Thursday, January 12, 2012
Believe it or not, the pastor of one of the largest churches in Texas is going to go to bed with his wife on the roof of his church. Tomorrow, Friday January 13. It will be streamed live on the internet. It will be interactive, although they will not be interacting, sexually, anyway, we are told. People can call in their sex questions. This church top experience is coordinated with the release of Pastor Young and his wife's new book, Sexperiment, in which they counsel a week of sex to solve your marriage related problems. This is the second sex book by a Christian celebrity pastor I heard about this week. The other book is by Pastor Driscoll of the Seattle megachurch empire Mars Hill. His book, simply called, Real Marriage, promises to answer everyone's sex questions, frankly and openly. Much of the book is about Pastor Driscoll and his struggles with sex and marriage - and his wife's too, since she confessed to an infidelity that happened before they were married but Pastor Mark found out after they were married and says in the book that had he known about this infidelity before they were married he would never have married her. I have not read either book and I am relying on reviews in Christianity Today, Huffington Post, and the Seattle Times. I have read the reviews on Amazon as well. I don't intend to read either book. What I find interesting is that celebrity pastors with huge churches find it so interesting, and profitable. Pastor Young who makes more than a million a year in salary saw his latest sex book rise to the top of Amazon when his bed-in was announced in the press. Which was a nice coincidence. I may be a bit cynical. Susan Wise Bauer in her CT review said there is not much new in Driscoll's book about marriage except, of course, all the material on Driscoll. She wrote that much of the wisdom gained from his book could be gained from talking to any couple in one's church who had been happily married for a long time. That is, marriage is built on friendship, communication, and intimacy. Sex is part of marriage too, but I have always believed most people don't need a manual to figure that out. Sex is a topic that we never get tired of. Witness the novels and films that come out every day with plenty of sex in the stories. Sex abuse, sex trafficking, sex education for youth - are all important topics for the church to address. So is poverty, the world wide AIDS crisis, and other social issues. Sex is a hot topic and sex sells. No doubt Pastors Driscoll and Young will sell many more sex books than if they had written ones on theology or prayer or a study of the gospels. That is not their fault entirely. They are giving people what people want to read. But, I wonder about the message that is being sent. That somehow we have a right to sexual satisfaction in marriage and that if we don't have that then there is something wrong with our marriage. In the culture of the Bible years marriages were mostly arranged. Sex was a minor theme in the marriage plot. People figured it out. Kids were born. Families started. They served God together. It's hard to imagine Moses or Paul writing a sex book. Unfortunately, the evangelical church mirrors culture, takes its cues from culture instead of the other way around. As Pastor Young said: "culture has kicked the bed out of the church and God out of the bed; it's time to put God back in the bed, and the bed back in the church" Hard to imagine Paul saying that, either.