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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Far Is Too Far?

Mars Hill Church of Seattle, WA was on Nightline. Does the pastor go too far and talk too much about sex? I think he might. Yes, it's true that those who are married should enjoy sex, but talking so freely about sex in a public forum is not only lewd, but impolite and indelicate. I might be too old fashioned for my own good. I would rather people excuse themselves to go to the bathroom than say they have to take a leak or a crap... click to Read More...

And what exactly will the church do when a brother or sister from the church starts talking about sex too freely on a date and makes his date uncomfortable? Then she'll have to face him in youth group or the young adult group and explain to everyone how he creeped her out. Or the reverse with a girl telling too much to a guy. And what about the temptation that it raises in a hypersexualized environment like we have today in the media and now at church.

I just left an Episcopal Church where more than once I blushed hotly while those around me discussed things that they had done that weekend. They were mostly in general terms, but I still didn't want to hear about it. Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill Church doesn't just talk about sex in general terms, they show video snippets of him talking specifically about positions and other graphic details. Sure, I'm not completely innocent, but I really don't want to talk about it or listen to others talk about it all so graphically. I would want to talk about it with my husband because he will be my lover. Other than that, I'll pass. Not everyone understands that nowadays as I encountered previously when I wrote Let's Talk About Sex--Or Not. I don't want church sermons to make me feel like I'm watching the Man Show or Jimmy Kimmel Live where I laugh at the naughty parts and feel guilty because it's patently offensive at times. But even the naughty parts of those shows aren't graphic.

I've felt like I was in a nightclub while at church and I didn't like it. As much as this church is growing, I want my church experience to be holy, uplifting, sacred and set apart. And there are many of us who are returning to liturgical churches because we desire that, too.

Check it out yourself:
Nightline Faith Matters

Article about Pastor Dude

I don't know where the video is, but here's hoping that the church will post it.


Amir Larijani said...

Savvy: I tend to agree. I'm anything but a prude myself, but there does come a point where there is a TMI factor.

I think erotica has its place; after all, the Song of Solomon is quite steamy if you read it at face-value. Personally, I think a husband and a wife ought to study that, while including practical applications....

But when a preacher starts discussing the vagaries of sexual positions, I'd say he's out of his freaking mind.

And if a date started discussing such matters, she would probably end up on my shit list.

Like I said, I'm no prude by any stretch. In fact, I'm a VERY red-blooded American male who, once married, hopes to enjoy sex with a wife who also hopes to enjoy it.

But in the dating/courtship/whatever-you-call-it phase, that is no time to be discussing sexual particularities.

Ame said...

savvy - (have not cked out the links) i was married for twenty years, and this would really bother me. ewww ... i don't think i could sit through something like that. that would be specifically for marriage/sex therapy. i don't see any benefit for sharing that in such a public forum.

Adam T. said...

I agree with you, Savvy, and with Ame. There are things about Mark Driscoll that I like, but this is NOT one of them, and in fact it'd be enough to make me avoid his church.

As a matter of fact, my fiancee and I were talking about this sort of thing the other day - where do Christians get the information they need if the church doesn't talk about it, yet we don't want "the world's" advice? It's a valid question, but I still think it's meant to be an intimate topic between a husband and wife.

single/certain said...

i disagree with pretty much all of you, tho i don't know the specifics of what was being discussed at mars hill.

where else can you talk about sex if not at church? kids have sex and explore and investigate and experiment because no one will talk about sex out in the light. sex is healthy and awesome and a wonderful thing when it is inside marriage, which is where god designed it to be. but when we keep it in the dark, and won't answer questions or talk candidly about it, it becomes something dirty. and kids just get their info from popular culture. and we wonder why we have pregnant eleven year olds.

SavvyD said...

S/C--parents should be the ones talking about sex with their kids and keeping an eye on them. They don't.

It becomes a problem to discuss it too openly specifically because not everyone wants to talk about it. I've been on many a date or hanging out with friends where I blushed from dirty talk and now you are saying all that talk is totally OK with you. I'm just saying people often don't know where the line is and how to discuss it with tact, politeness and sensitivity. When one is in a love relationship, here's hoping that there will be some of that.

SavvyD said...

Also, I was in a work situation where on a temp assignment, my female boss wanted me to discuss private sexual details and criticized my lack of experience. I have very little more in the way of experience. I would consider it sexual harrassment but didn't report it. I just didn't want to talk about my lack of experience because it's quite embarrassing when so many people seem to have so much experience.

Amir Larijani said...

S/C: Here is the problem....

(1) Your pastor is not your sex therapist. There is no case in Scripture for pastors to delve into the details over what sex acts are better than others.

(2) It is on the parents to discuss sexuality--as they see fit--with their kids. If you want your kids to have a more conservative understanding of such matters, that is your job. Ditto if you wish to teach them a more liberal understanding. It is not your pastor's job, nor is it your youth minister's job.

(3) Even the Song of Solomon--which gets quite steamy--leaves much to the imagination without getting into every particular matter.

And don't get me wrong: for married couples, I tend to come down on the side of more freedom and not less. What they choose to do between themselves is none of my business. (Unless she's my wife, then it's none of your business. LOL)

As for singles, abstinence is the only permissible sex act. :::damn!:::

Where I go to church, they are in the Driscoll camp. They did have a session in which they addressed sex--in explicit details. It was on a Wednesday night. The only people allowed were adults, high-schoolers, and middle schoolers (with parents present).

While they went out of their way to cover the questions appropriately, I still thought that particular session was TMI.

Perhaps the case can be made that--unless we cover particulars--that there will always be idiots who don't get it.

I would contend that, no matter how much information you provide, you're going to get people who raise questions about where the proverbial envelope is.

If you're the pastor and say, "There is no Biblical prohibition for [X]", you will always find yourself getting someone asking, "Well what about [Y]?"

The general principles ought to be sufficient:

(1) There is very wide latitude in Scripture with respect to how husbands and wives may enjoy each other.

(2) The Bible is very clear that it is designed for marital enjoyment, and [hopefully] reproduction. That enjoyment should be a two-way street, as God has given men and women (a) the anatomical capacities to enjoy sex and (b) the charge to not withhold themselves from each other.

(3) It is up to the couple to set their own boundaries as their preferences dictate.

(4) It is not on the Church to be the arbiters of what marital acts are right and which are not. You don't see the Apostle Paul going there, in spite of very hypersexed cultures in the Graeco-Roman world.

When churches start down that path, they devolve into Pharisaical circlejerkery.