Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Last Thing You'd Never Talk About

to Mom and Dad...

Pastor and blogger, Peter Ong, has spoken exceptionally candidly about sex in his latest post, a hail-back to a recent conference session. Here is an exerpt:

On our college campuses we have young people who raise their hands as they
worship God in the felly halls but in their dorms they are using their hands in
other ways, we have leaders who are continuing to lead without a mention of what
their private worlds are like (once again, they are simply a function for us as
ministry workers), we have pastors who are left unchecked when they are
“prepping” their sermons, and we have so many of our married couples who still
don’t know how to have sex in a Godly healthy manner.

Our silence has murdered our call to purity. It has been this sin of
omission that we are so afraid to ask and be asked of this area of our lives
that has been a ground zero for so many of us.

I think he has hit the nail on the head with the attitudes about sex common to Asian churches. Churches have mostly employed the "don't ask, don't tell" method of dealing with the issue or attempted to cover the topic with weak presentations aimed at encouraging youth not to ask any followup questions.

So that I don't appear too critical, I believe that it might be too difficult for our typical Asian churches to deal with the subject of sex in this generation (so we should consider cutting them some slack). First generation immigrants will likely balk, and our curious youth might be better served in a more non-Asian environment to talk about sexual issues.



Josh Deng said...

I read the article too, good stuff. But I can't really tell if sex is any easier to talk about in a non-asian environment (in eneral)...maybe a little easier to keep going once you get started.

Peter said...

Thanks for the comment. I will do my best to chime in. I think that sex is one of the few areas of reality that we don't seem to want discuss with some transparency. I do think that as Americans, we find ourselves in this hyper-sexualized culture but yet can't seem to find a vocabulary that offers discussion that doesn't cause people to blush or just be embarrassed. So you have all these innuendos in which we create language for sex. But as for the issue of sex, I do think that Asian Americans just need leadership who can really express in a way that is healthy and I feel that for many Asian American first generation parents, they are desperate for someone to talk to their kids about this. I had one mother hug me after a talk I did and I told her that they need to talk more and she affirmed that. It was one of the highlights for me this past year. But I think we need to raise up or encourage leaders to move beyond church culture and to to provide leadership through the lens of the Asian first gen eye. We love our families...that is why our narratives are often very sacrificial and it is this angle that we can say to the parents, "you love your family, you love your kids, i love your family, I love your kids, we need to restore this very broken part of their lives..." with trust and with a measure of desperation, we have to confront this. But I have to stress trust...we have to be trusted that we are here as ministers to repair and to build their kids...not to build barriers.

And also this is not just about non married people but it goes for our married folk. You will be amazed how many of our wedded church folk are lost in this area. We need to give and get permission to create dialogue and vocabulary for eros, this very important aspect of our humanity that is explicitly sexual. But there is hope for the church, because as one of tag line goes...

"over one quarter of the world is Asian...we have to know a lot about sex...we might not be talking 'bout sex but we are sure busy doing it"

But it is my hope that understand the profound beauty of the joining of two. It is a beautiful and sacred thing when we seek connection but a very freakish and addictively selfish when it is distorted.

dpark75 said...

great comments and so glad you did this talk peter!

our family dynamics prevent a lot of this kind of talk, but we definitely need to be able to open doors and talk about it constructively. i think we only talk about it (when we do) in pragmatic terms-- baby, pleasure, stress relief, etc. but the church has a whole has had trouble projecting a healthy theology of sexuality.

rob bell's recent book "sex god" is really good.

but here is a good case where pastors have to apply some more pastoral care and counseling to our congregations, not just in one-on-one situations.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

Thanks guys, for chiming in!

Peter, you are right in that the church is key to provide guidance in educating young Asians about sex.

I know the immigrant generation wants desperately for their children to have healthy marriages (sex included), but like my own parents, are very reticent to tackle the issue themselves. They want someone else to educate their children about sex. I understand and feel frustrated at the same time. But, what else is new?

A healthy theology of sex is vital to healthy sex. What a concept! Our church here in St. Louis has held a few marriage forums in which sex is very candidly talked about. My husband and I attended and it was like someone finally put our heads on straight and gave us permission to have a great relationship! For me, it was beyond enlightening or educational. Realizing how God wants husbands and wives to be toward each other 24/7, sex included, has really changed the nature of our marriage.

You might want to look up our church's website and find out if the audio is available on some of the last forums. I don't know right off hand myself, but I'll check when I have the time and post a direct link up.

Anthony said...

Ed Young had a series on Sex about 6 to a yr ago. I watched it on DayStar. Here's a link to it.
I watched it with my wife. We learned a lot. It'll help us when we talk to our kids about it.