Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Defense of Mars Hill's Discipline Contracts...

... from faithful FAR fan Aja. She actually tried to post this in the comment section of the last MH post, but Blogger was trippin', so with her permission, I'm making it a post of it's own.

Hey there! Super commenter, Aja, in the house! You said it, Alisha, not me :) Hehe... {Yup, yup, I did!}

My initial reaction to this post was sort of, "what's the big deal"... I may be missing something that the two of you ladies know because I didn't read anything in the post about the man's issues being broadcast on a public forum so I'm not really versed on that part.

I do, however, believe that lust is a really, really, really serious issue in today's church and ESPECIALLY today's marriages. First of all, this man was a leader in the church (not literally, but he was involved in ministry, which means he was trusted and other people could have been looking up to him as an example). I know in our church (Times Square Church, in NYC) you can't drink if you are ministry, for example, and you certainly shouldn't be having sex with or cheating on your fiance.

It seems like this man had grave issues with lust and seeing as how he was soon going to be taking on a wife and in the future, maybe children of his own, maybe the church wanted to take an extra hard line in order to drive home exactly how serious an issue this could potentially be and the many lives that it could detrimentally effect in the future.

Being married and having dealt with sexual sin from my past, I can tell you, it is no joke. Lust is never satisfied and things that aren't addressed before you're married usually become bigger and bigger issues once you are, because the enemy really uses them to accuse, tempt and torture you. If this issue wasn't addressed seriously, it could have led to this man being adulterous and even to divorce and maybe a broken family if children were involved in the future. Being a child of divorce due to infidelity (although not from a Christian family), I for one, can tell you that I am still dealing with and in the very process of being freed from emotional bondage due to my dad's infidelity and serious lust issues, so I don't fault the church for taking a hard line and really making this man accountable for his actions against God, his fiance and the church in general, because really he was in a position of privilege and was bringing some very unseemly baggage into the church... That being said, yes, we all have it, everyone sins, everyone has baggage, me included. My husband and I weren't perfect during our courtship (although we did wait until marriage to have sex) but we were honest about that with our marriage counselors and they dealt with it how they saw fit, which wasn't to throw us out of ministry or make us sign any contracts.

That leads me to my next point, which is that I am assuming here that these meetings, since they were church meetings, were led by prayer and that the men who were in charge were prayerfully seeking the Holy Spirit and how He would have them handle this situation. None of us were there and none of us know how the Spirit was leading them. Maybe they felt God leading them to be especially hard on this guy. Jesus says if your eye sins against you pluck it out. That doesn't exactly sound like a joyful process, but sin is grievous enough to God and to the human heart, that it needs to be completely repented of and cast away or else it will lead to death, for Jesus does say that it's better to have one eye in heaven than both in hell (not quoting exactly, but I think you catch my drift).

So ya, once again, I am supporting Mars Hill, I feel like I'm Mark Driscoll's Mama or something, haha. I'm not, but I do like his church and I know that in listening to his sermons on marriage from his book (haven't read the book though) that he takes a very hard line against men not living up to their godly role as head of the household, as leader of their family under Jesus. I think that Mark Driscoll takes such a hard line with this because it is an INCREDIBLY serious and meaningful topic to the church. If it wasn't, why would so many Christian marriages be headed for divorce? If more men took their role as leader more seriously and saw how incredibly detrimental their lusts could be to the sanctification of their whole household and to God even hearing their prayers, because Peter says that if you don't honor your wife, God won't even entertain your prayers, then maybe the church could hold up it's track record for godly marriages as the example to the world it should be and not the opposite.  This is really really really important stuff, ladies. The porn industry and the lusts of the world in general are eating Christian marriages alive and I don't think Mars Hill is wrong to take a serious approach against it and I definitely don't think it's wrong to ask him to sign a contract for accountability reasons...

That being said, and I really do have to go now, I do think that meetings within the church should be confidential and I also do know that if we repent honestly to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us. But, we do submit ourselves to church leadership for a reason, just like Jesus submitted to His Father for a reason, and if we do the crime, which this guy did, we've gotta do the time, which in this case was lots of embarrassing meetings and signing a paper which doesn't seem that terrible to me if it saves his marriage from falling apart in the future and keeps honesty and accountability in the church ministry.

