videos to get the message of Christ in the streets and in the hearts of people who will hear.  It’s a strong challenge for us to take a biblical perspective on the purpose and sanctity of marriage and sexuality.  While the video focuses on ‘marriage’, it is definitely not aimed at those currently married…there’s a deep message and call to our younger generations to ‘get it’ before they ‘get in it!‘ (the purpose before the proposal!).

Bethke was an internet sensation with his Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus video in the spring of 2011. His notoriety has not gone without some controversy, as his 14+ million youtube views were accompanied with thousands of comments, questions, and even spurred multiple videos, both in support, and in rebuttal to.  Basically he came under fire from many within the mainline protestant and orthodox Catholic communities.  Some felt he was dissing organized ‘religion’, others felt he was airing anti-political sentiments, and still others accused him of being a confused, jaded and misinformed post-modern millennial.  Bethke seems to be a Mark Driscoll protegé, so he’s gonna be ‘to-the-point’, often coming across as offensive to some, and with a sharp-edged Reformers point-of-view.

At the very least, he is a very creative and articulate young man with a passion to discover what it truly means to follow Christ…apart from getting caught in the hypocrisy of ‘dead religion’.  His views certainly strike a chord with those who hear his message, both positively and negatively, and invoke a level of passionate response.  From the other videos of Jefferson that I have watched, I would say he is a young man who is tired of saying he believes in the teachings of Jesus, yet fails to live them out in his life…and is frustrated with others in ‘religious’ authority and influence who do the same.  But kudos to him for sharing his thoughts, and getting the rest of us to think more deeply and critically of our own faith walk in Christ!  Hey, even Jesus was fed up with the ‘dead religious’ systems in place during His earthly mission, and His own brother, James, called ‘real’ Christians to live out a real ‘religion.’

pornography is the new crack cocaine” ~Wired Magazine

PORN…okay let’s just get the word out-of-the-way because if we’re honest, it’s a word we try not to say.  It’s one of those words you don’t want to be heard uttering in the office, at the dinner table, or during  casual conversation, and there’s probably a handful of cuss words we’d rather use too!  It’s a word you’re likely not going to hear the church talking about either, even though it’s an issue running rampant throughout the church.  For a word that no one really wants to talk about (at least out in the open), it sure is one word with major influence and impact in our society.  The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar business that has left a trail of carnage, heartache, despair, brokenness and regrets in its path.  One word, but mucho problemos!

You’re likely not too surprised to hear the notion that porn is a problem in society today, but perhaps not aware of the magnitude of this problem.  According to Wired Magazine, internet pornography is the ‘new crack cocaine’, luring countless millions of teens and adults into its clutches all across the world each year.  At least you can flush cocaine out of the body over time, but pornography…well it burns images of lust and fantasy into the human brain with lasting impressions that few other experiences can match.  In the Nov. 19 ’04 Wired Magazine article Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania, called porn the “most concerning issue to psychological health that I know of existing today”, and that’s coming from a secular worldview!

Porn and its addictive behaviors are no longer an adult male-dominated issue, as both male and female teens are being equally bombarded with the warping views pornography presents on sexuality, morality, relationships, and marriage.  According to the web-based ministry xxxchurch.com, the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old (although that stat has been widely debated due to the nature of the surveys and the definitions of what is considered pornographic), and 90% of 8-16 year-old’s viewing porn online, most often while doing homework.

Whether these stats are 100% correct or not isn’t the point.  The point is the toxic effect porn is having on the lives of teens and adults, with the outlook and future stability of families and marriages at stake.   As Remedy Live’s Ann Blisk stated; “Porn is lulling a generation to sleep so that they miss out on living a full life of joy and happiness. Are we as a society destined to watch sexual fantasy hypnotize those who will be our future parents, lawmakers and spiritual leaders?”

So today’s post is dedicated to raising the red flag of awareness to teens, parents, adults…anyone and everyone interested in confronting one of, if not the most, urgent issue facing our culture’s moral landscape today.  I’ve come across two excellent authors and youth/family ministry experts who have recently blogged on the subject of pornography, both individually, as well as collaborative works.  I encourage you to take some time this week to read the articles from Jonathan McKee and Doug Fields, and if you’ve come across any resources you’d like to share on the subject of pornography, please feel free to share them with us.

Below are the four articles Doug Fields posted on his blog this month addressing porn (which are also included in McKee’s post), as well as Jonathan McKee’s The Increasingly Difficult Task of Fleeing Porn.  Both blog posts also have some very good reader responses, and include some helpful and effective web links.

Later this week I’ll post pt. II of this topic, which will turn the attention away from focusing on the problem, and instead shift to zeroing in on the solution!  In the meantime, here’s a short video from Dr. Doug Weiss on why the temptations and allure of pornography are so strong and almost impossible to resist when we place ourselves in its path.  It’s not all bad news though…there’s freedom on the horizon for those seeking!!