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It's time to talk about...
We know we need to, but we just don’t want to. So we put it off, and hope someone else will take care of it (our spouse, the church Youth Director, etc.). I’m talking about “the talk”—the proverbial conversation about sex that parents know they must have with their children.
How about in our churches? My sense is that “the talk"—preaching and teaching about sex—is being put off there, too. This happens in part for the same reasons we’re slow to have it at home—the awkwardness of the topic for us personally. But I think we’ve also been slow because we’re sensitive to the charge that evangelicals are obsessed with sex and hate homosexuals. Neither is true, and to prove it, we don’t even talk about it!
OK, I’m exaggerating, but not much. And whatever our reasons for always finding other things to address that are more urgent, it’s time we got around to “the talk.”
A necessary conversation
In the space of just a few years, our culture, which largely supported the biblical ideals for sex and marriage, has come to question or reject them outright, along with any who would uphold them. Such rejection comes with the label of “bigot,” and can result in the loss of jobs, friendships, and more.
A lot of Christians are scared—scared they won’t know what to say when challenged, scared they won’t know how to sort out relationships with those choosing other lifestyles (e.g., should we attend a gay wedding?), and scared they’ll be unfaithful to the Lord in what they say or do. And that’s the short list of our fears.
So it’s high time for “the talk.” Obviously a single talk won’t solve it. We’ll need multiple sermons, classes, discussions, and resources. The facets to address are many. Here’s the short list; you can name others:
- The basic outlines of God’s design in creating us as gendered beings, giving us marriage, and the place of sex in that scheme.
- How we can hold truth and grace together as we lift up the redemptive hope of the gospel in this area of life (think John 8:11).
- How we can deal with sexual sin and hurt in our own lives. Hearing the testimonies of those who have experienced redemption are of great value; check out the wonderful resources of OneByOne.
- What it means to be in the world but not of it, as applied to sexuality. In other words, how do we hold to biblical teachings without joining an Amish community?!
- Special challenges for parents these days as they have “the talk” with their children, giving them significantly different messages than schools, their peers, etc.
- And help formulating our “elevator speeches”—sensible and effective reasons for why we believe what we believe.
It’s not the only conversation we need to have in the church, but it’s high time to have “the talk”—again and again.
Let’s make sure ECO is enabling disciples to flourish in this challenging area of life.