Is a new sexual revolution underway? Chip Ingram and Tim Walker talk about Sex 180 and what it means: sex is sacred, sex is serious, and hook-ups leave scars.
Is a new sexual revolution underway? Chip Ingram and Tim Walker talk about Sex 180 and what it means: sex is sacred, sex is serious, and hook-ups leave scars.
Chip: To get the love of a boy and to be affirmed as a woman, girls are told everywhere that you need to have sex. And I think where we miss it is we think, "How do I keep my daughter or my son from having that act?" And that's a very defensive posture versus "How do I instill in my daughter or son's heart this is a gift, but it is sacred."
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, February 11th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. And there is a whole lot more that we need to say to singles about sex outside of marriage than "just say no." Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. Before we dive into the topic we're going to talk about today, this is Day 38 of our 40-day Love Dare. Of course, Valentine's Day is this Saturday, and over the last several weeks we've been counting down the days by going through the 40-day Love Dare that was featured in the movie, "Fireproof" that is now out on DVD.
And today our focus is on Psalm 37, verse 4 – "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart," and each day over the last several weeks we've had an assignment for husbands and wives, and your assignment today is to ask yourself what would your mate want if it was something you could obtain? Make this a matter of prayer and start mapping out a plan for meeting some, if not all, of those desires – whatever you can on whatever level you possibly can. How can you demonstrate love by looking forward to helping your mate accomplish some of those lifelong dreams?
There is more information about "The Love Dare" book and about the movie, "Fireproof," which is now out on DVD on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and I hope, if you've been following along with us in the love dare, you're ready for a great Valentine's Day celebration.
Now, we want to talk today about teenagers and sexuality, and we have got a couple of revolutionaries in the studio with us today, and I think it's time for a revolution, don't you think?
Dennis: I think it is time for revolution. In fact, I want to ask you a question as we get started – I'm going to read you from a new book by Chip Ingram and Tim Walker, who join us on FamilyLife Today. By the way, guys, welcome to the broadcast while I interview Bob here on this first –.
Bob: It's nice to have you guys here.
Chip: It's good to be here.
Dennis: Chapter 3 in their book begins like this – "sex is everywhere. It's on TV, in the movies, on the Web, in magazines, books, high schools, youth groups, people are having sex, people are reading about sex, people are talking about sex, they are watching others have sex" – I assume on the movies – "people are reacting to sex, people are thinking about sex." Now here is the question, Bob. If you were naming a book that had a chapter that begins with "Sex is Everywhere." What would you call that book?
Bob: Um …
Dennis: Would you call it "Sex 180," "Sex 360," or "Sex is Everywhere."
Bob: I was thinking something about the saturation of sex. I mean, that's what it feels like to me. What's the 180 – what are you talking about, 180?
Dennis: Well, 180 is half of a circle.
Bob: Oh, okay.
Dennis: 360 is …
Bob: … full rotation.
Dennis: Everywhere around you, and I was thinking you would name that book "Sex 360."
Dennis: But these guys didn't name their book that, so I want to ask them why. Chip, you're president of Walk Through the Bible. You've got all the answers. Why did you call this book "Sex 180?"
Chip: Actually, I called it "Sex 180" because Tim and I were talking one day, and I was telling him my story of what God did in my life, and I had an event in my life that caused me to do a 180 in terms of my entire thinking about sex and sexuality, and Tim heard that comment, and he said, "That's the title for this book." That's the goal – it's the whole goal. It's not about just wait, it's not about no, it's not about a ring, it's not about a pledge card, it's not about rules, regulations, it's about sex 180. It's thinking, behaving completely differently but for a set of reasons that maybe most, even Christians, haven't thought about.
Bob: Tim, it's about the fact that we're going in one direction as a culture when it comes to sexuality, and we need to turn and go in the opposite direction, right?
Tim: Exactly. One of the things that we had talked about in the book was, you know, the subtitle to the book is "The Next Revolution," and, of course, there has been a previous sexual revolution, and we've seen kind of where that's led us to at this point. We don't want to go back to that point.
You know, there were some things within that first sexual revolution that were – they were kind of noticing some things about the culture, and they were kind of pointing out that some hypocrisy of things that were already going on, and why aren't we talking about this more openly? And almost to get to a point where we talk about it too much. So we definitely wanted to say not necessarily to go back to maybe even the 1950s mentality when it comes to sexuality but to go back to God's heart, a 180 back to God's heart.
Dennis: As we look at the youth of today – well, I have to scratch my head a bit because, in my opinion, the Christian community has never addressed the subject of sex more than in the last couple of decades.
