Unhooked and Set Free (Part 2)

two women walking on beachMaura, my young friend, has bonded with her boyfriend.  She doesn’t seem to want to be with anyone else.  In fact, she moved in with him with the hope that he will ask her to marry him.

It’s really quite remarkable, don’t you think?  Despite the cultural acceptance of multiple partners most young women want to be married to one man and make a nest for their children.  Unfortunately, a woman’s consent to play house outside the commitment of marriage actually encourages young men to postpone marriage.

So what is going on with Maura?  Why has she bonded with her boyfriend?  I believe it’s because faith and science are at work in Maura’s life.  The Creator of life has not only written Himself on Maura but also wired her for monogamous attachment.

Right now, Maura’s faith is relegated to Sunday morning or an occasional religious discussion with her dad or me.  But, I’d like to help Maura see that faith intersects with daily life in all areas including the physical, emotional, and relational.  Together, Maura and I are learning that God has designed a woman’s body and mind to connect through the biological wonder of neurochemicals.

Oxytocin, or the “cuddle” hormone,” is a neurochemical.  It is present in both male and female, but is primarily active in females.  The female body releases oxytocin at four different times.  Take note!  Each has to do with procreation and the care of children.  Oxytocin is released:

  • During meaningful or intimate touching with another person (Action: bonding and trust)
  • During sexual intercourse (Action: bonding and trust)
  • During the onset of labor in a pregnant woman (Action: causes uterine contractions, results in birth)
  • After baby’s delivery (Action: stimulates nipples and produces flow of milk from mom for nursing)

Oxytocin, which floods a woman’s brain during labor, childbirth and breast-feeding, creates a bond between mother and child.  But first, it creates a bond between the parents of that child.  When a man and a woman touch in familiar and intimate ways, oxytocin is released into the woman’s brain.  Without being able to explain why, she desires more of that same kind of intimacy.  Can you see how oxytocin plays a vital role in the “one flesh” union of one man and one woman in marriage?  Oxytocin helps assure the continuation of the human race!

Oxytocin bonding helps produce long-term connectedness. It might be for this reason that an American woman in an intact marriage rarely has sexual intercourse with anyone but her husband.  Such stability is affected by oxytocin.  Think of the significance.  The bonding of father and mother greatly increases the chance for a child to be raised in a healthy, two-parent home.  Such a child is blessed not necessarily with perfect parents but with a mom and dad who mentor faithfulness.

The world speaks about the emotions of love.  The emotions of connectedness.  In reality, the desire to connect is more than an emotional feeling.  Bonding is like glue.  And it can’t be undone or ripped apart without great emotional pain.

The flow of oxytocin serves to promote trust.  Oxytocin triggered the bonding process between Maura and her boyfriend even before they went “all the way” but only kissed and hugged.  Do parents know this?  Do moms who think it’s “cute” that their 12-year-old daughter has a “boyfriend” and dads who allow 14-year-old daughters to spend long periods of time alone with a boy realize that they are placing vulnerable girls at risk?  A girl’s protective boundary of modesty and inhibition gradually breaks down with each kiss, each touch, each pledge of love… even though the boy she’s with has no intention of marrying her or having children with her.

Maura confessed,  “It’s so very strange.  The more time I spend with my boyfriend, the more I need to be with him.”  Maura’s neurochemicals are doing what they were designed to do.

Here, then, is one of the failures of sex education.  Children are imagined as “sexual from birth.”  The wonders of sex and sexuality are dangled like carrots in front of them from early age through high school and beyond.  Then hands are washed when the educators say, “We told them to wait.”  But can anyone turn off the oxytocin?

Maura and I are talking about the glue of oxytocin.  I hope she is telling her friend Nichole.  Nichole has been in several intimate relationships.  She has “hooked up.”  She has “friends with benefits.”  It all seems so casual and harmless.  But, oxytocin is at work.  Every time that Nichole and her “friend” break up and she moves on to a new sexual partner, a bond is broken.  This is emotional.  Painful.  Sometimes paralyzing.

Being sexually intimate with one person, breaking up, and being sexually intimate with another is like a divorce.  Repeating this cycle again and again places a girl in danger of negative emotional consequences.  Sexual activity creates emotional bonds between partners.  Breaking these bonds can damage the brain’s natural connecting or bonding mechanism, cause depression, and even make it more difficult to bond in marriage.  Nichole doesn’t realize it, but her choices are in conflict with her own body and the way she was designed to function.

