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Posts Tagged ‘boundaries’

I’m still wondering:  Why did publication of the article, “Child Abuse” (an original post of ezerwoman), bring an angry response from a Christian author on “sexuality?”  Might this response be similar to the response of a woman angered by her pastor’s pro-life sermon?  Pro-life pastors have learned by experience that when they speak God’s Word on abortion, it’s not unusual for a woman to respond in anger because she is either in denial over a past abortion or maintaining a defensive posture.

For many years, I’ve been made aware of certain choices, behaviors, defensive reactions (i.e. “abortion is the lesser of two evils”), and cover-ups within my own church.  Indeed, we are “saints and sinners,” but can we encourage the “saint” without calling to accountability the “sinner”?

Silence is not a virtue, not when virtue itself is being mocked.  Disrobed.  Stolen away.

Why would concerns about protecting virtue and modesty cause anger?  Why would someone take offense when others caution against breaking down naturally protective inhibitions, or putting children in harm’s way with too much information too soon (and then expecting them to “wait”), or raising curiosity about all kinds of “sex,” or borrowing tools and techniques from non-Biblical models, or choosing the word “sex” to describe the subject matter rather than “purity”?   To bring clarity, I’ve been digging out old phone logs, journals, scribbled notes, research papers, and stories from pastors, teachers, parents, and students I’ve met along the journey.  We are in a marriage-breaking, family-fracturing, child-hurting, soul-risking mess.  I wish I could word it better, but simply put: I’ve seen too much on my “watch.”  And…  there is a shameful lack of accountability.

Bearing that in mind, I’m further determined to hold myself accountable.   First to my Savior and, next, to those who put their trust in Him rather than human opinion.  Dealing with sensitive and difficult issues, even finding myself in conflict with well-meaning Christians, requires the good counsel of wisdom.  I make a practice of running my thoughts by my husband because I need his logic and practical sense.  He has a “three day rule.”  Give major decisions or responses three days.  Write the letter.  Make the phone call.  Speak up… but, when possible, only after three days.  In addition to my husband, I seek the counsel of a core group of pastors I’ve come to trust over the years.  I seek the counsel of wise women who properly understand the role of “ezer.”   By surrounding myself with a group of people who have also seen Christians build on the wrong foundation when it comes to “sexuality” — and then witnessed the consequences and mourned with hurting people — I hope to be faithfully encouraged to the highest standard.  The standard of God’s Word.  The Word that exhorts us to “speak up” when wrong things are happening and human lives are at risk.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what a woman told me following a Titus 2 Retreat.  She explained years of childhood sexual abuse that led to promiscuity, abortion, and despair.  She wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what several men and women told me when thirty years of sexual abuse of children by their Christian school principal came to light.  They wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what a young woman told me after being encouraged by Christian parents to date older, more “experienced” men.  When she became pregnant by an “experienced” man, money was handed over for an abortion so that the daughter “wouldn’t have her life ruined.”  She wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what a Christian youth director told me after marrying his Christian sweetheart.  But, because both had learned about sex early and encouraged to be open about their “sexuality,” each had bonded to several others before the youth director and his sweetheart married.  The marriage was troubled for a long, long time.  He wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what an older woman told me who admitted that, for years, she was taught to be comfortable with her body, her “sexuality.”  In boy/girl classrooms, inhibitions were stripped away.  Seeing herself as a “sexual” person, she played the “game.”  When she captured a man’s attention and certain expectations followed, she grieved her loss of innocence.  She wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  In a few short years and close proximity, four pastors within my Christian denomination apparently saw themselves as “sexual persons” with a “need” to act out their “sexuality” rather than as human persons created by God to live as men under Christ’s robe of righteousness.  One openly embraced his homosexuality, left my church body, and became an Episcopalian priest.  Another was charged and arrested for “lascivious acts with a minor and third degree sexual abuse.”  Two more were caught in a prostitution sting, one of them the former pastor of my home congregation.  Is the response to this: “Forgive me!  Love me!  Let’s go on with life”?  Or, do we want the cover-up to stop?

Christians may think they are different from the world when Jesus is wrapped around everything we say and do.  But — you’ve heard me say it many times — Jesus does not wrap Himself around worldly things.  Christians may believe they are helping others toward a brighter future.  But, if they’re using styles and techniques learned from any source other than God’s Word, then the outcome will have undesirable consequences.  God brought to Adam and Eve new emotions of embarrassment and shame with their nakedness and sin.  He covered that embarrassment with clothing and that shame with Jesus’ robe of righteousness.  We must honor that covering, even when a modern sex educator insists: “No need for modesty!  Don’t be embarrassed!  Be comfortable in your glory!”