Now, when I was in a youth group, I don't ever recall the subject ever being discussed. Do you, Bob?
Bob: No, because it wasn't as culturally …
Dennis: Well, that was the birth of sexual revolution, however.
Dennis: The church youth group was silent back then. But today our youth groups talk about this all the time, and yet our youth don't seem to be changing their behaviors. Why, Chip?
Chip: I think it's because what we've really messaged is don't have sex. I think we have unconsciously, with all the right motives, so I don't mean this critically – I think we have unconsciously sent the message – how do we get these kids through this bubble of about 13, 14, to their early 20s, get them married and where they didn't have sex. I mean, that's the goal. And I think, you know, when you look at the world they live in versus the world that we grew up in and it is so prevalent, and the mores are completely down, I just don't think defense is the way to go. I think you need to have a great offense, and I think we need to teach kids about who they really are sexually, and I think we need to help them understand it's not just about keeping yourself pure and having some borders and boundaries. It's about a revolutionary lifestyle that begins with your heart and where you think.
Bob: As I hear you saying that, even as a parent, I'm thinking, "Okay, my own approach has been much like you're describing, which has been to say to my kids, 'You need to have boundaries around relationships; you need to guard your heart.'"
You know, I quoted Proverbs 4:23 so many times to our kids – "Guard your heart." Relationships – I want your emotions to be protected not just your body to be protected. So what have I been missing? When you say we need to have a different approach when it comes to sexuality, I've been playing defense. What have I been missing?
Chip: Let me punt this one over to Tim, because he talks with those teenagers who talk to him differently than they talk to their parents, and they tell him things that they don't tell us, as moms and dads, about what their mindset is.
Bob: Well, and you told us before we started here today that any question you didn't know the answer to you were going to punt to Tim, so …
Chip: Am I doing pretty good, so far?
Dennis: Well, Tim works for Chip in Walk Through the Bible, and if he doesn't answer right, he's history.
Actually, Tim is the senior editor of Youth Walk, which is Walk Through the Bible's daily devotional for teenagers today, is that correct?
Tim: Yes, that is correct.
Dennis: So he does connect often and frequently with today's teenager, and you better know the answer to Bob's question.
Tim: No pressure. I think that in regards to sexuality, I think it's the same point that as with any area of their life, I think that there is a disconnect there. It's a compartmentalization of, "Okay, here is my sexuality over here, here is my faith over here," and when it comes time to do relationships or you talk about love or anything like that, then immediately there is a disconnect there between the two, and they seem to default to the cultural way of doing it. I'm not necessarily saying, "Okay, here is the particular way you need to have a relationship as far as only dating or only courting or that kind of thing," but to kind of dig down a little bit deeper, not just to connect your faith right there, but to connect your faith in there and to live out the two commands that Jesus said – to love God and to love others.
And so there's something about the way that we've kind of approached sex that really has taken that out of the equation, and it's solely been all of these external ways of dealing with sex and sexuality and relationships, and it's never really been that internal to kind of look at one another as Christ looks at us and also to really realize what God's heart is behind that as well.
Dennis: You're saying it's an issue of the heart. When Barbara and I were in the thick of this with four teenagers at one time, the verse that we attempted – and I can't say that we – well, I think we were fairly successful but we didn't do it perfectly, was Romans, chapter 16, verse 19. It's a very simply little phrase in here, but we applied this to our kids and their sexuality just as human beings all the way into adulthood.
Paul writes, "But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil." And so we attempted to teach our children to have skill about those things that were good, and our sexuality is good. It's just meant to be protected for a time. But Paul doesn't stop there. He goes further on the offense. He says, "I want you to be innocent in what is evil." And I think, without realizing it, today through music, movies, the Internet, our young people are being subjected to a deluge of sexually stimulating music, movies, books, magazines, and even at school to such a degree, that's a tough passage to live out – wise in what is good, innocent in what is evil.
Bob: So if we're talking about a counter-revolution, is it as simple as saying, "That's a lie," when we see lies. Is that – again, I'm trying to think as parent, and I'm thinking I don't know that I've been standing up and saying, "There's a lie, there's a lie," and just kind of pointing them out. Is that a part of the offensive game plan, Tim?
Tim: Well, I think it goes even beyond that into the point where you say that sex is a blessing inside marriage, but what does that mean? You know, you say that, and I don't think a student hears that and really, "Oh, well, that's great. It's going to be wonderful when I get married someday." And I think they need to understand …
Bob: Do I need more detail? I mean, I'm afraid to give more details than that, you know?
