Sexfest at church. Why not? God said he’d supply our needs in great abundance. And besides, these marriage conferences are as dry as dirt. But, sexfest? That’s the stuff of mud wrestling.
So my mind fills up with all kinds of images. Our church has a fair amount of 30-somethings but the majority of our membership are older than the hills. That’s one image. Lots of wrinkles. Another image is historical - the temple prostitution circuit of Rome and Greece. I guess the pagans figured out the simple logic of making promiscuity a religious pursuit - a sacrifice to the gods. And now we have jumbo-trons to enhance the focus even more. All eyes on the stage.
I also imagine the scowl on Augustine’s face. And Martin Luther surely regrets his rebel-rousing.
What is happening? Relevant Church in Tampa, Florida is challenging their members to participate in something they call the 30-Day Sex Challenge. The premise is for married couples to have sex every day for 30 days. From their site - “People are not having enough sex. An epidemic of breakups proves the needs that lead to a great sex life are being overlooked. Dirty dishes, frumpy clothes, and a lack of authentic connections are killing the romance. A great sex life is a challenge and takes focus, determination, and planning. Some say it’s an unrealistic goal, but we disagree. We believe you can have a great sex life, in fact we believe God wants you to have a great sex life.”
Okay, so it’s a little more purified than the prostitutes in pagan temples. But the focus on sexual appetite is the same. The challenge comes with a calendar that I suspect you sticker with shiny gold stars. They also supply readings from Song of Songs primarily - “Take me away with you - hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.” Maybe this helps if you need to roll play.
The challenge sounds very chauvinistic to me. As ABC commentator Harry Smith said in an interview with the Pastor Paul Wirth, “I’m trying to think what the downside could possibly be to trying it...” I bet my wife could name a few things; I could as well. It puts both people in an awkward place by demanding a sexual performance because of a church commitment. I may be flying solo here, but I don’t want the church anywhere close to my bedroom (missionary position or not).
All of this focus on your family and now sacramental screwing is bothersome. The Bible seems to stand somewhat removed from both subjects. Yes, procreation was a command in the garden and there are references to sex all through Scripture. It is usually about sexual infidelity tagged with other issues. Abraham lacked faith, David - humility, Solomon - satisfaction. When we get to Jesus, he directs adultery inward, but there is no direct references to marriage let alone sex in that relationship. He changes water to wine at a marriage feast (which might encourage drunkenness with sexual activity), and he mentions bridegrooms in parables. And Paul has little to say (he might ask women to cover their heads) while Peter sees marriage as the representation of Christ and his church. It’s as if marriage and marriage sex is assumed and not hyped up.
It’s really just another gimmick along the Purpose Driven Life push and Debunking The Da Vinci Code nonsense. But we shouldn’t be surprised. One of the core values of Relevant Church is “to be as current as today’s newspapers.” And Relevant Church is launching this during the holiest days on the church calendar. Isn’t Lent more about abstaining from indulgent behaviors rather than erecting additional ones?
Maybe Relevant Church has figured out that you can add “under the sheets” to rock-n-roll Christian chorus music too. Maybe they even sell KY lubricant and WWJD thongs in their church coffee shop. I hope not.