A Word of Caution from the Facebook Status Killjoy


Much like the “bra color” forward that swept Facebook over the winter, a new forward has begun circulating:

Ok ladies here’s another game, like the bra color game was a total success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the News. Well this game has to do with your handbag, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example “on the couch”, “the kitchen counter”, “the dresser” well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your Status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let’s see how powerful we women really are!”

When I post blogs like this, I tend to get accused of needing to lighten up and not be so serious because stuff like this is “just for fun”, but take a moment and ask yourself, “What kind of power does this show we have?” The power to make people’s minds end up in the gutter? Is that the sort of power we want to exert over people? What is the intention of posting a status like this?

We can claim it’s all innocent fun, but in the sex-saturated world in which we live, anything can be turned into a sexual innuendo; why would you want to post something that will only encourage such saturation?

I take very seriously my responsibility to do everything within my power to not be a stumbling block for my brothers and sisters in Christ. While I cannot hold myself personally responsible for the thought life of others, I can be held responsible for doing things that do not encourage pure and holy thoughts.

Scripture tells us that, as believers, we have access to unimaginable power– the same Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells within us and gives us victory over sin (Romans 8:11)! If we have the power to overcome sin, why would we want to show our power by leading others into strongholds of sin?

Imagine for a moment that your son or daughter or husband or cousin or best friend struggles with sexual sin. He or she signs on to Facebook and is overwhelmed with lists of random surfaces found in the common home. What do you think their first thought is going to be? I can assure you that they aren’t thinking, “I bet this is a list of places the women in my life put their purses.” No, they are going to think exactly what this type of status intends for them to think. And they’re going to think about that woman doing it. Then your son or daughter or husband or cousin or best friend gets to go to church tomorrow and see that woman and be bombarded with that image again. And then that woman may be confused when your loved one can no longer look her in the eye or speak to her comfortably. She may wonder, “What’s his problem?” without ever considering that she may be the problem.

Doesn’t it just make sense that we should do everything we can to protect each other’s minds from such stumbling blocks instead of being the stumbling block? We cannot set ourselves up to be sexual objects and then be angry when we are treated as such.

Erin Davis blogged about the Bra Color game on the True Woman blog in January, and I believe her wise words apply here as well. You can read her edifying post here.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that whatever we do, we should do it to the glory of God, and yes, sister, this even includes what you post as your Facebook status. There is no part of the life of the Christian that is exempt from the “whatever” clause.

Just think about it…

UPDATE: As Douglas B. Brill stated in his secular article concerning the cheapening of the fight against cancer with the use of sex, clicking here will “help you become even more constructive in the fight against breast cancer.”

A New Sexual Ethic? Part 4


This is part 4 in a 5 part series of a response to Carter Heyward’s essay “Notes on Historical Grounding: Beyond Sexual Essentialism,” which can be found in Sexuality and the Sacred:Sources for Theological Reflection, edited by James B. Nelson and Sandra P. Longfellow.

Third, Heyward claims that Christianity is isolating and denies community. By setting rigid boundaries concerning sexual behavior and then consequently excluding those who refuse to live by those standards, Heyward states that Christianity is proving itself dated, close-minded, and supportive of “compulsive heterosexuality” (Heyward, 12). Historically, Heyward claims that women were isolated from the Christian community by being declared “as evil, ‘the devil’s gateway’” and then systematically used as scapegoats for the sexual sins of the men around them (Heyward, 14).

What is so interesting about Heyward’s quick dismissal of all things “christian” is that God’s moral law, especially his guidelines concerning sexual relations in general, create and then reinforce exactly the sort of relationality that Heyward claims she is attempting to achieve. Relationship, community, unity in diversity, profound oneness and even wholeness are recurring themes throughout Scripture. Heyward is attempting to achieve the end of spiritual wholeness through the means of sex. Scripture teaches that even the most holy sexual relationship is but a picture of the unity and wholeness experienced in being a member of the bride of Christ (Eph 6.22-33). The foundation of Christianity is found in the words of Christ Himself when He stated, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14.6).