When we see bad things happening and people being confused, hurt or — most tragic of all — tempted away from the Father God, we cannot be silent.

Silence is not a virtue when virtue is being stolen away.

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Maura, a young and spirited woman, invited me into her life.   She seems to welcome the experience of age and expresses the need for a “mother” figure.  Maura is intelligent.  More mature than most her age.  She has a tangible dream and works hard in college.  Maura displays all the normal feelings and emotions that come with being female.  But, there is more.  Wisdom speaks to Maura through her conscience.  The answers to my questions consistently reveal that Maura delights in all things of God… but, she is “hooked” to her boyfriend.

Her boyfriend’s words of love cause Maura to feel special.  He has demands.  She tries to please.    The warmth of his embrace encourages her loyalty.  But, his lack of commitment makes her vulnerable.  She isn’t sure how he really feels about her because his attention is easily distracted away from her.  She hopes the relationship will change.

Time passes between our visits.  We have talked at length about our identity as creations of God, so every now and then, I remind her of her value by mail or text.  Maura almost always responds with a request: “Can we get together?”  At lunch or on a walk, she brings me up to date.  She is busy with work and studies.  When the conversation turns to relationships, Maura smiles when she talks about her dad.  “I’m happy when I’m with him.  I feel safe at home.”  But, when I inquire about her boyfriend, Maura’s smile always fades.

During our last visit, Maura seemed less confident.  More sad.  She uttered not one positive or hopeful word about her boyfriend.  “So,” I asked, “why do you stay with him?”  Her shoulders drooped.  She stared past me for a few seconds.  Sighed.  Then shuttered.  “He isn’t good for me,” she confessed.  “But, it’s so very strange.  The more time I spend with my boyfriend, the more I need to be with him.”

The honesty of our friendship compelled me to take a deep breath… then look into her eyes.  “Maura, you’ve fallen into a bad habit.  You’re hooked.”  Tears that flowed were evidence of the tug-of-war for Maura’s heart.  Mind. And soul.

Maura is “hooked” not because she is uneducated, but because she is wrongly educated.  The culture has told her: “We are sexual from birth.”  (What does this mean?)   Maura is “hooked” not because she missed out on “Sex 101” but because she was encouraged at a young age to “be comfortable with” her “sexuality.”  Maura is “hooked” not because she is rebellious, but because she followed the rule: “Be responsible by practicing safe sex.”

Planned Parenthood-style sex education instructs in the act of sex, sexual fantasy, contraception, abortion, self-pleasure, gender role stereotypes, sexual diversity, HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases.  Maura’s well-meaning school, counselors, and adult mentors probably followed SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.) guidelines, thus believing they had provided everything Maura and her peers needed to know.

Sex education seems comprehensive, doesn’t it?  Would appear to reveal all the facts, right?  Then why is Maura, like countless other young women, in conflict with herself?  Why is her soul troubled?  Does her heart ache?  Are her thoughts confused?   Because, observe physicians, psychologists, and biologists, some vital information has been kept from Maura and her generation.  I agree.  Truth has been withheld.  That truth is: Male and female are different.

Militant feminists deny this difference.  They’ve been working feverishly to repress this difference so that women can shed their role of “helper” and, instead, compete with men.   So, everything girlish and womanly is minimized, managed, and sadly misguided.  No one informed Maura that her female brain predisposes her to yearn for love, understanding, connection, and communication.  No one informed Maura that her chemistry promotes attachment and trust of her boyfriend.  No one told Maura that her female wiring causes her to take risks by overlooking her boyfriend’s shortcomings.  Maura’s unique physiological vulnerability to intimate behavior was never explained because that would be a “gender stereotype.”

Maura knows her relationship isn’t what it should be.  As a Christian, she knows it isn’t what God desires for her.  But, even if she wasn’t a Christian, she would sense that something was wrong.  What is wrong is that educators in “sexuality” have failed girls and boys.

As a “helper,” I have promised not to fail my young friend by fooling her.  Or manipulating her.  There is one truth for Maura… and all the rest of us.  It is the truth of our design.  Divine design.  This design by God is evidenced by our anatomy.  Pure biology and scientific study.

Sure.  This messed up world complicates everything.  We may be “hooked” into harmful relationships.  But, Maura matters.  So, we are discussing a new life — unhooked and set free.  Set free to be all she was created to be.

(Recommended reading: You’re Teaching My Child What? by Miriam Grossman, M.D.)

