God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Covenantal vs. Recreational Sexuality

posted by gp_intern

This latest contribution to The Washington Post/Newsweek On Faith online discussion responds to the question: “Why do you think some religions have regarded sex as sacred while others have regarded it as a sin?”

Well, that’s a funny way to put the question: Is sex sacred or sin? In the Bible, and most religious traditions, sex can, of course, be either.

The divinely intended purposes of sexual intimacy are of course very sacred and deeply satisfying in the context of committed relationships. And the degradation and commodification of sexuality in the media, for purposes of advertising, and in exploitative or manipulative relationships is indeed sin, because it can be so abusive and destructive to the human spirit.

The real question is whether sexuality should be regarded as basically covenantal or just recreational.

Sexuality is meant to be enormously enjoyable and fulfilling, but the context of the relationship and the commitment or lack of commitment it contains is of obvious religious importance. And that religious importance is because of how fragmenting or integrating sexual intimacy can be for human beings – dependent on the context of the relationship.

Are Sex in the City and Desperate Housewives our reigning cultural paradigms now when it comes to sexuality? Or is the reconnection of sexual intimacy with commitment a future worth fighting for? That’s the question I hear most often from a new generation of young people. Perhaps surprisingly, many are moving back (or forward) to committed intimacy rather than serial sexual dating.

The quality of the relationship is indeed the critical factor that distinguishes whether sexuality is sacred or profane. And covenantal vs. recreational may be the clearest and more understandable way to ask the right questions.



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Lydia Bean

posted February 16, 2007 at 5:18 pm


Thank you, Jim, for talking about this difficult issue in such a biblical way. It makes me very hopeful to hear Christians talking about sexuality in terms that go beyond permissive vs. authoritarian views on sexuality. I think Christians from all over the political spectrum understand that we need to strengthen covenantal sexuality, for the common good. Rob Bell has a new book coming out called SexGod, and I think he’s doing a really good job at communicating to young adults about why getting sexuality right is so important to Christians, and why sexual intimacy is so connected to social justice.



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Elmo

posted February 16, 2007 at 7:35 pm


I rarely have the opportunity to hear such a wishy-washy, watered-down response to such a serious problem. It seems to me what you just said is that if you love the person and are “committed”, sex is sacred. That’s a great secular/political answer, but I’m sorry, it’s just not Scriptural. God created sex for one context. That context is covenantal marriage. It should be preceeded by life-long commitment and expressed within that commitment. The “degradation and commodification” of sexuality isn’t sin because it’s “abusive and destructive”, it’s sin because it is disobedience to God and a misuse of his creation. It wouldn’t hurt you to be a little more clear in your support for Biblical concepts other than poverty and tolerance. There’s more to the Gospel than those two issues.



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kevin s.

posted February 16, 2007 at 8:15 pm


How can a Christian answer this question without discussing marriage? I don’t understand the equivocation here. It’s not as tough confining sex to marriage is all that controversial (not that it should matter if it is), and it not as though Wallis lends a deeper analysis to the issue.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted February 16, 2007 at 9:25 pm


Jim, “And covenantal vs. recreational may be the clearest and more understandable way to ask the right questions.” I’m not sure you are yet asking the ‘right’ questions… “The real question is whether sexuality should be regarded as basically covenantal or just recreational.” Why “just recreational”? Can it not be BOTH? Why is it an either/or scenario? My husband and I engage in sex that is voth a fulfilment of our covenant AND (sometimes VERY) recreational. “Sexuality is meant to be enormously enjoyable and fulfilling” Not according to some of the more fundamentalist types who post here. For them it is ONLY about makin’ babies, and damn the cost, the fear, the inability to raise or afford them. “but the context of the relationship and the commitment or lack of commitment it contains is of obvious religious importance.” Only to religious busybodies. NO ONE can judge the relationship and the commitment (or lack thereof) in SOMEONE ELSE’S relationsihp. Only the people involved and their Maker. The rest would do well to butt out. “And that religious importance is because of how fragmenting or integrating sexual intimacy can be for human beings – dependent on the context of the relationship.” Again, not for other humans to judge. That job is taken, and by One far more qualified. “Are Sex in the City and Desperate Housewives our reigning cultural paradigms now when it comes to sexuality?” Nope. Sometimes I look at my parents’ relationship and their overt sexuality, and I thank god for such a good example. On the back of their bedroom door, even well into their 70’s, there was a list od Dad’s “To do’s”, and at the top was “Make more love to Sarah.” I always found that sweet and proof of their devotion to one another. I had good role models, and none of them ever played in ‘Sex in The City’. “Or is the reconnection of sexual intimacy with commitment a future worth fighting for?” I’ve never lost it. Sorry you think so many others have. “The quality of the relationship is indeed the critical factor that distinguishes whether sexuality is sacred or profane.” Amen to that, say I. But with the proviso that other mere mortals do not get to sit in judgement of my relationship. They could mindtheirownbeewax, as Ann Landers used to say.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted February 16, 2007 at 9:26 pm


“God created sex for one context. That context is covenantal marriage. It should be preceeded by life-long commitment and expressed within that commitment.” Hey elmo, that sounds exactly like my (gay) marriage. Thanx 4 the vote of support for equality.



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Payshun

posted February 16, 2007 at 9:37 pm


But does one need a ceremony or a piece of paper to express that committment. Adam and Eve did not have one they just went for it. Even in other myths like Lilith she would not be subordinate. So I guess my question what constitutes a covenant? Is it some westernized idealized notion of marriage or is people like Susan Saradon and Tim Robbins? They don’t need that ceremony to stay together. Don’t get me wrong I am all for the ceremony as it a very beautiful and spiritual emblem of God being w/ us but again I wonder if and when we are going to actually talk about human sexuality as a means of pleasure and why people don’t wait till marriage for it to happen.I think some of the discussion has to start talking about how human sexuality develops and why people don’t wait and how to deal w/ the consequences of that. p



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Judy

posted February 16, 2007 at 9:58 pm


I’ve been working with university students as a chaplain/campus minister for about a decade and a half now and I agree with Jim – we need to be articulating the sex question in terms of covenant (which doesn’t exclude recreational) vs *just* recreational rather than inside vs outside marriage. It isn’t whether you’ve made the vows and have the piece of paper signed by a minister that makes your relationship sacred. Most of the most seriously abusive relationships around are within marriages, and many young people have seen that. They don’t buy that it’s the ceremony that makes the difference and they need a different framework within which to think about relationship. Lifelong covenant before God sounds pretty good to me!



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kevin s.

posted February 16, 2007 at 10:18 pm


“It isn’t whether you’ve made the vows and have the piece of paper signed by a minister that makes your relationship sacred.” A marriage is more than a piece of paper, but I have no problem with the piece of papre signifying. Having a job is more than just receiving a piece of paper with your name on it and a number, but the piece of paper is necessary nonetheless. “Lifelong covenant before God sounds pretty good to me!” I would note that Wallis said nothing about a lifelong covenant. Also, if you have a lifelong covenant, than what is the problem with vows and papers?”I wonder if and when we are going to actually talk about human sexuality as a means of pleasure and why people don’t wait till marriage for it to happen. ” We are talking about it now. I think, by and large that people do not want to wait. Or, they want to wait, but they do not take the precautions necessary to keep hormones from taking over. Or they are trying to find in a girlfriend or boyfriend what they should be finding in God.There are a number of reasons, but if we are ambivalent about God’s direction on this, then how can we communicate the value of the command to confine sex to marriage?



