Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sex Challenge From Pastor

Earlier this year I did a post exploring the idea of the application in a sermon - is it OK for a pastor to tell you how to apply Scripture? Is it dangerous, acceptable, or a blessing? Is it Biblical? I'm still mulling this over.

Yesterday I read this article. It's all about how a church in Tampa, Relevant Church, has a pastor who is doing a series on sex. This is not all that difficult to fathom (although few churches are brave enough to tackle this taboo subject). What makes this case stand out is that he is challenging his congregation to a 30 day "Sex Challenge." Unmarried attendees are encouraged to abstain from sex for 30 days. Married attendees are encouraged to have sex every day for 30 days.

I was trying to imagine what it would be like if my pastor (Will) got up in church and delivered this kind of challenge. Here are some things I guess might happen among the married listeners in our church (in no particular order):

1. Some listeners would simply stop moving; paralysis would set in with them not being able to breathe, blink, or move all muscles. Some may require medical assistance afterward.
2. Some listeners would subtly smile and think "Thank you. Thank you, pastor Will. I love you!"
3. Outright spontaneous laughter . . . followed by awkward silence and intense feelings of humiliation.
4. Panic! "My husband/wife is going to be on my case everyday saying things like "You heard what the pastor said. . ."
5. Some couples might steal a glance at each other and share a knowing look, the kind that says "I accept your challenge."
6. Fainting.
7. Some may instantly decide to skip their usual over lunch "So kids, what did you think of the sermon today?" talk.
8. Quiet ride home. Very quiet.
9. Unforeseen and awkward questions from the floor: Ex/"Pastor, what do I do when it's 'that time of the month?'"
10. Spontaneous singing of either the "Hallelujah Chorus" or "It Is Well With My Soul."

May Light increase!


Dayna said...

interesting challenge and interesting thoughts about what might happen in your church, mark. i laughed out loud at #7, just imagining an awkward father starting to ask his usual sunday lunch-time question and then stopping mid-sentence, choking on his roast beef, faking a strong need to blow his nose, (only needing the kleenex to cover up his red face) all the while hoping everyone will forget that first half of his question and change the subject while he 'blows his nose'...

Michele said...

Too funny!!! Wasn't the Hallelujah chorus played at YOUR wedding?!?! :)

Mark said...

Dayna, yes #7 would be funny! And Michele, um, yes . . . we did have the Hallelujah chorus at our wedding (I had forgotten about that , how ironic). The thing about this pastor's challenge that makes it interesting is people's reaction to it. For myself, I have two. First I think, hey, this is private stuff and with all the things that the Bible is telling us to do/not do, why are you focusing on something (in the married couple's case) that's not even in there? If anything should not be legalistic, it's sex! Secondly, I think it's a great idea because a proper understanding of intimate love is seriously downplayed in the church . . . and it shouldn't be. We are sexual beings and God cares about this part of our lives. Yeah, so I guess I have mixed feelings about the challenge in general. Other people's reactions?

Rayna said...

OK, after I got over the laughter that your post caused - thinking about it, I think it's one thing to encourage and challenge married people to increase the frequency of sex, which is awesome. It is great that they are focussing on this, because as you said God does care about this part of our lives as well. But to expect people to have it every day for 30 may be a little much. Do they check up on people? Are the people who do not accomplish this goal have consequences? And what about number 9? Just thoughts...

Michael said...

#11 Jaded Christian in the audience puts up his hand and asks aloud "Pastor, my partner here and I are having trouble understanding that which you are referring to. Would you please be able to give us a demonstration and perhaps a take home diagram and any referrals to online material would be appreciated."

May light be snuffed!

Mark said...

Hey Rayna, I hear what you are saying. "Prescribing" sex seems counter intuitive on so many levels and of course frequent sex would not be suited for every couple. On the other hand I remember one of my professors telling us how nothing was working with a particular couple who were fighting all the time so in exasperation he said "I want you to have sex on Wednesday for two whole hours." When the couple came in next they were holding hands and happy. Apparently for them this kind of prescription worked wonders! I could see it working for many couples in a church as well.

Jay Boaz said...

I saw this on a different website and thought you'd be interested in the article...I see I was right!

Can you imagine being an accountability partner for this?