This past Sunday, our church began a study called “Developing a Theology of Sexuality.” We began it with fear and trembling, knowing we are moving into complex waters.
We invited parents and teens and pre-teens. We made it clear: no youth or pre-teens without their parents. This must be a multi-generational discussion.
The idea for this sprang from a message series I did last January and February on why we lose so many of our young people when they get into and beyond their high school years. One of the reasons is that we have persisted in teaching them a shallow theology, full of absolutes and magical stories, and which does not hold up under more rigorous examination. So they enter young adulthood with almost no spiritual anchor at all.
A couple of years ago, the state of Texas approved class on sex education came to the Krum schools. What the high schoolers heard was “If you have sex before marriage, you will go to hell.” Since most of the students were already sexually active, they were not able to receive any other information as helpful.
A few days ago, I spoke with the facilitator of that program and mentioned to her what my teens told me about it. As it turns out, it was the youth themselves who had come up with the phrase, but because it involved religious matters, the facilitator was not permitted to discuss it in the schools.This information needs to come from churches. Frankly, with schools unable to address the spiritual component of human relationships, and especially when it comes to sexual activity, they are unable to address this in a healthy and holistic manner.
I hear lots of talk about “biblical marriages.”
But it’s just not all that cut and dried. Yes, we all have a picture of the ideal–but we are also living in an age when most marriages don’t take place now until the partners are in their late 20’s and early 30’s. And any honest pastor will tell you that these days, we rarely celebrate marriages where the couple have NOT already been living together for some time.
We need to address this openly. So we are. And I invite your prayers, comments, questions, concerns, and any help you can give.
As we told the first group, they are the test group and there to help us “perfect the process.” We are United Methodists, after all.