Okay, we’re definately armpits-deep in Love Month here at the blog.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the way the church deals with love and all that is kind of…well, conflicted. It’s kind of weird. It seems like more and more pastors are trying to talk as much as possible about love and family and all that sweetness. At the same time, the church is fighting a culture war over love. Yet, something feels a little off about it.
Before you hear one more sex talk from a pastor, I think it’s time I gave the church the talk about how it handles the topic of love.
Armchair Marriage Counselor
I think I stand with at least half of pastors, when I think of myself as a gifted counselor, even if I don’t have a fancy “degree” in counseling. I’ve taken just enough counseling classes to make me dangerous, and I loved them. Left and right, everywhere I go, I’m throwing out helpful little quips and scraps of advice to people who obviously need my help. I love wearing sweaters and tossing around words like codependence. I feel so academic. I have many leather bound books and my office smells of rich mahogany.
I think that’s where half our pastors are at today. Pastors love to talk about marriage. Most pastors have just enough counseling training to be helpful…or maybe dangerous. I’m not sure which. I’m also not sure how priests who are forced to be celibate are supposed to give marriage advice.
But most of all, I wonder how much good we’re doing. Are pastors supposed to be preoccupied with the health of marriages, or the health of the church? After all, pastors aren’t a part of anyone else’s marriage, but they actually lead churches. Jesus seemed much more concerned with community than marriage, and even pointed out that marriage isn’t eternal, while the church is. While we spend endless sermons talking about sloppy, slobbery married love, it’s obvious a lot of Christians still don’t know how to love their neighbors as themselves.
Thirty Day Challenge
Of all the publicity stunts a pastor can pull, I rank giving the church a thirty day “sex challenge,” only slightly more ridiculous than a pastor wrestling a kiddie pool full of ferocious greased up guinea pigs in the nude. Go ahead, let that image sink in. The fad of sex challenges started in Florida, and has since spawned books, door hangers, and dozens of copycat pastors. I can’t help but think that any pastor who issues such a challenge is only doing so in an amateurish attempt to get attention.
First of all, let’s ignore the logistical near-impossibility of this feat for most people (since women who follow Levitical law are sitting in a tent for a week out of every month, for obvious reasons.) Is this the kind of marital advice an actual, licensed therapist would give a couple? I think there’s probably a lot more serious problems married couples face, and a lot more serious solutions than this. If a marriage is in the dumps, is chafing your loins for a month supposed to fix the fact that he never takes out the trash, and she’s a relentless harpy?
I’d like to issue the church a challenge: let’s go one month without some kind of embarassing sex scandal. Novel idea, eh?
Let’s Save Marriage!
Of all the silly things churches are doing in the realm of love, this is where we’re really missing the mark. Churches and Christians are embroiled in an all-consuming culture war to keep gays from marrying. We spend a ton of money, energy, and debate on this. Some of us are willing to die on this hill. It is our calling to save marriage. This is the biggest cultural issue of our generation.
I’ve got my opinions about gay marriage (which I’m not discussing). But we’re making gay marriage way too important. We’re spending way too much time and money on preventing what is probably inevitable because we live in a free country. We are willing to let this issue consume us, and our grandchildren will wonder why.
How have we missed the mark?
Because half of heterosexual marriages break down. We’re not saving marriage by keeping gays from marrying. Half of straight people don’t know how to stay married.
But even divorce isn’t the biggest problem. If we’re focused on gay marriage or divorce, we’re being distracted by a silly little side show. If the church wanted to make the biggest impact to save marriage, it would be confronting the multi-billion dollar porn industry. It’s probably the biggest entertainment industry in the world. And it infects, saturates, and poisons our entire culture. The numbers of divorces and gay marriages doesn’t even compare to the amount of porn that’s made and used.
The church is picking on gay marriage, and porn is saying to the church, “Why don’t you come over here and pick on someone your own size.” But we’d rather pick the shrimp we know can’t beat us. If the church was serious about fixing our love lives, it would spend some hardcore energy fighting porn.
And on that note, you won’t want to miss Friday’s post…
Well, I kind of threw a lot out there, so let ‘er rip! Is your pastor qualified to give marriage advice? Are sex challenges legit, or silly attention grabbers? And what is the biggest threat facing marriages today – gays, or porn?