Sexual intimacy, as Maura has discovered, is addictive.  But through the honesty of a friend, she is learning why her body, mind and soul are so interconnected.  It is by Divine Design.  As her friend, I can’t force a change in her behavior but I can be a reminder of why God’s design for marriage matters.

If Nichole is your friend, too, will you speak up?  Will you tell her about the “glue” of oxytocin?  Will you help her unhook… and be set free to better navigate away from depression and hardness of heart?  Will you tell her how well her body has been woven together and why and by Whom?

This was first posted by Ezerwoman with appreciation to
Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D., and Freda McKissic Bush, M.D., authors of
Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children.

Unhooked and Set Free (Part 1)

two women walking on beachMaura is a young and spirited woman who invited me into her life.   She seems to welcome the experience of age and expresses the need for a “mother” figure.  Maura is intelligent.  More mature than most her age.  She has a tangible dream and works hard in college.  Maura displays all the normal feelings and emotions that come with being female.  But, there is more.  Wisdom speaks to Maura through her conscience.  The answers to my questions consistently reveal that Maura delights in all things of God… but, she is “hooked” to her boyfriend.

Her boyfriend’s words of love cause Maura to feel special so, when he has demands, she tries to please.    The warmth of his embrace encourages her loyalty, but his lack of commitment makes her vulnerable.  She clings to the relationships with hope that it will change.

Maura and I have talked at length about who and Whose she is.  Her eyes glisten when I explain that because of what Jesus Christ has done she is a daughter of God.  If too much time passes between our visits, I text with an invitation to walk or meet for lunch.  Rarely does Maura refuse.  She’s happy to bring me up to date, explaining her work and studies.  When the conversation turns to relationships, Maura smiles when she talks about her dad.  “I’m happy when I’m with him.  I feel safe at home.”  But, when I inquire about her boyfriend, Maura’s smile always fades.

One day, Maura seemed less confident.  More sad.  She uttered not one positive or hopeful word about her boyfriend.  “So,” I asked, “why do you stay with him?”  Her shoulders drooped.  She stared past me with no particular focus.  She sighed, then almost seemed to shutter.  “He isn’t good for me,” she confessed.  “But, it’s so very strange.  After we’ve been– you know–together, the harder it is to think about breaking up.”

The honesty of our friendship compelled me to take a deep breath… then look into her eyes.  “Maura, you’ve fallen into a bad habit… and now you’re hooked.”  Tears that flowed were evidence of the tug-of-war for Maura’s heart but also for her mind and soul.

Maura is “hooked” not because she is uneducated, but because she is wrongly educated.  Maura is “hooked” not because she missed out on “Sexuality 101″ but because she was encouraged at a young age to “be comfortable with her sexuality.”  The well-worn saying goes, “Our parents were too quiet about sex.  We need to inform our kids.”  All the information in the world, however, does not necessarily help children and teens.   The “feeling” part of the brain is in fine working order at a young age, but the judgment part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) is not fully developed until the late teens or early twenties.

Maura is “hooked” not because she doesn’t have a protective dad, but because in his fear he believes that he’s helping his “sexual” daughter by putting her on the Pill and shooting her up with Gardasil.  But does he know why his daughter’s young body isn’t ready for sex?  Does he know what affect years of chemicals and hormones will have on his daughter?  Does he know that he is needed to set boundaries because his daughter lacks good judgment when oxytocin floods her brain?

Maura is “hooked” by a culture that daily sexualizes children.  Maura is convinced that sexy clothes and sensually intimate behavior are normal and expected.  But if she is so normal, why is she so unhappy?  Why does her heart ache?  Why does her soul seem troubled?  Maura is in conflict with herself because she lacks vital information beginning with the simple fact that male and female are different.

Maura is “hooked” by the claws of militant feminists who deny gender differences.  They have worked long and hard to minimize, manage and misrepresent everything that is girlish and womanly.   No one informed Maura that her female brain predisposes her to yearn for love, understanding, connection, and communication.  No one informed Maura that her chemistry promotes attachment and trust of her boyfriend.  No one told Maura that her female wiring causes her to take risks by overlooking her boyfriend’s shortcomings.  Maura’s unique physiological vulnerability to intimate behavior was never explained because that would be a “gender stereotype.”

