Brokenhearted Theology, Fuller

Lauren Winner, sex, and “lies” ?

Lauren Winner (author of Real Sex, Girl Meets God, and Mudhouse Sabbath) spoke at Fuller’s chapel service today.  Her talk was entitled “The Lies The Church Tells About Sex.”  It was a great talk, and I’m disappointed I’m going to miss her other talk/discussion on campus tonight. 

She touched on some important points about the church and sexuality, focusing on three “lies” told by the church about sex:  First, that anytime you have premarital sex you will feel guilty the next morning.  Second, the way the church portrays gender and sexuality is demeaning and damaging to both male and female.  Third, sexual sin is an unforgivable sin that will leave permanent “scars and ghosts” on your life.

I thought all three points were presented clearly and effectively, and I’m going to try and read her book “Real Sex” sometime for some more depth on these, and other, issues. 

I just have one point of contention – the title of the talk.  There have been all kinds of advertisements around campus promoting chapel this week in big and bold print – “Lies the Church tells about sex.” 

Before the talk I expressed frustration to a few people about the title, but after hearing how good and positive the bulk of the talk was I was even more frustrated. 

It just seems like it’s so easy to profit from beating up on the Church. 

A big part of the reason that I wanted to come to Fuller and look into vocational ministry is because I fell in love with the vision of the Church, both local and global (thanks to everyone at Blackhawk Church, along with the thoughts of Bill Hybels, Erwin McManus, John Piper, Brian McLaren etc). 

The Church is to embody Christ to a world that is desperately searching for meaning, life, and purpose.  The Church is to love deeply and care for orphans and widows, and point to the spiritual reality of the Kingdom of God.

And, yes, the Church has failed many times in those pursuits – but (it is)/(we are) a work in progress. 

Especially here and now, in America, where the church has been de-institutionalized and de-centralized from popular culture and is fighting for relevance in a culture that has in many ways moved past organized Christianity…shouldn’t Christ followers be supporting the Church, and fighting for it, rather than making insinuations about how it has maliciously led a generation of young people by spreading lies?

It’s just frustrating to see such a great message (correcting what the Church has taught for too long about sex) advertised and promoted with such a negative bent. 

Any thoughts?  Am I putting too much weight on the title?  Am I off base?

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4 thoughts on “Lauren Winner, sex, and “lies” ?

  1. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamen. I think that it is far too easy (and I know I am part of this) to become cynical during this time of transition in the Church. As we try to move forward we can either be cynical about the past or hopeful and striving for the future.

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  2. Hey Dave – good thoughts! I think there are people who just want to give up on the church and do their own thing (aka Revolution, etc.), but they miss the whole part of community. We’ve got to do it together. And when more than one person is doing something, that group is going to make mistakes at time. It’s like family. You’re not always going to like everything they do, but you’re stuck with ’em! And a lot of good comes from the environment, too.

    I think we need to support the church, but we also have to hold it lightly. People outside a lifestyle of following Christ have plenty of negative views of the church. If we focus on being a cheerleader for the institution, they could easily miss the point. But working to embody Christ while also loving his “earthly body” seems like a healthy combo.

    I really enjoyed her talk. I was impressed with her real, honest and comfortable approach. Biblical and practical/realistic. I don’t think we get that much in Christian world in talks on sex. Hadn’t thought too much about the title, though. I guess I just considered it marketing :).

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  3. Maria, I am with you – I am trying to move from “cynical Dave” to “positive Dave”…I don’t want to be the Christian who everyone thinks is cool because I bash and critique the church just as much as everyone else.

    Jon – I’m totally with you. I’m going to recommend her book to a bunch of people I know, because as you said, there hasn’t been enough good and positive and straightforward conversations about sex in the Christian world.

    And I agree that we can’t just be “cheerleaders” and turn away from all the ‘sins of our fathers’ (and ourselves). I hope that there is a ‘healthy combo’ of acknowledging past and present wrongs with humility, but steadfast holding on to the beauty and potential of the Church, and helping others (both insiders and outsiders) see that as well.

    Thanks for commenting!

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  4. As a not-so-famous pastor (who lots of people would take a bullet for) said recently: “When the church gets it right, we are the hope of the world, a powerful force that can change the world. When we get it wrong we can be a powerful negative force and it makes God sick.”

    Its hard to focus on the ways churches get it right, when so often we get it wrong. Somehow we have to show those outside the church that both exist, be honest. Yet focus on how the church is the hope of the world. Be part of the solution.

    It’s the same with individual Christians. We all mess up, but we still need to strive to be what God intends.

    Your “healthy combo” is a great plan for individuals as well as the church. Humility, honesty, but continuing to strive for the true manifestation of Christ.

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