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jesse

posted February 16, 2007 at 10:54 pm


It is striking how the words “marriage” and “life-long commitment” were omitted entirely from this “religious” discussion of sexuality. I doubt many people will find anything discomforting about this essay because most people like the idea of sex within a committed relationship. No one wants to think of themselves as promiscuous. This is one of my main complaints about Wallis and his public witness. The unpopular aspects of Christianity are omitted, and people are just encouraged to do good deeds (and vote Democratic). Holiness, evangelism, the primacy of Christ, authority of the Bible, and so on are left out. This is the kind of Jesus most unbelievers like best. He doesn’t ask you to change your life or surrender to him. He just tells you to be nice to others.Jim, you can do a lot better.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 16, 2007 at 11:29 pm


I think this topic (and the others) from Jim very well reflects the words that we are to love God and love our neighbor and the additional detail about how we are to love our neighbor (words that emphasized helpfulness to the “thirsty”, “hungry”, “naked” and so on among us).



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Mike Hayes

posted February 16, 2007 at 11:33 pm


Jim, I thought you emphasized the importance of communications with elected officials (and, during elections, candidates) from both political parties when you spoke about “change the wind” in “God’s Politics”. Do some of the persons who often post messages on this blog have a secret version of the book that the rest of us don’t have?



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jesse

posted February 17, 2007 at 12:14 am


It is also striking that one who claims to be so concerned with poverty neglects to mention illegitimacy, one of the consequences of sex outside of marriage. All the data point to illegitimacy as one of the most important predictors of poverty, crime, etc. Is this a concern at all? Surely, many of those mothers who gave birth out of wedlock were in “committed relationships” with the fathers.Sorry if I’m being a bit biting. It just frustrates me that so many people claiming to be advocates for the poor neglect to mention or even address this important contributor. You’d think that maybe some were more concerned with maintaining their sense of moral superiority and high-mindedness.



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HASH(0x118ca560)

posted February 17, 2007 at 1:42 am


kevin s: “it not as though Wallis lends a deeper analysis to the issue.” kevin, some of us have not been Xtians for all that long. Anything like this is helpful, although I understand why it might be old hat to a old warrior such as yourself. Have a good weekend.



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Carl Copas

posted February 17, 2007 at 1:42 am


that last “Anonymous” was me.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 17, 2007 at 1:46 am


Jesse, I think there is too much judgmentalism taking place, on both sides of this issue. I think you are a person who pays attention to details and that you are aware of the efforts to deal with this. I think there is broad support, from persons who think contraception is a necessary part of the solution and those who oppose contraceptive use, for women who are pregnant (or who might become pregnant) without adequate support from the male who impregnates them. The persons behind these two separate approaches do care about unwanted pregnancies and the related potential for abortions in those circumstances. These bills in the congress are designed to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and related abortions and to do that by supporting the women (and any males who are remaining with them to meet their responsibility), before and after a pregnancy. The hope is that unwanted pregnancies and resulting abortions will reduce in number, by either approach. I think we all ought to be choosing the one option or the other and asking our members of congress to get involved in a discussion in the congress on this and stick with the discussion until some compromise is reached. Get a start on a solution and then fine tune it… I think that’s what we ought to be pushing congress to do, as citizens.



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jesse

posted February 17, 2007 at 2:05 am


Mike, You may remember Clinton saying that illegitimacy was the #1 domestic issue. Why doesn’t Wallis ever address it? Is it because it’s difficult to do without sounding “judgmental”? Or sounding like you’re “blaming the victim”? I’d think it would be something he would be thinking about and praying against everyday, given his concern about poverty. You’d also think that he’d at least mention it as one of the most devastating consequences of having a sex-crazed society.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 17, 2007 at 3:48 am


Jesse, Who doesn’t want to protect the quality of family life? I don’t know anyone who wants others to spiral downward from out-of-control behaviors of any sort…spousal abuse, alcohol, drugs, violent sex… Jim consistently promotes strong families. He also doesn’t condemn those who exhibit traits that weaken families. Think about this from the other perspective… If I were a person who did not have much esteem and who needed counseling, I might decide against confiding in anyone who would speak to me in judgmental ways. It isn’t easy for most of us to put ourselves in that position… And, for our society as a whole, sexual irresponsibility leads to unwanted pregnancies leads to abortions… We can’t legislate abstinence… but we can legislate programs that will support women and reduce unwanted pregnancies and thereby reduce abortions… A rhetorical question… have you and others who oppose the positions that Jim Wallis and friends have taken on this blog asked your members of congress to get off the fence, get involved in the discussion about the bills in congress to reduce the number of abortions, and stick with it until some legislation is passed… a starting point…? What about those of us who are supporting the positions that Jim Wallis and friends have taken on this blog… ?



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Mike Hayes

posted February 17, 2007 at 4:06 am


I’m pretty sure that most of us know someone who is sexually irresponsible and who is not going to respond to messages that they should not have sex until they are ready to accept the responsibility of parenthood. Think about it… Yes, that person… What is the best way to protect that person from their own irresponsibility and to protect the child who would result from their irresponsibility… For some, a stern talking to would be adequate… What about others…



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kevin s.

posted February 17, 2007 at 6:11 am


“kevin, some of us have not been Xtians for all that long. Anything like this is helpful, although I understand why it might be old hat to a old warrior such as yourself.” My point wasn’t to say that this statement was facile or unncessary. My point is that, if Wallis were delving into the need for a mutual expression of love and commitment via sexual avenues, and abstained (no pun intended) from using the marriage term to get at a deeper point, I could see why he would do so. As it stands, it is fairly clear that he is equivocating, and for reasons that I do not entirely understand.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 17, 2007 at 6:29 am


Jim, Thank you for your efforts to move the discussion off the topic of legal prohibitions against abortion and on to the subject of reducing the number of abortions and for labeling the previous discussion a game of political football… … and for pointing to the tragic circumstances in which unplanned pregnancies occur… and the contribution that makes to the number of abortions… … you did not take sides publicly in the two approaches to reducing the number of abortions… wise decision… the time is long past for citizens to make our own decisions and push our members of congress to make their decision and get to some starting point … You point us to the words …love your neighbor… help those who are “thirsty”, “hungry”, “naked”… “sexually irresponsible”… It’s up to us to fill in the blanks beyond the words written two thousand years ago.



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Marco Polo

posted February 17, 2007 at 8:45 am


Jesus says the Kingdom of God is within me, so why do I need to look outside myself to know what is right or wrong? Jesus and the first disciples only had the Old Testament to go by, a book where many of the leaders had multiple sexual partners and a wonderful knowledge of God as well. I lived in a Christian community for a dozen years where pre-marital sex was forbidden (not to mention masturbation and dating). I then got married in the church and had a wonderful relationship for five years with my wife, and as we both grew in the knowledge of ourselves, we realized the marriage couldn’t last and so we divorced (and remain great friends to this day). Since then, I went out to explore the unexplored country of casual sexuality and have had dozens of partners. I have treated every one of them with respect and honesty, though I was not in what you might call a covenant relationship with any of them. Through it all, my knowledge of and faith in and love for God has grown stronger by the day, and I can say without a doubt that God has brought me together with my partners and every instance of sexual sharing has been a beautiful thing. I don’t condemn or judge people who see things differently, but it is interesting to note that Martin Luther believed a man could have multiple wives. North America Christianity in general has a very conservative mindset about sexuality, but this is as much an indication of our cultural discomfort with the topic as it is “God’s ordained will”. For me, knowing God means being fully alive as a human being and be aware of and attentive to the still small voice within, as Elijah described it. Catholics think priests shouldn’t marry, despite the fact Peter had a wife. Many evangelicals think dancing is a sin, despite David’s obvious love of dance. Many Christians think casual sex is wrong, despite the fact that Solomon had probably thousands of partners. Personally, I think that whatsoever is not of faith is sin, where sin means to fall short of the mark of knowing God in your heart. I have learned to live life to the full in the presence of God every moment, so casual sex is not sin as long as I don’t lie or take advantage of people or use them or disrespect them. It has also been a lot of fun to explore this and through it to get to know myself much better. Now I am in a monogamous committed relationship with a woman because I have learned that for me, sex with intimacy is what I prefer at this point in my life. But that doesn’t mean that God somehow judges casual sex as evil. If God did, then surely Solomon couldn’t have had a relationship with God worth writing about, nor Judah, nor David, nor Israel …



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Russ M

posted February 17, 2007 at 12:52 pm


Look back through history, and attitudes toward sex swing from marriage bed only to rampant promiscuity and back. I am of the opinion that most of the rules that the “christians” want enforced appear to be designed to “keep the wimmin in line”, so that men don’t have to concern themselves with things like sensitivity, consideration, patience, or the like. To ease our consciouses we use the term committed relationship when what we really mean is that we’re horny. To some people, marriage has the same connotation. I suppose that we could go back to the time when sex outside the marriage bed was a crime, and when women swooned from the vapors and visited their doctor for a manipulation. Care for the partner and being responsible for the results of sexual relationships is paramount to obedience to somebody else’s rules.



