November 24, 2008

"Today we’re beginning this sexperiment, seven days of sex."

Ugh! What is creepier than religious leaders ordering their followers to have sex?
A week after the Rev. Ed Young challenged husbands and wives among his flock of 20,000 to strengthen their unions through Seven Days of Sex, his advice was — keep it going.

Mr. Young, an author, a television host and the pastor of the evangelical Fellowship Church, issued his call for a week of “congregational copulation” among married couples on Nov. 16, while pacing in front of a large bed. Sometimes he reclined on the paisley coverlet while flipping through a Bible, emphasizing his point that it is time for the church to put God back in the bed.

Trying to picture him reclining on a paisley-covered bed, fiddling with his Bible? Let me help:



Does he make you horny?

AND: As for the bed-on-the-stage routine... Madonna did it better:

179 comments:

vnjagvet said...

I'm for separation of church and sex. And after reading this, I am more certain of my position.

Ron said...

I'd sooner respect a pimp's opinions on religious piety than this guys bloviations on sex!

Seven Machos said...

The word horny absolutely repulses me. Why is that?

mccullough said...

This is more of a sexual mood killer than when my mom gave me a box of condoms on my way to college.

These super church leaders are strange.

Original George said...

"And God said to [Adam and Eve], "Be fruitful and multiply....

Meade said...

As if those of us who suffer with Permanent Sexual Arousal Syndrome don't already have enough on our plates. Seven days back to back! Hey, Rev. Ed Young, even God took a day off after six.

Bissage said...

That's a nice enough bed but where do you attach the shackles?

Seven Machos said...

I'm for separation of church and sex.

Most people who harp about the separation of church and something -- when probed just a bit -- will suggest that they really want church cut off from a certain area of society.

Good luck. Metaphysics will always be involved when discussing birth, death, sex, and the various mysteries of life.

Tibore said...

Waiting for bad pun on the word "Missionary" in 5... 4... 3...

Michael said...

Any recommendation relating to birth control? Do we really need more people at this point in time?

Paddy O. said...

As of January 3, I'm going to be following his advice faithfully.

However, that has nothing to do with his suggestion.

What's interesting to me about this is how much it illustrates the contemporary church's public reaction against earlier, and long lasting, attitudes. Gone is the dualistic perspective that made matter evil and spirit the only good. It's a recovery, one might say, of the Jewish roots. An embrace of a holistic life.

At the same time, being reactionary rather than grounded in spirituality, it comes off as merely trite and silly to most. Many in the church do need to hear such a validation. But, the danger is that it becomes such a narrow, such a limited, expression of sexuality that while seeking to be affirming is also alienating.

What are the singles supposed to think? They become half people. Half-horny people. Exhorted to do what they are not allowed to do.

Meanwhile, the church merely echoes the philosophy of the broader culture, always many steps behind, instead of offering a particularly Christian perspective on holistic relationships, with sexuality placed in its proper perspective.

More than any other pressing human topic the Church in all its forms has long, long failed to work out its own healthy understanding of sexuality, and has left the broader culture, and the church culture, impoverished because of it.

Young, by the way, almost always has some kind of major prop on the stage. It's a very visual preaching style. Thankfully, the visual was limited in this case.

Synova said...

No, it doesn't make me horny.

But I think it's probably a good thing. Because the opposite side of "whatever you want to do, you should" is "if I don't want to, he (or she), can just bite it and die."

The Bible actually does talk about husbands or wives not denying the other... in other words, you should be thinking about the other person's needs even when you aren't "in the mood."

We're a selfish generation.

Crimso said...

For some people that could result in about 1400 orgasms...

Seven Machos said...

Synova -- But wait. Shouldn't the person "in the mood: be thinking of the person who isn't? Why should the needs of the person who wants sex be fulfilled at the expense of the person who doesn't?

Any time somebody gives in, somebody else got what they wanted. Remember that, everybody, next time you get accused of being selfish.

Meade said...

"Does he make you horny?"

Not really. But I don't want to be selfish. Does he make you horny?

laura said...

Thank you, Seven - yes, there are many sides to selfish - it's not always a negative.

MadisonMan said...

Someone who spends that much time thinking about other people's sex lives is seriously creepy.

Both the Government and the Church: Neither belongs in anyone's bedroom.

Tibore said...

Two sex threads and not a peep out of Titus. Something's wrong...

dbp said...

The sermon was probably less funny or creepy than this scene from The Meaning of Life.

Meade said...

Sure, keep the Church out of the bedroom. But look at that photo. I say keep the bedroom out of the Church.

knox said...

This must be trendy. My neighbor recently told me she left the Baptist church around the corner because the new pastor was saying stuff like this.

Lem said...

My Palin posters dont do it for me anymore ;)

Paddy O. said...

Knox, in evangelical circles it's very trendy. Not new. This is the sort of stuff that has been going on for a while in various forms.

It has the appearance of rejecting the stifled aspects of baby boomer's parents--the reason a lot of boomers left the church--while at the same time offering good Christian folk an acceptable 'wink, wink, nudge, nudge' titillation. Certainly not for everyone, but it's the kind of thing that's very much thought of as popular at pastor's conferences. At least in some circles.

Such pastors forget that people go to church to hear about God, not get Oprah-lite.

Kirk Parker said...

Paddy,

That penultimate paragraph of your 2:06 comment is wonderful. I just hope it doesn't mean you think the "broader culture" could have done better w/o the Church even trying; there's certainly no evidence of that anywhere in the world, is there?

Justin said...

Paddy O. said...

Such pastors forget that people go to church to hear about God, not get Oprah-lite.

Actually, a lot of people like Oprah-lite.

Meade said...

"Madonna did it better"

And you say you've never watched porn... huh.

mcg said...

This must be trendy. My neighbor recently told me she left the Baptist church around the corner because the new pastor was saying stuff like this.

What. That married people should have sex? That's cause to walk?

Look, there is plenty of room for debate about the style and approach of Fellowship Church. Heck, that pastor may not be doctrinally sound, he wouldn't be the first. But a healthy sex life between husband and wife is biblical and there's no reason a pastor shouldn't discuss it.

1 Corinthians 7 says "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

Interestingly, the context here is that "it is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband... I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that."

In other words: get married because you're a horndog, and you know it... and when you do, don't hold back, go for it! Of course, I (Paul) am not a horndog like you, I'm just sayin'.

Michael said...

And many will be doing two things at once...

Nielsen: TV Use At An All Time High

Nielsen announced the results of a second annual media consumption survey that found television and Internet usage continues to increase -- even though broadcast ratings have declined.

The measurement company said the average person in the United States watched 142 hours of TV a month, up 4%, from last year.

mcg said...

Interestingly, Puritans were weren't nearly as puritanical as their namesake adjective would have you believe. Here's a pro-Puritan article from 2001: (link)

There's the commonly held perception that the Puritans hated sex -- thus a "puritanical" view of sex is an ugly thing. But the opposite was true. The Puritans, while they strongly opposed unmarried sex, celebrated marital sex, actually holding the progressive view that such was a great gift from God. In so doing they discarded the long-held, medieval notion that marital sex was not as virtuous as celibacy. (The Puritan view had the added benefit of elevating the status of women.) It shouldn't be surprising, then, that at least one husband in Puritan New England was excommunicated by his church for sexually neglecting his wife.

jdeeripper said...

AND: As for the bed-on-the-stage routine... Madonna did it better:

OK, it's time to repeat one of the great truths of the past 25 years of pop culture.............MADONNA IS THE LEAST EROTIC WOMAN IN THE HISTORY OF THE FEMALE SPECIES.

A liquored up Barbara Mikulski is hotter.

She's not hot, she's not cool and her music stinks.

White gay guys like her. Paglia likes her.

Howard Stern as Madonna

Balfegor said...

paisley-covered bed

Is that pattern paisley? Really? I always thought paisley was the sort of curled tear-drop shape with the filigree. That bedspread just looks like rosettes or something.

