Marriage

The Failure of Sex Education in the Church

One of the aspects of barrenness that is so awkward is the fact that the “success” of your marital relations (more modernly called your “sex life”) with your spouse is often scrutinized by those around you, either privately in their own minds, or quite publicly to your face. The joining of two fleshes into one in the bonds of holy matrimony used to be treated with such modesty and respect. No one would dare ask you whether you’re “doing it” right or if you’ve tried such-and-such a method. But the sexual revolution changed all that, and in numerous Christian publications we read that the act is a beautiful, natural part of marriage and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We should celebrate our gift of sexuality and teach the children in our Church all they need to know to be prepared for utilizing this gift. But is this what the Bible says? When we blush at the questions about what’s wrong with our reproductive organs, is that for a good reason, or are we just prudes?

Linda's bookLinda Bartlett, former national president of Lutherans for Life, has just published The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity, which exposes the myths that our generation, as well as our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, have been taught to believe about what children should know to be prepared for marriage, the marital act, and procreation.

Bartlett begins by giving the necessary history of how the Church,  during the mid-20th century, put too much trust in “experts” instead of the inspired Word of God and willingly traded in our biblical understanding of manhood, womanhood, procreation, parenting, and purity for a more “scientific” approach to teaching children about the intimacies of marriage. Falsified, inaccurate, and even perverted studies on the “sexuality” of the human male and female conducted by Alfred Kinsey were presented to universities, medical associations, and church bodies as facts which could not be ignored by enlightened academics. Christianized versions of the sexual revolution’s message were then (and still are) passed down to schools and parents to share with children.

Are just what are some of these myths?

  • Children are sexual from birth.
  • Children should be taught about sex, and with the proper terminologies, beginning in early elementary school.
  • If children are not taught about sex early on, their naiveté could make them prey to sexual predators.
  • Parents aren’t trained to properly teach their children about sex. The schools are the best environments for this to take place.
  • Boys and girls should be taught about puberty and sexuality while in the same classroom, since there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • Sex education will help prevent unplanned pregnancies, STD’s, and abortions.

The Church was naive in its promotion of sex education in the parochial schools, Bartlett points out, but not malicious. We were deceived into believing that we are “sexual from birth,” and this brainwashing had the complete opposite effect on our Church members as what was intended. It cleared the way for the acceptance of fornication, homosexuality, birth control, and even abortion as a normal part of life for those who are simply expressing their sexuality – being who they thought they were created to be.

But that’s not how we were created, Bartlett reminds us. The solution to the mess we are in now is our Baptism. This is where we received our true identities as children of the Heavenly Father, not sexual beings created to express our sexuality, but holy beings, created to live holy (not sexual) lives. “It is important,” Bartlett says, “for the Body of Christ to see each member as fully human as opposed to sexual and, therefore, an instrument for God’s purpose and glory whether a child or adult, single or married, in this circumstance or that,” (pg. 108).

Because Bartlett presents such shocking evidence of our deception, she presents her case in the form of a patient dialogue between herself and her readers, including over 100 questions and then answering almost every objection one could think of to the notion that there is anything wrong with the way the Church has been educating her children. Her love and concern for her Church family flow through each section as she gently reminds us all that, “Even well-intentioned sex education in the Church leans the wrong way if built on the wrong foundation,” (pg. 129).

If you have children, if you teach children, if you are related to children, or if you once were a child, this book is for you.

Trust in the Lord

jacob-wrestling copyI was sitting in the hot seat at KFUO, listening to my husband respond to the radio show host’s question of what it means to deal with barrenness as a man, when I heard him say this:

“This cross [of barrenness] is one of the ways the Lord is teaching us to trust more fully in Him and in His will. He wants us to trust Him on this even when we have not received this particular gift that He gives.”

The wrestling angel released his death grip on my conscience, my hip went back into its socket, and I saw again the Lord’s blessing on my childless marriage. We get to trust in the Lord. Our barrenness is a gift, an opportunity to trust in God further, to trust in Him still, to trust in Him regardless, for He promises to work all things for our good. A wave of comfort washed over me like an anointing, its soothing rivulets of warm, sweet-smelling oil streaming down my neck and my spine.

It is not a new concept, this trusting in the Lord, but I still need to hear it over and over again that my baptized heart might believe and be comforted.

Luther writes about it this way in his Large Catechism (I:2-3):

“A god means that from which we are to expect all good and in which we are to take refuge in all distress. So, to have a God is nothing other than trusting and believing Him with the heart. I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust is right, then your god is also true. On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you do not have the true God. For these two belong together, faith and God. Now, I say that whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god.”

Lord, help me ever to set my heart on and put my trust in You, not in motherhood. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

You’ve Still Got a Good Thing

MP900177800 It happened again. And sadly, it will most likely happen many more times. Somebody, with good intentions, was trying to fix your family situation, one which we both know, is a marriage union that has been blessed by God, despite not being blessed with children, either biologically or adopted. I hope you are never made to feel guilty or ashamed for not being given the gift of children. Your marriage is a gift from the Lord, and that is something to be cherished. Whether or not He adds children to your family is not something you can dictate. Rather, I encourage you to pray for the Lord’s will to always be done in your life, with or without children. Your husband is one of God’s many gifts to you, and that’s a good thing.

“Fecundiphobia”

female symbolThank you, Kristi, for bringing this excellent article to my attention. Now, I bring it to yours:

“Fecundiphobia: The Growing Fear of Children and Fertile Women” by Mollie Hemingway

“…the fact is that, as far as the media are concerned, abortion is a sacrament. And keeping the womb empty at all costs during all, or nearly all, of one’s fertile years is the sine qua non of modern American womanhood. Woe to the woman who ‘chooses’ otherwise.”

Marriage: One Mom, One Dad

“I like it,” I said to my husband yesterday at the Defend Marriage Lobby Day at the Illinois state capitol building. I was referring to the yellow button we had each been handed at the registration table.

IMG_2368 copy

“Yes,” he agreed as he pinned his on his jacket. “It’s a clearer confession of what marriage is, rather than just ‘one woman, one man.'”

Still, I found myself fighting back tears as we stood in line waiting to talk to our state representative. Here we were, a barren couple, wearing buttons which publicly exposed our shame. My husband and I are one man and one woman brought together in marriage, but we are not one dad and one mom; and the truth stings.

But, it is still the truth.

That’s what marriage is, really. It’s God’s good ordering of His creation. It’s not passion and attraction and preference and romance, though – don’t get me wrong – it is a delight when marriage includes such things. Marriage is God’s blessed institution of the family unit in life. It is one man and one woman joined together that they might be one dad and one mom. We know this to be true, because it is the one flesh union of husband and wife over which God spoke the blessing of children in His words “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:26-31); it is the distinct parental unit of dad and mom which God commands children to obey in His words “Honor thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12). It is the unique joining together of husband and wife which Paul uses as a picture of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the Church, when he writes, “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:22–6:4).

That’s why even the barren can confidently confess to the world that marriage is one dad, one mom. Though the cross of childlessness weighs our shoulders with grief and pain (and sometimes, on days like yesterday, shame), it does not make our marriages null and void. We are still fruitful in marriage as man and wife, even though God in His wisdom has not blessed us insofar as to multiply. Soli deo gloria.