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jesse

posted February 17, 2007 at 4:15 pm


Mike, I hear what you’re saying about the two different approaches. I think promoting abstinence and saving sex for marriage is something all Christians could agree on (whether it’s accompanied by the promotion of birth control and BC education is another matter). I also think the promotion of policies that encourage and strengthen marriage would be a high priority for all Christians (and those concerned with poverty). I rarely hear about either from Wallis. I’ve never heard him promote keeping sex for marriage.The fact remains: out-of-wedlock childbirth is perhaps the biggest contributor to poverty. The fact that Wallis, a Christian advocate for the poor, cannot even bring himself to promote the Christian view of sex and marriage when asked to do so…well, it says something.



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Jim

posted February 17, 2007 at 4:29 pm


Under Jim Wallis’ test of recreational vs. covenantal, it seems a whole range of sexual conduct most Christians view as wrong, if not sinful, would become sacred. The foremost example that comes to mind is bigamy. Next comes pederasty (as opposed to pedophilia). And we could go through Lev. 18 and take on just about all of the prohibitions that have been observed for over 3000 years. When I apply tests such as that advanced by Jim (who has inspired me in so many ways), I simply get lost in addressing issues of sexual morality. Help.



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted February 17, 2007 at 5:20 pm


kewvin s., “how can we communicate the value of the command to confine sex to marriage?” The way you just did it – you state something like, “I believe in confining sex to marriage.” Just don’t be too surprised if a lot of people don’t agree with your beliefs, that’s all.



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kevin s.

posted February 17, 2007 at 6:19 pm


“Just don’t be too surprised if a lot of people don’t agree with your beliefs, that’s all.” That’s fine, but my question is whether Wallis disagrees with my belief. Marco, you can’t just redefine sin to accomodate whichever lifestyle you choose. Well, you can, but you can’t be faithful to Biblical principle at the same time. David’s obsession with women drove him to have his best friend killed. Solomon repented of his obsessions in Ecclesiastes. These are not held up as models of good behavior.I think Jim (above) articulates the problem with this confused posting. There are so many behaviors that are allowable under Jim W’s definition.



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kevin s.

posted February 17, 2007 at 6:21 pm


“Care for the partner and being responsible for the results of sexual relationships is paramount to obedience to somebody else’s rules.”‘ What the hell are you talking about?



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Mike Hayes

posted February 17, 2007 at 6:48 pm


Jesse, With all due respect, I think you just aren’t listening to the message about promoting strong families that Jim is providing, here: “…Are Sex in the City and Desperate Housewives our reigning cultural paradigms now when it comes to sexuality? Or is the reconnection of sexual intimacy with commitment a future worth fighting for? That s the question I hear most often from a new generation of young people. Perhaps surprisingly, many are moving back (or forward) to committed intimacy rather than serial sexual dating…”. We’re all bombarded with information like “Desperate Housewives” and celebrity fascination… and poll results that indicate that sexual relationships among kids is commonplace… isn’t it encouraging to see something that points to commitment… I think it is.Jim often passes along his impression of what he hears back from people in his travels around the country as he speaks in various places… that’s what he’s doing here… I’m glad he is… And that’s what his message was in “God’s Politics”… strengthen families…



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jesse

posted February 17, 2007 at 7:15 pm


Mike, I’ve hear a little rhetoric (though nothing beyond it) about “strengthening families” and some gentle repudiation of Sex and the City, but the only alternative I see him give is “sex in a committed relationship.” A lot of sexual sin occurs in the context of committed relationships (as others have pointed out). In addition, as I said before, most children born out of wedlock probably had parents who were in a committed relationship.Jim’s moral leadership on the issues of marriage, sex, illegitimacy, fatherhood, etc.–issues which so profoundly impact poverty–is seriously lacking.



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jesse

posted February 17, 2007 at 7:16 pm


But we hear him push for a minimum wage increase ad nauseum…



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Mike Hayes

posted February 17, 2007 at 8:34 pm


Jesse, I think this is a typical example of what George Lakoff describes as conservatives seeing one set of facts and liberals seeing another set. By that I do not intend any taunting… we’re both hearing “facts”… different facts. I think his insight helps me as a liberal (and he is also a liberal) understand the phenomenon. Maybe a conservative will come along and describe the phenomenon also and then maybe we’ll all be able to recognize what is occurring and realize that “we agree to disagree”. A friend from childhood who has spent a lot of time in his life stuydying psychology jokes that “maybe we’re born with genes that make us one way or the other”.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 17, 2007 at 8:39 pm


To: Supporters of the values in “God’s Politics” Subject: “Take action” opportunities for the bills in congress to reduce the number of abortions Does anyone know of an opportunity to contact our members of congress to urge them to choose one or the other of the two approaches (one including contraceptives and contraceptives information and the other not) and get involved in the discussion and reach some compromise… leaving refinement to a later date? Thanks!



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Mike Hayes

posted February 17, 2007 at 9:41 pm


I tried to post this and am gettging a message that I’ve already done it… maybe this will work… To: Supporters of the values in “God’s Politics” Subject: Reducing the number of abortions http://www.capwiz.com/now/issues/alert/?alertid=9359961 The link is to the National Organization for Women’s web site to send an email message to your members of congress in support of bills that do include the provision of contraceptives and information about contraceptives. Part of the message reads: “…Regardless of your position on the issue of abortion, this bill is one that you should support. Pregnancies, whether unintended, unwanted, or forced through rape often lead to pregnancy termination. Better access to contraceptives and family planning services can reduce the demand for abortions and increase the likelihood that ‘every child is a wanted child.'” So far, I have been unable to locate a website that provides a message to members of congress encouraging them to support the corresponding legislation that does not include access to contraceptives and contraceptive information. Has anyone else found it? On the NOW site, there are separate messages for your US senators and your member of the House of Representatives. You must enter your zip code and click on the link for senators or representative, send that message, return, and then click on the other link and send that message.



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kevin s.

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:05 am


“I think this is a typical example of what George Lakoff describes as conservatives seeing one set of facts and liberals seeing another set.” How so. What facts is he seeing that you are not, and vice versa?



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Mike Hayes

posted February 18, 2007 at 5:02 am


Jesse and Kevin, You are being repetitive… To repeat… I’m pretty sure that most of us know someone who is sexually irresponsible and who is not going to respond to messages that they should not have sex until they are ready to accept the responsibility of parenthood. Think about it… Yes, that person… What is the best way to protect that person from their own irresponsibility and to protect the child who would result from their irresponsibility… For some, a stern talking to would be adequate… What about others…



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kevin s.

posted February 18, 2007 at 5:03 am


Sojo and the National Organization for Women. Peas in a pod, I say.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 18, 2007 at 6:15 am


Should we ask our members of congress to act to reduce the number of abortions?Or, should we wait to see whether the legal right to an abortion is overturned?