Glad I could show a differing opinion, although I do think you two had some great points as well! Thank goodness for the everlasting Grace, Forgiveness and Love of Almighty God!


Alisha De Freitas said...

Hey Aja,

I wanted to respond to your response...

I still feel this situation was not handled correctly. You are correct about the verse about "gouging out your eye". Interestingly, that verse is part of the same chapter MH used as the basis to their discipline. But I want to actually focus on what those Scriptures say. Matthew 18:15: "And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."

The first thing that jumps out at me is that these verses don't seem to fit the situation. According to Andrew, he went first, out of conviction, to his fiance and then other leaders in his community group. He confessed his own sin. No one had to pull him aside to point out his error. This unravels the use of the following verses because he did not refuse to accept his error.

But if we continue in that same chapter, let's look at what I feel is missing from this situation: "21 Then came Peter and said to him, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? until seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven." Where is the forgiveness on their part?? He confessed and repented... who are they to NOT offer forgiveness when God does?

Which brings me to another problem. The folks at MH are neo-Reformed/ neo-Calvinists. They vehemently reject many of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, including the confessional/absolution that Red Cardigan mentioned in her comment. They would say no man or church is needed as a mediator between us and God. If that's the case, why are THEY STEPPING INTO SUCH A ROLE in order for Andrew to receive forgiveness and "walk in repentance", to use their jargon? Seems pretty suspect to me...

I also wonder if someone who commits other sins or subjected to such a contract. Does the person who gets drunk? Stole? Overeats? Why or why not? It does seem there might be an overemphasis on sexual sins.

While I share your dismay at the sorry state of marriages in the church, I feel we ought to be very careful when handling individuals, especially those who are attempting to follow Christ. None of us are perfect. We aren't God. While I do believe leaders caught in continual sin should be "sat down" or take a break from ministry, it should be with the mindset to encourage restoration, not punishment.

Thank you so much for discussing this, Aja. I love thoughtful conversation.

Jesus-in-the-city said...

So, I was all set to type out a long, drawn out response in defense of one of my fave churches and it turns out I don't have to, which is a good thing because my alarm didn't go off this morning, I think my baby might be awake but I am afraid to tip toe out of the room and into the bathroom for a shower for fear of waking her up and starting our day unnecessarily prematurely, so I need my extra time and energy to figure out how I'm gonna get out of this room without her seeing me.... I'm not above crawling, haha :)

Anyway, I listened to an AMAZING sermon from Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll last night. I believe it's called Receive Power and it's about the Holy Spirit. I don't know why, I don't know how, but his sermons have the knack of really showing me Jesus more than most others and I listen to A LOT of preaching! I really feel the man has an abundant spiritual gift, his church has birthed a handful of other churches that are working fervently and commendably to win souls for Christ and establish Christian community and hearts for God at an amazing rate. I'd like to say that the bible says we should look at people according to the fruits of their labor and if that is the case, I believe Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill church are to be greatly regarded and prayed for.

I went to the blog this morning and came upon this:


It is a specific response to exactly what we have been regarding so I thought i'd let you read their response instead of mine.

And in response to your response :) I still disagree, girl... I just really feel like there was more than meets the eye with this Andrew person, but as you can read for yourself, the community group leaders were terminated before any of us probably even read about this. So, I guess we are both right! Ya :)

And one last thing, I just wanted to address that in your response you say that Mars Hill rejects many teachings of the Catholic church, including confession and absolution but I want to clarify that the Holy Bible, itself, rejects many teachings of the Catholic church, so even if all the folks at MH ARE neo-Calvinists (and I don't know that that's how the church defines itself in its mission statement, although I could be wrong because I haven't read it, so if I am, I stand corrected) they probably take a view against Catholic teachings, because the Bible doesn't agree with those teachings, itself.

I know there are probably Catholic people who will read this and I sincerely don't want to offend anyone, so I will stop there. I believe that Mark Driscoll was raised Catholic so he probably knows a lot more about the religion than I do who was really not raised in any church so I don't know the ins and outs of different sects and teachings.. I just know what I read in the Word of God. His Word is law in my heart and I strive everyday to live that out in my words and actions. I know you do the same.