Michael said...

mcg: "What. That married people should have sex? That's cause to walk?"

What possible business is it of a pastor to be suggesting or discussing the congregation's sex lives?

What possible business is it of any pastor in any church, to be discussing something like this?

Considering the fact that it's impossible for the pastor to have any idea of a specific situation or problems that could relate to a couple's sex life, it could be downright uncomfortable and embarrassing.

I could easily see someone leaving a church because of such a personal intrusion.

MadisonMan said...

There's a big difference between a Pastor talking about what the Bible says about Husband/wife relations, and commanding a husband and a wife to do it.

And I agree, that's not paisley. It's more French Revival or something.

Paul Snively said...

I guess the anti-sex-in-religion crowd never bothered to actually read the Song of Solomon...

There are at least three categories of people in our lives who have a legitimate interest in our having a healthy sex life: our spouses, our ministers, and our physicians. If any of them do not express an interest (maybe, but not necessarily personally) in your having a healthy sex life, switch.

Having said that, one can hope for a level of taste and decorum in the discussion, and as with so many aspects of the preaching in the non-denominational megachurches, the taste level leaves a great many of us in mainline Christendom more than a little squeamish. Hint: if your presentation suggests direct comparison to a Madonna video, you may wish to reconsider your presentation style.

lady717998 said...

Doesn't it strike any of you narcissists here that the minister wasn't addressing his remarks to YOU or concerned with your reactions to them? He was speaking to his congregation, people who attend his church and follow his sermons because (presumably) they LIKE this type of teaching and are open to this type of topic. You and I as outsiders aren't his audience.
It sounds like a lot of churches are trying to be more relevant, and not just sticking to old fashioned, traditional topics.
In fact, I was working with a client recently who was designing multi-media displays for their church (and mentioned that they had a full coffee-bar in the church lobby for after-service socializing). She said their pastor did a series on sex recently and his approach was that this was an area the church SHOULD be addressing and not leaving people to shape their values from the media and pop culture alone.
It's not for me, but for many people it seems to work.
So what's the problem other than your squeamishness and some arbitrary division of what ministers should or shouldn't talk about?

Darcy said...

Excellent, Paul Snively. Especially the last bit.

And jdeeripper: Hee. Well, I'm glad!

mccullough said...

I think they should put wide screen TVs in churches and just show NFL games.

Or they should move Church to Wednesday nights. Shake it up a bit. No reason to compete with the NFL.

Michael said...

lady717998 said..."He was speaking to his congregation, people who attend his church and follow his sermons because (presumably) they LIKE this type of teaching and are open to this type of topic."

And how would you possibly know this, and why would you assume many here are "narcissists" because of their comments?

Just because someone attends a church doesn't mean they agree with everything that is being presented, and there are specific discussions that could have a dramatic effect on couples who are experiencing problems relating to their sex lives.

I would think a "scheduled" presentation, other than on Sunday morning, with the criteria provided in advance, would be much more reasonable for many.

Personally I could care less what any pastor has to say, I'm far from religious, but if you don't think there would be people in the congregation that would be embarrassed by such a discussion you're dreaming.

mcg said...

What possible business is it of a pastor to be suggesting or discussing the congregation's sex lives? What possible business is it of any pastor in any church, to be discussing something like this?

What in the world are you talking about? The Christian religion, as with most religions, addresses virtually every aspect of someone's life. And thus it's entirely within the scope of what a pastor should talk about. Why is that the least bit controversial? The Catholic church has very clear teaching on birth control, for instance.

I just quoted you 1 Corinthians 7 above. Are you saying that a pastor ought to refrain from teaching from particular passages of scripture? What do you think it would look like if he actually did discuss this passage? Even without all the flash of Fellowship Church, or without the explicit stunt-like 7-day challenge, he would certainly have to exhort his married members to examine their sex lives and make sure that one partner is not withholding sex from the other.

If you don't want your pastor to talk about sex, fine, find a religion that is indifferent to sex. But it seems silly to suggest that a pastor of any religion should avoid the very issues discussed in their holy texts.

Considering the fact that it's impossible for the pastor to have any idea of a specific situation or problems that could relate to a couple's sex life, it could be downright uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Indeed, that's exactly what happened in some cases. But since neither you nor I have heard the entire sermon, we have no idea how that was addressed. All we get is a condensed news story on the subject. We do have some indications, though, from the story; one couple had been dealing with the repercussions of adultery. Apparently this has helped them work through some of those.

Besides, it's not like he was going to excommunicate anyone if they didn't do it for seven days. It was a challenge, not a command. In fact, he didn't even live up to the challenge. He admitted that one day he was so tired that he begged off, promising to double up the next day.

I could easily see someone leaving a church because of such a personal intrusion.

Yes, I'm sure you could. And on one level, I agree with you. I mean, if you don't think that Christian pastors ought to talk about Christian teachings, you're likely to want to leave a church that tries.

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

mccullough said..."I think they should put wide screen TVs in churches and just show NFL games."

I agree.

But why not eliminate this church thing altogether and have NFL and college games every day?

When was the last time you ever heard of anyone winning a three team parlay at church?

Michael said...

mcg said..."Who says it was a command? Do you have any evidence that members of that church were expelled if they did not do what he said?"

Why is he telling them ANYTHING about what they should be doing in the bedroom??

This guy sounds like someone who's just looking for publicity...or hey, maybe his OWN TV SHOW...that's where he REAL money is.

mcg said...

There's a big difference between a Pastor talking about what the Bible says about Husband/wife relations, and commanding a husband and a wife to do it.

Who says it was a command? Do you have any evidence that members of that church were expelled or subject to other consequences if they did not do what he said?

Seven Machos said...

find a religion that is indifferent to sex

Yep. And again: good luck. We're all counting on you.

mcg said...

Why is he telling them ANYTHING about what they should be doing in the bedroom??

Because the Bible talks about it, too. Because the Christian faith has something to say about it. End of story. Why is that so hard?

This guy sounds like someone who's just looking for publicity...or hey, maybe his OWN TV SHOW...that's where he REAL money is.

Look, there are really two separate issues here. There is the content, and the presentation. Fellowship Church is one of those flashy megachurches with multiple campuses, video screens, rock concert-quality production values, and the like. I am sympathetic to arguments about style.

But then there is the content. In a more modest church setting, with a less flashy pastor, this would not be a controversial topic. Pastors talk about sex all the time. As well they should, because it is an important part of their congregants' lives.

mcg said...

I think they should put wide screen TVs in churches and just show NFL games.

Blame the NFL for nixing this idea. (link)

vnjagvet said...

Most people who harp about the separation of church and something -- when probed just a bit -- will suggest that they really want church cut off from a certain area of society.

Where's the vaunted Seven Machos sense of humor? My comment was tongue in cheek. I guess you couldn't see the twinkle in my eyes.

Seven Machos said...

A few atheists know a lot about religion. However, most people who bitch about religion -- and probably all of the bitchers here -- don't have any understand even the basic precepts of any religion.

What do you silly people think religion is about? What goes in on inside a church? What human needs are addressed by the services churches (and mosques and temples) provide?

Please show us the single religion in history that isn't about birth, sex, and death.

Seven Machos said...

V -- I couldn't see it. Sorry. I have a good sarcasm meter, usually.

Host with the Most said...

My goodness, Ann Althouse - how clever you are!

So good of you to let us in on those evil Christians getting together on their own - without Academic or government pre-approval! - of their own free-will. And then. not knowing what kind of seminar they signed up for, those stupid Christian believers, they were astonished - simply ASTONISHED - to find out that the Marriage Seminar included talk about sex by a pastor.

IS that even legal?

Thanks for pointing out the dangers of stuff like this, Ann!!

It could lead to laws that make people like you HAVE to watch stuff like that.

