Yes...I want my kids to experience great sex. God made them as sexual beings with the unique capability to connect powerfully and beautifully with another person. But in a world where many people get it wrong, I desperately want them to get it right.
For the past three weeks on Sunday mornings at Johnson Ferry, Jenifer and I have been teaching a bunch of parents about sex. For the record, it hasn’t been about how to do it (I assume that most parents know the basics) but about how to help their kids to not mess it up.
You see, my perspective on teens and sex has changed dramatically over the past ten years. As a youth minister, I encouraged kids to strive for sexual purity for the normal reasons: avoiding disease, avoiding an unwanted pregnancy, and the noble desire to save your virginity for your spouse. These are all still important reasons. But there are bigger, broader issues at stake.
As I have worked with married couples for the past decade, I have come to realize that much of the brokenness in the area of married sexuality got started in them long before marriage. For many, the experiences and mistakes of the teen years made for a crummy foundation to build a healthy sex life upon. The result is that what God designed to be amazing for married people ends up being an issue of pain and regret.
And I am tired of picking up the pieces.
I am weary from seeing the devastating effects of long-term sexual sin and disobedience on the marriages and families I encounter. While we can certainly never eradicate sin and its effects, we also shouldn’t passively facilitate its power. I passionately believe that parents must step up and do all they can now to help their kids to have a healthy sexuality later.
So we have been teaching parents these last weeks on how to coach, lead, and protect their kids as they discover their sexuality. We have covered a lot of ground and, if I we are honest, Jenifer and I would confess that it has been one of the most emotionally and spiritually exhausting things we have done in a long time. But because it is one of those issues that isn’t talked about much at church (but is always being broadcast everywhere else) we thought that it was about time to give a different perspective.
The reactions have been mixed.
Some parents who are also burdened by this issue have expressed thanks that someone is finally talking openly about how to think Biblically about sex, dating, and a bunch of other related issues.
A few others (either directly or through the grapevine) have told us that we are just plain nuts…backwards…old-fashioned…setting an unrealistic standard in today’s culture. I get that. What we have been sharing is pretty counter-cultural. But the last time I checked, just about everything Christ calls us to do is pretty counter-cultural. I don’t think how we approach sexuality is exempt from that.
However, I think the masses of people we have taught have been more stunned than anything. We have seen the deer-in-the-headlights looks from many. We have invited them to consider a perspective that they, up to now, may have never heard before. For them, our prayer is that they would continue to talk about it, study up on it, and ask God for His insights into their particular kids and situations.
As we have said before, this is a difficult subject with few easy answers. There are some good principles that should guide us, but there are few hard and fast rules that are applicable to every family. Our goal in teaching on teens and sex has not been to convince anybody that our perspective is right and theirs is wrong. We simply want to encourage people to carefully consider the long term effects of the choices they are making. And to make sure that God is involved in their choices.
We hope to have a recording of the talks available soon. We will post them here on the blog if you have an interest in listening to them again, hearing them for the first time, or sharing them with a friend.
I will also post later this week a list of books and resources that we may have mentioned in the talks. Please don’t take our word for any of this. Read people who are far smarter than us and see what they have to say.
We encourage you to keep chewing on these issues. Don’t file them away. Wrestle with God on this stuff. The good thing about wrestling with Him is that you have to be in close contact with Him. That’s always a good thing.
Finally, please feel free to ask questions of me. Jenifer and I will do one final session at Johnson Ferry this Sunday made up entirely of questions you have submitted. If there is something you want us to cover, please do it before Sunday as we would love to have some time to research and prayerfully consider our responses.
But also, feel free to call me. Even if we disagree on this stuff, we need to be able to talk about it. The last thing I want to do is to throw a “hot topic” grenade into a room and then not be available to pick up the pieces once it blows up.
May God be with all of us as we join God in helping our kids discover (in the right ways) just how amazing He made sex to be!