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Mike Hayes

posted February 18, 2007 at 6:17 am


I would prefer putting pressure on members of congress to act, leaving it to them to choose from the two basic alternatives… or to introduce new legislation. No such “take option” opportunity is available.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 18, 2007 at 6:21 am


I think we ought to act now, with NOW, or the alternative approach (no contraceptives). I can’t find a “take action” opportunity from the organizations which oppose the inclusion of contraceptive opportunities.



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Stephen Davidson

posted February 18, 2007 at 1:20 pm


Were you trying to actually say something in this blog Mr. Wallis? I mean, you’re starting to wonder about these things now? “NOW?”Since Christian-Progressives have joined with the Secularists on sexual deviance as not only acceptable but as a god-given civil right, I think you are just a tad bit late on trying to put the sexual perversion Genie let loose by “LIberalism” back in the bottle that you sat by and watched being opened by anti-Christians. How fascinating watching a Democrat lobbiest like you Mr. Wallis, wallow around the destroyed morality of what the Left has created in our society and now contemplate the right and wrong of sexual sin. It would be laughable if it were not so utterly tragic what has been wroght upon the earth by hippy-ism to liberalism to progressive-ism. What is called of course secular progressive ideology.Just repent Jim. Marriage and sex is not ignored in the New Testament Jim. It’s a bit painful to confess your sins and repent Jim, but the healing process of forgiveness and reconciliation makes it all worth while.



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Deryll

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:29 pm


[And covenantal vs. recreational may be the clearest and more understandable way to ask the right questions.] kevins, Jesse, The terms, committed relationships and marriage are understood differently by different people. That understanding should be part of the discussion. Jim W used covenantal. Covenant is, to me, a wonderful/biblical term. Obviously though, a real conversation isn’t desired by some. You’re starting to sound like Donny.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 18, 2007 at 4:03 pm


Stephen Davidson is saying that if all liberals would become conservatives then there would no longer be any irresponsible sex…?



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted February 18, 2007 at 4:08 pm


jesse, “But we hear him push for a minimum wage increase ad nauseum…” THIS is supposed to be a ‘BAD’ thing?



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kevin s.

posted February 18, 2007 at 4:24 pm


“Jim W used covenantal. Covenant is, to me, a wonderful/biblical term. Obviously though, a real conversation isn’t desired by some.” Jim used covenental, but that made no statement about what that entails or whether that is even preferrable. What real conversation should we be having? Whether sex outside of marr.. (sigh) convenental relationships is a sin? Paul would call that “milk”, don’t you think?



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NightLad

posted February 18, 2007 at 4:27 pm


Nice try, but it has been proven that the rate of STD infection among Conservative teens who make the promise pledge (aka: the true love waits pledge ) and teens who don t pledge is identical! This research data was presented in the Journal of Adolesent Health in a join effort of doctors from Yale University and Columbia University. The full report can be viewed here: http://www.yale.edu/ciqle/PUBLICATIONS/AfterThePromise.pdf >After The Promise It is also important for people to note that the highest rate of teen pregnancies is found not in the godless, liberal North, but rather the Bible Belt. And the highest divorce rates? Again, the Bible Belt. Murder rates? Bible belt. Teens STD infections? You guessed it; the Bible Belt. http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1001-06.htm >(Source A) http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?page=article&Article_ID=10961 >(Source B)As a further example I d like to mention the Lubbock Independent School District, located in Texas. Lubbock has the highest rate of teen pregnancies and STD infections among teens in all of Texas, in a 2002 report. The school district, at the time, also taught a mandatory abstinence-only-until-marriage program. Coincidence? – http://www.siecus.org/controversy/cont0006.html >(Source) So while it may feel oh-so-good to close your eyes, cover your ears, and think you don t have to talk about that nasty subject with the kiddies in lieu of just saying, Wait until marriage! you can t hide your heads in the sand any longer. Ignorance may be bliss, but it comes at a high price and your kids are paying for it.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 18, 2007 at 6:02 pm


I still cannot find a “take action” opportunity for the bill to reduce the number of abortions in the US sponsored by the groups which objected to the version that includes provisions for contraceptives. After the bill supporting contraceptive use was introduced, others came forward with a version that eliminated the provisions for contraceptives… surely there must be an opportunity to support that approach, somewhere. Can anyone find a website that provides opportunity for citizens to press for action on that approach to reducing the number of abortions? http://www.capwiz.com/now/issues/alert/?alertid=9359961 is a version that includes the provisions for contraceptives. This version contains a mandatory paragraph that asks members of congress to support that specific bill. I’ll keep looking for an opportunity for citizens to support the other version for reducing the number of abortions in the US, that does not endorse contraceptives.



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Steven Ritenour, II

posted February 18, 2007 at 6:42 pm


I thought Jim’s comments were dead on! I think strictly scripturally it is the difference between covenant and non committed relationships that makes the difference. If you are one of those who thinks that marriage should/has to be the term used there, I would like you to quote the scripture that binds you to that thought.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 18, 2007 at 6:56 pm


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/20/AR2006112000964.html This is a link to an op-ed piece by E. J. Dionne (a liberal) in the Washington Post. An excerpt follows: “…In September, a group of 23 pro-choice and pro-life Democratic House members introduced what they called the Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act. Okay, it’s not the catchiest title, but you get the point. The bill — its sponsor is Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), an abortion opponent, with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), an abortion rights supporter, a leading co-sponsor — took a lot of negotiation. Supporters of abortion rights tend to favor programs that encourage effective contraception, which some in the right-to-life movement oppose. Opponents of abortion emphasize helping women who want to carry their children to term. The Ryan bill, one of several congressional initiatives to reduce the abortion rate, does both. It includes a remarkably broad set of programs aimed at reducing teen pregnancy, promoting contraception and encouraging parental responsibility. But it also includes strong measures to offer new mothers full access to health coverage, child care and nutrition assistance…”.



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jesse

posted February 18, 2007 at 8:18 pm


Someone mentioned the ineffectiveness of abstinence pledges, so I’ll refer them here: http://www.heritage.org/research/abstinence/ But this isn’t just a debate about what policies work in preventing teen pregnancy. I think everyone would agree that culture has impacted the rate of illegitimacy in this country. It’s skyrocketed in the last 30-40 years. One of the questions is “how do you influence culture?” I think it can be done in a number of different ways. How big of an impact do you think it would have if Revs. Jackson and Sharpton repudiated the culture of fatherlessness in the black community, the rap music which glorifies promiscuity, etc.? My guess is that the more leaders spoke out against it, the more significant change would come. That’s why it is very disappointing to me to see Wallis and others silent about this issue.Given the strong connection between illegitimacy and poverty, you’d think it would be addressed in every speech! But these advocates are known only for more pushing for more social programs, none of which would put any significant dent in the poverty rate.My point in belittling Wallis’s strong emphasis on the minimum wage increase is that no one thinks it would significantly impact the poverty rate. On the other hand, if people saved sex for marriage, the rate would be cut in half (at least). HIV/AIDS would be virtually eliminated. Crime would be significantly reduced. These are all issues that Sojo cares about, are they not? There are a lot of other policies we could be pushing: parenting classes, mentoring, education about the benefits of waiting till marriage, opposing welfare policies which reward illegitimacy, holding fathers more accountable. These are just a few.And it’s definitely the task of the anti-poverty leaders to speak out against our sex-obsessed culture and bring light to its consequences. If they truly cared about the poor, they would be doing so often.



