Three years ago, I wrote “How to Teach Your Kids about Sexuality: A Much Needed Conversation”, an article aimed to encourage parents to talk with their children about their sexuality for the purpose of being guided as faithful followers of Christ. Since then, I have seen the conversation spark. Friends, fellow church members, and acquaintances have reached out to me with questions, interest, and concern. Each time they contact me, I am reminded of the need for the Church to offer this conversation to its members. Many want and need faithful direction of what it means to be a sexual being who loves Jesus. We have long heard the negative teachings and restrictions. In over 20 years of following Christ, as a member of four congregations, I have never heard any teachings that openly celebrate the gift of sexuality and offer descriptive guidance for being sexual beings who love the Lord our God.
Kensi Duszynski in “What a Christian Millennial Woman Has to Say about Sex” points to this reality. The Church needs to establish a positive voice on the teachings of Christ regarding sexuality and sexual relations. In “Seven Positive Messages the Church Needs to Hear about Sex” she offers starters for meaningful conversation. I know first-hand the desperate need for the Church to give voice to the goodness of being male and female and the sacred gift of sex God has designed for husband and wife.
When I was a senior in high school, I turned to my associate pastor and youth leader about my sexual relations with peers. I wanted guidance. I wanted correction and care. I was told that she and her fiancé slept together prior to marriage. My memory of the rest of the conversation follows as, “Good luck. It’s hard being sexual by design and faithful to Christ. I couldn’t do it, but it worked out.”
Six years later when I came to the church to be a part of the body of Christ, I lived in sexual bondage. I sought guidance and understanding about my sexual temptations and sins. I wanted to know the voice of Christ. I asked a young adult ministry leader. I was told it wasn’t one of the top 10 sins and to not be so hard on myself. I never went back. I did find a wonderful congregation, but I wandered for weeks and months alone in bondage and shame as I worshipped with no help from the church. I quit asking because it seemed clear that this was not a conversation the church wanted to have. It seemed I would have to go at this part of discipleship alone with Jesus. The world celebrated and offered every opportunity for me to embrace my sexual desires. The church either condemned my sin, abstained their voice, or belittled my bondage.
While I was in seminary, my passion and concern for sexual health of Christians was politely dismissed or questioned. One question was asked again and again, how was it that I was so comfortable talking about sex? I wondered then and wonder now, why are we not all comfortable or at least willing to talk about sex? God created us male and female, husband and wife, and said it was good. How did the church lose that vision? How did we lose the echo of His affirmation?
With five precious boys, I long to raise our sons with the voice of the Church echoing our teachings as their mother and father. I want them to hear the goodness of being male. I want them to hear openly from the church that sex is a sacred gift God gives to husband and wife. I long for them to hear church leaders and members rejoice when they shout in preschool Sunday school, “God made my penis” instead of wince. I long for my sons to be received as they seek wisdom on sexual desire and to be guided well, instead of told to simply wait for marriage. I want my sons to be encouraged to honor young women and themselves; rather than condemned for staring in curiosity, wonder, and desire. As a woman who walked through sexual bondage and now stands naked and unashamed before her husband and God, I want others to find such freedom not alone; but wrapped in the love Christ has for His body and the world.
I want the church to give voice to its children, youth, adults, parents, and grandparents who need guidance as sexual beings. This is not my desire alone. I know because people call me, ask for guidance, and sometimes weep in my arms from the pain of their sexual sin. The conversation has begun. Could it be that the time has come for the Church to join the conversation anew, so together the children of God might stand in this world naked and unashamed as a witness to the world? Oh that the Kingdom of God might be on Earth as it is in Heaven!