Wow. And thanks for the laughs at the expense of Christian believers.

No one else is as cutting edge or as you, Ann. I mean who would think to make fun of evangelicals in this day and age. After all, Hollywood constantly is making fun of everyone else BUT evangelicals. Yep, there's a real shortage of outrage in America about anything evangelicals do.

You're a real class act, Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Who will Ann so bravely step out to ridicule next?

Seven Machos said...

When did Host with the Most lose it? You need to have seven days of sex, pal. Pronto.

mcg said...

Please show us the single religion in history that isn't about birth, sex, and death. And money!

Freeman Hunt said...

A pastor should talk about sex in married life. That's an important aspect of life, and the Christian religion has much to offer on the topic.

I may not be into this particular pastor's approach, but so what? Different churches have different styles of presentation.

Freeman Hunt said...

As for making some people uncomfortable, big deal. Any topic the pastor addresses is going to make some people uncomfortable. If he had to make everyone comfortable all the time, how could he ever mention sin?

Host with the Most said...

You know, the Evangeliocal church i belong to fed 4600 people in our community last year at Thanksgiving, gave 8500 Christmas baskets of food to needy families last Christmas. We are planning on 6000 at Thanksgiving this year.
This week, our church will give over 12,00 shoeboxes filled with toys and toiletries to Operation Christmas, where those boxes will be filled and given to children in Bosnia, Iraq, Iran and many poverty stricken areas around the world. I went with them one year to Romania to help distribute. It changes your life to see kids with no future open the first gifts in their lives.


The church that you are making fun of, Ann, did similar stuff on a similar. It also sees people in prisons, and hospitals on a daily basis. And it feeds amd clothes people weekly.

Besides provide one forum to ridicule the people that do these things, exactly what the fuck is that you do to contribute?

Host with the Most said...

Hey seven,

what exactly do you do for charity, asshole?

Freeman Hunt said...

I would also point out that the Christian religion does not allow for walling off certain parts of one's life from Christ. You don't get to say, "All of that other stuff is fine, but I don't want religion in this part of my life." Doesn't work that way.

Host with the Most said...

Oh, that's right, Ann and seven are lawyers.

That's how they make an impact on society for . . .

Paddy O. said...

I just hope it doesn't mean you think the "broader culture" could have done better w/o the Church even trying

Thanks! No to your question. Just means the if the church isn't the church, then what the church should bring isn't brought, and oftentimes the rejection of what the church did end up bringing makes things even worse.

And, to address lady717998, these kinds of churches are called seeker sensitive. Meaning, you, me, everyone here is his audience. If it was just for his congregation he would not be on television or write to a broader audience. The goal is to make inroads into all people's lives, and help them feel like the church is talking about what seems relevant.

If he's getting negative press, he missed the mark they are aiming at. Which is, yeah, the popular Oprah-lite audience. Which, generally, isn't as much about new people coming to church as much as people coming from other churches to feel a part of something big and fun and lively.

Like sex.

Host with the Most said...

Looking on google for how many hospitals have been started by, let's see . .

lawyers.

Atheists

politicians

Um, Christians . . .Whoa!

Seven Machos said...

Host -- Well, there's a lot going on in this thread, it seems. I reject the notion that church isn't a place to discuss sex because it so obviously is. Maybe I am tilting at arguers who aren't really here, though.

As for your argument: can't you admit that this particular presentation is cringe-inducing?

I also think that the charitable work that churches do, while laudable, is among the lesser services provided. We're talking about the nourishment of the soul and the very vision of an ideal society here.

mcg said...

Geez, Host, really. Make your case, but relax for goodness' sake.

Host with the Most said...

Can some one help me find the Thanksgiving outreach to the needy this week sponsored by any lawyers group?

How about the "Law Professors' Thanksgiving for the Homeless in the Park?"

I know: "Annual Christmas Food and Clothing Drive sponsored by Professors Who Blog and Make Fun of Evangelical Churches"

Hazy Dave said...

A bed on a stage is a pretty good metaphor for Madonna's whole shtick, isn't it?

Seven Machos said...

No lawyers go to church. What is your occupation, Host? Is it especially known for its philanthropy?

You didn't give all that stuff away; a church with which you are affiliated did. I give money to a Catholic law school. Can I claim all the good works of the Vatican as my own?

This is a bad line of argument.

blake said...

Is this the banned Michael?

His ignorance of religion is astonishingly complete, which would fit in with the banned Michael.

It's not much talked about but the manner and circumstances of sex are discussed in considerable detail in the Talmud. (Here's a quick read version.)

Various Indian religious philosophies, like Tantra and Yoga, cover technique, even.

Western religious leaders have done wrong by removing themselves from important aspects of life. Ignoramuses flourish and fill in the blanks.

theobromophile said...

Stating that which I would have thought was obvious:

It's not a problem that a church is talking about sex, marriage, and marital intimacy.

It's not a problem that a minister cares about the strength of his congregant's marriages.

What is a problem, and what is creepy as all hell, is treating those problems and potential problems as if they can all be fixed in exactly one manner: having lots of sex.

For the (IIRC) 43% of women who experience some form of sexual dysfunction, "have sex with your husband every day, 'cause the Bible says so" is crappy advice. For the smaller percentage of men with such problems, advice like that can be humiliating.

The Christian religion is very opinionated about sexuality precisely because of the deep emotional connections that come along with it. It is, to them, much more than a physical act. By simply saying, "Do it every day," the pastor is acknowledging only one side of sexuality, and one that is particularly true for men and not women: that physical intimacy leads to emotional intimacy.

I mean, it's decent advice, and certainly Biblical, if applied to married couples who aren't making time for each other any more. It's brain-dead when applied to women recovering from vaginal childbirth, couples working through trust issues after infidelity (esp. in the age of rampant STDS), peri- and menopausal women, any couple that experiences sexual dysfunction, and those whose marriages are falling apart form a lack of emotional intimacy.

Seven Machos said...

Just one minor point: if this guy really wanted to be successful, he would have addressed his challenge to single 18-year-olds.

John Stodder said...

Okay, this illustrates why our politics have realigned over the past eight years.

Remember, those of you old enough to remember, how liberals in the 70s somehow aligned themselves with people who held opinions that most Americans found strange? And as a result, they started losing elections?

The Moral Majority was a reaction to the weirdness of liberals. They made a compelling case that what liberals stood for wasn't what most Americans stood for. At first, the Moral Majority confined itself to articulating old-fashioned values. They were mocked for it, which made liberals seem even weirder, because who could be against these simple verities.

That's why so much was made of Bill Clinton's "Sister Souljah" moment in 1992. It was the Democratic party's symbolic expulsion of weird liberalism from the temple. Since then, they've won three of five presidential elections (arguably four.)

Okay, well now the scene has shifted, and it's the characters on the religious right who strike most Americans as weird. They keep topping themselves in weirdness.

Timing is everything. It might be too soon for a future conservative leader to have a mirror of the Sister Souljah moment. But they will have to have one eventually.

Not that a pastor talking about sex in married life is wrong. But there's such a thing as decorum. Most churches have all kinds of counseling opportunities for couples having marriage problems. There are men's groups, women's groups, family groups, etc. But they're private.

Religion is private. We need to get back to that. Religion will always be strong in this country, but it's gotten too aggressive, too in-your-face. It's not just the legalistic church/state separation. It's more of a cultural attitude that sends Christians and other religious observers into the world on a mission to save us all from what they believe is sin and to remake the world according to what they have come to believe is the one true path.

"Leave us alone" is a powerful element in our culture too. MYOB. Don't Fence Me In. Huckleberry Finn, lighting out for the territories so his aunt can't "sivilize" him. Live and let live. Utopianism is a bad tendency, no matter where it's coming from.

Don't wait to be humiliated like Sister Souljah. Dial it back, social conservatives. Stop letting yourself become punchlines.