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kevin s.

posted February 18, 2007 at 8:27 pm


“If you are one of those who thinks that marriage should/has to be the term used there, I would like you to quote the scripture that binds you to that thought.” Among many other passages, here’s Hebrews 13.Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.



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Deryll

posted February 18, 2007 at 9:38 pm


[How big of an impact do you think it would have if Revs. Jackson and Sharpton repudiated the culture of fatherlessness in the black community, the rap music which glorifies promiscuity, etc.? My guess is that the more leaders spoke out against it, the more significant change would come. That's why it is very disappointing to me to see Wallis and others silent about this issue.] Go sit with a predominately black congregation when these men speak and then you wouldn’t need to falsely accuse them.



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Deryll

posted February 18, 2007 at 9:53 pm


[Jim used covenental, but that made no statement about what that entails or whether that is even preferrable.] To me, the point of Jim W’s post was to try to stear the conversation toward covenant/marriage vs. recreation rather than simply sacred vs. profane. Also, actually reading his pos would show you his opinion on which is preferable.



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mikey

posted February 18, 2007 at 9:53 pm


its strange how i can read a blog/article like this and think “wow, that was said really well” and then read some of the hateful and contemptful (is that a word?) comments that slander Wallis’ character. Maybe I’m just one of the crazy liberals but I don’t see where this is anti-biblical in any way. I’ll probably go to hell.



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wayne

posted February 18, 2007 at 9:54 pm


These arguements really go to show how far the culture has changed and how much our “christian” reality doesn’t match up to the world’s morality today. When added to the fact that everybody seems to have an axe to grind it becomes so much more volitile and unanswerable. We cannot legislate ourselves back to some place in time where these issuse no longer exist. It was never the case in the past anyway. In the conservative christian culture I grew up in the deacons of my church were heavily involved in pornography, many of our neighbors were involved in extra marital sex and abortions occurred in backwater dives where women were seriously put in danger and even died becuase they couldn’t face the societal condemnation or consequences of their acts. If somehow we could change all our laws (and Jim actually used the words we conservatives wanted him to use) the reality would be the same. How we live is much more important that how we want others to. How we respond to all those others when the effects of their choices do what they do and cause the ruin they cause, is the critical point. Galations tells us to restore(and constantly keep on restoring) those who have been caught with a spirit of gentleness. Jesse you say illigitimate births cause poverty and crime but you could just as easily say that poverty and crime cause illigitimacy. What came first doesn’t really matter anymore. Young women who have become mothers need women mentors who are more interested in teaching them than condemning them. Young criminals who know of no other way to live need examples from those who have found a better way to prove that alternatives to crime exist, and people who will give them the chance to experience those alternatives. If we do not live out the Gospel the judgement of God will surely come and it will start with God’s people not those whom God’s people say are wrong. Jesus was the great physician who came to heal those who were sick. He did not come into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. The fact that those like curiouser and Marco simply see us as condemning hypocrits points out Christianity’s need to repent, not preach. Real actions that help without condemning, and assist those in need without preaching will give us back the foundation from which we might then be able to teach. Until then don’t be surpirised, or angry, when curiouser basically says to us all “Physician heal thyself”.



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kevin s.

posted February 18, 2007 at 11:06 pm


“and then read some of the hateful and contemptful (is that a word?)” The word is contemptuous, for the record. Are the majority of the comments hateful? For me, I am confused by Wallis’ equivocation. “comments that slander Wallis’ character.” Which comments slander his character? ” Maybe I’m just one of the crazy liberals but I don’t see where this is anti-biblical in any way” It’s not anti-Biblical. It is simply non-commital. “I’ll probably go to hell.” Not for posting a comment on a blog thread.



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kevin s.

posted February 18, 2007 at 11:11 pm


“In the conservative christian culture I grew up in the deacons of my church were heavily involved in pornography, ” I’m sorry to hear this. That doesn’t make it right, or suggest that God approves of this behavior. The fact that Christians are often guilty of sin is beyond the point. I don’t see a biblical call to repent for sins that are not our own. That Christians are hypocrites does not mean that we ought not adhere to Biblical principle. Is it just Conservatives who would want Wallis to use the word marriage here? I doubt that very much.If marriage, and the Biblical mandate to confine sex to it, is simply a conservative principle, well, then, the conservatives have it right. If this is far off from the morality of the world, that does not effect my opinion one way or the other.



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jesse

posted February 18, 2007 at 11:44 pm


[How big of an impact do you think it would have if Revs. Jackson and Sharpton repudiated the culture of fatherlessness in the black community, the rap music which glorifies promiscuity, etc.? My guess is that the more leaders spoke out against it, the more significant change would come. That's why it is very disappointing to me to see Wallis and others silent about this issue.] Go sit with a predominately black congregation when these men speak and then you wouldn’t need to falsely accuse them. –A lot of their “sermons” make it to the news, so it’s hard to believe they’re addressing these things in secret…and if they are doing it in secret, why? Surely it’s a message people need to hear publicly (they say a lot of other stuff outside of churches).Try and find one article on-line where either Jackson or Sharpton says anything like “we need to do something about the problem of illegitimacy in the black community.” Heck, try and find just one article where they’re quoted rebuking the entertainment industry, pornography, promiscuity, or anything related.I also challenge anyone to find the most recent article where Wallis takes on the problem of illegitimacy and its impact on poverty. I’ve never read him do this, though he may have before.



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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted February 19, 2007 at 12:18 am


Jesse–hasn’t Bill Cosby been strongly addressing this problem–and receiving insult and grief from many professional Black activists for this. How different this seems from the way Jewish and Catholic immigrant leadership hammered away at family cohesion issues when those communities were poor. In fact today those old-time nuns and priests who with strong Catholic family teachings and their even more stern interpretations of those teachings get nothing but ridicule from stage and screen (Sister Ignatius,etc.) for having done what needed to be done so that now Catholics are more affluent than Protestants in this country. For–as far as success in life-financial, education, and otherwise-surveys repeatedly show that family iis ALL.



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Payshun

posted February 19, 2007 at 1:34 am


Jesse, I have heard Al Sharpton talk about this repeatedly on Hardball alone. So please if you are going to make statements about what black leaders say then watch more tv or something.Liberals do address issues of promuiscuity. It’s one of those things that I regularly address at my church and among my friends.But I don’t do it from the vantage point of right behavior. I find it silly. I know you all don’t and it’s this big morality thing. (A morality thing that none of us live up to thus showing that its better to be honest than a hypocrit) But the bigger thing is that they need to communicate their need for love, acceptance, grace and hope. Conservatives really lack a language of fostering that in people. Oh wait that’s not true. Conservative Christian culture doesn’t have a language to express the deepest pain and lonliness affecting the country today. That’s one of the major reasons you see abortions and broken behavior higher in the bible belt than in “godless” San Franscisco. p



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Payshun

posted February 19, 2007 at 1:45 am


Deacon, The reason why progressive and liberal blacks took Cosby to task is because of the selective way he brought things up. Instead of talking about the context of the situation and the causes for some promuscious behavior he just jumped on a soapbox after he had repeatedly said I don’t talk about race. It just got annoying when the first thing he chose to talk about was that. p



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Payshun

posted February 19, 2007 at 2:03 am


Kevin How you can you adhere to biblical principle if you are a hypocrite? p



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kevin s.

posted February 19, 2007 at 2:24 am


“How you can you adhere to biblical principle if you are a hypocrite?” I meant “that SOME Christians…” sorry for the confusion.



