Here's a good question: Does God want you to have a better sex life?
This week my teammate and friend Brandon O'Brien posted an article on Out of Ur that we thought our Gifted for Leadership friends might like to discuss. Read the article below and post your thoughts. You can also read it in its original context on Out of Ur (you might join the discussion there as well).
"A number of churches are now preaching a message I never heard from the pulpit growing up: God wants you to have sex. Lots of sex. Great sex. All for his glory, of course.
"In February 2008, Relevant Church of Tampa, Florida, issued a "30-Day Sex Challenge" during their sermon series on relationships. Married couples were exhorted to have some form of intercourse - and singles to abstain - every day for a month.
"Last month, New Direction Christian Church (Memphis, Tennessee) conducted its own '40 Nights of Grrreat Sex' program. The pastoral staff handed out daily planners with suggestions for mixing things up. They set up a blog so members could ask questions - and presumably offer advice - anonymously. I hope they also have plans to increase their children's ministry budget in the coming months.
"And it's not just churches. In the Christian publishing market, the body of explicit sex manuals for Christian couples is growing. Ironically, about the time secular commentators have begun to voice their concern that our culture is overstimulated, the Christian church says, "I've got an idea; let's have more sex."
"Of course I understand the difference between casual sex and intimacy within a godly marriage. And in some ways, I find this trend toward openness about human sexuality to be encouraging. Having grown up in a conservative church in a conservative part of the country, I know Christians who feel guilty about having (not to mention enjoying) sex with their Christian spouses. This certainly should not be so.
"On the other hand, where does ?church as sex therapist' lead? In the upcoming issue of Leadership, Sam O'Neal reports that Relevant Church's sex campaign resulted in a 15 percent increase in attendance. Is that transfer growth or conversion growth, I wonder? (Not growth precisely, but you know what I mean.)
"I don't mean to criticize either of the ministries above; there's certainly nothing wrong with churches celebrating sexual intimacy within marriage. And I don't know enough of the details to critique either of the "campaigns." But to comment on evangelicalism's apparently growing fascination with sex, I have to wonder what this looks like to nonbelievers.