Maura knows her relationship isn’t what it should be.  As a Christian, she knows it isn’t what God desires for her.  But, even if she wasn’t a Christian, she would sense that something was wrong.  What is wrong is that educators in “sexuality” have wrongly identified  Maura as a “sexual being”.  But she is so much more than a body overwhelmed by feelings, urges and desires.  She is a head that can think, a heart that can love and a soul that will endure beyond this lifetime.

As Maura’s friend and mentor, I have promised not to fail her by repeating foolishness.  There is one truth for Maura… and all the rest of us.  It is the truth of our design.  Divine design.  This design by God is evidenced by our anatomy, pure biology and credible scientific study.  It is evidenced by the consequences of our choices and behaviors.

The bottom line for me is that Maura matters.  So, we are discussing a new life — unhooked and set free.  Set free to be more of what God created her to be.

Recommended reading:
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
Unprotected
This was first posted by Ezerwoman

Sex Education in the Church

My book coverOn May 29, 2014, Todd Wilken helped his listeners learn more about the new book entitled The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity.  The book is available on Amazon.

Please listen to the interview (following a brief commercial) by clicking Sex Education in the Church

Too Long at the Animal Circus

creepy circus clowns“Sexuality” appears to be the one “right” above all others. It dictates how things are done in the marketplace, classroom, court of law, and military. It even threatens to re-define marriage.

How did this come to be? I think it’s because we stayed too long at the animal circus.

At the animal circus, children are wrongly identified. They are not seen as their Heavenly Father sees them, but as people of a different faith want to see them. “Children,” said Alfred Kinsey, “are sexual from birth.” Kinsey didn’t mean that children are either a boy or a girl. He meant that children can enjoy and benefit from early sexual activity.

Something smelled foul in the circus tent but those who wanted to hear that even children are defined by their “sexuality” — indeed, their sexual desires and inclinations, were ecstatic. Others, including many Christians, were troubled but decided to accept the data of this “social scientist” and examine human sexuality in light of his “new information”. Kinsey made a mockery of science. Nevertheless, he and other humanists such as John Money, Mary Calderone and Lester Kirkendall set in place a social movement that changed the way we see our children and each other. Children were sexualized and imagined as little more than animal-like beings captive to urges and desires.

The “progressive” folk among us already knew they were “animal-like.” Charles Darwin said so and many believed him. All who resisted the God who creates life and, therefore, has authority over that life determined that now they had “license” to do as they pleased. Piggy-backing (how animal-like!) on the theory of Darwin, Kinsey plunged into “scientific” study with the goal of breaking down all sexual inhibitions. Kinsey’s “scientific” study has been exposed as fraudulent and criminal. (See resources below.) Yet the distorted truth of a psychologically twisted and sexually deviant Kinsey seems to have more influence on our present culture than God’s Word. Kinsey and other secular humanists lured parents, pastors and teachers away from guarding purity, modesty, and the innocence of children. The animal circus of sex education went on the road.

“Get your tickets here!” cried Kinsey. “Come one, come all!” cried Mary Calderone of SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.). Four generations have been trained to believe that “sexuality is our entire selves, influences us in every way, and encompasses everything” but left clueless about what it means to be male or female. Sex education has equipped boys and girls to be sexual, not relational; all about me, rarely about others; less inhibited, but more at risk; and far more hopeless than hopeful.

We’ve been too long at the animal circus. What is the evidence?

  • Parents assume that their children will be sexually active.
  • Too many young women are held captive by the political correctness of feminism and denied the biological facts that explain why a female body is more vulnerable than a male body physically and psychologically. (Visit Miriam Grossman, M.D. or read her book, Unprotected.)
  • The brains of young men and women have been “re-wired” and addicted to sex. (Read Hooked by Joe McIlhaney, M.D., or You’re Teaching My Child What? by Miriam Grossman, M.D.)
  • An increased number of husbands and wives who have partnered intimately with others prior to their marriage are discontent and in search of having their “needs” better satisfied.
  • Pregnancy resource centers hearing from adolescent girls who consider themselves “normal” because they dress “hot” and have casual sex but can’t understand why they are “not happy” or “content”.
  • Girls demanding the “right” to “shower together” during church retreats and experiment on Christian campuses with bi-sexual and lesbian lifestyles. (These examples from personal testimonies.)