Host with the Most said...

stodder,

Why is religion "private"? Why do you get to decide that?

Paddy O. said...

That's exactly it, theobromophile.

Pogo said...

Sex and death.
What else is there to talk about?

Meade said...

Sports?

Seven Machos said...

As a libertarian conservative, people like John Stodder and Althouse bother me. I don't like them on the other side. I want them inside the Big Tent, pissing out.

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

What is a problem, and what is creepy as all hell, is treating those problems and potential problems as if they can all be fixed in exactly one manner: having lots of sex.

Then it's a good thing that is not what is being claimed. Come on. You're not even being serious.

mcg said...

Religion is private.

No, it's not.

We need to get back to that.

It never has been.

Next specious argument?

Seven Machos said...

I agree also that religion is not private. There will always be an glaringly large intersection between religion and the nonprivate sphere.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Madonna may have done the use of the bed prop better, but try this variant:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPIbFaDHOZU

Creepy, disturbing... HILARIOUS.

Tim Jasko said...

Religion is private.

This becomes especially absurd in the context of the discussion. Unless you think religion is so private that it can't even be discussed in church.

mcg said...

From the article:

As for single people, “I don’t know, try eating chocolate cake,” he said.

How dare Rev. Young get involved in his single congregants' eating habits! What business does he have saying anything on the topic? What's creepy is that he seems to be saying that the solution to every single person's problem is eating chocolate cake.

Darcy said...

Mmmm. Chocolate cake.

blake said...

Since then, they've won three of five presidential elections (arguably four.)

And the Reps have won 6 of 9 of the Congressional elections, I think.

Anyway, I missed the Republican aspect of this story.

I don't often disagree with your observations but you're wrong about religion being private. Spirituality, perhaps, is private.

Religion has no value unless it is public. Religion needs to be public enough and weighty enough to fight the state. This is why statists work so hard to undermine it.

There's no need for socialists and communists to be anti-religion per se, but they don't want any competition. Religion might tell you, hey, you don't need to be a slave to the state. You have worth on your own.

The history of the world reflects poorly on situations where the State overpowered the Church and vice-versa, or God help us, when they acted in collusion.

blake said...

Though it occurs to me that JS may be referring to "private" as in "non-government".

This is less false. :-)

Meade said...

For the record, I'm with Darcy on that chocolate cake controversy.

Paddy O. said...

What's creepy is that he seems to be saying that the solution to every single person's problem is eating chocolate cake.

Not creepy. Sad. And why people leave the church in college and tend to only come back after having kids. He really doesn't have anything to say to singles, and he makes a joke out of a very difficult situation in this world. Let the eat cake is not a pastoral, or even intelligent, response. But it got a laugh, I'm sure. Getting a laugh is the height of some sermons.

Singles trying to live a Christian life without sex... laugh at them, the sad beings!

That's precisely the problem. There's no coherent, holistic teaching on sexuality that could fit within the whole congregation. Instead, there is alienation, and alienation of those who Paul said are walking a good path.

It's not Christianity. It's Oprah lite, except Oprah doesn't then condemn people who disobey other rules.

rhhardin said...

You have to go way back to November 10 to find a bed picture at the RH household.

garage mahal said...

Oh jeebus. Public religion is needed to fight communism and socialism? WTF. There is like one atheist in all of congress while 85% of congress gets perfect ratings from Tony Perkins looney orgs.

MadisonMan said...

You know, the Evangeliocal church i belong to fed 4600 people in our community last year at Thanksgiving, gave 8500 Christmas baskets of food to needy families last Christmas.

How did the congregation find time for sex.

Beth said...

host, chill out.

Google will answer your questions; I searched "lawyers thanksgiving" and food drives by lawyers groups came up on the first page. People of all kinds do good works together, host. I don't attend church anymore, but I give money and time to food banks, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, toy funds, book drives, hurricane recovery and panhandlers on the street all year long. You really can't assume you know what is in people's hearts, host.

I think Ann's having a good laugh at this particular preacher's approach. I find it funny, too. That's no reason to decide Christianity is under attack.

MarkW said...

This post brings to mind this classic from The Onion:

"Local Lutheran Minister Loves To Fuck His Wife"

mcg said...

Singles trying to live a Christian life without sex... laugh at them, the sad beings!

Oh for crying out loud. The straw men and ludicrous extrapolations from a single news article on a single sermon are getting ridiculous.

Do you really think that Rev. Young has has nothing whatsoever to say to his congregation on singlehood and sex? I mean, I've never heard him but I think it's safe to say it has been discussed. And I wouldn't be surprised if he threw in a joke about marriage then, too.

Pull the stick out of your ass for goodness' sake. This was a sermon to a congregation of willing listeners. They were warned in advance this was what the sermon was about. They have an established relationship with each other. In such an environment a little levity is just fine.

mcg said...

How did the congregation find time for sex.

How much time do you need? :-)

Beth said...

theo at 4:05 wins the thread (by making sense)

blake said...

That's a poor misreading of what I said garage.

A strong Church is historically the only thing that can combat a strong State.

Think it doesn't apply? Consider the Civil Rights Movement, born in baptist churches and led by Reverend Martin Luther King.

There has to be something that's untouchable by the state, no matter what. You get the USSR and the PRC otherwise.

Michael said...

blake said..."His ignorance of religion is astonishingly complete, which would fit in with the banned Michael."

And what would you be basing that inane comment on?

The fact that, in this particular case, I think the pastor could embarrass or make some in his congregation extremely uncomfortable? That it's really not the pastor's business to discuss how often a married couple might have sex?

How is that point of view in any way related to an "ignorance of religion?"

Discussions of having children being important or loving your spouse is well within reason, but this kind of "pop religion" is just plain silly.

You should really consider taking a course in logic because your frame of reference here is about as far off base as one can be.

LoafingOaf said...

If you google him, you find his blog, which describes itself as: "The thoughts and writings of one of this century's most intriguing and inspiring leaders and pastors.
www.edyoungblog.com/"

So, you see, he's one of this century's most intriguing and inspiring leaders, if he must say so himself.

Kirk Parker said...

mcg,

"For two . . .
..
For two . . ."

:-)

Dogwood said...

Geez Louise.

Do some of you really believe the pastor is "commanding" women who just gave birth to have sex with their husbands before their doctor said it was okay? Really? Really???

C'mon, get serious.

The pastor is dealing with an issue that is a source of conflict in many, many marriages for various reasons, from schedules that are too busy; to negative or destructive attitudes toward sex; or conflicts over frequency.

Conflicts over sex, or the absence thereof, have destroyed countless marriages, and pastors would be derelict in their duties if they didn't address the issue in an honest and open way.

As for style, to each his own, and his congregants apparently appreciate his style and approach.

C'est la vie.

Michael said...

LoafingOaf said..."If you google him, you find his blog, which describes itself as: "The thoughts and writings of one of this century's most intriguing and inspiring leaders and pastors." (www.edyoungblog.com/)

Like I said: "pop religion."

mcg said...

I think Ann's having a good laugh at this particular preacher's approach. I find it funny, too. That's no reason to decide Christianity is under attack.

AMEN. :-) Heck we can even debate the merits of the content without worrying about that either.

Revenant said...

A strong Church is historically the only thing that can combat a strong State. Think it doesn't apply? Consider the Civil Rights Movement, born in baptist churches and led by Reverend Martin Luther King.

That's a bad example. The successes of the Civil Rights movement were owed to the power of the federal government -- i.e., to a more powerful State.

dbp said...

My wife and I are not church-goers ourselves, but my I understanding of the purpose of church sermons is--To give advice to the congregants from a Christian perspective. So this minister would seem to be on firm ground with this topic.

The lighter marital obligations are still obligations and because they are enjoyable are sometimes neglected. It takes work to make a marriage last and intimacy is one important part of that.

blake said...