God bless, Li!
Your long-drawn-out-friend, Aja :)

Alisha De Freitas said...

Hey Aja,

I'll check out what they wrote on their site. I'm glad they've taken the time to address it.

I wanted to clarify on the Catholic church, though. I wasn't addressing their teachings so much as pointing out that those in the neo-Reformed group vehemently oppose particular doctrines such as confession BUT in THIS instance, according to Andrew, they have not just placed themselves in the role of mediator but cast their church leaders' opinions as necessary for forgiveness. I don't know if you're getting what I'm saying, but I hope so.

Enjoy LG... Even though I understand what it's like to feign sleep so as not to stir a very alert Baby. It doesnt work for me. Once k gets up early to shower, that's the end of Z's ZZZs!

Jesus-in-the-city said...

I totally get your point! I think you should read the response from the church and it will clarify. I don't think they were saying he needed them to forgive him. I think they are saying that confession and repentance are two different things and maybe they were getting the idea from him that although he'd confessed he wasn't really repentant and maybe the steps they were taking where in order to direct him toward the necessity of repentance. But, like I said, the guys were let go, so you are obviously right that someone overstepped their boundaries.

Interested to hear what you think about their response. I thought it was great (surprise, surprise :) hehe

Mark said...

Hi, I’ve followed the discussion with interest, and thought that I might add some thought s from an atheistic perspective.
The actions of Mars Hill church seem not only mean and bullying, completely opposed to its professed aims of kindness and gentleness, but done in such a ham-fisted and clumsy way that any sane person would leave the church. I think the church’s three main faults were obsession with lust to the point of overlooking over problems, failing to provide equitable relationship advice and trying to perform unqualified counselling.
Lust seems to get a bad rap on this blog, but lust is not only the art of taking, but the art of giving as well. Even with a one-night-stand, one can still feel pride in making another person happy. But I disagree with Aja wether lust was the real problem here. Andrew was a young man living alone and just starting out in life. He had become engaged to a woman he’d known for less than a year and had been propelled into the inner circle of a church. His relationship with his fiancé was intermittently physical, which came with its own baggage and recriminations. So he had a lot of reasons to feel confused and stressed, and he made a poor decision to seek comfort in someone else’s arms. Someone who, importantly, was not part of his Christian lifestyle, with all its baggage.
This obsession with lust completely overlooks the context, and the church elders assumed that Andrew simply followed his erection to the nearest willing vagina. Human beings are more complex than that. A better group of ministers would have looked for the reasons behind the betrayal, and worked on those.
The way the relationship ended so abruptly suggests that these two may not have been emotionally ready to tie the knot. If my fiancé made out with a classmate and confessed the next day, well she’d be in the doghouse for a while but forgiveness would never be in question. When you love someone, you need to be reasonably understanding. People are human, and sometimes you have to take the bad part of their humanity with the good. But in this case, the fiancé disregarded the mitigating points (short-lived, didn’t go all the way, immediate confession) and ended all the marriage plans on the spot. Personally, I think Andrew was the one who dodged a bullet here.
The church could have played a role in bringing them together for discussion and counselling. Even if they couldn’t save the relationship, perhaps they could have been reminded of the good parts of the relationship, and parted on better terms. Instead Mars Hill took an adversarial approach, him vs. her, with a heavy emphasis on blame. Predictably it resulted in guilt, shame and disgust for both of them. It could have been handled so much better.
The final point is obliquely related to the other two, and it is that none of the pastors seem to have any counselling qualifications. Psychological therapy is complex and hard work, and at the barest minimum one should have a Masters degree in sociology or psychology, with several thousand hours of supervised clinical experience. Instead these pastors seemed to think that a Bible was the only textbook they needed. That’s how people get hurt.
The discipline contract seems to be the last step in a process of incompetence and blind meanness.

Alisha De Freitas said...


I finally got a chance to read their response. Hmm... yes, I think it is appropriate that the leaders who were responsible are not currently in positions of authority.

