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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