Rev--

Only if you consider their main successes to be the laws passed versus the attitudes changed.

I submit the latter is more important.

Methadras said...

This is nothing new to tell you the truth. The Catholic Church has been proselytizing this for a long long time.

Michael said...

Dogwood: "Conflicts over sex, or the absence thereof, have destroyed countless marriages, and pastors would be derelict in their duties if they didn't address the issue in an honest and open way."

That's absolutely true.

And it's also exactly why the pastor trying to deal with such matters in a purely public forum is ridiculous.

I can't even imagine a trained therapist who deals with couples who are exploring ways to make their lives together better, sexually or otherwise, recommending they attend a church where a pastor will provide guidance in such matters.

This guy is just looking for publicity...period.

Michael said...

Methadras said..."This is nothing new to tell you the truth. The Catholic Church has been proselytizing this for a long long time."

And they're also against birth control.

Dogwood said...

The fact that, in this particular case, I think the pastor could embarrass or make some in his congregation extremely uncomfortable?

Quite frankly, if a pastor is not making some members of his congregation uncomfortable with some of his sermons, then he isn't doing his job.

If every sermon leaves you filled with a warm fuzzy feeling, then you're not being challenged enough to grow in your faith and walk with Christ.

Synova said...

What is a problem, and what is creepy as all hell, is treating those problems and potential problems as if they can all be fixed in exactly one manner: having lots of sex.

Because something won't solve all problems for all people it's creepy and bad?

Huh?

I honestly can't see myself attending this church, but I can see several ways this could be helpful to many people and in very different ways. How many people in the congregation who do something as simple as *talk* about sex between them for the very first time would it take to make it worth it? How many people who do something as simple as realize that they had no idea that they had no time or privacy in their daily lives would it take to make it worth it?

As for the 43% of women with sexual dysfunction and the men who might be humiliated... maybe part of the problem is viewing sex as a performance? Changing the dynamic... "this isn't about romance or being horny, we're trying to do this challenge thing"... maybe just the change will mean more communication about it all.

I can't see how it's about something as simplistic as having "lots of sex."

It's about making time. (A biggie right there.)

It's about setting aside the problems and stress of the day. (Another biggie.)

It's about thinking about the other person and how to get from "not in the mood" to the sex part.

Meade said...

"And they're also against birth control."

No it isn't. You don't know what you're talking about.

mcg said...

And it's also exactly why the pastor trying to deal with such matters in a purely public forum is ridiculous.

Now we may be able to find some common ground here, Michael---just a tiny bit.

I do think there is a problem with the publicity that this challenge has brought to the church, in the sense that it has brought undue scrutiny on its congregants. Some have ben willing to talk to the press but it can't help but be uncomfortable for some.

But this exact same content could have been presented in a sermon, say, at the church up the street from me. It would no longer be open to outsiders per se, but to the members and attenders of that church. And it would be an entirely appropriate topic for a sermon, too.

The difference of course is the invitation of outsiders to peer into what really ought to be a "private" relationship between pastor and his collective congregation. I do not agree that discussions of sex are off limits in the pulpit, by any means, but the outside scrutiny does concern me. That's not to say that a church should eschew all attempts to "market" itself to its community, but this one does cross an intuitive line for me.

Dogwood said...

And it's also exactly why the pastor trying to deal with such matters in a purely public forum is ridiculous.

I can't even imagine a trained therapist who deals with couples who are exploring ways to make their lives together better, sexually or otherwise, recommending they attend a church where a pastor will provide guidance in such matters.


He is using his sermons to teach Christians about God's view on sex. His sermons are not intended to be individual therapy sessions for specific couples experiencing significant problems.

Let's not confuse a pastor's duty to teach with the pastor's duty to counsel members on their specific problems.

If he handles the issue properly, I'm sure he will have many couples approach him after the sermon series is over and ask for individual couples counseling.

My guess is his work on this topic will save many marriages within his congregation.

Paddy O. said...

Do you really think that Rev. Young has has nothing whatsoever to say to his congregation on singlehood and sex?

Nothing good. And that comes from being in suchchurches for 34 years of 34 years of life, and single for every year of that.

And comes from having professional training/education in the field, and experience working at such churches. I've spent a lot of time being a single in the audience of such sermons. As he has been married since he was 21, he doesn't have experience with adult singleness, and likely tends to draw his sermons from his own experiences/priorities/interests.

It's also quite an established fact that those who I am saying he is alienated in fact are the precise ones who feel alienated, and don't attend church after growing up in them. And a big reason for that is because what is being taught doesn't relate to their particular issues. Lots of studies on this, though I'm not sure any are online.

That's not to say there isn't good being taught on many subjects. But, this is one of them, even as there is a somewhat healthy swing away from being prudish about it.

Synova said...

Also... for someone having trouble the general "public" advice and talk about what the bible says can be far more comfortable than going and asking for help and trying to drag your partner in for counseling.

Instead of there being something "wrong" with you, it's a normal thing. Or just wanting to make what is good, better.

The idea that it's more *comfortable* to go into an office and confess your shortcomings in a very personal way is... bizarre.

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

Nothing good. And that comes from being in suchchurches for 34 years of 34 years of life, and single for every year of that.

My experience as a single person of similar age was different. I was married at 32, and the last couple of churches I attended in my 30s, had a rather large single demographic. We were all, frankly, trying to work out what it looked like to be single in the modern age and we had plenty of pastoral help.

Now: that is not to say, that we had the answers. At least, not any that seemed satisfactory on a wide scale. But our failed search doesn't mean that we expected the sermons on marital issues to halt out of some sense of "misery loves company."

Nor did I expect every single sermon on sex to stretch itself to address both celibacy AND fidelity AND intimacy to cover every possible marital situation, any more than I expected them to cover every book of the Bible in one sitting.

Richard Fagin said...

Oh, I think the "reverend" Jim Jones and his Kool Aid Klub had this preacher beat hands down in the creepy department.

ricpic said...

With Thanksgiving coming right up I'd bet a lot more people are anxious about their hosting capacities than their sexual capacities. Unclutter house, clean house, especially kitchen, race back to supermarket for the 1, no 2, no 5 things I left off the original Thanksgiving shopping list. Buy more booze. Eeek!

rhhardin said...

I'll have to check my edition of The Pastor's Model Letter Book.

Ah; they were a little more coy in the old days. Biblical responsibilities of the wife, they called it.

I am delighted to hear that you and David have decided to marry in First Church. The following is the standard procedure here:

Select a wedding date and time and clear it with the church wedding coordinator. Also, determine if you want to use Fellowship Hall for the rehearsal dinner and/or reception and if you want the women's group to cater either affair for you.

Contact me to set up appointments for premarital counseling. I prefer to spend three one-hour sessions with the couple as well as one with each spouse-to-be alone. Sessions should begin about two months before the ceremony and be completed several weeks in advance of the wedding.

The sessions cover these topics:

First week--general plans for the wedding, both the bride and groom-to-be. Second week--the financial end of marriage, both the bride and groom-to-be. Third week--the sexual side of marriage and the Biblical responsibilities of the wife, the bride only. Fourth week--the sexual side of marriage and the Biblical responsibilities of the husband, groom only. Fifth week--communication, both bride and groom-to-be. Sixth week (if needed)--problems and/or questions, both or either.

Assignments for each week will be made, such as reading or working out a tentative budget.

In setting up this schedule, I am attempting to do all within my power to aid you in starting off your marriage in the best possible way. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I look forward to meeting together with you and David.

Sincerely,



Pastor

LoafingOaf said...

Do you really think that Rev. Young has has nothing whatsoever to say to his congregation on singlehood and sex? I mean, I've never heard him but I think it's safe to say it has been discussed.

Well, in this YouTube he says if you have sex outside of marriage it's "unnatural", and you're "raping sex".

