Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Christians Need More Sex!

Kind of like the teenagers-wearing-diapers story a couple of months back, there's so much idiocy here I hardly know where to begin.

Paul Wirth is a senior pastor in Ybor City, Florida. The church that decided Wirth was worth the money is... the Relevant Church! Come on, people. I know all the evangelicals want to be "relevant" to today's "postmodern" unchurched, but when you put it in the name, you kind of start to look desperate.

The Relevant Church claims that it is designed "specifically for urban professionals and young families." That's awesome. Ybor City is a Tampa neighbourhood which had a proud (and, in the American South, isolated) history in labour organization. Then it was gentrified and now, apparently, its churches aim to be "relevant" to professionals. That's brilliant. There are only about six thousand homeless people in Tampa's county, and some other ministry will probably take care of them, right? When James wrote that the wealthy were oppressive and that catering to them dishonoured the poor, surely he didn't mean "relevant" urban professionals. It's this nonsense that has convinced me that "emergent" churches, which apparently is what the Relevant Church bills itself as, are a fad for Christian yuppies who listen to indie music and drink fair trade coffee and want a suitably "alternative" religious identity to go along with their "rejection" of the corporate mainstream. Galatians and James, not just the gospels, should be required reading.

(Speaking of the above, Tampa is one of a large number of cities in both the U.S. and Canada which have been gradually pressuring church and charity groups to stop charity programs for the homeless, usually through a combination of outlawing feeding the poor and harassing groups with unnecessary police surveillance. I don't usually have anything nice to say about Pentecostals, but in Tampa's case, one New Life Pentecostal church defied police orders to disperse and dared the city to a public confrontation. Well done, Pentecostals. The Catholic church also offered sanctuary to a food program after police ejected it from its usual location within a public park.)

But that's enough about depressing subjects like poverty. Mr. Wirth has correctly noted that Tampa's urban professionals have more pressing problems than the poor and the destitute within their city. For example, they have to worry about making sure their sex lives are as exciting as you'd expect from righteous Christians.

Wirth thinks that divorce rates are unreasonably high and that the solution is for Christians to have more sex. Specifically, he wants married Christians to have sex at least once a day for the next month. With each other, presumably, otherwise it would defeat the purpose of the exercise. I'm not married, but if I was, I have to think my response to Mr. Wirth would be to (a) stay the hell out of our bedroom and (b) stop defining relationships - any relationships - as sexual intimacy. But I'm not married, so the fact that to me thirty straight days of sex is starting to sound a lot like work isn't really germane.

Single Christians are said to have a "slightly different" challenge: they should have no sex for the next thirty days. Oddly enough, I don't think I needed Wirth's "challenge" to accomplish this grand feat, but then, I'm not an urban professional. At any rate, this is equally important, Wirth says, because "when you're single it's like you're always thinking about it and you're like, man I'd like to have it as much as possible." The solution to single people always thinking about sex, it would seem, is to go to a church where people are always talking about it.

Even among the "alternative" "emergent" crowd, apparently, sexuality and marriage just have to be at the center of everything. I'm not sure I'd go so far in criticizing this idolization of marriage as Paul does in his letters to the Corinthians, in part because Paul's as bad as Wirth in basically reducing marriage to a way of getting laid without doing anything immoral. Unfortunately, the church seems to have only three responses to sex and sexuality: nervous silence, condemnation of non-marital sex at high volume, or praise of intra-marital sex at equally high volume.


Anonymous said...

relevant church= 2 timothy 4:3-4

Jason Dittle said...
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