lust, marriage, the past and why i can’t deal with beth moore

I’ve had a whole lot on my mind and heart. Something stirring. You may have noticed. I’m getting restless pretending and uncomfortable with the facade.

Let’s back up a bit.

The church created youth groups and young adult groups, probably as an experiment. They were created, as far as I can tell, by people who wore masks to church and everywhere else by people with pretty poor theology. This became competition with culture, magazines, MTV and iPods and it’s failed dreadfully. Somewhere – usually in college – most of us girls lost our way and we’ve grown up to be women that the church doesn’t know how to handle.

If statistics hold true, only about 5-10% of Americans are virgins when we marry. This goes for men and women, in the church and outside of it.

Unlike our grandmothers and mothers, we ladies have a pasts and history that we don’t need to hide for fear of societal backlash. Yes, a lot of us grew up in church but we aren’t terrified of gynecologists or breast exams. We go to the beach in our bikinis, get drunk at our favorite dives, spend the night and make out with guys we’ll see sitting on a pew this weekend. We get pregnant out of wedlock and aren’t forced to wear red As on our dresses. But because we’re Christians, we’re forced to pretend in certain settings that we haven’t done those things.

Funny enough, our generation is not very good at pretending or hiding our sin. Someone knows, even if we would rather they didn’t. A best friend, a frenemy. It gets blurted out after the fourth gin and juice at East Burn or the sixth shot at the Matador. We’re a generation of confessors, if only because drinking isn’t sin.

And Beth Moore doesn’t know what the cuss to do with us.

Strange.

Strange, how we keep going to church, inevitably to be shamed. “Wait for marriage.” “Don’t get drunk.” “Put more clothes on because your brothers are filling in the blanks.” But our behavior doesn’t necessarily change. We keep going to church because we love Jesus for all he’s done for us. And we keep going because we know that he loves us more deeply than we’ve ever been loved or could even imagine. But Diane Comer got it right, we look down in shame when someone says the word purity or waiting or virgin. Those things we are not.

And we can’t go back.

So here’s a novel idea.

Let’s ‘fess up.

I’m serious.

Everyone in our culture gets to be honest about their sin. Everyone on the planet. Up ’til now, everyone except the Christians.

But let’s change. Let’s do the same.

Confess.

Here’s another novel idea.

How about young adult church group stop talking so much to the 5-10% of people who are waiting, patting them on the back and saying “good job!”? Most of the room hopes their warm cheeks doesn’t give their past away too easily. How about we love on the people who having slept around, discipline sin that’s continuing, teach people what they can do to avoid those situations and what they can expect when they get married? Because whatever happens when they marry, it sure won’t be the same as when the two virgins (or let’s be honest – in most cases ONE virgin) gets married.

Why do the few get all of the attention? Why are all the premarital counseling books ignoring the fact that we’ve already had lots of sex? What about those of us who didn’t make it out of college before having sex?

You know, ALL 90% OF US?

Why hasn’t someone looked at the statistics and trends and changed the direction of the conversation?

So some of the women in my extended community group do a Beth Moore Bible study. And I just can’t bring myself to go. Yes, in part it’s because I don’t know a lot of the ladies there but it’s mostly because Beth Moore will never get me. She is from another generation but it may as well be another planet. Where women were more modest. Where they didn’t talk about it if they were four months pregnant in a white dress at the altar. Heck, where getting pregnant actually meant getting married.

Where’s the love for those of us who are willing to get out there and say “That was me! I screwed up.”? Is there any room for us? Because the church acts like the 5% is the 95% in their attention, correction, discipline and discussion. To be fair, maybe they don’t know any better. But I really want this conversation to change because most of us having bigger needs than worrying if it will hurt on our wedding night; needs that should be addressed and not ignored.

Let’s study the Bible like we’re actually sinners who are so messed up that only Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection could save us. If you want to pretend like you could have almost achieved salvation on your own go ahead but you’re in the minority and I’m just not ok with the conversation being all about you anymore.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “lust, marriage, the past and why i can’t deal with beth moore

  1. Tori! As a youth pastor for ten years, I can tell you that you are spot on. Take heart, there are YPs out there who have gotten this message. SN: I was a YP who had pretty good theology… ;-) I SO love your honesty and vulnerability.

  2. I think one of the difficult parts here is that you actually have 3 groups to deal with, not two.

    1) The virgins.
    2) Those who aren’t virgins, but now know it was wrong and are trying to not have sex again till they’re married.
    3) Those who are not virgins and are still having sex.

    I think YPs are aware they have group 1 and group 3, but are not always reminded that they have group 2. Particularly if, as you note, nobody ever confesses to being in that group. If you only know you have group 1 and group 3, I think it tends to focus things on what *ought* to be done, in order to try to preserve group 1 through all the pressures not to be, and in order to try to convince group 3 that they need to repent.

    I think guilt is one of the really big questions of the discussion. Group 1 hasn’t done anything to feel guilty about. Group 3 doesn’t feel guilty (or at least doesn’t admit that they do). Group 2, though, knows they’ve done something to feel guilty about, and every time the issue comes up, they feel that guilt again. One thing they need to hear is that while *conviction* of unrepented sin is from God, guilt after repentance is not. As far as God is concerned, once that sin has been put under Christ’s blood, He no longer sees us as guilty of it. He sees us as pure and clothed in His Son’s righteousness.

    Group 3 is probably the hardest to deal with, in part because no one really wants to follow the Scriptural guidelines. I can’t say I’ve had the guts to do so either, beyond the first step. Confront them with their wrong. Then take another Christian and confront them. Then take the elders of the church, and confront them. And if they still refuse to repent, put them out of the church fellowship until they do. I can’t think of much of anyone but the Amish that are willing to actually put someone out of fellowship for unrepented sin.

    Paul was kind of a strict and confrontational guy when it comes to sin. Most of us, self included, don’t really want to deal with that confrontation. And I think that also feeds into the tendency to focus solely on what you *should* do, in hopes that your group 3 people will eventually get guilty over not doing what you’re telling them they’re supposed to do, and change without you having to call them out on it.

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