Tim: Well, but I think that there are things that we talk about in the book that really get to the heart of why God created sex and what He says about it that we don't talk about, you know, and that is the sacredness of sex and the seriousness of it.
Before then, we just primarily communicate that, you know, we don't, you know, save it for marriage, wait until marriage, it will be great someday, someday, someday. Well, we live in a very instant gratification society, and the someday is a lot longer than it used to be as well for a lot of people now that the age of marriage is so much longer.
But I think that we need to really kind of dig down and kind of communicate a message of why is this special? What is so sacred about this? What does God say about it? The fact that it's not just a physical act, it's a very multi-dimensional act that binds two people together, and the culture so communicates that either from a reality show where everybody is locked in the same building, and you're watching to see who hooks up with whom to a guy who has 30 bachelorettes to choose from or whatever.
The deal is it's not just him having a physical encounter with her; that there is something deeper than that, there's something deeper than what you see on the TV, or it's something different than you hear your friends talking about from a party that they went to that past weekend, and that we carry those pieces around, too. God says that you bring that into the marriage bed with you, and He says to honor the marriage bed.
And I don't really think that we say, "No, don't have sex," but for those of us who maybe did not live that out as well that we bring those experiences with us in there, and I don't think they necessarily hear the message of what that really means – to bring that in there.
Bob: I think what I'm hearing you say is that a part of what's missing in the culture and in our kids' understanding is the idea that there is more to any sexual union than simply physical pleasure and enjoyment. That message is not getting through. Kids aren't hearing it, grownups aren't hearing it. Everybody is – it's just kind of reduced to the idea that it's just about whatever physical enjoyment there is. Nobody sees that there is a soul connection; that when those two come apart, if there's not a marriage union, there is a ripping of the soul. You talk about scars on the souls of young people because they've been involved in fornication.
Tim: Yeah, I think it's getting a sense of – you know, it may sound crazy, but how holy sex is. I mean, it is – you know, I've talked to my kids and, of course, my boys are older and grown and now have their own kids, but my daughter, and those of you who are dads, you know, it's a little different when you have a daughter than the boys. You know, for the boys you really talk through all the hormones and this and this and that, and with your daughter it's so much more the emotional connection and the drawing and the longing for approval, and girls are told everywhere, and all of her friends are, you know, to get the love of a boy and to be affirmed as a woman, she is hearing everywhere that you need to have sex.
And I think where we miss it is we think, "How do I keep my daughter or my son from having that act?" And that's a very defensive posture versus "How do I instill in my daughter or son's heart this is a gift but it is sacred, it is holy, it is special, it is" – and then unpack all the reasons, and then it's serious. It's really, really, really, serious. And it's not just an act, and it's not just, "Well, you know, it didn't work out. I slept with someone, I didn't get AIDS, I guess everything is okay."
But it's serious not just for the physical reasons, although you can't get much more serious – and we talk a little bit later – I just got back from South Africa where the average 15-year-old will not live to age 30. Over 50 percent of the 15-year-olds living now are dying of AIDS, and they're burying – I went to one huge place where 30 to 40 funerals every day, average age 16 to 22, HIV Positive AIDS, they're dead.
And the sobering reality of the seriousness of sex – yes, you can see it in that death and that reality, but death is just as real, we know, not just physically, but what it does spiritually – I mean, think about what it does to your relationship with God. And we somehow acted like, "Well, yeah, that's important but what we really don't want is our daughter to get pregnant and my son to," you know – but no, no, no, those were the external byproducts that are important, but sex is very, very serious. Study what the Scriptures say, and it is – we want to instill in their hearts and minds God has something very special, but it's not just about pleasure. There is also the fear of God that leads you to wisdom.
Dennis: You know, as you were talking, Chip, I was thinking – of all the places today that are charged with teaching our children about sex, there's the school system, perhaps our physician, youth group, there are all these different places that seem to be gaining responsibility for teaching our children about sex. There are those who are teaching our kids about sex without being charged with the responsibility – music, Internet, movies, television, magazines, book, on and on and on it goes.
But think about it for a moment – where should our children learn about sex? At home …
Dennis: … with their mother and their father. And if we want to show the sacredness of sex, it needs to be with a mommy and a daddy who communicate to their children – and I guess, looking back on it, I don't have many regrets as we raised our six children, I really don't. We didn't do everything right, either, but I look back, and I wish I'd been a little more intentional around this particular issue and to have talked about the sacredness of sex – not just the pleasure, not just the fun, but the celebration, the bonding, the privilege of that dimension of sex in marriage and talked about that a little more freely with our teens as they grew up.
