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April 28, 2005

Comments

Snowe

marital...geez, I'm an idiot today.

Hugo

Well, Snowe, I don't think sex should ever be without merit! ;-) Seriously, where in the New Testament is it unambiguously clear about pre-marital sex? There's talk about sexual immorality, yes. But are we absolutely certain that refers to intercourse? There's talk of adultery too, but I have no problem judging extra-marital relations as inherently problematic, as they fail the "Regas test" I wrote about in my other post.

Look, I think most kids are better off waiting to have intercourse. No question. But "most kids" is not "all kids". And I continue to believe that sexual decision-making has to be made in the context of one's own unique cocktail of experience, desire, emotional maturity and spiritual conviction.

Hugo

Oh, and Thunder, I read the beliefnet interview and I've ordered the Winner book. I'll respond to what I read when it comes...

redeemed

Hugo, I'm with Stephen here. You had an opportunity to share God's Best with these kids and you missed it. They looked to you for guidance and you basically said, "do what you think is best for you". The negative, long term consequences to pre-marital sex, physical, emotional, and spiritual, is an epidemic for young people in our society. I counsel people in troubled marriages and many wounds and guilts, for both the men and the women, are from the choices they made to have sex with multiple partners before their marriage relationship, Becoming "one flesh" with your marriage partner is really hard when you're already "one flesh" with many other people. I know from reading this blog often that you are a thoughtful, compassionate person. If you have a chance I would encourage you to pray through your response and ammend it with the kids the next time you meet with them.

Hugo

Thank you, redeemed. Please know that I've been praying about this for years and years. I wish that I had the luxury of the certainty that you have.

mythago

Becoming "one flesh" with your marriage partner is really hard when you're already "one flesh" with many other people.

Speak for yourself. It's a lot easier to be "one flesh," in my experience, when you have no doubts at all about the other "flesh" that's out there.

The New Testament is unambiguously clear that chastity is preferable to marriage, but I doubt anyone will be scolding Hugo for telling teens to get married.

Ab_Normal

Normal, thanks, I was in a hurry and I don't think I said what I want to say.

redeemer, I said something about this on the previous thread, but here it is again: I went to a Roman Catholic school and was strongly taught that sex should be reserved for the sacrament of marriage. Unfortunately, this was taught in such as way that made sex seem dirty and wrong. I was a virgin until marriage, just like they wanted... and I have, in 18 years of marriage, been sorely tested to overcome those deep-seated teachings of "Sex BAD!". (It has caused strain in my marriage.) From my personal perspective, I advise being very careful if you want to teach that sex should be solely reserved for marriage.

Ab_Normal

redeemed, please accept my apologies for mis-typing your handle. Perhaps it was a Freudian typo...

redeemed

Ab_Normal, I completely agree. When we speak to kids aboput sex, my wife and I both tell them that sex in marriage is great and lots of fun, and worth the wait. But we also say that we both wished that we had waited because the struggles that we had were there because we brought those other relationships into our marriage bed.

redeemed

Ab_Normal, I'm glad I'm just redeemed and not the Redeemer! Way too much responsibility:)

Stephen

Amanda: you transliterated with a healthy dose of your own bigotry thrown in.

Hugo: "I wish that I had the luxury of the certainty that you have."

Don't go there -- the martyr for ambiguity. It's really rather beneath you. Who said conviction or belief was equal to certainty and why would this be a luxury.

Stephen

Hugo

Fine, Stephen, I'll rephrase:

I wish I had the gift of certainty.

Stephen

Sorry Hugo -- that was a bit snide on my part. I'll try to temper my responses.

Stephen

Chip

"Honestly, the more I work with you, the less I feel comfortable handing out a one-size-fits-all moral agenda with any confidence. In truth, while I think in general it is better to wait before taking on the enormous responsibilities and consequences of sex, I know full well that some of you are simply 'readier' than others. I'm not going to name names, of course! But I can't help but see you as individuals with different desires and different levels of maturity, faith, and emotional preparedness."

Hugo,

I'll strongly disagree with what you told the kids, and that's no surprise to you. But beyond that point, it seems to me that this statement could be (mis-, I assume)interpreted by kids to mean that abstaining from sexual activity shows a lower level of "maturity, faith, and emotional preparedness."

Also, just out of curiosity (no attack intended), would you be comfortable with "handing out a one-size-fits-all moral agenda" concerning adultery?

Peace of Christ,
Chip

Thunder Jones

Glad I could drop a book rec. She spoke to a group at a church I attended and she was really articulate and informed. Enjoy.

Hugo

Chip, I am glad you pointed out that bit about readiness. Fortunately, in another context that evening, I made it very clear that not being ready for sex was not in any way a sign of immaturity. Indeed, acknowledging one's "unreadiness" could, I suggested, be seen as a sign of maturity itself.

Adultery, Chip, is betrayal of a contract. It turns the adulterer into a liar -- that can't lead to happiness. That's different from pre-marital sex by a long shot.

Monk-in-Training

Hugo,
Anytime you get the issues of sex and teenagers you will have people throwing both sides of the debate at you. I think the key to your discussion was that you know these kids. That means they are in Church, struggling with their lives and attempting to walk the journey of Faith. You one statement isn't the be-all of what they will hear about sex. Hopefully their parents are talking to them about it, hopefully they are looking to the Scriptures about it also. The one thing I will say is this, if you had given them a canned, one-size-fits-all answer, you would probably have lost a bit of respect in their eyes.

