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License to Thrill

In my city, prostitution is legal and preaching is dangerous.

When I decided to preach a seven-week series called "Sex and the City," a pastor friend in town said I must be crazy. Our city is famous for sex in a way few others are. I live in Amsterdam, the city all too well-known for prostitutes and extravagant sexual practices.

In Holland almost 80 percent of people live together before marriage. It's called samenwonen. In fact the government recognizes samenwonen as a legal standing in society, somewhere between being single and married. Here it is simply another alternative.

In my own congregation, there are more than a few people who live together while claiming to follow Christ. So when I brought up the subject, I decided to set the bar high.

I was tempted to give "seven reasons not to have sex before marriage," but rather than making it a "don't do it" discussion, I spoke about radical purity in an age of rampant impurity. We introduced our community to a man and woman who lived 3,000 years ago and were passionately ...

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