While the statement clearly delineated their views, policies and practices, I quite frankly, still see how future problems can arise. What I can say is that all members are clearly made aware of what it means to be part of their community, so that's at least fair. But after reading some of their membership rules, I know I wouldn't want to be a part of it. Would I visit? Maybe... I'm not big on mega-churches. I don't like stadium seating in the sanctuary, lol.

I also want to point out that I believe God can and does use a variety of believers. For example, I grew up Oneness Pentecostal (yeah, go ahead and Google that). I was taught that the Trinity was a heresy. All Christians must be baptized in the name of Jesus (not the triune method) or their baptism wasn't valid. And ALL TRUE Christians will be blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and will speak in tongues. Not down with glossolalia? Well, you must be down with Lucifer.

I don't hold to those teachings anymore. But tens of millions around the globe do. And at one point, so did I. I'd never rejoin. But I will never stop appreciating the love of God I developed while I was a part of it. Part of the reason I have a ton of Scripture, hymns and such running through my head is because of those years.

My point? I don't doubt for a second that Pastor Driscoll has been influential in the spiritual growth of millions, including you. And please don't think I'm comparing him to Oneness Pentecostals, lol. But I'm saying that different ministers can be used to bring people to Christ- Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, TD Jakes, Rob Bell, Paula White- and can be extremely polarizing.

@Mark, Hi! Thanks for commenting. And leaving one of the most thought out and well-reasoned comments ever.

As for lust... hmm... does it get a bad rap here? To be honest, I haven't thought about it. I know I've taken aim at Porn specifically, but I can't recall lust, so much. But then again, I've been writing this blog for 3 years, and I tend to get on and off topics like I was switching trains at rush hour.

I actually agree with many of your points. Especially about ministers and lay leaders lacking psychology training. Some do- at my former church and my current parish, they do. But that's not always the case, and it can and has been dangerous.

I also felt like Andrew probably dodged a bullet. I don't want to down anyone, though. We don't know what his ex was being told by leaders. She could have been persuaded to break it off with him. I thought the Discipline contract's segment about Andrew's not being allowed to date anyone was interesting. It sounds like even if the 2 wanted to work things out, they wouldn't be allowed to anyway.

That does bother me... Adultery is wrong. And destructive. But in reality, people are going to cheat. I wonder how MH handles such cases amongst married couples? If- God forbid- my husband cheated, as heartbroken as I'd be, I would hate for him to be subjected to "walks in repentance" that felt more like dead man walking! I know most women (or men) won't agree with me here, but I'm not sure if we handle this issue of cheating correctly. I keep thinking of how we, as the Bride of Christ, are quite unfaithful to our first Love. I'm thankful that He is so forgiving.

Anyway, your line about Andrew following "his erection to the nearest willing vagina" was probably the funniest, most blunt line written in these here comboxes. Or at least tied with Brooke Farmer's "Pretty f-ing intense."

I'm curious, though. Why are you following this story?

Mark said...

Hi Alisha, thanks for the reply. I’ve been loosely following Mark Driscoll on the internet since the Friendly Atheist blogsite called attention to some of the more dysfunctional comments in his book Real Marriage. ( see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/12/24/grace-and-mark-driscoll-write-a-how-not-to-book-on-marriage/ ). Normally it’s none of my business how churches advise their followers to live, but some of the principles in that book were so opposed to how I felt a healthy relationship should be, that I felt obliged to offer a differing point of view. After all, if Driscoll went around telling everyone that the way to lose weight was to eat 15 donuts per day then you and I would step in and correct him, so why shouldn’t we do the same for relationships?

As to wether lust gets a bad rap, perhaps it was unfair to apportion that view to this blog. I was responding to Aja’s view that Andrew has a ‘lust problem’. I think this focus on lust has the effect of crouching the debate solely in terms of self-control, and cuts out the issues of autonomy, development of identity and the positive effects that pre-marital sex may have.

I was in an internet debate on a different site over the issue. A CNN article reported that 80% of unmarried evangelical Christians were having sex, and many Christian comentaters said this was due to weakness and lack of self-control. I felt that this was a very cynical view, and that many were probably making a rational decision based on what would improve their quality of life. Some may want their intimacy to progress slowly and naturally, rather than adopt the nothing-then-all approach. Others may need the intimacy now rather than later, to help cope with the stress and fear in their lives. Others may want sex so that they know their partner finds them sexually attractive (words only go so far). And, they probably don’t teach this in school, but a lot of men find virginity unattractive. I’m that way, probably because I think virginity is somewhat synonymous with childlike. The idea of deflowering my partner as the final step of a traditional ritual involving all my family and friends leaves me cold to the core.