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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted February 19, 2007 at 2:28 am


Payshun–Unfortunately for liberals and progressives (Black & White)they are viewed by many as the cause of the pathologies afflicting the American family (Black & White) today. Thus their jumping on the messenger (in this case Cosby) could be seen as nothing but a defense of the liberal and progressive policies that have been so devastating to families and for which they are the cause. And a large part of this is the corrupting example of the media in song & story. But we apparently will never see the day liberals and progressives take on the mass media no matter how much devastation they inflict upon the Black Community.Look what the Left did to Al Gore’s wife when she even lightly dabbled in media critique along these lines. She eventually was forced to bend the knee and kiss the pinky rings of the media potentates.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 19, 2007 at 2:59 am


Maybe it takes “different strokes for different folks” and so a program that addresses the results of irresponsible sex that taps in to solutions for a variety of circumstances might be most effective overall?



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Allyson

posted February 19, 2007 at 12:35 pm


In response to those who responded to Jim’s post with the “where’s the marriage?” scream, I offer that the historical/traditional institution “marriage” has become an idol of those who seek to limit it. An idol, i.e., a golden calf, Baal, etc. I also fear that, though on some level I agree with the covenantal vs. recreational argument, the argument itself needs to be reconsidered for its original and contemporary sitz-im-leben (socio-historical context).



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted February 19, 2007 at 3:02 pm


jesse, “if people saved sex for marriage, the rate would be cut in half” The problem is the word “IF”. What you typed is true, IF people did that, maybe the rate of STDs and abortions WOULD be reduced. But the trouble is,



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted February 19, 2007 at 3:03 pm


PEOPLE DON’T!



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted February 19, 2007 at 3:05 pm


wayne, “In the conservative christian culture I grew up in the deacons of my church were heavily involved in pornography, many of our neighbors were involved in extra marital sex and abortions occurred…” Very interesting “statistics”. Mind telling us how you KNOW these things? Most people don’t go around bragging, showing, sharing their “interests” in porn with others, don’t broadcast their extra/pre-marital affairs, or telling a whole lot of other people about their private medical concerns.



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kevin s.

posted February 19, 2007 at 3:23 pm


Allyson, “”where’s the marriage?” scream,” This is a peeve of mine. When you disagree with something someone says, you suggest that they have been screaming it. It’s a device used to make that person seem inherently irrational, and short-circuit dialogue. The Bible calls for us to help the poor. Is helping the poor a golden idol? “the argument itself needs to be reconsidered for its original and contemporary sitz-im-leben (socio-historical context).” On what grounds? Then why obey any Biblical principle at all? Why must we reinterpret the Bible to accomodate what the majority does?



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Mike Hayes

posted February 19, 2007 at 3:36 pm


Helping those who are “thirsty”, “hungry”, “naked” entitled those who did so to be saved, and those who did not do so were not saved.Also, those who helped persons in those circumstances were doing the same acts of kindness for God. Loving our neighbor was therefore also an act of loving God, and loving God and loving our neighbor was the sum and substance of all that God expects us to do. So, figuring out what God wants us to do is not complicated. Jesus rejected the complicated lists of ‘dos” and “donts” that had developed out of the “law” prior to then. It’s simple… love God and love our neighbor… all of what God wants of us is contained in these two concepts.



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wayne

posted February 19, 2007 at 4:22 pm


Curiouser I was not trying to state any statistical info, only what I as a young teen ager knew of first hand. I suppose that what I knew could be construed as the tip of the iceberg, but I obviously do not know. My point was even when there were laws against such things they still occurred with frequency. The moral fabric of a society breaks down when the supposedly moral people fail their own standard, not when the immoral do so. G.K. Chesterton said that when the world becomes too worldly the Church can call it to task, but when the Church becomes worldly who can correct it? Kevin I never thought these things were right, and yes it was sad. At the age of 13 I had had enough of Christians telling me how bad I was, all the while privately practicing their own versions of perversions. Eventually, after heading down my own path to hell I found myself on the floor of my bedroom begging God to just let me love Him. No one else’s hypocrisy or perversion mattered to me at that moment I was too focused on my own. If we are to preach morality we had better be able to demonstrate it. As it stands today the church has no legs. It seems to me the church would be better focused on its own internal problems than trying to dictate answers that time and again we demonstrate we cannot live. I know that the church is not made up of people like Ted Haggard for instance, but there he is for the world to see. Where is the righteous loving and compassionate representative of Jesus who first of all heals and then teaches? Who first of all can be heard saying “whosoever will” may come, and then helps people deal with the sin in their life. Or if they find a brother like Ted are totally focused on restoring Him. Again the Galatians passage is perhaps the key, more gentle and persistant restoring and a lot less condemning. I hold marriage sacred. One of the greatest gifts in my life is my family. Based on my past I do not deserve this gift. I have it in large part due to those who loved me when I was only a sinner and nothing else. We find our feet when we are on our knees. I cannot help but believe curiouser could hear us better if she could see some worn out knees. Curiouser I cannot tell from your post what your question of my “statistics” means. Morality is always a veneer, I think. If it was easier perhaps more would demonstrate it. It is hard and should always be so. If the standard is not high then morality will cease to exist. I struggle with how to deal with my own standards all the time. If a young girl in our ministry gets pregnant do we not celebrate the birth of the new life? Does that confuse the other young girls into thinking this is alright? Would standing her up before all the congregation, either in fact or in our gossip, so that we could pin a red letter on her dress help? If someone is gay and comes to our church what do I want them to know? That their particular “problem” is more repungnant to me than my own? I think I would rather it was said that at least more often than not my own problems smelled so bad I had a hard time knowing where your reek was coming from. I would also hope my attention to my problems provided a much sweeter smell for all.



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melchizedek priest

posted February 19, 2007 at 4:29 pm


Perhaps the veneer of morality will slake the thirst of those such as kevins s. and curiouser for covenantal triumphalism.



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carl copas

posted February 19, 2007 at 4:34 pm


Do we have any idea of how many of the 12 apostles were married? Peter certainly was. Evidence for others?



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kevin s.

posted February 19, 2007 at 5:10 pm


“If we are to preach morality we had better be able to demonstrate it. As it stands today the church has no legs. It seems to me the church would be better focused on its own internal problems than trying to dictate answers that time and again we demonstrate we cannot live. ” I’ll agree with this. I treat this blog as a Christian blog and, therefore, part of the church. I think there is a thrist in this society for a healthy, fulfilling sex life, and I think that comes only from marriage. To the extent that the church can stand for that, unequivocally and unhypocritically, I think we can be a light to the world. But yes, some Christians fail. Ted Haggard committed adultery, used drugs and paid for prostitutes. Surely the church must continue to speak out against these things.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 19, 2007 at 7:14 pm


Wayne, Several persons mention concerns about churches. The aspect of churches that concerns me is the use that is made of contributions to churches… for the buildings that are utilized one day a week… My wild guess is that 70% plus or minus of the “charitable” contributions we make in this country are to the churches we attend once a week… and a very high percentage of that goes to construction, expansion, maintenance, and utilities, for the buildings… Jesus, who told us that loving God and loving our neighbor were the sum and substance of all that God expects of us would not be pleased… in my view. Jesus told us that by helping those who are “thirsty”, “hungry”, “naked” and so on that we earn salvation (and that if we do not perform those kindnesses we do not earn salvation) and that by doing these things we do them for God as well as doing them for persons in those circumstances. In my view, Jesus would want us to first help those in extreme poverty who lack safe drinking water and adequate nutrition and clothing and a place to live, as well as those in our own country who lack adequate housing and enough to eat. It’s a budget consideration… out of our budgets for charitable contributions we should first do those things… and budget also for gathering together once a week for the various ways we all celebrate… As it is, we do the reverse… I think Jesus would not be pleased… we’re ignoring the importance Jesus attached to these acts of kindness (charity)… and churches are acting out of a misplaced priority on what uses should be made of our charitable contributions…



