A Culture Confused


Look closely at what’s being done and listen closely to what is being said, and it’s apparent our culture is deeply confused and conflicted about sex and sexuality.

  • We imply that sex is no big deal, and yet we can’t fathom anyone going without it.
  • We abhor sex trafficking of minors (as we should), but we view the sexualization of children through media and fashion as harmless fun.
  • 20% fewer of us are married than 50 years ago, and yet we stress that marriage is so important that everyone should have the right to marry whomever they choose.
  • We insist that sexual attractions define a person but his or her biological sex doesn’t.
  • We rightly promote gender equality but downplay the differences between men and women.
  • And we rightly say that women shouldn’t be treated as objects, and yet we turn a blind eye to the reality that our girls are growing up immersed in a stream of pornographic images that deeply influence their perceptions of beauty, sex, men, and self-worth.

Within our churches, we’re demonstrating some pretty significant confusion as well:

  • We maintain that sex is sacred, but we rarely talk about it or we spend more time talking about sexual sin than God’s glorious design for sex and marriage.
  • We tell our kids sex should be saved for marriage, but we don’t train them how to manage sexual desire.
  • We uphold that marriage is meant to be between one man and one woman, but we, too, downplay male-female differences.
  • We say a life devoted to Christ and His Kingdom is best, but we treat singleness (which Paul esteemed as the best way to live completely devoted to Christ – see 1 Cor. 7:32-35) as second class to marriage.

We’re adrift in confusion and misinformation about marriage, gender, sex, and sexuality.

Is it any wonder?

We have an enemy. God has an enemy. Is it any surprise then that the forces of hell and darkness would aim their darts at humanity, at male and female, at marriage, at sex?

The union of man and woman in marriage is the primary image of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:25-32).

To obscure male and female, to blur sexual difference, to disregard the sign of singleness, to distort marriage, to diminish procreation—all of this is to erase from the earth the image of Christ’s love for His church.

But let us remember who the enemy is and who he is not. The enemy is not flesh and blood. This means that for all the difficulties and temptations we experience in managing our sexual desires, in all the confusion we may experience in our gender identity, in all the difficulties we experience in marriage, in all the lonely ache we experience in singleness, our humanity is not the enemy. Christ in the flesh came to redeem and restore His image in male and female.

Our enemy is also not those who disagree with us, nor even those who oppose orthodox teaching on gender, marriage, and sex.

Our enemies, according to Paul, are “the rulers…the powers…the world forces of this darkness…[and] the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Christ is on the move. As Christopher West put it recently, “[If] marriage really and truly is the image of Christ’s love for the church, then that means it will be crucified, it will be mocked, it will die. But it will rise.”

If you need help in any of these areas, please contact Regeneration. We’d love to walk with you.

Please comment. Share your thoughts, observations, or questions here.

With you,

Thanks For Reading.

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  • Great article Josh.
    After the word confused, befuddled, perplexed, addled, bewildered and discombobulated come to mind!

  • “We say a life devoted to Christ and His Kingdom is best, but we treat singleness (which Paul esteemed as the best way to live completely devoted to Christ…. as second class to marriage”

    The men’s ministry at my church has announced a new “men’s challenge” that will involve men growing in their relationship with Christ, and in their spiritual relationship with their wives.

    As a middle-aged single man, I hurt over that announcement. My church rounds around 900 in attendance. I am not the only single man there by a long shot. Yet the implication is that if a man is not married, then he is somehow “outside” the culture of men who make up our congregation. That a single man does not have a need or even an opportunity to have or develop a spiritually significant relationship with others.

    Or, maybe I’m being overly sensitive! 🙂

    Thanks for a chance to speak.

    • Maybe, Mark. But your observation that the new “men’s challenge” at your church is missing single men is valid. I feel like I hear stories like this a lot from singles, especially men and women who are into their 40’s and beyond. One outcome of this in my view is it tends to put up a dividing wall between singles and marrieds, as though we don’t need each other. We do.

      Might you consider bringing an idea or two to your church leadership about how to incorporate single men in this more fully? Not with the aim of marrieds feeling sorry for singles or singles feeling sorry for marrieds. But what would it do to a “men’s challenge” to frame it up in a way that all men (whatever their marital status) would be encouraging each other to love those around them like Christ? How might married men be challenged by singles in areas like devotion to Christ, missions, or chastity and desire, for instance? And how might single men be challenged by marrieds in areas like faithfulness and self-sacrifice?

      Thanks for speaking up.

  • A friend said she sometimes doesn’t feel recognized as a woman in our fellowship, because she isn’t married and doesn’t have children. I needed that wake-up call!

    • My family growing up would occasionally call “family meetings” when a change was needed or relational difficulties needed to be worked through. Maybe the Father is calling some family meetings like the conversation begun between you and your sister in your fellowship. So good that she was able to voice this and you were able to hear, Janice. Thank you!

By Josh Glaser

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