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When did God say, “Educate children in sex”?  I challenge you to find this passage in Scripture.  While you’re looking, you will find an opposing thought.  Parents are to train their children in purity.  The theme of purity is woven throughout Old Testament and New.

When our sons were in elementary school, I purchased a series of “sex education” books from a Christian publisher.  Something about them troubled me, so I put them on the shelf.  I found a better substitute — chivalry and more about biology than “sexuality”.  Of course, there was no substitute for the Bible.  I was amazed to see how much God had to say about training in purity.  I began to contrast God’s Word with “sex ed” textbooks and resources.  The teachings were world’s apart.

The question for me was this: Which worldview was best for children?  Some years later, speaking nationwide to teens and their parents, I realized why I had been uncomfortable with Christian-wrapped “sex ed” material.   Jesus does not wrap Himself around worldly ideas.

“Sex education” is not a Biblical teaching.  It is the idea of Alfred Kinsey who coined the phrase “children are sexual from birth.”  Too late, his criminal and fradulous research was exposed.  Opinions had been shaped — in education, media, and even courts of law.  If we define ourselves as “sexual” (with “needs” to be met), or “sexy” (“it’s our right”), then that’s how we’ll live.  Our Creator God defines us differently (Genesis 1:27):

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

The first man and woman were made in God’s perfect image.  God defines Himself as “Holy.”  Therefore, God called the bearers of His image not to a “sexy” life, but to a holy life.  We all fell from perfection when sin corrupted God’s perfect image-bearers, but His original design for male and female did not change.  We are called and equipped by God to be holy (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).  Unlike animals, we are not captive to our sexual desires.  Our bodies (knitted together by God) and our lives (held in His arms) are not our own.  They were “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  That price is the blood of Jesus Christ.  In Jesus, we are forgiven and set free to pursue what is good, right, and holy.

God created male and female, not to bring glory to themselves, but to Him.  We do this best when we realize that God does not define us as “sexy” or instruct us to call attention to ourselves; rather, He defines us as “holy” people who help our neighbors see God.

God’s Word says,

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.  Rather, train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.  To this end we toil and strive . . .

This passage from 1 Timothy 4: 7-10a tells me that Jesus can’t be wrapped around unholy and “silly myths.”  It is impossible for Truth to wrap Himself around foolish and destructive philosophy and practice.  Certainly, as the passage above notes, we have to “toil and strive” because disconnecting ourselves from worldly influence is extremely difficult.  It threatens to sap the energy right out of the most persistent Christian.  Still, every father, mother, grandparent, pastor, teacher, and mentor is obligated by God’s Word to train children in purity.  To do otherwise is to remove the protective boundaries of modesty and send vulnerable children to wolves — big and bold or dressed in sheep’s clothing.

Jesus doesn’t wrap around modern sex education.  He can’t.  He is the Word of purity, modesty and humility.  For this reason, His Word tells elder brothers that they have the responsibility to guard the purity of their younger sisters (Song of Solomon 8:8-9).  If the little sister is a wall (virtuous), they are to help protect her chastity.  If she has fallen into sin and is like a door (swaying open to promiscuity and harmful choices), then they are to do what they can to rescue her, call her to repentance, and put a stop to her sinful behavior.

Jesus contrasts the world.  He is Light; the world is dark.  He is Truth; the world is myth and changing opinion.  Jesus, the Word, tells us: Do “not stir up or awaken love until it pleases” (Song of Solomon 3:5b).  We must not disregard the order that pleases God.  It is His design — for the good of all — that love be stirred, awakened, and fulfilled only in marriage between one man and one woman.

So, I challenge you to answer one question: Which practice is compatible with Jesus?

  1. Boys and girls brought together in a classroom, not to study anatomy, but to “ease inhibitions” and “comfortably” discuss all manner of “sexuality” (with timid caution to wait until marriage… following graduation, college, and establishment of career); or,
  2. Boys and girls taught separately to honor God’s created order and equal, but different sexes (two genders); mentored in Biblical manhood and womanhood; equipped for the battle with temptation; and age-appropriately helped to understand God’s design for procreation between one man and one woman in marriage.

Jesus is Truth.  Truth cannot wrap Himself around unholy and “silly myths.”  To protect children from wolves (big and bold or dressed as sheep), Jesus guards walls of virtue.  He rescues the hurt and repentant after doors have swung open.  He tells me to do the same.

This is the love of Him who holds young ones in such high esteem.

(Looking for a resource?  You may order “The Failure of Sex Education,” a little book I wrote for Christian parents, from www.lutheransforlife.org )

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