My sister-in-law invited me to the Festival of Faith and Writing many years ago, and it has become a regular event where we meet for a few days. I have kept the programs from every Festival that I attended. In 2004 Lauren Winner was a presenter—just 26 years old by my calculation. A couple years older than my daughter. She had written Girl Meets God and was speaking about memoir.
This year I saw her book, real SEX: the naked truth of chastity with books offered for sale. My thoughts turned back to the memory of the bright, sophisticated young women I had heard speak many years ago. This book was published in 2005, but the title is relevant today. I bought a copy.
Lauren became a Christian as a young adult. In this book she reveals her promiscuity and premarital sex. As a new Christian she began to study scripture and realized that it was sin.
She laments that the Church has not had a strong voice in the culture.
Turn back time to the sexual revolution; some key events took place.//
The birth control pill became available in the 1960s.
In 1972 The Joy of Sex was published. It was a popular book and my husband I both read it.
In 1973 abortion was legalized.
The pleasure of sex was increasingly being extolled, separated from procreation. Sex is pleasurable but it has a deeper meaning. It is a sacred bond between a couple. It unites them and provides the potential for establishing a family.
Married couples in our generation were encouraged to limit family size to avoid over population in the world. My husband thought we should have just two children. God had other ideas when my second pregnancy was twins . . . lol.
Even though we had both grown up in Christian homes we were influenced by messages in the culture. And the messages have become louder and more confusing since the 1970s.
It is so important to study God’s word and understand the full text, New Testament illuminated by the Old Testament.
The Bible does not contradict itself.
Lauren Winner writes that it is important to start with Genesis. God made us with bodies; that is how we begin to know that He cares how we order our sexual lives. There is—and we will walk through it here—evidence aplenty from both scripture and tradition about how God intends sex, about where sex belongs and where it is disordered, about when sex is righteous and when it is sinful.*
The pain and confusion about sexuality nibbled at the edges of the Festival. Jen Hatmaker was interviewed about the stand she has taken on homosexuality and the criticism she has received.
In a discussion group, a woman pastor talked about the distress and anger she experienced when her church did not support her lesbian daughter.
The Church is divided and struggling with the confusion in our culture over sexuality. How do we show compassion and yet uphold the truth of scripture? I think about Jesus. He received the sinner but also said, “Go and sin no more.”
As believers we all need to do some soul searching. We need time in the Bible. We need to pray and look for guidance from the Holy Spirit. May our words be gentle but true.
This post is shared with Five Minute Friday. Our prompt is: TURN
Also linked with Faith on Fire.
*Lauren Winner, real SEX: the naked truth about chastity, Brazos press; Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005, p. 32-33