With a bed on stage, a Texas megachurch pastor launched a weeklong “sexperiment” on Sunday, encouraging his married members to have sex for seven straight days and keep a journal of their experience. “We're going to talk about the joy of sex because those of us who are in the church, we're really the sexperts…” said Ed Young.

It’s not the first time that an evangelical church has attracted attention for its foray into sex. In a 2007 documentary by Alexandra Pelosi—daughter of Nancy Pelosi—examining evangelical communities, the now disgraced Ted Haggard said "You know all the surveys say that evangelicals have the best sex life of any other group." He then randomly turned to the man standing next to him and asked him how often he has sex with his wife. “Every day,” the man replied.

Maybe the bed is a little tacky, and maybe Haggard could’ve been more judicious, but I think these humorous episodes reveal that evangelicals realize that they need to propose a vision of what sex can be. If churches are going to be on the frontlines of opposing same-sex marriage, they also need to be on the frontlines of talking about the good of sex; for every gay-rights protest outside of Saddleback Church, Rick Warren needs to preach on “sex as God intended.”

That said, market driven evangelical pastors like Young must find a way to deliver their message without the baggage of the lights, theater stages, and church arenas whose secularity undermine the sacredness of the message that they preach. Young thinks that “the church should be all about marketing and all about talking about the greatest thing in the world, which is a personal relationship with the Lord himself.” I think that the church comes off ridiculously silly when it is “all about marketing” something sacred like sex; the dissonance between the medium and the message is jarring enough to make it humorous.

The church has at once a serious and joyous message about sex to propose. Let’s not dilute it with our attempts to be hip. The Church is at its greatest when it simply is the Church.

 
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0 Responses to The Sexperimenting Texas Megachurch

  1. I get your point, but I’m more inclined to agree with your position at the beginning of the piece, where you say the Church could do a better job of delineating just what Christian sexuality looks like (and what it should look like).

    I worry that in an effort to not be judgmental or prying, what the Bible actually says about healthy sexuality has been quite muddled in the modern Church, particularly among the hipper-than-average, RELEVANT set.

    Perhaps afraid of coming on too forcefully in this area, many modern Churches have abandoned mentioning the issue of sexual purity to the point where newer Christians are in fact unclear on just what is specifically described as sin, and what isn’t. Your point about being on the frontline of the same-gender-attraction issue is well taken. The Church seems to have a very clear sense that homosexuality falls short of God’s ideal plan for sex, but doesn’t also extend that clarity to heterosexual sex.

    A friend of mine who’s gone to my (socially active, “book of Acts” based) Church for over a year recently realized only for the first time that sleeping with his girlfriend is sinful. He was fully aware homosexuality was forbidden, and all the reasons why, but had never heard an actual message form the pulpit outlining either the ideal or UN-ideal Christian plan for sexuality. Granted, my friend is kind of a dope, but I worry that this may be more common than people realize.

    So while it could be handled better, and might seem“uncool” I applaud any Church that is unabashed about addressing human sexuality in the context of a relationship with Christ.

  2. John says:

    I’m impressed with the notion that a church is actively promoting healthy sexual relationships between its married couples. Fantastic!

    However, this still doesn’t give any social movement the “right” to enact legislation against the lifestyles of others. Promote an alternative, sure, but don’t presume to understand fully the dimensions of homosexuality as it’s depicted (sporadically) in scripture.

    If this makes me a heretic, then it wouldn’t be the first time. I just can’t figure out why the church bothers with irrelevant social legislation when hungry bellies and sick children (only one problem; still, so immense) seem to call more urgently than the battle “in defense of the American family.”

  3. Aaron says:

    I had something to say but John pretty much covered it. Well put, sir. I also enjoyed this article.

  4. Can we really say that it’s “the Church” that’s bothering with social legislation? While I’m sure people in Churches (and maybe even at pulpits) had opinions on the matter, the vote on 8 was still a legislative and democratic action, which was only necessary because a handful of judges subverted a law already on the books. 8 was simply a reexamination of this law, and whether enough people thought we still needed it. Turns out, they voted that we do need it. I understand we’re getting into muddy waters when we’re legislating personal behaviour, but wouldn’t you rather it be a wide, public vote of the people, than the whim of 5 or six individual judges? There might be more important things than this defense of tradition, language, etc, but I’d still rather have decisions like this in the hands of actual citizens rather than appointed judges.