Well, Pastor, I'll keep raping sex while I'm sure you'll keep raping peoples' wallets.

mcg said...

Ouch! That's a harsh characterization. But if you're looking for Christian permission to have extramarital sex you won't find it. I guess you'll have to pick another religion...

Darcy said...

...or go for the cake. ;-)

Host with the Most said...

Beth said:

I searched "lawyers thanksgiving" and food drives by lawyers groups came up on the first page. People of all kinds do good works together, host.

I googled it, too, Beth.

On the first page of ten entries, there was ONE entry of a lawyer's group doing some good. Then, I quit searching after finding no others on the next 15 pages.

The point: Yes, people can do good with or without religious organizations. BUT - religious organizations do far more good than they are given credit for. And it's so chic to let everyone talk about the stupidity of religious believers and remain quiet about the daily good that is done that affects tens of millions in this country alone.

America should be ashamed.

Meade said...

No, America should not be ashamed.

Donn said...

Good grief.....this topic has even made the usually reliable John Stodder go off the rails!

For the record, there have been two recent books on this same topic, one written by a Christian couple and one by I guess a non-religious couple. You can read about that here.

Donn said...

Oh, and for those not willing to follow the link....both couples committed to having sex for 365 days in a row. So, you see, Pastor Young's proposal was very modest in comparison.

From the article:

But the couples may also be on to something. “There’s a strong relationship between rating your marriage as happy and frequency of intercourse,” said Tom W. Smith, who conducted the “American Sexual Behavior” study.

Seven Machos said...

There is substantial overlap between lawyers and churchgoers. I googled welders thanksgiving and there was nothing at all about charitable work.

Host with the Most said...

Yes, Meade, America should be ashamed.

When a Robin Williams makes fun of preachers, a sizable amount of the population - millions of gullible Americans, perhaps such as yourself, laugh and pat themselves on the back for how sophisticated they are,never thinking about the day to day good that the people being lampooned do - far more in fact, than the United States Government. Religious organizations catch the so many of the people who fall through the cracks on a daily basis and you smarmily think you have a clue.

You don't even have the capacity to a have clue.

Host with the Most said...

Or, to put it smaller words:

People like you not only don't "get it", people like you can't "get it".

Q.How many anti-religious people does it take to see it as a good thing when someone else screws the lightbulb in for them?

A. None. They don't get the need for lightbulbs. They liked their darkness when they couldn't see anything. Which allowed them to talk as if they saw everything.

Meade said...

You are sadly mistaken Mr. Host with the Most. I do in fact have the capacity to have a clue and I do not think in smarmy ways. Ever.

You owe me an apology.

And no, America should not be ashamed.

Host with the Most said...

I think you just proved my point on the no clue thing.

Thank you.

mcg said...

I do think that Host is making a category error here.

His point that more religious groups do charitable work than lawyer groups seems true enough. I mean, I'd want to do the math on it, because a lot of lawyers do pro bono work.

But so what? One's a professional group, one is a civic group. And there is plenty of overlap, too. That is, there are plenty of Christian lawyers, jokes notwithstanding. Indeed, lawyers could even double up on charitable work, both through their church and through their pro bono work.

But the most important point, really, is that Host with The Most has conducted himself like a complete and total asshole from his very first post. It is certainly not an attitude befitting someone who not only professes to be a Christian but brags about his church's charitable work. Now I do not claim to be perfect in that regard either, far from it, but I have to admit it was very jarring.

Host with the Most said...

mcg,
Just think of me as the big brother to a lot of innocent church goers that get portrayed everyday in the media as bigots or stupid. They play by the rules of society AND their understanding of the Bible, and they get ripped everyday while they do their good work. Because it's easy and gutless to take potshots at them.

And they don't deserve it.

And I'm the brother that's not as good as them, but I am as big as or bigger than than everyone else, and i get to kick your asses up and down the street for you guys being such assholes. So, maybe every once in a while, one of the bullies starts to think - hey, let's go shit on someone else for awhile.

And You do deserve it.

And by the way - I love kicking ass in front of kids. Because they "get" what assholes their parents are, adn they get to see how asshole bullies finally get treated.

Meade said...

I think Host with the Most is probably sexually frustrated. Maybe a nice big slice of chocolate cake is what he needs.

mcg said...

What a load of self-serving crap.

Host, don't fool yourself. It is entirely possible for you to make your case without saying stuff like, "exactly what the fuck is that you do to contribute?" and such.

You're not kicking over the tables of the moneychangers. You're just being a dick.

I sure as hell don't want you standing up for me. So fuck off.

Host with the Most said...

As long as you know I'm around when you want to be an asshole bully, Meade, I'll have the sex and the cake, thank you.

Host with the Most said...

I don't claim to be Jesus.

Just another defender of what is evolving in current society as another group that the majority "elite" thinks it's okay to make fun of because you don't like one particular aspect of something subscribe to.

Darcy said...

*hides chocolate cake*

Joan said...

I'm with Darcy and Meade on the chocolate cake controversy -- namely, there shouldn't be one. Mmmm, chocolate cake.

I think Host is off his meds lately.

mcg, I have really enjoyed your contributions to this thread.

Host with the Most said...

mcg,

where do you get off telling me how to defend what I believe?

Host with the Most said...

Well, it's at least good to know who the self-righteous are here.

Meade said...

"As long as you know I'm around when you want to be an asshole bully, Meade..."

Note to self re personal asshole bully aspirations: Be careful. Host might be around.

Host with the Most said...

Just one True life story:

The head of our clothing ministry (we'll call her Cindy)was having lunch with two co-workers from her regular last summer.

A young man came up to her table and asked if she went to such and such church. She said yes, and he said to her "Oh, that's the gay hating church" in a loud voice. He stayed to stare at her for a few seconds, thinking he would get a reaction. The person sitting on Cindy's right, a lesbian, was stunned and, as she told me herself, speechless. The young man turned and walked out.
This young asshole no doubt thought he would have plenty of regular society going along worth him in his attack.

When I was called and told what happened, I went by the restaurant and asked if anyone working there recognized him. Someone thought he did work nearby in - of all things, and I kid you not - a law office. I went to that office, and shortly after walking up to the receptionist, saw a young man walk down the hall that fit the description of the asshole. I smiled real big, and said, in a loud voice "Hey, was that you earlier in the restaurant?" And here's the good part. He said "yes" and smiled back big and walked towards me looking confident that I was about to praise him for doing it. When He got close enough, I stuck out my hand to shake his, and when he grabbed mine I squeezed hishard and without letting go said, in a loud voice, "Son, you go into a restaurant and call one of my friends names in front of everybody without being provoked again and I'll come right here and kick you ass till you don't have one". The expression of fear on his face was priceless. I smiled and let go and said thank you.

He didn't have a clue.

He's got one now.

Our church probably hasn't discussed homosexuality from the pulpit in years. Though it does take a traditional stand, the church does such things as feed and cloth without regard for such things.

Seven Machos said...

Truly heartening.

Meade said...

Smarmy sarcasm, Seven. No cake for you!

Darcy said...

Truly heartening.

Yeah, wasn't it? And all of that because Meade said that America shouldn't be ashamed.

John Stodder said...


Why is religion "private"? Why do you get to decide that?


I don't get to decide it, but I was always taught that what one believes in a spiritual sense is nobody else's business.

I hope you didn't take me to mean to keep it secret, or to take it underground. I mean private in the sense of this post, private as opposed to making a spectacle. If the pastor wants to launch 1,000 nights of passion among the congregation, don't look foolish doing it. Maybe not in a video, for example.

I have no problem with someone applying what they learn from their faith into the non-secular world. I think all of us benefit from the ethical precepts and humane compassion that is rooted in many religions, Christianity very much being one.