The other factor against pre-marital sex being cases of lust and poor self-control is that pre-marital sex is hard work. Really, it’s tough. Popular media may show youngsters making eyes in supermarkets and going at it seconds later, but reality is different. You have to join a gym to get in shape, invest in a nice wardrobe, have a job and preferably one outdoor sport, put the time in to look good daily, find the confidence to approach a person of opposite gender, be interesting and make good jokes, take him/her to at least one dinner date then perhaps you might get lucky. It’s hard to squeeze all that into one momentary lapse of self-control.

Anyway, that’s probably going a bit off-topic, but I always feel compelled to speak up for people who are demonized for pre-marital sex. RE porn, I’ll say you’ve got many good points, but porn can have a positive effect at times. My posts always go too long, so I’ll refer to some posts by Greta Christina. Greta is a very interesting character. She’s a famous atheist blogger and speaks at all the large atheist conventions. She’s also a 50 year old bisexual living with her lesbian partner, and has starred in porn movies just for pleasure. Indeed she gripes that a drawback of atheist blogging is that she can’t star in porn anymore, because her writing will be judged by that (see http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2011/11/09/why-i-probably-wont-do-porn-again/ and http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2010/08/why-porn-matters.html ).

Jesus-in-the-city said...

Hi there, Mark!

I was just finishing up feeding my baby girl when it crossed my mind to go back and read this post and I saw your comments. I wasn't ignoring you, I just lead kind of a busy life with a husband and baby and don't have as much time to peruse my favorite blog as I wish I did.

I have been thinking how I could reply to your posts but, honestly, seeing as how we have such opposing world views, I don't think I can really respond without getting into a huge theological debate which is not something im permitted to do. I not only believe in God, but my entire life and identity is in Him, so seeing as how all that I am, every viewpoint I have and all of my opinions are rooted in someone you don't believe exists, it doesn't really make sense to elaborate, plus I would be writing for hours and don't really have that much time :)

I will say that I once had a point of view not unlike yours, before I gave my life to Christ and was saved, so I can understand why you have the point of view that you do. It is only God's Holy Spirit within me that gives me the freedom to see things as they really are and not through the veil of bondage to the one who rules the world, as I used to.

That probably sounds like crazy mumbo jumbo to you, but it's the only thing I can really think to write. As someone who once did lead a promiscuous lifestyle and did go through a short season of looking at porn in my college years, but who is now a married mother and a Christian, I can say, from my experience, that if there was one thing I could go back and change about my life, it would be that I would have waited until I was married to have sex. There is not one thing about not having waited until marriage that blesses my husband in any way and quite honestly, I can say it has done quite the opposite, for both of us. So, I not only have this viewpoint because it's what God says but because of my own personal experience.

If you ever do turn to God and get saved, I am sure the power of His Holy Spirit showing you His True, Holy and Righteous nature would cause you to look at your own sin and be completely repelled and broken by it as I am daily, but until then, I'm sure our opinions on the matter of lust, and many many other things, will remain worlds apart.

God bless and I hope this finds you well.


Mark said...

Hi Aja, thanks for responding. I understand you must be very busy with a new baby having arrived. I hope you’re getting some reasonable sleep and rest.

I don’t think what you are saying is mumbo jumbo. I understand that faith plays very different roles in each of our lives, but there probably is a middle-ground where we can exchange ideas. I think a lot of our values regarding relationships, such as respect and communication, are faith-neutral and apply to Christians, Muslims, and atheists alike.

I’m interested in hearing more about your experience with porn, and how your pre-marital sex stressed your marriage. I hear this a bit, like in Mark Driscoll’s book when he discovers Grace had a pre-marital fling in high-school. While I think “Yeah, so?”, Mark then considers leaving his wife over it. I feel like I need a Christianese interpreter to explain the significance. I’m sure whatever you did couldn’t be so bad as to feel repelled and broken over it daily.

