“For the next five weeks, our sermon series will be about SEX.”
Your pastor announces this. What is your reaction?
a.) ‘Sweet.’ b.) ‘Gross.’
As we wrap up our February ‘love month,’ I’ve got one more topic to discuss. It’s a seemingly recent fad going around many churches these days, the apparently obligatory sex sermon/series.
Don’t try to cover for this by calling it a series on ‘relationships.’
I figured this is probably one of those things that you either love or hate, and Christians will probably be very divided on whether preachers talking about sex is a good thing or not. If there’s one thing Christians like to do, it’s having a difference of opinion, but I know we can be civil here.
To be honest, I can’t even decide if it’s a good or bad thing. Since I can’t make a decision, and in the interest of fairness, it’s time for another ‘point/counterpoint!’
Pro/Con: Sexy Sermons
Pro: Sex sells.
We all know that sex sells. Sex sells because people WANT it. Sex can sell magazines or sermons. You advertise a tantilizing sermon topic, and people suddenly find church is no longer ‘irrelevant.’ Case in point: you were probably doubly intrigued with today’s topic because it had the word ‘sex’ in it. In fact, my Google search traffic is almost guaranteed to increase because of the copious usage of ‘sex’ in this post. And that’s a good thing.
Wife: (tries to wake husband on Sunday morning)
Husband: ‘I don’t want to go. I’ll just fall asleep during the sermon anyway.’
Wife: ‘Oh, I don’t think you will today…’
Wife: ‘What did you think of church today?’
Husband: ‘BEST. SERMON. EVER.’
Wife: ‘I especially like the preacher’s third point. What do you say we try that out tonight?’
Con: Sex sells what? Itself?
To be honest, most products that sex sells really exist to sell sex. Do men’s magazines offer any cultural value to once the sex has sold them? If a guy says he subscribes to Playboy to read the interviews, even if he can say that with a straight face, he is a liar.
Besides that, after we try to sell a sermon with sex, we’re going to tell half the people out there not to buy it.
Pastor: ‘Um…all you single people, just tune out. Your message for the day is ‘don’t do it.’ And all of you really really old people probably don’t need to listen either. In fact, I’d rather you didn’t listen. But you probably can’t hear me anyway, so it’s all good.’
Pro: People like to talk about sex
Let’s face it. Sex wouldn’t sell so well if people didn’t like it. People like sex in everything – TV, magazines, jokes, casual conversation, movies, music. If we liked anything else as much, it would be absurd. Can you imagine people liking waffles like they like sex? There’s a limit to how many waffles one can eat. But sex? Just sprinkle a little in here and there and it makes everything better! Sex is many things – it’s fun, intimate, natural, even funny sometimes. Besides, we’re all adults here.
Con: No one likes to talk about sex in mixed company
The funniest sex joke becomes absolutely unfunny when you’re with the wrong people. For example:
Dude is out with friends. One friend tells a hilarious sex joke.
Dude laughs hysterically. Sex jokes are funny.
Dude’s mom for no reason shows up and joins dude and his friend.
Sex is no longer funny.
That’s a best case scenario among non-Christians. Now ratchet that discomfort up to 11. That’s how sex in church feels. IN-A-PRO-PRIATE! You might even think this blog post is inappropriate, or that sex is never funny at all, and I’m probably not a Christian for suggesting it can be. That’s okay, that’s how some people feel. Point is this: No one liked having ‘the talk’ as a kid or a parent. Why would we want to relive that in church?
I avoided watching movies with my family for the last 10 years I lived with them for this exact reason. If I laughed at the joke, they knew that I knew what that was. And then we’d have to talk about it. I don’t need that in my life.
Pro: The Bible talks about sex
Like it or not, and contrary to some theories, the Bible does not treat sex as evil. Every ‘dirty’ thought you’ve had is part of God’s plan…unless it’s really dirty, then you’re a sinner.
Con: The Bible doesn’t talk about sex that much
Where does the Bible give a five week sermon series on sex? What kind of application can we gain from the Bible on sex?
Ruth seduces Boaz: don’t do that.
Paul discusses temple harlots: don’t do that.
David and Bathsheeba: don’t do that.
A pastor would have to do a lot of ‘interpretation’ of the Bible to come up with a whole message, let alone a whole series on sex.
Pro: We let the world control sex
Our policy of ‘not talking about sex’ hasn’t exactly worked out. The world has a monopoly on sex education. Children move from locker room talk to sex ed to the internet to the backseat of a car with little intervention from the people who are supposed to be the moral guardians in their lives. Kids don’t even know why they shouldn’t have sex before marriage, they just know the church doesn’t talk about it. Then those kids grow up, not knowing how to talk about sex intelligently, and their kids grow up the same way.
Con: Just because we should talk about it, that doesn’t make the Pastor the church expert on sex
We do expect pastors to have healthy marriages. But even if he is in a healthy marriage, it doesn’t make him an expert on sex. There’s probably a bunch of people in the congregation, much much older than the pastor, who could talk circles around him in a discussion about sex. But no one wants to hear those people. That might be gross. Like Dr. Ruth. If you need to know about sex, go to Barnes & Noble, not church.
Old woman: (thinking) ‘This new young preacher is terrible. I know more about sex than you ever will, Sonny! Now that dear old Pastor Smith, like a true master in the art of love.’
In conclusion…I have no conclusion. Where do you stand? What other points for or against have I missed? Do the churches need to bring sexy back? Or is it gross?