But I think it discredits Christianity and religion in general for a pastor to engage in this kind of exhibitionism. Maybe I'm just nostalgic for a time when people went to church on Sunday to pray and to hear the word of God, and then had coffee and went home, suffused with whatever spiritual and moral message they could personally derive from that Sunday's preachings. I think society was in general made of better moral material then vs. now.

I liked the mainline churches, I guess. They weren't always so wan. Maybe I'm just a WASP refugee from a Douglas Sirk movie. Even though I'm half-Catholic. My mom was a Quaker missionary and still thinks of herself as a Quaker. That could be another influence on my thinking.

I get it, you know, that religions are feeling embattled in this era, so there's a desire to push back against secularism and decadence. But if I was asked to give them advice, I would say, churches, speak softly and carry a big God.

TitusTheReflex said...

Having sex seven days in a row would be hard or more like soft but if Madonna demanded that of me I would obey. One caveat, it could not be with the same person.

But knowing Madonna she would request multiple partners not the same partner.

Personally, I would find it weird if I was attending that sermon with my family and there is a bed in the church. Maybe because I don't equate a bed with sex. An alley, bush, parking lot, car-sex-a bed no.

I wonder what the conversations are like with the parishoners. Do they kiss and tell?

Look at Madonna everyone. She is so amazing. I love her more than anything in the world. I saw her at MSG a month ago and she was amazing. SJP was there too. I was in heaven.

TitusTheReflex said...

Also, I think I mentioned this to all but I am on a sexual hiatus currently. The last time I had sex was election night.

My plans are to not have sex over the next couple of months.

No interrest really. I am not going to the gym either or yoga or facials. My sense is that I will being anew next year.

John Stodder said...

Our church probably hasn't discussed homosexuality from the pulpit in years. Though it does take a traditional stand, the church does such things as feed and cloth without regard for such things.

That's what I'm talking about! That's what I mean by "private." Be known for your exceptional good works. Don't sell out your social and political beliefs, but don't put them at the center of how everyone understands you.

TitusTheReflex said...

I'm sorry but those purple drapes in the background our hideous.

Are those ugly drapes supposed to be sexy and make people horny.

Oh look purple drapes-I am hard.

Who designed that stage? Obviously not a mo.

TitusTheReflex said...

What happens if the parishoners fail the experiment? What if the women are having a period? Are you exempt if you are menustrating? What if the men have erectile dysfunction? Other than eat cake can the singles jerk off for seven days? What if you are really old or young and have no libido? Can the parishoners videotape these sessions and share with the church? Does all the sex have to be missionary? Can there be any backdoor action or oral? Does the sex have to reach climax? What if they can't climax seven days in a row?

If the singles eat chocolate cake they could become addicted and fat and not have an opportunity to meet a partner in order to have sex with. Did he think of the consequences of telling the singles to eat cake? Eating cake could backfire. Just ask Kathryn Jean Lopez, my neighbor.

TitusTheReflex said...

Speaking of sex and ministers I read Ted Haggard is back and cured.

He is now a christian insurance salesmen. He is happily married and no longer gay. Praise the Lord.

Mitch said...

The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it is a lovely work if you can stomach it. [Lazarus Long, _Time enough for Love_, by Robert Heinlein]

Ann Althouse said...

If I went to a hotel and found the bedspreads looked like that, I would be depressed. I'd kick myself for choosing that hotel.

I think it's depressing even that the NYT called that "paisley," which it isn't.

And, to be clear, what I object to is not the mere combination of religion and sex -- which is traditional -- but the direction that you must have sex. I don't like the imposition of required sex. Married couples should have sex if they feel like it. I know they very often do not feel like it, and maybe forcing yourself if helpful, but being forced by your minister is creepy, to say the least.

Seven Machos said...

So I've finally gotten around to studying the picture. What do you think he's saying?

Foreplay is important, especially as the days drag on. Now, for you women out there, here's a tip. Some guys like it when you grab their entire scrotum and give it a gentle squeeze, like this.

TitusTheReflex said...

Althouse, off topic, but if you haven't watched Summer Heights High on HBO you should. The main actor is hilarious. The drama teacher and spoiled private school girl are great.

It is very "Officeish"-the better British Office that is.

It is on HBO on demand

blake said...

And, to be clear, what I object to is not the mere combination of religion and sex -- which is traditional -- but the direction that you must have sex. I don't like the imposition of required sex. Married couples should have sex if they feel like it. I know they very often do not feel like it, and maybe forcing yourself if helpful, but being forced by your minister is creepy, to say the least.

Talmud, Ketubot 61b

“The times for conjugal duty prescribed in the Torah are: for men of independent means, every day; for laborers, twice a week; for donkey drivers, once a week; for camel drivers, once in thirty days; for sailors, once in six months.”

(The duty is to a man's wife, by the way.)

At the same time:

Talmud, Eruvin 100b

“A man is forbidden to compel his wife to have marital relations…Rabbi Joshua ben Levi similarly stated: Whosoever compels his wife to have marital relations will have unworthy children.”

An interesting analysis.

Since the point of marriage is procreation and the formation of stable unit for raising the family, prescribing sex (particularly in terms of minimums) makes all the sense in the world.

Meade said...

And how humiliating for Pastor Young's wife, Mrs. Young. She took the challenge in good faith. She did her part. But after only three days, her bump-on-a-log husband petered out and rebuffed her advances and it was printed for all the world to read in the FREAKING NEW YORK TIMES!

Come on, Pastor Ed Young, practice what you preach, brother.

mcg said...

where do you get off telling me how to defend what I believe?

The only command I issued was not to stand up for me personally. Otherwise, you keep doing whatever it is you do, if you're so convinced. I'm just saying, you're being a dick, and you're not doing the "good" you think you are. Just calling it like I see it.

Well, it's at least good to know who the self-righteous are here.

I'm not the one claiming to stand up for millions of aggrieved believers because some law blogger mocks a showy pastor.

MadisonMan said...

HwtM: How Christian!

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

And, to be clear, what I object to is not the mere combination of religion and sex -- which is traditional -- but the direction that you must have sex. I don't like the imposition of required sex.

Fair enough. However, your thinking does not seem to be in line with scripture. Indeed, much of modern thinking on the issue isn't.

What that passage in 1 Corinthians suggests that married couples really shouldn't limit sex to whenever both people want it. I mean, yes, do it then, of course. But it also suggests that you should be open to doing it just because your partner wants to. Maybe not every time, but at least some of the time. Don't tell a radical feminist that!

Paul's chose explicitly egalitarian language, but it's egalitarian submission. "The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife."

Meade said...

Pastor Young would do well to read the article Blake linked to which points out this timeless truth: It is the husband's duty to see to it that his wife is sexually fulfilled, not the other way around. More is not necessarily better. Daily copulation does not necessarily yield sexual pleasure and contentment for the wife. Wake up and drink the coffee, Pastor Young. Your wife has desires and needs and there are plenty of Christian chocolate cake eaters who will gladly step in and do your job for you if you just can't git'r done.

Ann Althouse said...

"What that passage in 1 Corinthians suggests that married couples really shouldn't limit sex to whenever both people want it. I mean, yes, do it then, of course. But it also suggests that you should be open to doing it just because your partner wants to. Maybe not every time, but at least some of the time. Don't tell a radical feminist that!"

It's fine to be "open" to it and to try to get in the mood when the other person wants it. I think you should do that in a relationship. The problem is making people feel required and getting them to go through with things they don't want. It's disturbing to encourage people to go to a place where they lose track of what they want. You don't want the woman puzzling over whether this might be rape.

mcg said...

I honestly don't think he'd disagree with that, Meade. I really think people are reading far more into this than is warranted. He did call it an experiment, after all. Who's to say that after the experiment was over, the husband and wife agreed that while there's no way they'd want to do it every day, that a bit more frequency seemed like a good thing.

