Marriage Tuesday

i had a conversation with a friend today about the whole sex-before-marriage topic.  it’s got me thinking.

i hate saying this, but the whole idea of saving sex for marriage isn’t very popular these days.  if the stats are to be believed, the majority of 17 year olds have already had sex.  i don’t need a survey to convince me of that.  i used to be a youth minister, remember?

in the early 1980’s, i had a twelve year-old girl in my middle school group get pregnant.

most college campus surveys say the number of college students who are sexually active is up around 80%.  wow.  i’m guessing most of them have moved on from the “save yourself for marriage” dialogue.  maybe a long time ago.

we have heard for years that the conventional wisdom of “test driving the car before you buy it” is the best way to take the risk out of getting married.

girls are taught, at an early age, that they can manipulate guys with their bodies.  guys learn that status among other guys is established by talking of sexual exploits in the locker room.

sexual relationships have been defined on television and in the movies for multiple generations of young people… many without the active involvement or directions of parents or significant adult mentors.

many just don’t care what people think…what parents think…what god thinks.  they are simply going to do what they want to do.  sexually.  relationally.  spiritually.   i don’t need no stinking bible…

so does that mean we should just chalk the abstinence mandate up to outdated religious rule-keeping of decades gone by?  should we throw up our hands in defeat to the culture war we have appeared to have lost?

no.

but we ought to start rethinking our approach.

telling a young person they should wait until they’re married to have sex is going to be greeted with a huge “why?”  do you have a good answer?  do you have confidence in your ability to step a young person through both the bible and science, to arrive at an abstinence conclusion?

here’s a speed bump on the path to marriage bed sanctity:  our traditional bible values-based beliefs about sex and marriage are not as clear as we have been led to believe.  don’t get me wrong.  i know they are there.  it’s just that they are not as clear and matter-of-fact as i was told as a young man in my home and church.

honestly, i think our beliefs about marriage and divorce and sexual expression are more a reflection of traditional american values (with a nod to our european roots) than they are from our solid exegesis of god’s word.

and that troubles me.

we are quick to blame cultural influences and the liberal sociopolitical forces that have taken our country hostage, for the dismantling of all we hold dear.   shame on us.  instead of looking out the window,  we should be looking in the mirror.

are you as faithful and skilled with the handling of god’s word as you are at analyzing and critiquing what’s wrong with our world?  if not, maybe it’s time to shift your emphasis.   we say we believe the bible.  we say the bible teaches certain values and practices (like sexual abstinence and marriage faithfulness), but do you really know how to walk another person from intellectual darkness to the spiritual light of god’s unfiltered revelation?

then get busy.

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