Incidentally Alisha, if you’re ever stuck for an idea for a blog post, “Do men really want to marry virgins?” would be a good one.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Kewl beans... good convo, Friends!

Well, Mark, I should explain that like Aja, I'm married with a baby, too (our daughters are about a month apart in age). So I find it hard to get back to respond the way I like at times. Especially in the last week as my Z has gotten very clingy (she's bawling right now but my hubby K is here so it's alright). Add in IV treatments to fight an autoimmune disease, crazy family, friends and church and... yeah...

But I did want to respond. First, thanks for being inquisitive and gentlemanly. I've been trashed by atheists online before which shocked me because I'm not the trolling type and I don't go looking for online battles (now in real life...he he he, j/p). The only people who have been nastier to me online were some Three Six Mafia fans who took it VERY personally when I wrote a negative review back in the day for Vibe.com.

Anyway,as for porn, there are some definite negatives tied to viewing it, and not necessarily spiritual ones. I have friends who watch it, with their spouses. They incorporate it into their lovemaking. And they are Christians. To each their own. Personally, I think the risk of having my brain slip into sex mode with someone other than my husband isn't worth it. Jesus said even thinking about commiting adultery is a sin... so I'd pretty much be setting myself up to sin.If it's about getting sex tips, there are plenty of books and guides available to add spice to the bedroom. Or wherever ;-)

Why not turn the camera on each other? Just be careful with the footage...

As for what you said about virgins, you're not the first person I've heard that from. I had a guy straight walk away from me, in the middle of kicking it to me for the umpteenth time, when I told him I was a virgin when I was in college. He had no desire to play teacher. I had no desire to be his student (nothing like cockiness to turn me right off).

But I'm so glad my husband didn't feel that way. Since I gave my virginity to him on our wedding night. When I read your comment, I couldn't help thinking that your attitude reminds me of the flipside of some Christians who act like they'd never marry someone who isn't. It's a good thing I didn't think that way, or I would've passed up K...

I wonder if maybe there is too much focus on one's sexual past on both sides of that coin? IS IT IMPORTANT? OF COURSE! But one's sexual past is not the whole story. I'd hate for my book to be judged by just *a part of a chapter*.

I also agree with you on the work involved in sex (well, that's the work involved in dating, too). I'm not one of those people who think it's as simple as just falling into bed. Well, for some people, it is that easy. But for most of the people I know, it's not. It can be stressful. Very stressful. And honestly, that's one of the reasons I'm glad I waited. I was in college on academic scholarship, involved in extracurriculars, helped care for my sick mother and raise my nephews. And worked. I literally needed NO MORE STRESS! I was on my Mary J. flow- no more drama.

I look forward to Aja's response. I'm going to text her to try to prompt a comment... lol!

Mark said...

Hi Alisha,

Hope you’re feeling better. Sounds like you’re juggling a lot, it must be exhausting. Autoimmune diseases often flare during pregnancy, so hopefully you’re on the home straight now.

The point you raised about my view on virgins being the flipside of the more extreme Christian views was interesting, and certainly put me on the spot. Would I be unfairly judgmental if I wasn’t interested in dating a virgin? I think the answer is both yes and no. Yes, in that I believe no woman (or man) should have to undergo a sexual litmus test. No, in that we have a right to decide what we consider important in a relationship.

Actually, I did date a virgin when I was in my 20’s. If I was single now, I could see myself possibly dating a virgin again (especially if it was a female version of Steve Carroll’s character in 40-year-old virgin). My point in the previous comment was that it would be a negative point, but not a dealbraker. If I was asked out by someone, there are probably a hundred points I would subconsciously assess to decide if this was someone I wanted to spend my time with, virginity being only one.

My point was that right-wing politicians and religious leaders (such as Mark Driscoll) have created a pervasive atmosphere of fear regarding losing one’s virginity, to the point of suggesting that your future perfect mate will be disappointed if you didn’t wait. They’re not subtle about it. This is different from you and I making independent choices about when to lose it, this is about going to great lengths to saddle what should be a healthy and normal part of adulthood with the baggage of guilt and shame. That’s why I want to stand against Driscoll’s teachings.