The Church stands guilty. Fearful and not wanting to be irrelevant, Christians filed God’s Word on sexual purity under “Unrealistic.” Willingly or unwilling, they adapted the ways of circus trainers to keep pace with the world. Too many Christians assumed that as long as Jesus was part of sex education, their children would be all right. But they are not all right. Children pay the price every time we try to wrap Jesus around the foolishness of the world.

Nowhere in Scripture does God identify male and female as “sexual beings”.  He does not call male and female to be “sexual” but to be “holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16).  God created male and female to be so much more than our urges, desires and perceived “needs”. We are, by His design, persons of great significance with bodies, minds and souls. We are male or female and, no matter if we are young or old, single or married, we can live in relationship to our brothers, sisters and neighbors. We can work and play side by side without any hint of sexual intimations.

Is there hope? Yes… away from the animal circus.

Away from the animal circus, we are better able to see children as God sees them. Each child is God’s own (Isaiah 64:8) and called by name (43:1) to be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21).

Followers of Christ Jesus need to abandon the animal circus. The structure is unsound and the tent began to collapse long ago.

Resources:
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)
Stolen Honor, Stolen Innocence by Judith Reisman, Ph.D.
(Original title Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences)
The Children of Table 34 (google for Youtube video)
The Kinsey Syndrome (DVD)

This post was first written 3-23-2011 and posted by Ezerwoman

Significance & Permanent Place of Clothing (#5 in series)

wedding feastIs clothing a thing indifferent?  In His parable of the wedding feast, Jesus has something to say about the significance of clothing.

But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless” (Matt. 22:11-12).

In the tradition of the Israelites, invited guests were expected to wear festive wedding garments.  Such garments could be provided by the host.  So, when the man fails to dress in appropriate clothing freely given to him, he offends the host.  Jesus was not describing party attire here.  The garment freely offered by the host signifies the righteousness of God, which covers our sin” (cf Is. 61:10; Gal. 3:27).

Revelation 16:15 explains more about the significance and permanent place of clothing.

Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed.”

White garments serve as a symbol for Christian righteousness which is bestowed through Christ at Baptism. Here, again, we are reminded of our earthly and eternal identity: we are holy as opposed to sexual; uncommon and useable by God as opposed to common and useable by anyone. Revelation 19:8 speaks about the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus) to His Bride (the Church), saying:

It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”

Commentary on this verse explains that the bride’s preparations for the marriage are the result of God’s grace and Spirit, not simply her own efforts.  The saints’ righteous deeds which, in this passage are identified with spiritual adornment, are a gift granted by God and not a human achievement.  (The Lutheran Study Bible, 2228.)

Nakedness, modesty and clothing should take on a new meaning for children of God.  If we infer that embarrassment is unnecessary or even unnatural, then I believe that we might actually do a disservice to children and ourselves.

There is no shame in blushing. It’s natural, too!  When the wind whips up a woman’s skirt, she quickly responds by pulling it down. I’ve watched girls in strapless dresses with their boyfriends out dining before prom who are so distracted by tugging and tucking that I can’t help but wonder: What will they do when the dancing begins?

To be embarrassed about nakedness is God’s natural protection for our body and spirit. We cannot separate the physical and spiritual parts of our body. The two affect each other. In this world, men and women see each other through sin-damaged eyes. We are too easily tempted to wrong thought or action by a warped vision and perspective. We owe our sons and daughters the truth about nakedness and the reason for clothing. The world cares little, if at all, about our vulnerability. It is God, because of His great love for us, who wants us covered. When we are not, God uses natural emotions of shame and embarrassment for our benefit.

Physical clothing actually affords brothers and sisters in Christ—married or single—more freedom to interact with one another in their vocations of biblical manhood and womanhood.  They are less distracted and able to do the work laid before them, whether that is studying in class or clerking in a store. As baptized sons and daughters of God in Christ, we are dressed in preparation for heaven. We are not left naked—physically or spiritually. God covers our body and spirit with appropriate clothing so that we are less vulnerable and tempted to stray away from Jesus who waits for our meeting with Him in heaven.