One other thing no one seems to have picked up on, is that your Church is attempting to teach kids about sex at all! Most Churches around here just condemn the whole thing and won't talk about it. Our Parish did a program that was 10 weeks long for high school, and 4 weeks for middle school. It is out of Texas, called "Just say Know". Very informative.

Michael

Kindof an interesting side reading concerning this topic.

http://www.libchrist.com/bible/fornication

This makes me feel better. Now I'll have considerably less 'sin' points against me when I stand before God to be judged. Now if I can think of a way to justify some of the other sins I've committed....

Hmm.. St Michael.. no wait.. we have one of those already...

Mercy

Sounds to me like after much debate we all have different opinions on this issue.__The bottom line is that they, (meaning the teenagers)are going to do it anyway.__ They just go over to planned parenthood and get birth control pills.__ If these were my kids, I would appreciate the guidance of an informed, understanding, realistic adult youth counselor rather than nothing at all.__Let's face it, sex is problematic no matter what, but we also have to face up to the fact that we can't deny that sexuality is a part of life. __I applaud Hugo for his honesty, and I pray for his guidance on this very important and controvercial issue.

K

Hugo,

I appreciate all your honesty in this matter. Many Christians would just leave it be and hide theri struggles on this issue. It does prove to everyone reading that YOU WANT TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT. I must say though that I disagree with you. I work with teenagers from our youth group. I KNOW them and they have shared deep things that only I know. The issue of wether it's ok to have sex as a teenager is always upon our youth. I always find it esier to explain to them by asking several questions.What benefit would you receive in having sex at this age? Etc. We as youth workers have a rsponsibilty as servants of God to these young people to help them in their overall life anf relationship with God. I agree with the other writer talking about the "one flesh." That is the answer to sexual immorality.

I can tell by the way you talk abouth these young that you really truly love and care for them. I dont think that your doubt is anything to do with intellect. it could be the HOLY SPIRIT speaking into your conscience(I hope this does not sound condemning). Many times I find that when I struggle like this I am making decisions with My Self, not God.

Caitriona

Hi, Hugo. I'm back after 8 days no ISP connection. Folks at the ISP don't know Linux, so they didn't know they needed to tell us they'd changed the DNS. Ah, well. Now to your question.

I can understand your difficulty. When these sorts of questions come up with our teens (not often, but more often than in many other families we know), it's a struggle to come up with just the right words. I usually follow my own mother's line of discussion. I guess you've figured out by now that my family is all about responsibility and informed decision-making.

"It would be my wish that you wait until you're married, but I'm not naive enough to think that you'll wait just because I want you to or because I tell you that's what's right. You're teenagers, and hormones are flying. So let's talk responsibility. You're the one who has to take on the responsibility for each decision you make in life. Good information will help you make better, more informed decisions."

Then we talk about whatever it is that they are wondering about, from pregnancy to STDs to (heaven help us with this one!) "what's oral sex?" (They were 12, 12, and 14 when that one came up! The youngest two and I actually re-discussed it recently.)

John

I agree with Stephen, only he's nicer than I would have been. God does not lie. God has told us what we need to know about sex, that is, that it should be in the covenant of marriage. And as if we needed it, secular science tells us about the benefits of marriage, and the disadvantages of pre-marital sex. I have difficulty being certain about my own mind. I don't trust myself at all. But I do trust God. And in a Christian Church, which supposedly believes in Him, I would expect that the same prayerful entrustment of one's sexuality into the care and requirement of God would take place. I'm disappointed you missed the opportunity to be counter-cultural. They will get the feel-good message from the other youth leaders. It would have been nice if they had heard the Truth from you.

Stephen

Hugo:

Teenage pregnancy is a huge problem -- 22% of white and 68% of black babies are born to unwed parents. (This up from 3% and 22% respectively in the 60s.)

Among the outcomes for teenage parents -- significant increases in poverty, dropping out of school, depression, divorce . . . and aside from pregancy all sorts of nasty STDs.

Pragmatism and concern for the well-being of teenagers suggests that waiting is a good thing.

Finally, to argue that ejaculation equals consent to being a father puts your teenage boys in a very precarious situation indeed.

Stephen

Stephen

Hugo: "Adultery, Chip, is betrayal of a contract. It turns the adulterer into a liar -- that can't lead to happiness. That's different from pre-marital sex by a long shot."

And pre-marital sex for teenagers has a better chance to lead to happiness? In what way? If the goal is a happy marriage and a fufilling sex-life, social science seems to be supporting the church's traditional sexual ethic.

In addition, many of those who committ adultry do so precisely because they have found happiness elsewhere. Why fidelty to the marriage vows if each individual story must be measured on its own merits? Why is it easier to "hand out a one size fits all moral agenda" here?

Stephen

Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)

"Teenage pregnancy is a huge problem -- 22% of white and 68% of black babies are born to unwed parents. (This up from 3% and 22% respectively in the 60s.)"

Unwed does not = teenager. Do you have stats on actual teens? Because lots of 20-and-30-somethings have babies outside of wedlock.

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