The notion that evangelicals are naïve and squeamish about sex and don't discuss it openly enough is a myth. Evangelical sex manuals have been all the rage as long as I have been a believer, going back to the early 1970s. You had Marabel Morgan's The Total Woman in 1972, which generated tons of evangelical sex-talk. (Marabel was known for—among other things—a kinky suggestion involving the use of Saran Wrap as a dressing gown.) You had Ed Wheat's book Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment just five years later. It has sold multiple millions of copies. Even Tim Lahaye wrote a surprisingly candid sex manual, The Act of Marriage in the mid-1970s. Having sold more than two and a half million copies, that book is still in print.Read the entire post HERE.
Yet evangelicals have been complaining for decades that we don't talk enough or hear enough teaching about sex. From the point of view of many non-evangelicals, sex is about the only thing evangelicals have demonstrated a serious and sustained interest in for the past 40 years. As early as 1977, Martin Marty, a liberal religious scholar, referred to the trend as "Fundies in their Undies."
So the premise that evangelical churches are in desperate need of more and more explicit instruction on sex techniques is a risible falsehood.
But evangelical leaders who aspire to be at the vanguard in this trend have to keep looking for even kinkier ways to contextualize their Kama Sutras and their "sexperimentation." Ed Young, Jr., for instance, announced this weekend that he and his wife "will spend 24 hours in bed on the church roof next week and stream themselves live on the Internet to encourage married couples to see firsthand the power of a healthy sex life"...
This trend toward increasingly explicit sex-talk and more deviant practices is a bad one for the church. The ease and speed with which evangelicals have embraced the trend is troubling. Just a couple of decades ago (and in every era of church history prior to that), shenanigans like Ed Young's rooftop exhibition would have been roundly and universally condemned by evangelical leaders. The silence (or weak, accommodating response) of most Christian leaders today in the face of such an obvious sea-change is deeply troubling.
It's yet another sign of evangelicalism's growing conformity to worldly values and worldly behavior. The various evangelical coalitions and young Reformed movements that looked so encouraging five years ago have done more to encourage and enable this kind of exhibitionism than to challenge it. These things ought not to be.
How bad will it have to get before true leaders in the church and in the various gospel-centered movements find their voices and start calling the church—and some of these out-of-control exhibitionist preachers—to repentance? I for one hope we get an answer to that question before very long. I pray for it every day.
Monday, January 9, 2012
The Pastor as Exhibitionist
From a timely post by Phil Johnson: