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Raising Christian Kids in a Sex-Filled Culture

Nov 21 2013
We can’t isolate our kids from sin, but we can teach them to recognize it and learn from it.

He goes on:

When questioned, they had all - every child in a class of 20 - seen sodomy acted out in porn videos. I was stunned they even knew about it - I certainly hadn't heard of it at that age - let alone had watched it and as a result may even have wanted to try it…. Some of the girls were angry that the boys' template of what to expect from real girls had clearly already been set by porn.

I hate to think about others looking at my little girls in the wrong way—let alone luring, propositioning, or assaulting them. So what am I to do? Take an extreme isolationist position like Alleman and others—batten down the hatches and severely limit their interactions to protect them from the perversions of the porn pandemic?

But I know that isolating and overprotecting them won't work. Why? I've noticed that many who step out of overprotective environments lack the interpersonal skills necessary to live well once they leave the nest, at least initially. I imagine it's because they've seldom had their characters tested. When it comes to sin, there is a difference between one's exercising virtue in the midst of tempting circumstances, and simply never finding oneself in tempting circumstances at all. How we fare when we are tempted is a truer test of our character than never having been tempted at all. We are to be in the world, not of it.

Note that a strict isolationist policy wouldn't just apply to school and college either. It'd apply to interactions at church, too. After all, as Her.meneutics contributor Sharon Hodde Miller notes, some Christian "parents in our communities will not take the necessary steps to protect their children from Internet pornography because they want to have access to it themselves."

I believe the porn pandemic and other forms of illicit sex are really a result of our failure to love God and our neighbors. Consequently, we cannot merely fixate on "Don't do this, don't do that" instruction or on isolating our children. They need to know deep down why we do what we do or don't do.

Instead, our teachings about porn and sex must be set in the broader context of love and justice—of shalom. In his book, Justice in Love, philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff writes, "to seek to promote the good in someone's life as an end in itself is to love that person…. Love for another seeks to secure that she be treated justly by oneself and others—that her rights be honored, that she be treated in a way that befits her worth."

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