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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sex is the Idol of our Time



Sex is the Idol of our Time

A major sexual revolution has taken place in the last fifty years.  In just these few years much has changed in our society when it comes to relationships between the sexes. Fifty years ago abortion was illegal in the U.S. and the forms of birth control available didn’t work well.  Along with this, women who did become pregnant outside of marriage back then were often treated with prejudice.  Because of these influences, along with Christian beliefs that sex should include marriage, most couples did not have sexual relations until after marriage.  

  A double standard prevailed back then in that the un-wed pregnant girl was shamed while the father of the unborn child usually got off the hook.  Often he had professed his love for the girl, but then when she had become pregnant, he had dropped her and run the other way.  Alone and embarrassed, the pregnant girl in that judgmental society became a sad victim. To avoid being criticized by friends and family, the un-married pregnant girl would often go to a “home for un-wed mothers” and hide out there until after the birth of her child, keeping her pregnancy a secret from the disapproving public.

 Most of these single mothers would give their newborn babies up for adoption, believing that it was best for their babies to be in stable families.  Back then there was a strong belief in society that a child needed to be raised by a mother and a father who were in a loving committed relationship – a marriage.  The single mother also wanted to find the love of her life someday and be married.  She was told that if she kept her baby, that good men would not consider marrying her.   

 Nearly every woman back then wanted more than anything else to marry a good man. Most of the popular songs were about falling in love or finding your “one and only”.  Back then romance, marriage and true love were so all important that women were often blamed if they broke the rules when it came to sex outside of marriage. 

Fifty years ago women (mothers, wives and girlfriends) were put upon a pedestal and treated special.  Most men would never swear or say “dirty” words around women. A good woman was one who remained a virgin until marriage and all women were supposed to be an influence towards keeping the society sexually moral. It was their responsibility. Women were trusted to be the nurturers and protectors of children.  And the wife was also to have a stabilizing effect on her “man” and on her family.  In return women enjoyed respect from their gentlemen friends and treated with chivalry.  So when a woman broke the rules and had sex with a man who didn’t love or marry her, she was taken down off her pedestal and considered a “loose” woman.          

But all of these behaviors began to change in 1973 when abortion became legal (Roe vs Wade) in our country. And ever since then millions of abortions have been performed routinely.  The first birth control pill (Enovid) had been introduced ten years earlier, opening the door for much more sexual freedom and new possibilities for sexual conduct.  And about this time pornography which had always been illegal in the U.S.A. was made legal by another unfortunate Supreme Court decision.  Most of society (Christian) did not want pornography because it opened the doors to a saturation of sexual stimulation on television, advertising, the movies and later on the internet. But it was forced on us anyway! Gone were the good ole’ days!

Many sexually liberated women happily climbed down off of their moral pedestals and demanded sexual equality with their men. Some dismissed the warnings in the Bible against casual sex as being old fashioned and out dated.  These were modern educated women who had outgrown religious notions and they demanded the freedom to enjoy sex with any man they liked without worrying about unwanted pregnancies.  And the men seemed to happily go along. Also many women were tired of being dependent on men, especially men who let them down.    

 Now that women finally had reliable birth control and also abortion as a backup, they were free to do whatever they wanted to do sexually without fear of having unwanted pregnancies. There was big money to be made in this new sexual revolution and big business jumped in to reap the profits!  Billions of dollars in profits rolled in for the music industry, the abortion industry, drugs, alcohol, media, advertising, movies, the clothing industry, etc.!  Sex sells so they all jumped in! 

 Styles were changing and clothing became form fitting and sexually suggestive whereas before women dressed more modestly.  Psychedelic drugs and wild music entered the picture with sexually transmitted diseases going viral and dreaded new sexual diseases appearing and killing millions.  Marriage and family life started breaking down.  Millions of children were now being raised in a moral wasteland without the shelter of stable loving homes. Divorce rates skyrocketed and now we see an increasing unwillingness to enter into marriage in the first place?   

 So much changed in so little time!  We have changed the definition of marriage from what it had always been and what the Biblical definition is – the God ordained union of a man and a woman! (Mark 10:6-9) And there is talk of changing the definition of marriage even further in the future to where marriage can be a union which includes more than two persons. Many people today find themselves trapped in a sexual promiscuity which destroys their self-esteem.  We don’t seem to need God or His standards any more when we can do things our own way and when all other issues must take second place to worshipping the sex god in all of its many forms and perversions.   

