So I read this today…
The headline is “Christians are not Called to Have Amazing Sex” and the article is even worse than one would assume by reading the headline.
My great grandmother had a saying: “the problem with the world is that every new generation thinks they invented sex.” Once I was old enough to fully appreciate the historical context of my great-grandmother’s generation and the societal changes she witnessed in her many, many years of life I finally realized that she had stumbled onto some profound wisdom with that phrase.
With that in mind, I was very disappointed to read Ms. Pietka’s article. Yes, we need to educate the youths we serve in church that sex isn’t what they see in movies (or, heaven forbid, the porn they’re being exposed to), but to tell newly-marrieds that the sexual difficulties they’re experiencing are going to a problem for life is counter-productive to encouraging teenage abstinence. Oh yeah, and it’s also factually incorrect!
The big difference in approach between someone who chooses to stay abstinent until marriage and someone who doesn’t is that the abstinent person should be looking for a mate with whom they can grow towards compatibility, while non-abstinent folks are looking for someone they find immediately compatible. I prefer the approach of growing towards compatibility because it lays a foundation for adaptation throughout marriage. After all people change a lot in a life span, learning how to adapt to a partner’s personality and peculiarities early in marriage helps when kids, health, career, and other milestones hit.
Short of a physical impairment a couple should be able to eventually work towards something that the two of them would consider “great” sex. If they cannot after a period of time then they ought to seek out assistance from appropriate professionals. Depending on the problem a medical doctor, a marriage therapist, or a sex therapist can be consulted. Not seeking resolution can allow resentment and anxiety to develop and which can magnify other problems and eventually lead to divorce.
If I am consulting a couple with sexual tension in their marriage either as an ecclesiastical leader or as a therapist, I would NEVER tell them that the effort spent trying to overcome their problems is idolatrous. The entirety of love between a husband and wife, including their sexual attraction and desire, is a gift from God and any effort spent better understanding and cultivating that love can bring a couple closer to each other and God.
So, I was doing my daily news review today, and came across an interesting contradiction. When I have a chance I try to catch what was said on The Daily Show to see what they’re laughing at. Well, last night in one clip (I shortcut it back there) Samantha Bee interviewed a anti-gay Christian minister who has been complaining about Christian bashing and bullying of Christians. As you can guess, this being The Daily Show, they went out of their way to make this guy look like a wack-a-doodle and did a compare/contrast with the bullying and bashing that LGBT people have endured. She went on to imply that bullying of Christians is basically non existent and that anyone who argues that it exists just has an ax to grind because they are losing a power position in society.
Now it is always fun to poke fun at a holier-than-thou type that has been caught in a hypocritical stance, but what I was bothered by was the contention by Samantha Bee that there is no Christian bashing or bullying happening. You see, a few minutes after watching The Daily Show clip, I was looking through headlines on Real Clear Politic’s religion section, and came across a headline “When They Tried to Stump My Black Mormon” which was written by Julie Boye for the Deseret News about how her husband Alex Boye was treated by some members of the press during his European tour. In short, he was bullied and bashed for being a Mormon and agreeing to allow his face to be used in an advertisement campaign that is the perfect example of “turning the other cheek” in response to the opening of the Book of Mormon musical in London. So without even trying, and using a major news resource I was able to prove Ms. Bee’s “there is no bullying of Christians” argument wrong.
Now here is the problem: bullying is wrong. It is always wrong. Yet, when it comes to the bullying of Christians it is often dismissed as some kind of karmic balancing rite, or it is dismissed completely as an urban legend, or as a hissy-fit on the part of the victim. I can attest that bullying someone because of their religion is totally real, because I was a victim of it. This was while I was in middle school and some in high school. It didn’t necessarily stop there, one time I even had a professor who had shown interest in mentoring me until he found out I was Mormon. (I’ll discuss my own person experiences as a bully victim in more detail in the future, because I have number of points I’d like to share about that.)
So my point is this: just because bullying of Christians or Mormons or whoever else not as prevalent and perhaps not as intense as the bullying of LGBT youths or socially dysfunctional individuals does not mean that it deserves to be ignored or made fun of. Bullying is bad in all its forms and towards all its victims. Sure, we can all laugh when you trot out a hypocritical radio personality who does bully a group of people while decrying bullying of a different group of people, but why don’t we trot out Dan Savage when he does the same thing? Bullying is always wrong, and just because The Daily Show thinks it’s funny to mock this guy does not give them the right to dismiss the harm that has been done to many for no other reason than being the less popular religion in the place that they grew up.