Obviously saving your virginity for your wedding night was your choice, and it was the right choice for you. Losing my virginity in my teens was my choice, and it was the right choice for me. We were both mature and smart enough to know what made us happy. I believe young adults should have the right to say no to sex. I also believe they should have the right to say yes to sex. But the right to say yes is under insidious attack through psychological manipulation by people like Driscoll. So when the 80% of American young Christians have pre-marital sex, it might not be the positive, fulfilling experience that it should be. Instead, as Mars Hill showed, it can be a cause for old men to humiliate and degrade you in front of others.

I want to send a counter-cultural message. Lost your virginity, and looking for a future husband? Don’t fret; a lot of guys will appreciate your having the life experience and wisdom that comes from previous relationships. You can honour us just by being amazing!

Alisha De Freitas said...

Hey Mark,

I'm slowly getting better, thank you. I started a new IV treatment to boost my immune system and it's starting to help out. A lot, actually. No, my illness started long before my pregnancy, before I got married actually. I just didn't know what was wrong. During my pregnancy I felt 100x better, believe it or not. But it kind of makes sense. The treatment, IVIG, basically pushes "good" or at least "neutral" antibodies into my system, which counteracts the "bad" ones. While carrying Zoe, she pretty much did the same for me. So a year ago this time, I was happily walking around with my little belly, no pain, no allergies, feeling pretty strong.

But enough about me. You wrote: "I want to send a counter-cultural message...". I thought that was interesting. I think the right-wingers and Mark Driscoll are actually counter-cultural. They are talking chastity and abstinence at a time when the overwhelming majority of Americans, Evangelical Christian or not, do NOT wait for marriage. In reality, when it comes to sex, there isn't too much of a difference between what Christians and non-Christians do, whether it's pre-marital sex, adultery or abortion. That's why many non-believers say Christians are hypocrites. Do as I say, not as I do.

I don't agree with Driscoll's tactics, but I do think he means well. He wants to see less heartbreak, divorces, sadness. Also, he is trying to follow the Bible... I just don't agree with how he's doing it. As for the politicians... augh. Yeah, I don't trust them. At all. So I don't know what their actual intentions are besides gaining (more) power.

You wrote: "Lost your virginity, and looking for a future husband? Don’t fret; a lot of guys will appreciate your having the life experience and wisdom that comes from previous relationships. You can honour us just by being amazing!" I totally agree with this. I do feel the Church, while trying to extol the virtues of chastity, has painted those, especially women, with a broad, ugly brush. They become whores. Why? It's disgusting. There IS a huge difference between sexually active and selling your body. But the strangest part is Jesus spent time, ate, ministered to and loved actual prostitutes. Why can't we?

At any rate, I think the Church and the secular world might both be guilty of too much groin gazing obsession. Sex is, amazing. And normal. And beautiful. And ugly. BUT, it's NOT everything. It's NOT life, but can create it. It's NOT love, but is one expression of it. It's not the end all, be all.

And it shouldn't be treated as if it is.

You wrote: "...when the 80% of American young Christians have pre-marital sex, it might not be the positive, fulfilling experience that it should be." Agreed. Check out my post "Jesus, Don't Let Me Die Before I Have Sex", a documentary being made. I think this film will go to the heart of your point.


Mark said...

Hi Alisha,

I’m glad that you’re feeling better now. I actually work as a medical doctor, although I chose to specialize in cardiology rather than neurology. I saw several cases of inflammatory polyneuropathy during my general medical terms, and I did my fair share of late-night lumbar punctures. Most of the cases I saw were the acute, Guillain-Barre cases, with the occasional chronic Lewis-Sumner case. I saw how frightening and stressful it was for them, so I have to congratulate you on coming through with your sense of humor intact.

As to what the cultural message for pre-marital is, I agree it’s a bit unclear, and depends on how you define culture. In terms of popular entertainment, left-wing views have succeeded in becoming de-facto viewpoints. But in politics and religion, it seems that right-wing views have triumphed. I guess people like to watch Family Guy at night, and vote conservative in the morning. So which sphere represents contemporary culture?
Anyway, this thread is getting a little old, so I’ll post a comment in the “Will I die before I have sex ”, and see if you want to keep the conversation going.


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