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Body image.

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The Christian world is full of controversy over what is right and wrong, what is healthy and not healthy, and even what is biblical and not biblical when it comes to sex, relationships, and how we both behave with and view our bodies.  Here are some current commentaries on sexuality and marriage for today’s culture.  How do you define healthy sexuality, inside or outside of healthy Christian marriage?  Share your thoughts in the comment section.

1) Real MarriageMark Driscoll‘s new book on marriage and sex
Top of My “Don’t Read” List: What we need are real people in our lives. Real family members. Real friends. Real brothers and sisters. Real pastors. Real churches. Real neighbors. Who will tell us and show us what real life is like. And actually walk beside us in it. Not hand us a juicy book. Furthermore, we need people who are courageous enough to refuse to pander to our personal preoccupations and our culture’s obsession with sex, even within marriage. We need people to help us discern what is and what is not an appropriate topic for public conversation among followers of Christ.
RELEVANT Magazine’s Review: One thing the Driscolls do well is drag the issue of sex out into the harsh light of discussion. The topics they address are being asked in our culture and in the Church (albeit behind closed doors). Like it or not, Real Marriage removes the option to pretend sex isn’t an issue….Real Marriage lacks a model of human sexuality that incorporates both the first Adam and the second. Instead of a clear picture of healthy human sexuality, Real Marriage mostly offers us unfair assumptions, over-generalizations and unhelpful stereotypes.

2) Is Premarital Sex Okay for Millennials?: I don’t think the human body is meant to abstain from sex this long (physiologically or spiritually). The question, I believe, is how do we as a church help young adults? Do we begin forming a localized institution of e-harmony and help people get married younger (and help deal with the problems of young married couples)? Or do we disavow our stance on premarital sex? What can the church do to help people find ideal living in non-ideal times? Read my response here.

3) Is Premarital Sex Okay?: God has answered this question in his Word. And the answer does not change just because our culture does. Sex outside of and before marriage is sin. It is a stench in the nostrils of a holy God.

4) Adventures of a Bra-wearing Woman: But this blog wouldn’t be complete without some comments about God.  What does He think about my newfound lingerie that cost a small fortune?…I think about Song of Songs 7:3 : “Your breasts are like fawns; twins of a gazelle.”  Bras are a way to care for my fawns.

5) In which [love looks like] a real marriage: So this is what we do, we make each other better at being ourselves, better at being like Jesus, we slow-dance, my head on your heart, your breath in my hair, your hands on my wider-than-they-used-to-be hips, our feet slower perhaps because we’re moving together.

6) Divorce fears widespread among young couples: Roughly 67 percent of the interviewees expressed concern about divorce. Most frequently mentioned was a desire to “do it right” and marry only once, to the ideal partner, leading some to view cohabitation as a “test-drive” before making “the ultimate commitment.” The belief that marriage was difficult to exit was mentioned nearly as frequently, with examples of how divorce caused emotional pain, social embarrassment, child custody concerns, and legal and financial problems.

The world is full of opinions.  Share yours in the comment box below.

Response to: Is Premarital Sex Okay for Millennials?

Blogger Mike Friesen wrote a recent post entitled “Is Premarital Sex Okay For Millenials?”

I was taught growing up that premarital sex is bad. In fact, the environment that I was in would shame me if I was involved in any form of sexual idolatry. However, because of my love for the Bible and the beauty that God created in sexual oneness, I agree that it is absolutely best to wait for marriage.   Read the rest here.

As a proponent of healthy body theology (and by extension healthy sexuality), I wrestle with issues like this all the time.  I think one issue that clouds the discussion is the tendency for Christians to approach issues with very black-and-white theology, which I just don’t think is helpful anymore.

Rather than asking the question “Is premarital sex okay,” might not a better question be “How do single Christians express their sexuality in a healthy way?” Secondly, how does the Church guide and advise on such issues? I think it’s much more helpful overall to teach people to make responsible, adult decisions about how to experience life, whether it’s going to a bar or club to unwind with friends and meet new ones, participating in Christian communities, engaging in social justice issues, pursuing higher schooling, taking parenting classes, having sex as a single person, discerning a vocation, making wise money investments, etc.

Life is full of choices, not just about sex but about everything. There are so many things we 18- to 35-year-olds need guidance about, and without the church helping to shape youth into wise and discerning young adults, we are going to keep circling around, asking the wrong questions, and drawing unhelpful boundaries that do not allow for the “new thing springing up” and the very active movement of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives.

I’m curious, for all the “waiters” out there, how do you/did you experience “waiting” for sex? Do you see more sexual repression or healthy waiting? For those of you who waited/are waiting, how did you/do you express your sexuality in a healthy way in the meantime? For those of you who didn’t wait, do you regret your choices now? Why or why not?  Leave your thoughts in the comment box below, or join Mike Friesen’s discussion.

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