Evangelical attitudes toward sex are undergoing a new round of scrutiny prompted by the announcement by pastor Ed Young that he and his wife would be hosting a 24-hour "bed in" on the roof of his Dallas church to discuss his new book, Sexperiment.
There are really only two explanations for putting the bed on the roof: either it's a gimmicky move to heighten interest in the book, or there's a subtle inversion of David and Bathsheba at work. Regardless, the former has most definitely worked. The announcement garnered attention both at home and abroad, vaulting the book into the bestseller list on Amazon for a day.
The Youngs will no doubt have their defenders, and well they should. From one standpoint, the whole exercise is simply a fun, creative way of helping evangelicals get an infusion of joy and life into their marriages, which by all accounts the Youngs have in spades.
Yet as we know, good intentions are not enough. There's no reason to be dour or straight faced when talking about sex, yet ploys of this sort invariably distract from the seriousness of the message. There's an old rule in communication that suggests that if the audience is focused on your rhetoric, you're doing it wrong. Yet in this case, the showmanship has clearly become the story, supplanting the substance.
Such "over the top" moments—and was there ever a more apt time for the description?—are troubling indicators of our woefully deficient discipleship patterns on matters of marriage and sexuality. The problems that the Youngs are trying to address are, alas, very real. Yet as is often the case, their solution is at best incomplete.
For one, while pastoral teaching and preaching about marriage is necessary for proclaiming the whole counsel ...1