What does sex really mean and why shouldn’t you hook up with multiple partners to express yourself? How should you approach these questions from a biblical perspective?
These questions were fielded by Tim Chaddick, pastor of Reality LA, a rapidly growing church in Hollywood, Calif. Barna Labs, a teaching experience created by American Bible Society’s partner the Barna Group, presented a video Q&A of Chaddick’s interview. We present the highlights here.
Q: When it comes to sex and sexuality, what do people want to talk about the most?
TC: The most common questions are “What does sex mean and what’s the point of it?” They also want to know what sex has to do with their identity and their lives.
Q: What do you say?
TC: Some people take their cues from a script and follow a vision of what they’ve seen around them: The books they’ve read, the shows they’ve watched and the people they’re around. Some look out to culture and say, “How do other people express their sexuality and what does it mean to them?” And they’ll follow those cues. Other people look within at their own desires. The Bible’s vision of life is found by looking up. This leads to a conversation that God has a vision of sexuality that’s integrated into a much larger story. It’s not just a person’s own desires.
Q: Many people think that until they find that one person who fulfills their dreams, they should just hook up with people. Let’s talk about the hook up culture.
TC: LA is known for its hook up culture where people are just looking for pleasure and want to have a good time. For a lot of people, it’s not just pleasure, but validation. We live in a culture that’s beauty-obsessed and a lot of people need affirmation, compliments, and validation. The hook up culture feeds that and has drawn light on what’s underneath the behavior, namely the need for validation and affirmation.
Q: People are getting married much later in life. How do you address this issue of sex effectively with them?
TC: We talk about singleness in the kingdom of God and give them a theology for it. It’s about finding yourself in a bigger story. People are not just in a holding pattern or in limbo. Singleness is a gift that’s being used for the benefit of the mission of the Church and the whole church community. People have to find themselves in a bigger story because the story culture is selling all about themselves.
We teach chastity. The word “chaste” is about experiencing things in the right way…. regarding another human being as someone who is worthy of respect and who is to be understood and appreciated. In God’s world, there are boundaries for reasons of dignity and commitment and giving God glory.
Q: What biblical passages do you use to back this up?
TC: Colossians 3 addresses the issue of identity. If you truly believe in Christ, then you are not defined by culture or by your own desires. You’re defined by him. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul talks about how to live as a holy vessel. Sex is sacred. It’s not about being controlled by your own pleasure and it’s not just you expressing your desires. It’s a picture of God entering into a covenant with mankind.
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