In fact, when our teenagers grew up, became adults, and took spouses, almost to a person, every one of them has said, "You know, Mom, Dad, we wish you'd talked about it just a little bit more." Now, that goes a little bit against the grain of privacy – to protect your marriage and not wrongly discuss something you share with your spouse, but I think if you really contrast the world with where they ought to hear it and what ought to be the best picture of what it looks like and how it would be sacred, wouldn't it be seeing a smile on your dad's face and your mom's face as they look into each other's eyes and said, "You know what? This is super. This is good. This is blessed by God, and that's worth waiting for."
Bob: You know, I've been thinking recently about the fact that we raise our kids with this dominant message that this is something you need to stay away from, and it's something that outside of marriage is wrong, and it will be damaging, and you do that up until the day when you give them away, and then you say, as Solomon says, "Eat, friends, drink, enjoy," you know?
That switch between "stay away," "warning," "danger," to now …
Dennis: That's a little what I was talking about, Bob.
Bob: I've thought to myself, "Can we really expect our kids to throw that switch?" Or do we need to have some time where we do help them understand God's got something special for you, and there should be some anticipation, but you've got to do that, guys, in such a way that you don't somehow – again, as Song of Solomon says, you don't want to arouse or awaken love before it's time, right?
So somehow you've got to communicate, "This is a wonderful thing in the context of marriage without somehow stimulating a desire."
Chip: Well, and what I love about what Tim has done and the privilege of writing this with him is because he's interacting. I mean, I had a teenager in my house as we were writing this, and we had these kids in my house in my basement dialoging and asking questions, and they taught us of a focus group who started a revolution in a major ungodly high school.
But what I love about what Tim brings to it is he comes from a different generation than the three other guys sitting around the table, and when I talk to Tim, he's talking about your sexuality is not just about having sex someday with someone. He talks about – all throughout the book, "I'm a sexual being now as a single person. My sexuality is a part of my relationship with God today. My sexuality – I need to have a biblical worldview of how I relate to God today. I am a sexual being relating to a girl as a friend today.
In other words, it's not something I wait for someday, some way, somehow, and sort of keeping these protective rails. It's literally a paradigm shift of rethinking how to think about it from the heart and develop a relationship with the opposite sex so you really don't go into the wedding day going, "Well, boy, man, I've been holding my breath for about 10 or 12 years, and I'm glad I can finally just take a big" – you know, I think that's sort of been what we unconsciously were taught in verses – how do you breathe in and out the spirit of God and life all along the way in many little steps that are transformational so that it's not some big flip a switch, but it's "You know what? I am a sexual being. It is sacred. It is serious. I have flaws, I have made mistakes, but this is how God has given me the grace, and I am now prepared."
Dennis: And I think it's the charge that we give to parents today to be the true sexual educators around gender, around sexuality, around the sex act, but take a full look at sex in 360 degrees so that you can challenge your teenagers to have sex 180, so they don't get tripped up by the world.
Bob: See in 360 but walk in 180, is that the idea here?
Dennis: Yeah, yeah, there you go, there you go.
Chip: There's the next book, Bob, I like that.
Bob: We only have this book right now, but we do have this one available in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and you can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and find out more about the book. This is something that a mom or a dad might want to go through with a son or a daughter together or something you might want to use with a group of teenagers or with your older teens, do what I have done on occasion, where I will give my son or my daughter a copy of a book like this and say, "I'll pay you $20 to read it, but I want a book report after you're done."
And most of the time, my teenagers are hard enough up for money that they'll go for that and write the book report so they can get their money, and I'm happy to pay them to read something like this.
Again, the book is available from us in our FamilyLife Resource Center. Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and you can order the book from us online if you're interested, or call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. Our team can answer any questions you have about this book, and they can make arrangements to have copies sent to you.
You know, just recently we heard from a number of FamilyLife Today listeners who got i touch with us to say "We want to help support the ministry of FamilyLife on an ongoing basis," and in this economic climate for folks to step forward and say "We'll make a monthly contribution to the ministry of FamilyLife Today" is a – well, it's a significant statement of affirmation, and we appreciate those of you who have signed on as new Legacy Partners. Your support really means a lot to us.
We are listener-supported, and so it's those monthly Legacy Partners and those of you who make a donation from time to time who keep this program on the air on this station and on other stations all across the country. If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Legacy Partner and keeping connected with us month in and month out, details are on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY. Again, thanks to those of you who have already committed to be a Legacy Partner, we appreciate you very much, and thanks to all of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. Your support means a lot to us.
Well, tomorrow Chip Ingram and Tim Walker are going to be back with us. We're going to continue to talk about the need for a new sexual revolution, and I hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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