I read “The Village Green” section of the January, 2010, issue of Christianity Today. I was quite intrigued by the talk about sexuality and how to encourage people to wait until marriage. I had mixed response to them, though there conclusions were not all bad, except for the last one, in which I saw a slight weakness. There were three total articles and will address in the order they are found in the magazine.
On page 60, we begin with Mark Regnerus’ article “Focus on Calling.” I am intrigued that he used this focus to answer the problem sex outside of the institution of marriage. He did an excellent job pointing to evangelicals taking a strictly legalistic approach to defying non-marital sex. He also states that sex has a way of bonding that always works. He seems to focus on the Christian ideal of marriage as proposed by God. I liked how he approaches it as not a light switch, but a journey, which is sometimes quite long and arduous.
It takes work.
I think that his point was to focus on the healthy relationship. Is it about you fulfilling the two great commandments of Christ, or is it about getting what you “deserve?” Is it about selfishness, or sacrifice?
I do question his biblical reference that marriage was not the domain of the state. It actually, from my study, was from an Old Testament perspective. The New Testament writers were the ones revolutionary in marriage philosophy. Paul is explicit in saying that marriage is optional and not necessary, which calls to question his point of calling marriage or singleness a calling. I would call it an allowance before a calling. I’m not saying he is wrong. I am just wishing that he started with it being an allowance. However, his focus on making marriage a part of self-actualization in reference to sex is spot on.
The next article is by Richard Ross, titled “Make a Promise to Jesus.” I do have to commend the one side he chooses in his approach. I do think he is objective in how he supports his cause, but he seems to make the commitment to God the only thing necessary. I agree that God needs to be a major part of this decision. Better yet, I think that we must make His desire our desire. However, I think risk avoidance should be included. I didn’t graduate with a Psychology degree, but I took enough psychology to understand that the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala he talks about has no set age of development, much like puberty or weight and height. As a matter of fact, psychological development has a range of ages per level. One can be 25 and have the development of a 13 year old in psychologically, and the same vice versa.
To better understand God’s desires, we must always be willing to learn why God says things. We do not understand everything, in which case we must trust our God and our Savior Jesus Christ and do as He says. We must commit to the desires of our God and make them our own, but let’s never forget that the second command that sums up the law is just as important as the first, “To love our neighbor as we love ourselves.”
The third article is the one I didn’t like as much. Donna Freitas’ article “Stop Talking Marriage” seems to focus a bit much on self-actualization, even though it’s focus seems to be not just on Christians, but on non-Christians as well. I do agree that we have to do a much better job on not making sex a major part of our lives. But this entire article seemed to make a selfish approach to a biblical principle. The Bible teaches that we are to make decisions that benefit God and others in our community, and to make a decision the benefits ourselves over God and community is not a good idea if you are a Christian. Her actual proposition is okay in that it says that we should offer abstinence as a sexual option and to be careful since it may seem impossible and deter those who initially wish to try it.
The point is that our motives can define how good or evil something is. Selfish motives are always bad. Just look at the story of Tamar and Judah (know that it is traditionally read in light of Tamar being good and Judah acting in evil intent). Make your decisions based on more than yourself. That is a Christian battle cry.
I hope you have had fun reading this. I would love to hear some input
Grace and peace to you all.