Throughout the epistles of the New Testament, believers in churches across Europe and Asia Minor are exhorted to live as a unified, healthy body (1 Cor 12), as a well jointed building (Eph 2); they are told to lay aside petty differences (Phil 4) and to pray for one another and for their common goal (1 Thes 5). These instructions for community are plentiful, and they center on the common love of God and the common call of spreading His glory among the nations. There is one part of living in community that Heyward seems to miss—justice and love are not relative terms that can be interpreted to mean that believers should turn a blind eye to those things which Scripture condemns as going against the nature of God. Justice and love are characteristics of the nature of God, and God declares to His people, “For I the Lord do not change” (Mal 3.6). If God does not change, the characteristics of His nature are fixed and unchanging as well. Therefore, the principles of spurring one another on to love and good deeds (Heb 10) and of confronting one another when fellow believers are entrenched in sin (Mt 18; Gal 6; 1 Cor 5) apply to all things described in Scripture as moral laws which reflect the character of God. So long as desires are allowed to reign unchecked and people continue to seek fulfillment in things other than a relationship with God through Jesus, true spiritual wholeness will not be realized.

C.S. Lewis described this spiritual wholeness of Christ as Joy, and upon contemplating this matter of desire and pleasure made the following observation: “Joy is not a substitute for sex; sex is very often a substitute for Joy. I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy.” Heyward and her intellectual companions have attempted to substitute pleasure for Joy by completely freeing human sexuality from all encumbrances of law and discipline, but they have yet to achieve the wholeness and fulfillment for which they so desperately search. The struggle to find wholeness through the creation instead of the Creator (Rom 1. 25) is a confirmation of Lewis’ belief that physical pleasure is an unsatisfactory attempt to fill the “God-shaped void” in the lives of people.

This God-shaped void brings Heyward to the natural end of seeking God in God’s created order—Heyward describes sex in divine terms, completing the move from a supposedly “christian” sexual ethic to a glorification and worship of sex that is essentially pagan sex worship. In her discussion of this new christian ethic of sex, Heyward draws upon the work of Freud, who described the eroticism of sex as the “life force.” Heyward also quotes Audre Lorde’s description of the erotic as “the source of our creativity, the wellspring of our joy, the energy of our poems, music, lovemaking, dancing, meditation, friendships, and meaningful work.” For the Christian believer, this description could very well be used to describe God. In the Psalms, it is the glory and worship of Yahweh that inspires David and the other psalmists to write and dance and meditate. The entire book of the Song of Songs describes the fruition of a sexual relationship between a husband and wife when that relationship is rightly focused upon God and upon one another. Paul tells the church in Corinth, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10.31).

The focus of the life of the believer is not self pleasure or self glorification. Rather, the believer is to focus on the glory and worship of God. To give creative or inspirational credit or worship to anything other than God Himself is to commit an act of idolatry. Heyward attempts to explain this usurpation of God by declaring, “Theologically, we are speaking of our power in right relation; from a christian perspective, the power of God” (Heyward, 15). She claims that the power of God is reached and realized through the act of sex, but God himself prohibits worshiping him through sex acts (Lev 18, 20).

These major themes—the role reversals of men and women, the search for false community, the replacement of God with an idol—work together to show that while Heyward claims that her work, heritage, and ideas are Christian, she is actually committing the very sin that she exposes in the Church; she is further removing herself from the authority of the Bible and establishing her own ethic based upon tradition and personal experience. Heyward has taken Wesley’s quadrilateral of interpretation and reversed it; instead of beginning with Scripture and clarifying it through tradition, philosophy, and personal experience, Heyward begins with personal experience and reinterprets or discounts philosophy, tradition, and Scripture. Those ideals and absolutes which go against personal experience and desire are laid aside and explained away as being culturally irrelevant. This is precisely the place that Heyward envisions: “A historical perspective on sexuality is important… because such a view enables us to envision and perhaps experience our own possibilities…. We are involved in shaping our own dreams.” By using sex as a means to channel the power of God, Heyward argues that personal, sexual realization enables humanity to make its own destiny—humanity becomes god.