    Also, does taking care of sick children and filling hungry bellies necessarily preclude us from caring about anything else? Surely the average Christian can multi-task.

  5. John Wofford says:

    I’m sure the average Christian is capable of multi-tasking. However, legislation AGAINST the personal decisions of a group of people seems a bit like looking over our neighbors fences to see what they’re up to. The story Jesus told of the ‘spot and the plank’ comes to mind.

    Granted, if the general public is against gay marriage, then they’re entitled to feel that way. Same goes for the group I dubbed ‘the church.’

    But, and I’m speaking as objectively as possible (if that IS possible), why bother enacting legislation on a group of people you are not a part of? Perhaps my statements aren’t a matter of subverting the church, but rather a means of asking why someone in opposition (regardless of spiritual affiliation or political reasons) is so deeply bothered by an issue that seems to have nothing to do with them, that they must tow the line by denying others their rights?

  6. But people are involved with legislative that don’t “affect” them all the time. Legal definitions of things should be open to public discussion and even up for a vote from time to time. Non-drinkers can help decide what the legal drinking age in a state could be. Non-teachers vote on the definition of a fair pay raise for teachers. And not that I equate this anywhere near gay marriage, but non-murderers help define the appropriate count, degree or punishment for murder.

    However the definition of marriage is something that affects everyone, because everyone has the chance to be married, or not married. I’m actually not against gay marriage, and it’s unfortunate that a segment of the population is disappointed by the outcome of these plebiscites, but I just don’t know any other way of doing it, other than a democratic vote, or referendum. How else can one decide something like this?

    Ironically, I think it was the activism of the judges that really galvanized this issue. Had time and nature just taken its’ course, I believe the average person would have developed a more tolerant or open stance toward gay marriage. But the way the decision was simply flipped by a handful of judges really made people feel uneasy, and unrepresented, so everyone went back to their corners and came out fighting. By impatiently and arbitrarily flipping the original, democratically reached decision, I think this issue has been set back for a long time.

  7. John Wofford says:

    Now, on that last point you made, I completely agree. When a group feels that it’s being unfairly represented or not represented at all, they will come out fighting, and conservatives (and many moderates) definitely feel oppressed right now. You make an interesting point.

  8. Rainne says:

    Marriage has to do with us all. How we define marriage says a lot about our society and the direction it will take.

    I don’t agree that laws that ban gay marriage are “legislating personal behaviour”.

    These laws don’t make it illegal to be gay or “behave” homosexually; they don’t make it illegal to be in a lifelong committed gay relationship either. All these laws are saying is that marriage cannot happen between two individuals of the same sex.

  9. John Wofford says:

    Rainne:

    While the laws may not make it illegal to be a homosexual or remain in a committed gay relationship (or any kind of relationship, for that matter), they DO place limitations on the rights and freedoms of those who are in those circumstances.

    Let me use an example: if there was a law stating that it was unconstitutional to dye your hair (I know it sounds ridiculous, but suspend your disbelief for a moment). If we apply what you’re saying about the ‘gay marriage’ law to the ‘hair dye’ law, then you think its not a legislation on personal behavior to tell someone what they can do with their hair (purple? green? red? blond?), so long as the law doesn’t actually tell them its unconstitutional to HAVE HAIR.

    However, doesn’t it seem like an encroachment on somebody’s rights to tell them what they can do with their hair? Doesn’t it seem like a legislation on personal behavior, then, to tell someone that their sexual orientation (or genetic predisposition, however you see it) will not be given the same liberties as someone else’s?

  10. Mark P says:

    As an ex-libertarian, I tend to have rather dramatically clashing inclinations re to the whole marriage amendment thing. I tend to argue with a muted, rather subdued tone… at least until I can figure out exactly what I believe and why, since I’m torn between arguments.

    That aside, the picture for this story is hilarious. It would be better if he were in silk pajamas, but still pretty good.

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