Frankly, my wife and I have had explicit discussions on this matter often. There's no way we'd do it every day as a regular matter; neither of us wants to. Now, maybe as an experiment, we might. But the key is we both try to be sure the other is getting what they want.

mcg said...

It's fine to be "open" to it and to try to get in the mood when the other person wants it. I think you should do that in a relationship. The problem is making people feel required and getting them to go through with things they don't want.

Believe me, you catch more flies with honey than a flyswatter, I hear ya. But the language is pretty bold, and frankly it does suggest that sometimes you do it because you don't want to, out of a sense of obligation to the other. All I'm saying is that the modern thinking, which you're representing well, is contrary to that.

You don't want the woman puzzling over whether this might be rape.

Agreed, but I don't think you have to risk that extreme by taking a step or two towards mutual submission.

Meade said...

"If I went to a hotel and found the bedspreads looked like that, I would be depressed. I'd kick myself for choosing that hotel"

Now this is where a good man would step in to say, "No no, my darling, I cannot stand idly by and let you kick yourself. I am cetain that is not what God intended you to do with them when he gave you your dainty lovely feet. We shall find another hotel, one that has cheerful bedspreads that do not remind us of oily clergymen. Come, you know you can trust me to see that your needs are met."

Ann Althouse said...

For a minute there, I thought Meade was going to kick me!

Meade said...

Oh!

Goodness.

As far as I know there is nothing in the Bible that forbids it. So if it gives you pleasure and leads to your contenment, I suppose I could give it a try. Softly though -- I could never forgive myself if I were ever to hurt you.

Ralph said...

Althouse, where did you see this "required" and "ordered" stuff? Young admitted to skipping a day--do you think he was checking everyone else's "parts" daily?

William said...

It is very rarely that the id and the superego get together and throw a party for the libido. Congrats to the minister if he makes it happen for his congregants.

blake said...

It's disturbing to encourage people to go to a place where they lose track of what they want.

Yes! That's what I was led to believe as well. Everyone's own needs must be foremost in their minds at all time!

Or maybe not.

"But Blake," you say, "if neither wants to have sex what good does it do to oblige them to do so?"

Well, I'm glad you asked. Couples don't want to have sex for a lot of reasons, not all of them rational. Sometimes they're nursing grudges or hurt feelings, and sex can relieve that.

Sex is a vital form of communication, and from a sheer practical standpoint, frequent marital sex is going to reduce the physiological drive for extramarital sex.

Sex as a religious obligation is hardly the most onerous demand made.

You don't want the woman puzzling over whether this might be rape.

The woman (or man, for that matter) is seriously messed up if she doesn't distinguish between coercion and agreement that transcends personal desire.

theobromophile said...

Why are we limiting this to chocolate cake, when there's chocolate mousse, brownies, ice cream, Burdick's, dark chocolate souffles, hot chocolate, chocolate lava cake, and a host of other tasty, theobromine-filled confections in the world?

Conflicts over sex, or the absence thereof, have destroyed countless marriages, and pastors would be derelict in their duties if they didn't address the issue in an honest and open way.

That's my point. Conflicts over sex happen not because both people are open and willing to have sex, but because one partner wants it more than the other. So the pastor is "settling" this conflict by giving one person (probably the man) everything he wants, and the other, nothing that she wants.

It's a terribly amputated way of looking at sexuality, and Christian sexuality in particular. There is an interplay between the emotional and the physical elements of intimacy, and it's not a one-way ratchet, in which the physical enhances the emotional but not vice versa.

If the pastor told his congregants to go home and communicate about sex, that might actually be helpful. A discussion about underlying problems - without the pressure to have sex, which can be an additional problem for some couples (again, especially for men with sexual dysfunction) - would help couples to understand where the disparate drives are coming from, rather than treating the symptom of the problem (and, as per above, only treating it in a way that is good for one of the partners).

blake said...

Good lord, no.

Don't send them home to talk about it. The action itself has value. "Kiss and make up" as they say.

It's not meant to be a panacea. But so much of any relationship is simply agreement that the relationship exists. People get into bad habits--including not having sex--and then find that they've "grown apart".

Synova said...

You don't want the woman puzzling over whether this might be rape.

Now this is creepy.

Do we really not understand what rape is? Are women really this moronic and messed up?

A discussion about underlying problems - without the pressure to have sex, which can be an additional problem for some couples (again, especially for men with sexual dysfunction) - would help couples to understand where the disparate drives are coming from, rather than treating the symptom of the problem (and, as per above, only treating it in a way that is good for one of the partners).

Make up your mind.

Is it just wonderful for the guy to have sex for 7 days in a row, or is it humiliating because he can't get it up 7 days in a row? Maybe, if it really is a case of the man getting what he wants and his wife getting more of what she doesn't want, it would do him a whole heck of a lot of good to not be able to get it up one night, huh? Maybe he'd figure out that she needs to build up some steam before having sex again, too.

And you're still fixating on sex as performance. As if talking about it, and doing it, are completely different things.

Paddy O. said...

mcg, experiences like yours are one of the reasons why, despite my occasional rants, I have a strong hope for the church, and an even stronger hope for those in the churches.

There are places that have found great balance and insight, which probably is why there was a large percentage of singles where you were at.

There is good teaching to be had, both now, and very much in the past writings. Only, there's no systematic expression of this. And the broader church, by far, has a big problem on this topic. In seminary there is no teaching on sexuality. It doesn't show up in classes, even as it shows up in major discussions in people's lives. Discussions of anthropology almost always deal with sin/salvation rather than human interaction with this present world.

There aren't, as far as I know, very many, if any, good contemporary writings on this.

The goal for singles, in the great majority of churches, is to get married, where they will be made to feel whole and finally accepted as a real part of churches, instead of part of the often auxilary singles groups that have less cachet than the high school groups.

This reality affects the churches influence on all manner of related topics, as it makes demands without revealing the positives and community that makes the demands feel significantly lighter.

The debate on homosexual marriage is particularly noteworthy here, as marriage is celebrated... but only a certain kind for a certain type of person... while singles can eat cake.

Cake is yummy. But, not quite the satisfaction that all the rest of society tells us we have to have. Without a coherent, holistic teaching on sexuality and relationships and singleness, the church merely echoes society's philosophy, while merely making more restrictions.

save_the_rustbelt said...

The wife and me do not have time to watch church on tv, we are too busy submitting to each other.

Paisley? Don't think so. Ugly? Yes! Looks like a movie bordello.

kat said...

sadly i visited eds church around the time of the sex sermons
and got wind of bed on pulpit and missed it by one week
the music is the best i have heard at any church - studio musicans no amature church volunteers, sang u2, gnarls barkley and waiting for the world to change, yeah pop songs - this had to be too good to be true
im single, not married and my gosh i felt alienated by this only speaking to married people, i was apalled to see mpaa warning like signs outside of doors to sanctuary to warn parents of elicit and adult theme topic - omg at church!!!!!!!!!! that is more absurd than pat roberstons haiti comment to me. left discretion up to parents - i left that chuch
only visited a few times at the recommend of my parents - im single and totally was not talking to singles - i called the church office and filed a big complaint and told how alienated i felt
um not everyone is married ed what are we supposed to do in those 7 days
sad thing is i heard some babies were conceive then
yuck!!!!!!
happy to report karma is paying ed a visit
a channel in dallas tx channel 8 has uncovered a lot of dirt on him
hiding things from congregation
he always seems to he hip preacher a pop culture preacher
but to put a bed on the stage - it outragous and has pat roberstson beat for the most absurd thing ever
and thing is i think he contacted press and had all this publicity going into to bed sermon.

i hope karma exposes so much dirt on this guy!!!!!!

also he complained that animals are being humanized
i love my cats ed!!!!! many americans love our pets
many american dont like tele evangelists!!!!
get over it this guy is absurd

i contacte the view - yeah the show
clicked on hot topic link
low and behold one week later it was being discussed
women didnt like it at all!!!!!