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Payshun

posted February 19, 2007 at 7:36 pm


Deacon, The problem of poverty and destruction in the black community predates any liberal and progressive legislation. I think you have selective amnesia.We are talking about a group of men and women that were by and large slaves and then lied to in every aspect of their freedom. After that they learned to be self destructive from literally hundreds of years of apathy and destruction. I am not at all for playing the victim card but if we are really going to talk about the destruction of the black family and the pain came from it please include all it’s history and not some selective, distorted view. p



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Payshun

posted February 19, 2007 at 7:40 pm


Correction: We are talking about a group of men and women that were by and large slaves and then lied to in every aspect of their freedom. After that we learned to be self-destructive and that’s from literally hundreds of years of apathy and destruction heaped on us from other groups. Now that the evil institution of slavery is over there are going to be lingering thoughts, self-destructive thoughts, goals and actions. One sees this in any really poor area where the lack of male guidance and spiritual connection to nihilism reigns. If you had courage you would list both causes for such destruction. But instead you blame liberals. The black underclass not only predates affirmative action and welfare, it’s been a problem since this country was started.I have no problem emphasizing the need for personal responsibility. But I will not blame liberal policy when it was doing good until Regan came in and gutted it. p



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Payshun

posted February 19, 2007 at 7:50 pm


Allyson, I completely agree. Marriage is idol in this culture. it doesn’t live up to the hype and people leave it. That and they don’t live up to the hype so they leave it.p



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jesse

posted February 19, 2007 at 9:03 pm


Marriage is an idol? If so, why do so many people get divorced? People worship marriage? That doesn’t make any sense.



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Payshun

posted February 19, 2007 at 9:47 pm


Jesse, Yes it does. When an idol is worshipped and found to be lacking (ie marriage) people leave it hurt, betrayed and despondent. it would seem that all of human interaction goes toward this seminal event and lifestyle. There is an over romanticized causes people to believe the lie that marriage is easy, that once a couple are together all the adjacent issues (communication, low self-esteem, fear of intimacy, fiscal responsiblity, love) go out the window. For many couples divorce is sometimes inevitable because they went in w/ the lie that it could solve their problems. p



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jesse

posted February 19, 2007 at 9:52 pm


Okay, I hear ya. I just don’t know if the “idolatry” of marriage is greater now than at any other time. People sure seem to respect it less these days, as can be seen from these “Who wants to marry a millionaire?” and Bachelor-type shows.



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wayne

posted February 19, 2007 at 10:55 pm


Mike I couldn’t agree with you more. I will say that some of the more ostentatious buildings churches build are used everyday and in a variety of ways that reach out to their local communities and beyond. I do not belong to one of them and would not begin to say that is the way to go, but I commend them for what they do. If most churches (groups of people) saw themselves as a mission to a completely foreign culture where they were to be about developing communities of practical hope as well as spiritual, these buildings would probably be built so as to be of more use. Our buildings were built for the local downtown neighborhood where they exist. The building is not named after us in fact we are named after it. We refer to it as the neighborhood center and it serves as a meeting place for neighborhood functions and just for kids to play on the grass field like a park. In our mind it was built for them. We use it for the various practical, job training, educational, medical, programs we run as well as evangelism and more “church like” activities. The net result is everything we do is called “church” by those who use the property. I have always enjoyed the lack of dichotomy that entails.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 20, 2007 at 1:44 am


Jesse, The preoccupation of our culture with celebreties is downright discouraging! I’m probably being judgmental, but I wonder if those who focus so much on what this or that singer or actor is doing bothers to vote. And the television programs that focus on entertainers and what is going on with their lives and the intrusion on the lives of those individuals that takes place so that “reporters” can come up with all the drivel about who is dating who and who is leaving who…I ask myself (out loud) why can’t they get a life… in fairness, I suppose they wonder why those of us who take politics so seriously can’t get a life… It makes me think back to the cause of the death of Diana… people hounding her to get photos and all that… it’s downright revolting… to me…



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Mike Hayes

posted February 20, 2007 at 2:01 am


Wayne, Thank you! Yes, there are churches that devote considerable time and energy and building space to activities that go on throughout the week. However, my impression is that “sanctuary space” is not well utilized,. in many if not most churches… and that space requires huge amounts for support… Also, there are “parochial” schools, which are utilized throughout the week except during summer, but attendance is dwindling and it is common practice to subsidize the school from contributions to the church to make up the difference tuition should be providing… of questionable legality under tax exempt contribution considerations… No one is willing to speak up about that… or very few are willing to do so… it appears to be disrespectful of the need for a religious education of the children… I wish more churches would emphasize religious education of children at the church on weekends and discontinue the practice of pouring money in to “parochial” schools… There are places where churches utilize movie theater space on Sunday mornings for services… That and the discontinuation of “parochial” schools would allow charitable contributions to be provided to persons in extreme poverty and homeles persons in our country. From my lifetime of observation, I think Jesus would endorse that concept… no, I think He would have brought it up, decades ago… Now, some one bring up “…the poor you have with you always…”. Jim says that always comes up… and I’ve observed that myself, when I bring up this idea of the words about “thirsty”, “hungry”, “naked” and so on with persons I know…



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kevin s.

posted February 20, 2007 at 2:12 am


“Yes it does. When an idol is worshipped and found to be lacking (ie marriage) people leave it hurt, betrayed and despondent.” You can make an Idol out of anything, but that does not mean marriage is inherently an idol. It also doesn’t mean (as Allyson suggests) that attempts to confine sexuality to marriage is idolatry. That is ridiculous, as it accuses Christ of promoting idolatry.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 20, 2007 at 3:54 am


We should love God and our neighbor. When we care for those who are “thirsty”, “hungry”, “naked” and so on, we earn salvation (and when we do not, we lose salvation). And when we do those things for persons in those circumstances, we do them for God. Kevin? Others who think similarly to Kevin?



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LP

posted February 20, 2007 at 5:41 am


I believe it is a sin to have sex with multiple parters in your life. A couple may believe they are in a committed relationship and have sex then suddenly breakup. After which they would find another partner and have sex with them two, as shown in sex and the city. It implies it is alright to have have sex for fun and have absolutely no emotional or spiritual attachment to the people, in other words your acting the same role as a whore, minus the payment and you get to choose who you want to sleep with.This in the long run leads to pregnancy, diseases and other dark spots in one’s life. Example, partners getting married because it’s “the right thing to do” in the event of pregnancy- then realizing they are not compatible with each other and divorce occurs, which by itself is an ugly battle. All in all the consequences of sex for fun outside of marriage is a large factor for the degrading of the world and morals people once had.To be married to the person you choose to have sex with somehow gives you the feeling and encouragement to work harder at whatever problems may arise. It is not the fact they are having sex with someone makes you committed or attached because half the time sex is for fun, instead it is the fact you are married shows commitment to making the relationship last.



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wayne

posted February 20, 2007 at 7:00 am


Mike I do not believe there is anything I can do that would ever merit or earn me the right to spend one second with God. God created me. I did not earn that. He says He loves me from before I was born and knew me while I was in my mother s womb, His son died for me and took my place, none of that can I say I earned. I cannot imagine what great deed I could do that might earn me any of this. A lifetime of service might be construed to pay for my creation I suppose, but surely nothing else. That being said much to quickly, Matthew 25 does say that God told those who did not love their neighbors to depart from Him to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Coming from my protestant conservative background I am familiar with many ways these two seeming opposites are put together. I will not vouch for any of them here except to say that I believe both of these ideas are true and that I stand in awe. If the only love I ever get to experience is that of my creation in His image I think am certainly blessed. How I could ever say I Love Him and not care for those He loves is incongruous and unthinkable.



