Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Just Say "Wait"

Gene Edward Veith of World Magazine asks why, statistically speaking at the least, Evangelical Christian teens are more sexually active (and at a younger age) than non-Evangelical teens are. (And World Magazine being a conservative, Republican-based, Classics-themed mag, some of his language, phrasing and solutions are not up to PC-code. Sorry if that embarrasses anyone.)

But what really got my attention (and my ears burning) was at the end:

[T]he Bible does offer a direct solution for people who are burning in lust: marriage (1 Corinthians 7:9). Adolescence—that time when a person is physically an adult but socially a child—is a modern invention. In the past, people married much younger, as soon as they were sexually ready. Today's culture postpones marriage while stretching celibacy to the breaking point.

A counter-cultural church may do well to encourage younger marriages. The young couple may still need the financial support of their parents and the social support of their fellow Christians. But this would be better than the current hypocrisy and guilt. And it would fulfill God's positive purpose for sexuality.

I know I have a few problems with this possible solution. But what should be taken seriously is this idea of the cataclysmic void era. I too believe that sex is really only viable within the marriage union, and that teenagers daily confront sex urges, not just from advertisements and general cultural signposts - which only serve to confuse them further -but from their very God-created bodies.

I also applaud Veith in not buying the standard Evangelical line, that "True Love Waits" and celibacy programs work. As he (and Lauren Winner in her marvelous book, Real Sex) notes, the effects of these campaigns are only short-lived and only temporarily delay what GNR and GEV may both call an appetite for destruction. Although self-control is certainly a good thing, it is often neglected. And even so, calls to self-control are often no more effective in the sexual area than in the peer-pressure area (remember "Just Say No"?).

On second thought, sometimes it is pretty effective...

So, maybe this is asking for too much, but I'd like to see what people think. Post your thoughts.


  1. Having experienced both (cough), I agree that sex is best left for a marriage relationship. I'm just not seeing either teenage marriages or "true love waits" as viable alternatives for most young people. I know what the Bible says and I believe it is the best way but the article (perhaps inadvertantly) points out one huge issue in this area of discussion. That is that society is radically different today than it was when the Bible was written.

    I have no answers here, brother, just rambling observations...

  2. Being still single and waiting it disheartens me whenever I meet a young woman and they have had so much more experience than I did. And most people I talk to usually say the same thing, I wish I had waited. Sigh.

  3. yeah, i just don't think that there's any easy answer - esp. for teens. (i really think that christian adults should recognize that any sex outside of marriage is a sin, ie., that it strays from the design and heart of God, and that in such cases there is such a thing as shame. but we shouldn't over-emphasize shame or sin. but, ha-ha, that never happens with christians!)

    i think that the option that lauren winner puts her finger on - that chastity (sex in marriage) is a spiritual discipline and should be practiced as an outpouring of our relationship with God and with other christians (the Body is a temple, not just yours or mine), not just as a sin or voyeuristic ("stay out of my business!") issue.

    that's a start.


Be kind. Rewind.