Love The World Without Falling For It: Sexual Purity

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This week in an interview with NPR I was asked what I meant by the sub-title for my book, “Too Christian Too Pagan.” The sub-title is “how to love the world without falling for it.”

I answered that at times Christians are called to be countercultural. Sometimes popular culture’s prevailing values are at odds with Christian values.

Sexual purity is a perfect example.

Every day, teenagers are exposed to provocative messages about sex. Sexual innuendo is a staple on TV sitcoms. Movies like the current release “Because I said So” starring Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore are billed as family fare, but carry a PG-13 rating for or sexual content including dialogue, some mature thematic material and partial nudity.

When today’s teen signs on to “My Space,” they are bombarded with sexually provocative advertisements.

When they head off to public school they’ll likely be reminded that becoming sexually active as a teenager is the norm–and they’ll be advised about safe sex.

The advertisements they see on TV, the clothing displays at their favorite stores, the lyrics of their favorite songs¢â‚¬¦everywhere they turn, sexual expression is provoked and essential need for sexual activity is reinforced.

This bombardment is taking it’s toll on teens and Christian teens are not immune.

Go to any prayer meeting involving parents and you’ll hear tragic stories of young Christian teens who have lost their virginity. Talk to any youth pastor who really knows the secret lives of teens and they’ll tell you of the epidemic of sexual promiscuity and rampant addiction to pornography.

The culturally savvy Christian loves the world without falling for it–we are willing to be countercultural.

Taking a stand against today’s cavalier attitude about sex is not prudish and is not even based solely in traditional Christian morality.

The sanctity of sex is part of what it means to be fully human and cheapening sex is dehumanizing.

Unless humans are prepared to accept the view that we are simply animals whose sexual behavior is like that of dogs in heat, we ought to aim higher in our sexual values and behavior. On this point religious and irreligious alike should share common ground.

So how do we promote sexual purity in a media age saturated with sexually promiscuous messages?

From a young age we need to teach our children to understand, respect and take responsibility for their bodies.

In childhood we should protect & shelter our kids from the polluted media environment. Their innocence is a gift we should preserve as much as possible.

As our children get older we need to help them face the harsh world in which they live. Rather than hiding in a protective cocoon, we need to help our kids practice discernment in their media choices. Listen to their new CD’s, watch TV shows they want to watch, talk to them about the movies they like, monitor their online behavior.

As they increase their exposure to a sex sated society, help them understand how their faith and values relate to today’s world.

It is not enough to teach them what not to do–they need to know WHY it is in their best interests to preserve and protect their sexual purity in an age that believes such choices are unfashionable. As much as possible teach them the relationship between sexual purity and the truly human life.

PRAY–when Jesus sent the disciples into the world he prayed the prayer every parent should pray for their kids¢â‚¬¦”Father, I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.”

FORGIVE–when our children make mistakes, we need to extend the love, acceptance and forgiveness God extends to us.

BE PERSISTENT, like Winston Churchill who when facing the threat of Hitler told the young men at his prep school alma mater: “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in February 12, 2007 by | No Comments »

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