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Tommy

posted February 20, 2007 at 3:43 pm


Hello all- I’m a 20 year old male. I’ve had the chance to read this blog and the first few posts. I’d just like to make a few comments about “Christian” men my age and the issue of sex and marriage. Lately, I’ve been wrestling with the whole premarital sex/waiting for marriage issue – not because I am looking for an excuse to have sex – in fact, I actually still plan on waiting. More importantly, I feel like there are so many “Christian” men my age and younger who are being brought up in the church, and being taught to wait for marriage for sex. The problem with the way this is presented is simply that there are millions of young “Christian” marriages that take place for the sole reason of being able to have sex. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s not. I can think about both of my own brothers in law, and other close friends. Sex was the most important factor for them in terms of getting married when they did/getting engaged/moving the relationship into the context of marriage. So my problem/question deals with the fact that I think there needs to be more open discussion about this. First of all, there definitely needs to be a shift in how we teach our youth about sex in the church. It’s put into this compartment of taboo/off limits/terrible unless you’re married – and all that does is breed a bunch of premature/unhappy marriages – with a bunch of disapointed young men and women. Any comments on this?



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Mike Hayes

posted February 20, 2007 at 4:11 pm


Tommy, Your participation here is welcome beyond words! Just one thought… my observation has been that sex is a significant part for why young persons marry, but I also think that the bonding that occurs between two persons is more than that… it is also common interests and the great feeling that comes from being valued as a person by another person… Why marriages fail at higher and higher rates… I’m not sure… I hope other viewers of this blog will respond to your use of this blog to share ideas… debating is what this blog has been, and that gets pretty boring… Best wishes to you and to your young friends… may you succeed in finding lasting relationships with your spouses… when you find them… may you be as lucky as I have been…!!!



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Tommy

posted February 20, 2007 at 4:37 pm


Well, Yeah I know it is about the bonding…but lets face it…here’s how a typical relationship (specifically between two “Christians” takes place)Two young people meet and become interested – usually because they are attracted physically and “hey, we’re both Christians” which is tough to find…so they spend time together in different contexts depending on the situation, and they do what most young people in relationships do…they start to rationalize the “red flags” or things that bother them about the other person, and focus all of their attention on the few good things that they have in common or appeal to them about the other person. I think young “Christian” relationships are even more guilt of this because their prize in marriage is sex (especially for the guys). They are trying to obtain that goal – and no matter how poor of a match the two might be, the cannot see it, and refuse to see it objectively because there are so many other emotional factors that blind them (especially being “allowed” to have sex).So instead of being objective before marriage and focusing on loving the person after they are married – we do the opposite. We get critical and objective after marriage when our expectations (that were never discussed) are not met. So, what is the problem here. I think it is two things. First, it is the teaching and messages we send to these youth about sex and marriage. We’re not honest, first of all, and we don’t talk about how to be more objective with the mate selection process (finding someone who is compatable). Second, I think there needs to be some more open talk about the whole pre-marital sex thing. I don’t know what’s worse – not being a virgin when you enter a marriage that has great potential due to real compatability, or entering a marriage as a virgin which is doomed to breed a life of disapointment and mediocrity. I’m not saying that those are the only two options – but they are however, a reoccuring result I see over and over. What about for someone who doesn’t feel called to be married, or doesn’t think that it would be the best thing for them in terms of getting the most out of their life/serving God. Sometimes I feel that way – but I also know what it’s like to be a 20 year old man, with desires and hormones and I don’t know where that leaves me. I don’t want to get married for sex, but I don’t necessarily want to have sex without marriage – ha, but I definitely don’t see myself being able to forgo sex completely – so where DOES that leave me?



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kevin s.

posted February 20, 2007 at 6:30 pm


Tommy, You ask good and reasonable questions. I have seen very few marriages that were purely for the purpose of sex. However, sex , and living in accordance with God’s will on this issue, is a very big part of marriage, and a big reason we get married. Sometimes we make marriage out to be (as referenced above) an idol. We expect so much from it, that it seems ridiculous to suggest that sex be even a part of the equation. But marriage is what it is. It isn’t an eternal commitment. It should be the choice of two people living for God who are willing to deal with each other’s difference and live for each other in selflessness. That is both simple and difficult at the same time, but having a fairy-tale notion of marriage doesn’t get us there. In fact, by overexpecting of marriage, we ourselves ot precisely the sexual sin you describe. We want sex, but finding the “perfect” mate seems impossible (cause it is).Of course, God wants us to wait on his timing for marriage. People rush into marriage for all sorts of stupid reasons, which is why church’s should be heavily involved with relationships and vice versa. Some people see this as obtrusive, which is unfortunate.To your personal issue, you might be surprised what age brings. At age 20, it is easy to see yourself never wanting to be married. At age 26, that gets a little cloudier for most. But remember, God will never put anything in your life that cannot be overcome with Him, and he would never require you to sin. Does that make sense?



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wayne

posted February 20, 2007 at 6:49 pm


Tommy Your comments as well as those on marriage becoming an idol are to me the most thought provoking. There use to be so many assumptions about marriage. Happiness has perhaps always been one of those assumptions. My elders treated the hard work marriage requires like it was a state secret. (I never saw my parents fight for instance.) What is harder to see is those marriages that triumph over hardships. Marriages that experience huge failure yet go on to be successful and loving are hard to find, but that doesn’t mean that they are not there. As curiouser pointed out, not many share the intimate details of their life, especially those that entail failure. The fact that it is so hard is why we need to be graceful with each other and not so judgemental, but that need not mean lowering the standards. People fail. That doesn’t mean the standard is wrong necessarily. I think standards are still important. I think they will remain so even if we lower them to fit our personal morals, our modern expectations of life, or our apparent need to protect ourselves from failure. But I hear you loud and clear.



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Tommy

posted February 20, 2007 at 7:02 pm


But remember, God will never put anything in your life that cannot be overcome with Him, and he would never require you to sin. Can’t say I definitely agree with that 100%.What if a drunk driver was put in my life – plowing down the road right at my car? What about a cancerous tumor?



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kevin s.

posted February 20, 2007 at 8:59 pm


Tommy, “What if a drunk driver was put in my life – plowing down the road right at my car? What about a cancerous tumor?” With God, we are able to overcome even death. That said, abstaining from sex is not going to kill you, as much as it may seem like it.



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Tommy

posted February 20, 2007 at 9:42 pm


Haha, we overcome death by going to heaven…is what I assume you mean. We can’t really overcome a fatal cancer or car accident in THIS life – which is what I believe your original remark was refering to. But yeah, this is off track and not really important.



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kevin s.

posted February 21, 2007 at 1:01 am


My point was that God will never require us to sin, but I do understand it’s difficult. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes, facing those battles again.



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Payshun

posted February 21, 2007 at 8:19 pm


Tommy thanks for the questions. I was going to ask so where does that leave you? p



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Tommy

posted February 21, 2007 at 9:05 pm


Where does what leave me?



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Fitz

posted April 13, 2007 at 12:55 am


Apparently Mr. Wallis has seen fit to water down Christianity and the worlds religious traditions to the point of incomprehensibility. The quality of the relationship is indeed the critical factor that distinguishes whether sexuality is sacred or profane. The divinely intended purposes of sexual intimacy are of course very sacred and deeply satisfying in the context of committed relationships The divinely intended purpose of sexuality is within MARRIAGE. Sex outside of marriage is sinful. No blanket commitment is present in the Bible. What does that even mean? What level of commitment need I share, does the partner agree? Do we sit down and draw up a contract? Can we be committed for a pre-determined length of time?Can I make this commitment to more than one person? How about more than one person at the same time? To a person of either sex? Is procreation somehow irrelevant? In an attempt to navigate around liberal orthodoxy, Mr. Wallis has once again ended in vacuous ness.



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