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Monday, October 24, 2005

Cycle of Purity

We gauge a child's maturity by whether they begin to think like an adult. There are the obvious avenues, such as cognitive function, abstract thought, and capacity for conceptualization. But often the standard is much more simple, and much more base.

We also seem to gauge a child's maturity by their loss of innocence. Are they naive about things (especially pertaining to sexuality)? Well, then they must still just be a child. I recently took my daughter to a "G" rated movie, and couldn't help but feel like the producers of the film wanted me to have awkward conversations with my daughter afterwards. We float enough innuendo and entendre out there that hopefully the child will begin to ask us about sex. We're conditioned to think that the first grader who really knows where babies come from is further developed and has an advantage from others who aren't even wondering such issues. We're in a hurry to grow our kids up and think evidence of that is by their knowlege and attitude about sex.

Field Research. Take this hypothesis to a mall. Scan through the clothing items intended for preteen girls. Not only will you find clothing that is immodest, but you will also find much of it is designed to make the child look older than they are. Beyond the design features, several of them have suggestive comments on them. Of clothing I've seen targeted to a preteen audience, I've seen the following slogans lately: "Nymphomaniac," "Playboy Bunny," "Flirt" and on a boy "Your parents warned you about boys like me." Just what are we trying to tell these children?

Society has changed the context of sex. It is no longer reserved for two people who have committed themselves to each other for life before their Creator. It has now become an animalistic expression of passion to be reserved for those who truly care about each other (best case scenario). Therefore, we view sex as a defining point of human maturity. If little Johnny desires sex, knows about sex and talks about sex, then Little Johnny is really growing up.

Here's the irony. A dishonoring approach to sex is often a flare that signals issues of immaturity in a person's life. Is a woman consumed with attracting sexual attention to herself? That probably means she has some real growth areas to work on. Is a man sleeping with anyone he can? It certainly shows he has to learn some things about commitment and selflessness. Is a person constantly taking discussions to levels that become about sex? The person ought to develop their mind a little further and find some new things to talk about.

As I posted previously, I am grieved by memories of many conversations I have had in the past. But I have grown up. (I do not write that last sentence to say that I have "arrived" or that I never fall to the flesh and say inappropriate things. But I will say that I at least spot when it happens, and God has granted me much victory in this area.) I spent much of my early adult (late teen) life thinking my sex-centered comments were evidence that I was not a child. I now realize they were evidence that I still was.

Is it possible that we can teach our children a God-pleasing innocence (not ignorance) and thus help them mature beyond our society? Can we keep our culture around us from dragging our children down and stunting their growth. I look forward to the day that my son knows all he needs to know about sex and yet is also mature enough to know he doesn't need to utter a word about it to prove his maturity. Then I can delight that he is growing up.


  • At 10:51 AM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    For what it's worth, I never remember the college you as the guy with the filthy mouth... actually, I more remember the sad soul that wouldn't shut up with the pitiful pining for Charity Miller.

    Re: the issue at hand, though. A question: do you think we, as Christians, tend to put too much emphasis on sex (albeit a different emphasis than secular society)? Are we part of the problem?

    Does the Bible talk about sex as much as we do?

  • At 2:23 PM, Blogger danny2 said…


    thanks for the encouraging word. i think you probably didn't notice it because our dorm was a hot bed for that kind of talk. it may not have been as bad as others around (and just who determines that?), but it certainly dishonored God more than I care to admit.

    i think the church has responded in one of two ways:

    1) most often we've ignored sex. we blush. we clam up. and we act like that's something Christians don't do. we allow sex to become something dirty because we act like it's something to be ashamed of.
    2) we dishonor it by acting to flipant about it. in an attempt to say how great sex is between a husband and wife, we encourage people to share details that should be resevered for just the husband and wife.

    sex is a wonderful thing. but if the husband/wife relationship is supposed to show us the Jesus/church relationship (Ephesians 5), how can sex bring glory to God? that is the question we should be asking.

  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    A "hot bed"? Maybe I just don't remember. More likely, our standards of perversion differ.

    I'm sure much of it has to do with the fact that I'm in an environment where graphic sex discussions and jokes that make Beta look like Sunday School are commonplace. Admittedly, I rarely pay attention anymore because it's everywhere.

    I think that your two church responses do occur, but I don't think they're the most common, particularly in today's environment. To me, Christians tend to go on and on and on ad nauseum about sex. Not in overly graphic or explicit ways, either.

    We tend to fret over whether it's being treated with the proper amount of reverence, whether it's represented as the perfect union that God intended. We remind each other that sex sins are special sins because they're sins against our own bodies.

    (And, God in Heaven, whatever you do, DON'T MASTURBATE EITHER.)

    And then we trot out the abortion stories and the divorce stats and STDs and the Maybe If They'd Waited, As God Intended, Their Lives Wouldn't Be A Shambles.

    I suppose it's a natural reaction to the sex-obsessed culture we live in, where pornographers are now Porn Stars and abstinence is a joke.

    But here's where I take issue: as Christians, we tend to be as unrealistic about sex as secular society. We assure each other that if a good Christian couple can simply resist! resist! resist!, the horn of plenty-good-sex is waiting for them on the other side of "I do."

    And come on. Those of us who are married and waited among us know the truth.

    My parents did a pretty fantastic job with the sex issue as related to what to tell me and when, but they weren't completely honest. They told me that it was for marriage, that God created it, that it was beautiful and wonderful and fun.

    They neglected to point out, however, that sex is messy. They never mentioned that it can be painful. They never even hinted that it can be lousy sometimes, even when you love each other very much in a marriage context. Or that the first time you do it, you're really, really bad at it.

    I love sex with my wife, but I've never seen anything very spiritual about it. And, being honest, I've never been comfortable with the idea that it's a representation of our relationship to Christ. Seriously, am I the only one creeped out by that notion?

    In short, I agree, we shouldn't be too flip about it, but I think we do an equal amount of dishonoring when we neglect to treat it realistically.

  • At 7:56 PM, Blogger Tony Myles said…

    Seems like purity is a hard goal in itself but pursuing Jesus Christ allows the foundation for purity to take place. Keep after it!


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