The ‘Seven Day Sex Challenge’ and Preaching
Well, it’s been about a week or so since I posted my own challenge to ‘Rev’ Ed Young in an open letter format. My open letter concerned his ridiculous Seven Day Sex Challenge and his use of his pulpit to promote it. Well, it’s all the rage. People are talking about it and evidently participating. I have seen stories on CNN, Foxnews and Friends, and today even Glenn Beck made passing reference to it (I only listened to 5 minutes of Beck on my way to my part time job!!) Of course Drudge has picked it up too. I’m sure others. *Yawns*
In a not surprising, and yet still ironic twist, people are still not talking about church or Jesus of Nazareth or marriage between a man and a woman. Instead, all anyone can talk about is sex, pastor Young, and his seven day challenge. But then again, it is isn’t designed to spur our interest in Christ now is it? From the KLTV 7 News web page (see Drudge link above), Young says “the challenge will help couples in his church focus on each other, reclaiming sex for married people.”
Said another preacher in the same story:
Minister Mark Edge says sex is in the Bible. So why not the church? In fact, he says last week’s sermon was about Christian sexuality.
“God’s Word is certainly not ashamed to talk about this. God’s Word understands. God understands that it is a very important part of our lives….we really should have been talking about this all along,” said Edge.
Yes, I agree: The Bible has something to say about sex. Sadly, I think we only want to hear the parts that we like. We don’t want to hear the parts about ‘don’t commit adultery,’ or ‘do not visit prostitutes,’ or ‘the practice of homosexual sex will prevent inheritance of the kingdom of God,’ or ‘keep the marriage bed pure’ (ie., don’t have sex outside of marriage). But we are a curious lot. We are bored. Tired. In the church, therefore, we must spend more time taking about the things that people want to hear because, as one pastor in the above referenced article said, “And if we don’t address this, then I guarantee you, Desperate Housewives will!”
That’s certainly motivation.
We must be a pathetic group of people. We church folk must appear to be to the rest of the world a bunch of loons. Imagine that you were on the outside looking in and here you see a group of people who claim to belong to the very God of the Universe and the only mystery you see them exploring and expounding is that of sex. We claim to be sons and daughters of the Holy One of Israel and yet for all that we can only find it within ourselves to preach on something in order to prevent Desperate Housewives from doing so. We claim the oracles of salvation, the mysteries of the Holy Spirit, the hope of eternal life, God’s plan of redemption, forgiveness of sins, grace, hope, pure love, sanctification, holiness…and all some preachers can find to talk about on Sunday mornings is sex. *Getting sleepy*
I’d rather watch Desperate Housewives. (Which I don’t, btw.)
In other words, there are much better things to talk about on Sunday mornings. People must think we are fools. They must think we are the most desperate group of people on the planet. The apostle Paul cried out, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen!” (Romans 11:33-36).
But all we can find to discuss on Sunday mornings is sex.
We have explored God enough, I guess. I suppose that is the message Rev Young is really conveying: “Hey we have God all figured out here. We need not explore Him for his own sake.” It is said that the Old Testament prophets searched and searched to understand what has been revealed to us: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that followed. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the Gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things” (1 Peter 1:10-12).
But we are so in tune with these mysteries that we can afford to take time away from preaching to talk about sex. Or, we are so bored with these mysteries that we can move on to other things–like sex.
These mysteries have been revealed to us! We preach on Christ from now until eternity and never exhaust the story. It is not sex people need to hear about from the preacher. It is Christ. We are petty folks, to be sure. We settle for sandcastles when Christ has put within our reach immense wealth. But I know what the response is: “Christ wants us to be well-rounded, balanced, living life to the full, exercising the full breadth of our salvation. This includes much discussion about the proper ways Christians ought to practice sex. After all, if the preacher doesn’t tell us, we might seek advice from Desperate Housewives. Get with it preacher!”
My ears are itching just a bit.
My previous post on this subject, an open letter to ‘Rev’ Young, has generated mostly negative feedback from the Rev’s supporters, but I stand by what I’m saying here. I think we are bored and that is why such stuff makes it into the pulpit. You mean to tell me that the treasures of infinite glory are at our fingertips, that the very oracles of God are at our disposal for us to mine, search, chew, meditate upon, digest, and expound and sex is all we can come up with for Sunday mornings? I’ve always been taken aback and somewhat amused by this paragraph from CS Lewis:
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (Weight of Glory)
Yes, I agree. We are far too easily satisfied if we know the Christ of Scripture and all we can find to preach about on Sundays is sex; and we are far too easily amused if we can reduce marriage to a mere seven day challenge. Yes, I quite agree that we are half-hearted. There has been no true turn to our true love, our first love, if the best thing we can do with the Word of God is reduce it to a manual for sex within a marriage when there, on every page, is the Glory of God become man: Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah.
Perhaps the reason why sex must be preached from the pulpit is because we haven’t yet really had any encounter with the living God?
Lord, may it never be that we lack so much desire for you, so much hunger for you, so much thirst for you that we are satisfied with motivational speeches about sex and sexuality from our pulpits. May you always be our delight and our Joy. May it be that our souls long for you. May it be that as the deer pants for streams of water, so our souls long after you. May it be that you are so infinitely grand that we see you first and your kingdom and that anything else that is added is beside the point. May we, your church, never run out of things to say about Jesus and so reduce your Good News, your Gospel, to mere sex-talk. May it be that we would find more delight being a doorkeeper in your house than to dwell in the tents of the wicked. Purify our speech, Lord, and may your Gospel go forth.
Semper Deo Gloria!