The Subject of Boys

Sex and the Single Baha'i

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Christianity Today has an interview with one of the authors of the recently published Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today's Church.

As I've said before, Baha'is have much in common with evangelical Christians and some of the comments made in this interview sound just like what I hear among single Baha'is. Check it out:

What prompted you and Bonnie to write Singled Out?

The two of us have been friends since college. As we went on with our lives and earned degrees, we had long conversations about our frustrations of being single in the evangelical church. So we started to look for good advice for older singles, because much discussion about abstinence [is for] high schoolers and college age people. But once you're out of college, once you are working, there really wasn't much of a discussion.

{josquote}...single women in churches look around and are not finding anyone{/josquote}

Much of the discussion around singleness is, "Just have enough faith, and God will provide a spouse." And we started to worry about what that says about God. This idea of, wait a second, God hasn't provided a spouse. What does that mean? Does that mean I'm not a good Christian? Does that mean God is not faithful? When you start going there, that's dangerous. So we started to look for a better discussion.

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Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

Christianity Today has an interesting piece about encouraging Christians to marry at a young age. The first few paragraphs are particularly thought provoking:

Virginity pledges. Chastity balls. Courtship. Side hugs. Guarding your heart. Evangelical discourse on sex is more conservative than I've ever seen it. Parents and pastors and youth group leaders told us not to do it before we got married. Why? Because the Bible says so. Yet that simple message didn't go very far in shaping our sexual decision-making.

So they kicked it up a notch and staked a battle over virginity, with pledges of abstinence and accountability structures to maintain the power of the imperative to not do what many of us felt like doing. Some of us failed, but we could become "born again virgins." Virginity mattered. But sex can be had in other ways, and many of us got creative.

{josquote}The problem is that not all abstainers end up happy or go on to the great sex lives they were promised. Nor do all indulgers become miserable or marital train wrecks.{/josquote}

Then they told us that oral sex was still sex. It could spread disease, and it would make you feel bad. "Sex will be so much better if you wait until your wedding night," they urged. If we could hold out, they said, it would be worth it. The sheer glory of consummation would knock our socks off.

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RAW: There is more to this week than Sex Week

Photo by Hannah Green / North By Northwestern.

Religious Awareness Week (RAW) is Monday, April 13 through Sunday, April 19. Sex Week is Monday, April 13 through Sunday, April 19.

Seems contradictory, no? Confused readers wondered why this happened. Did the religious people plan them at the same time with the intent of discouraging people from talking about sex?

The answer is: not really. As a member of NU Council of Religions (NUCOR), which planned most of RAW, I can assure you we knew about Sex Week as we planned our events. We even coordinated with their planning committee to co-sponsor a fireside about sex and religion on Wednesday evening.

In making RAW the same week as Sex Week, we were not deliberately trying to become adversaries and compete for what’s hot on this campus. Most people would agree that sex is definitely hotter in a figurative sense, at least, but I beg you to think about what kind of stories are hot in the news on a global sense. Personally, I am not very political or news savvy, but even I have heard about conflicts in South Asia and the Middle East. Many of these conflicts, unfortunately, have religious roots.

{josquote}Sex is important, but so is religious understanding.{/josquote}

Therefore, RAW asks everyone to think about this question: Should we move beyond tolerance? With a question like this, we do not plan on ending religious conflicts in the world, but we want people to think about how they want to live in this ever-connected global society.

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The Pooh-Poohing of Concern I have said before, the whole way our government approaches marriage is wrong. The state should not be performing marriages. All the state should do is grant legal sanction to the union of two consenting unrelated adults, regardless of gender or orientation. It should not be issuing Marriage Licenses, but rather Union Certicates. If you want to get married in a church, you can, so long as the church agrees to marry you. If a church refuses, your only recourse would be to find a church that will. And there are churches that will marry homosexuals. For example, the UCC. Some Episcopal churches will.

Gay marriage is gaining legality mostly through the courts striking down same sex marriage bans as unconstitutional, except in Vermont, which becomes the first state to legalize gay marriage via legislation. And the bill enacted over the veto of the Republican Governor of Vermont contains this provision: (PDF)

This section does not require a member of the clergy authorized tosolemnize a marriage as set forth in subsection (a) of this section, nor societies of Friends or Quakers, the Christadelphian Ecclesia, or the Baha’i Faith to solemnize any marriage, and any refusal to do so shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.

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