I don’t consider myself an emotional individual, but I was really rocked by what happened in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. #HopeForVegas
I have also been troubled as I read Facebook posts after Facebook posts that all begin with #MeToo.
I was hoping that someone in the Christian space would speak into this topic, but I haven’t really found a voice that has really said what’s needed to be said. To be fair, can anything be said that really encompasses all there is to be said about this topic?
Here are the best posts I could find:
- Breakpoint: #MeToo
- Relevant Magazine: Christians Must Engage the #MeToo Conversation
- Christianity Today: Hypocrisy on Display in Hollywood and in Politics: Responding with Anger and Humility
- The Gospel Coalition: 4 Lessons for Christians from the Harvey Weinstein Scandal
I also read this article, which served to enlighten me some more in terms of a secular female perspective: TSM: Literally, Why Can’t I Say #MeToo?
Me, Too? No, Really
I wanted to write something, but then I asked myself, “Am I allowed to have a voice in this . . . as a man or a non-victim?” I don’t want to take away from the women who are speaking out in bravery. I absolutely don’t want to make this about me. So, why write then? Because, this is my #IWill. I want to challenge men (and women) to develop a healthy perspective of sex.
I do want to share my own experience real quick and then move on. I was sexually harassed in the workplace at one point in my life, believe it or not. Like Veronica Ruckh, I had to ask myself if it was”bad enough” to fall under #MeToo. I guess I’ll let you guys decide.
Before the days of Skype (and Lync), I worked in an office where we used AOL Instant Messenger to communicate with one another for the sake of productivity. This one girl that worked for me would send me lewd comments all throughout the day. It took me by surprise. I’m sure some guys reading this would probably say, “You should have hit that.” I was her manager. I was married by this point. I had just had a baby. I wasn’t going to “hit” it. Even if I weren’t a new husband and father, it would have likely ended up being something casual. I am glad I had the strength (thank you, Jesus) to brush off her advances.
Me, Too (as the Guy)
I also found it difficult to write anything, because I was “the guy” for a period of my life. It is the part of my testimony that makes me cringe the most. More than the fact that I was caught (twice) for shoplifting as a middle schooler. The part where I tell people that I used to chase after girls . . . is something of which I am very ashamed. That’s another story for another day. I started typing it out and then I realized I probably shouldn’t post all of the lurid details here.
Long story short: I was a young boy that wished what every boy wishes when they are young. To use the age-old (and crass) baseball analogy, I wish I had hit a home run. By the grace of God, I never did. I guess you could say I was never the handsome or athletic or popular guy. I was often in the friend zone.
Although I failed over and over again in my many, many attempts, I can say . . . I definitely broke more than enough hearts and wounded many more women than I should have. I wish I could go back and say “sorry” to all of them. I actually have called a few of them over the years. I have realized, though, that apologies can’t really heal these kinds of scars.
Go Back to Go Forward
If you’re still with me, I do want to share how we can move forward. Peter Scazzero, author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, says that in order to move forward, we have to go back. We have to go back to why was I such a jerk for all those years in middle school and high school? Not as an excuse, but as an understanding.
It started with accidentally finding a magazine in elementary school. You know what kind of magazine I am talking about. Magazines led to movies. Sure I picked up some of the stuff I wasn’t supposed to watch, but I would argue that some of the stuff I was “allowed” to watch had almost as much of an impact on my thoughts and behavior later in life.
Think about it. Sure, you have your space operas with a nobody from a small planet that becomes a hero (or master) of the universe. For every one of those, you had five other stories that were about a young, awkward boy who somehow (to the use the previous analogy) hits a home run with the head cheerleader. What does that do for a young, impressionable man? It gives him a boldness. Along with imagining you can take down an alien space giant, you believe that every girl is a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued (even if they are way out of your league).
The Sexual Revolution
I said we have to go back, to go forward. I meant it. We have to go back before me. I happened upon a magazine in the 80s. The Sexual Revolution had begun in the 60s. By the 80s, it was in its prime. What caused it to slow down in the 90s? Maybe STDS. I don’t know. It has clearly not slowed down enough, though. Half a century later, we are still dealing with the ramifications.
Why do I mention the Sexual Revolution? The Sexual Revolution was a response to a time where people were feeling stifled on all fronts. Governments were oppressive. Religion was too preachy and prude. Women wanted equality. Blacks wanted equality.