It cannot please God when an adult tries to remove a child’s embarrassment. Embarrassment and shame, like guilt, can move all of us to the Cross where repentant sinners can robe up in Jesus’ righteousness. More than anything, we should want to help our children appreciate Jesus’ robe of righteousness which makes them holy in God’s eyes. Wearing that robe, children of God are called not to sensual living, but holy living.

From Chapter 14, Questions 88 & 89
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett, Copyright 2014 Titus 2 for Life
Our Identity Matters

Physical and Spiritual Clothing (#4 in series)

robe of righteousnessEvery person conceived and born after the Fall is a sinner. Every person who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is a saint. Clothing, which is significant in Scripture, speaks to both of these identities.

After the Fall, a loving God provided Adam and Eve with two kinds of clothing. Coats of animal skins covered their physical body, but the covering of Jesus Christ was promised for their spiritual body. As forgiven sinners, we are clothed in the garment of salvation which is the robe of righteousness given freely to us by Jesus Christ (Isa. 61:10). Wearing the robe of His Son, God sees us as holy. However, it is a consequence of the fallen world that men and women see each other through sin-tainted eyes. For this reason, God tells women to dress modestly—in a way that professes faith—so that they do not tempt an admiring man by way of false glory to sinful thoughts or deeds.

Adam and Eve covered only certain parts of themselves with fig leaves, but God designed clothes to cover their bodies. From this we know that Adam and Eve could not sufficiently cover themselves physically (nakedness) or spiritually (works righteousness). The work of their hands was neither acceptable nor enough. There was absolute necessity for the full covering and righteousness of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Today, whenever we consider clothing, we can remember that its purpose is to cover our bodies and protect us from our own corrupted thoughts.

Here is where instruction in purity does what sex education does not. Clothing is not usually considered very significant in sex or sexuality education. But to help male and female of any age understand that we are called to a lifestyle of purity means that we must talk about clothing.

From Chapter 14, Question 87
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett, Copyright 2014 Titus 2 for Life
Our Identity Matters

Clothing Outside the Garden (#3 in series)

adam and eve outside gardenHusbands and wives in Christ can be pleased by God’s design for sexuality and be unashamed in nakedness, but our corrupted nature reminds us that we no longer live in the Garden.

At the time when Adam and Eve were completely naked and without embarrassment (Gn. 2:25), the world was perfect. Man and wife had no lustful thoughts. There was no such word as “sexy;” instead, the word was “holy.” God covered animals with fur, feathers, scales, and so on. But God covered man and woman with His glory. And why wouldn’t He? He made male and female in His image. God Himself is covered in glory (Ps. 104:1-2; Isa. 61:3-10).

Sin changed everything for Adam and Eve—and all of us. Their eyes were opened and they knew that they were naked (Gn. 3:7). Nakedness was no longer “good.” Their sin left them exposed and vulnerable. New emotions of embarrassment and shame caused them to cover themselves with fig leaves. They sewed for themselves a loincloth and bikini of fig leaves but, still very embarrassed, ran to hide. God could have left Adam and Eve in their naked and hopelessly sinful state but He had loving compassion. Before He sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden, God did something for them that only a merciful God can do. He knew that a bikini or loincloth of fig leaves would not be enough covering in the sinful world so He covered them with garments of skins.

Martin Luther writes,

Here Adam and Eve are dressed in garments by the Lord God Himself. Whenever they looked at their garments, these were to serve as a reminder to them to give thought to their wretched fall from supreme happiness into the utmost misfortune and trouble. Thus they were to be constantly afraid of sinning, to repent continually, and to sigh for the forgiveness of sins through the promise Seed. This is also why He clothed them, not in foliage or in cotton but in the skins of slain animals, for a sign that they are mortal and that they are living in certain death. (Commentary on Genesis 3:21, The Lutheran Study Bible)

No man or woman on this earth, not even husbands and wives, would ever look at one another in the way that Adam and Eve did before sin. Original sin put corruption into our human nature and radically impaired our desires. Now what God created to be “good” nearly always brings forth evil desires. Not even the loving and procreative act of sex made for the faithfulness of marriage between one man and one woman would, on this earth, be quite the same.

Clothing was unnecessary in the Garden.  But we are not in the Garden anymore.  Clothing can remind the baptized Christian, single or married, that we are washed and robed in Christ who calls us to a life more holy than sexy.

From Chapter 14, Question 86
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett, Copyright 2014 Titus 2 for Life
Our Identity Matters