I was only 15 when I first thought about going into the ministry. Because I hadn’t grown up in church, and my mind was filled with sex (isn’t that what 15 means?), it was a unique spiritual dynamic. Still, it was at that age I received what is considered a “call” in the church world. That was a long time ago, but isn’t it interesting I talk about a call to the ministry and sex in the same breath?
As I look back upon it I never really really veered from that direction for the next thirty years. Wait, am I talking about my call to the ministry or a mind filled with sex? Sometimes I wonder if they aren’t the same thing. Uh oh. We are headed for trouble here.
Since I’m in the distant past I might as well go down those ancient streets. I remember wondering what it would be like if I really did become a minister as I pursued an education in that direction. I became acutely aware of how clergy was perceived in the world around me. Remember the televangelists' scandals? Jim Bakker. Jimmy Swaggart. Famous T.V. preachers who not-so-euphemistically got caught with their pants down.
I’m not sure what the numbers were, what the cause and effect formula was or who exactly is to blame, but I do know that church attendance has declined significantly in my lifetime and the dignity and respect of clergy has gone with it and lots of people roll their eyes when the subject comes up.
You see, it didn’t stop with headlines. Almost anyone close to the church knows of some story where sexual scandal and church got into their world. This minister did this. That priest did that. The volunteer who disappeared with rumors that followed.
Just this week I talked to a man who is a generous donor on my support team at Standing Stone Ministry. He’s a deacon in his church and takes meals to Seniors during this pandemic called Corona. He was telling me about the background checks he had to go through to volunteer to take meals to seniors. Culture sure does seem to be changing.
Somehow and somewhere along the way, Church people came to be equated with the establishment. Good clean proper church-going members of society they were. And nations came to be Christian too, or at least Catholic or Orthodox or Lutheran or Anglican or some descriptive adjective added to Christian. It became the law of the land to be proper church-going folks.
In my day, the number one objection to the Christian Faith I heard was “The church is filled with hypocrites.”
Nowadays we are told we live in the post-modern era, post-Christian era. Church is passé. Christianity a belief of the naive ancients. Now is it common for people to refer to themselves as being scientific as if that is a natural antonym to Christian.
I am one who believes that the historic faith of Christianity never was defeated logically in the world of ideas despite what academia proclaims. Aquinas’ five proof for the existence of God stands up quite well when submitted to intellectual rigor. But what does this have to do with sex? Try to follow me here.
Many people are curious about God’s will. I’ve taught whole courses on the subject. The Apostle Paul boiled it down to one sentence. It is in 1 Thessalonians 4. This is the will of God-your sanctification. Big word. God wants you to be holy. Be holy like your father in heaven is holy. That may sound kinda heavy and scary, but it is wonderful. But catch this since we don’t have all day. How can I do that? How could I start?
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.
Wait. You mean to get right with God- that has something to do with my sexual behavior? Yep! Yikes. Anything but that.
You see, God knows us. He made us. He made us sexual beings and when he calls us to himself he knows he is calling sexual beings. Sex is great. He tells us that. Just get it in the right context or you are going to have one messed up life.
I’m so glad there is an option and God’s hand is there to hold along the way.
It's Worth a Thought...