So, it was a time for freedom to ring. Unfortunately, for some, it meant freedom on every front. Free to use a water fountain or a bathroom. Free to sit wherever on a bus. Free to vote. Free to listen to the music that we wanted to. Free to drink alcohol. Free to do drugs. Free to have abortions. Free to learn about evolution. Free to have sex with whoever the heck we wanted to. Free to have sex with the opposite sex. Free to have sex with the same sex. Free to have sex with multiple people. You may balk at all the examples I list. How can I mix the good with the bad? It is what it is. My point is: freedom, in every sense of the word, was the highest end.
What does this have to do with #MeToo? Wel, if you come to a place where you are free to do anything you want without consequence, you get to a place where the freedom you exercise can and will impinge upon the freedom of another. “I am free to have sex with another” sometimes does not recognize that the “another” might not want to have sex with you. You get to a place of rationalization.
Rationalization vs. Reason
Every story I read from a victim of Harvey Weinstein is wrapped in some type of rationalization (irrational as it may have been) that allowed that person to get through it in the moment. It is also often accompanied by rationalization by witnesses who could have prevented the assault. This has been Hollywood’s dirty, little secret and we allowed it for decades because we have been rationalizing it away.
Again, my heart has broken with every story about someone who was trying to make a break in the entertainment industry. My heart has broken with every story about someone who was just trying to keep their job. My heart has broken with every story about a family member, a close friend, or a classmate. I am actually surprised at how few #MeToo stories have been posted about incidents in the church. Sad. In the church, we have not talked enough about a healthy view of sex. In the church, we have also not talked enough about some of the unhealthy stuff that has happened within the safety of its sacred walls.
Profane vs. Sacred
What needs to happen is a reclamation of a high view of sexuality. Sex has become base (I am no longer referring to the prior analogy). To say it has become profane would be an understatement. Sadly, the word “profane” lost its meaning along the way somewhere. We often think of “profane” as a synonym of the word “bad.” It is not simply “bad.” We make this mistake, because we are so used to hearing it in the context of a person using a “profanity.”
Profane simply means . . . not religious. Or better, not sacred.
[An aside, but understanding this gives weight to Ephesians 4:29 which tells us not to let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths (or profanity).]
God has a high view of sex. I know when I was a youth pastor, my students would cringe when I would say God make sex a beautiful thing. Heck, even my college students would cringe. Over the years, mankind has made sex an ugly thing. I would argue that not only is the world to blame, but the church is also to blame. When the church made talk about sex dirty, it made the world want to talk about dirty sex. It’s the classic parenting conundrum. Tell a child not to do something or they will be punished and they will go nuts with temptation to do it.
What I am asking of you, my reader, is to not have sex with anyone and everyone just because you feel like it? Don’t have sex with someone because they say they love you. Feelings come and go.
I am asking you to consider sex from the point of view of the Designer. We find it in Genesis 2 and Mark 10. The intent of marriage (and sex) was for a man and a woman to leave father and mother and become one. Further, what God has brought together, let no one separate. God intended that a man should be with one woman for the rest of their loves. Our hook-up culture goes completely against this design. For that matter, so does our culture of easy divorce.
Some might argue that sex should only be for procreation, but you know what? I don’t see that in the Bible. Sure, later in Genesis, God tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. I don’t believe that was the only purpose of sex.
[Another aside, tons of married couples go against this mandate to make babies by having none or only one (by choice). Let me not judge, though.]
I believe the primary purpose of sex was for a married man and woman to experience the highest form of intimacy possible between two human beings. Some laugh when I say this, but this, therefore, is a sacred moment. Where sin brought shame and coverings of leaves and animal skins, sex allowed a man and a woman to be naked with one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
One more thing. Ephesians 5 tells us that the Church is the Bride of Christ. We say that a wedding is a symbol that points to the ultimate wedding of Christ and the Church. If that’s the case, sex points to the ultimate intimacy that the Church will experience with Christ. If the songs we sing in church are a preview of the amazing sounds we will hear in heaven, sex is a preview of the intimacy that we will experience with God.
If that’s dirty or weird to you, then you need to get your mind out of the gutter. Your mind has clearly become profane. Read God’s Word and get your mind in a sacred state and you will also see the beauty of this.