The Bible teaches that sex is not free and that God gave us the gift of sex only in the context of marriage. (Hebrews 13:4-7) Adultery is especially outlawed in the Bible and is important enough to be one of the Ten Commandments.  (Exodus 20:14) God gave us this commandment against adultery out of love because adultery breaks up families and hurts people, especially children.  And also we are to “run away from “fornication” (sex outside of marriage.)  (1Corinthians 6:18)  

In the New Testament we find that Jesus teaches that sex represents love and a long term commitment to each other in a marriage. Scripture says that sex is a life uniting act.  But sex is cheapened and becomes meaningless when this “life uniting act” is used outside of a “ life-uniting intent.”  Jesus took the Bible as His authority, and if Jesus is our Lord, we must follow His example. Sex outside of marriage may feel good but when God’s pattern is broken, people get hurt.  If we keep God’s laws, we will live under His blessing.   

How are we Christians to live in this sexualized society?  We may lose some friends if we don’t go along with the “new sexual morality”?  Are we willing to pay the price and go against the crowd?  We are called to follow Jesus. But how do we follow Jesus through the confusion of this sexualized maze?  For starters, if we have made sexual mistakes in the past, God will forgive us.  And if we are dating now, let’s enjoy getting to know the person we are dating without confusing the relationship with sex.  Let’s keep sex for lifetime commitment - marriage. If we are married, let’s be faithful and true in our marriage and love only our spouse.  Let’s not indulge in lusting after other persons but put all of our efforts into building up our spouse.  Let’s be responsible for our own children and not cheat on our spouse.  Live a faithful life and a good life!

Let’s avoid places and persons who might tempt us to be unfaithful.  Let’s not be squeezed into the world’s mold. And let’s teach our children these values too.  Lets’ count on the Lord to help us because the Spirit of God will set us free from sin where a set of rules will be powerless.  (Romans 8:1-4) If you have problems in areas concerning sex, pray and ask God to set you free.  He promises to give you the power to do good things and live the good life.  (Philippians 4:13) Stand on His promises and count on Him to help you overcome. (Ephesians 6:13)  

God is calling you to be His witness in this sexually broken world.  It is impossible to love and serve God all the way and also disobey in the area of sexual morality!  Give sexual immorality up now.  As Christians we are called to be “salt” in this world.  But if the “salt” has lost its’ taste, it is worthless.  (Matthew 5:13-16) We don’t want to be tasteless salt or a worthless witness to our Lord. Let’s go all the way with God.  

Some of these ideas in this blog were taken from Nicky Gumbel’s booklet, “Searching Issues”.    

     


1 comment:

Rachel Shaw said...

Oh my goodness. Seriously?

I remember as a child you explaining to me why women burned their bras in the 60s and why it was a good idea. So reading now that we all should return to the “good ole' 50s” and women should climb back up on their pedestals is a surprise to me. I don’t think you really mean this.

It occurs to me that if you had not grown up under the repressive sexism of the 1950s and you had had access to effective birth control, you likely would have become a minister. Or an author. You had a calling. You said as much to me.

I never dreamed about getting married. I dreamed about making a life that was wonderful and amazing. And you encouraged me. Your granddaughter is now dreaming about becoming a scientist. I don’t show her wedding gowns and floral arrangements; I take her to math tutoring and give her earth science books. I sock away money so that if she gets accepted to a top-rate university, the tuition price won't stop her from attending. My dream is that she will grow to be like the woman in Proverbs: "She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong." (Proverbs: 31:16-17)

If your granddaughter is to reach her dreams, she’ll need to be off the pedestal, working really hard, side-by-side with men who see and treat her as an equal. She’ll also need to delay having children until the time is right. Having access to safe and effective birth control is a tool that can help her take responsibility for her health and her life. Unlike most of the women in the good ole’ 50s, your granddaughter has a chance to go after her dreams.

Your argument in this blog that women are responsible for the sexual morality of society, with men just following along reminds me of Adam’s argument to God in Genesis 3:12-17 that
it's all the woman’s fault; she gave me the apple. God didn't buy it and I don’t either. We’re in this together. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galations 3:28)

It’s easy to use Bible verses out of context to judge others and to prove a point (you could argue that I’m doing it in this response). But I think if you’re going to take some parts of the Bible literally, you should take all parts literally.

And, as you say, much has changed in so little time. Food standards have improved, making it safe to eat pork, shellfish, and other foods that the Old Testament writers rightfully deemed unclean. Marriage has evolved so that the examples provided by the Biblical Patriarchs of multiple wives and concubines are now considered reprehensible. And women are no longer relegated to silence in church. Or at least they aren’t in the churches I choose to attend.

What hasn’t changed is the great commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:26-28).

The problem today isn’t sex (and the changed mores and broken down pedestals that birth control and Roe v. Wade have brought). The problem today is in not having love.

It’s not seeking and serving Christ in all persons; not loving your neighbor as yourself; not striving for justice and peace among all people; and not respecting the dignity of every human being: Jew, Greek, male, female, straight, gay, transgender. We are all created in the image and likeness of God.

My daughter should have the dignity and the respect from her brothers and sisters in Christ to go after her dreams--even if those dreams fall far outside an outdated patriarchal view of how society should be.

Mother, on this one, you’re wrong.