Think You Are Gay? Jesus Says: Come!

crown of thorns with cross

Jesus Christ welcomes sinners.  He wants us to acknowledge and repent of our sins, but He does not identify us by our sinful desires and inclinations.

It is for this reason that I, a confessional Lutheran, am appreciative of the documentary produced by Blackstone Films to help the Catholic Church share its view on homosexuality.  The film is entitled The Third WayMercatorNet notes that even though it is “not perfect” and features “stereotypical religious” settings, the film is powerfully compelling because of the “authentic, convincing and coherent” voices of seven men and women who live with same-sex attraction.  These men and women  do not deny their personality nor do they argue that same-sex attraction must lead to same-sex lifestyle and same-sex “marriage”.  They confess that homosexuality is a sin even as they confess the struggle to live self-controlled and pure lives.  In the struggle, however, comes joy.  Joy comes when we relinquish our own identity and, in Jesus Christ, see ourselves the way God sees us.

The Word tells us to remember Whose we are and to live accordingly.  In Baptism, Jesus assures our true identity as sons and daughters of God through His sacrificial and redemptive work.  What does this mean?  It means that we are daily called to resist the devil, the world, and our own sinful nature.  It means that we are not common for use by anyone, but uncommon for use in the hands of the holy God.

I am especially appreciative of The Third Way because, for many years, I have been moved by the stories of men and women who were caught in a lifestyle shaped by the lie of a homosexual identity.  Their life experiences and encouragement of the Holy Spirit motivate me to speak Truth on their behalf.  Forgiven of every sin, the repentant sinner stands at the foot of the Cross where we hear Jesus say: Come!  Deny yourself!  Take up your cross and follow Me!  Lose your life and in Me you will find it.  (Matthew 16:24-25).

Please.  Take the time to watch this film.  Its message is for all who are deceived by mistaken identity.

Linda Bartlett is the author of
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (Amazon)

Shall We Stir Their Desires?

candy store

Male and female do have a “sexual” side that includes more than sexual organs but also desires and feelings.  With that in mind, shouldn’t we help our children become acquainted with that part of themselves?

We have sexual organs, feelings, and desires for a special purpose, but little boys and girls are not interested in or ready for that special purpose.  Children cannot be lovers and marry but they can be friends.  They can work and play together.  Not until they are mature should they think about relating to one another as lovers.  A Christian parent or teacher should not stir up ideas of sexual love because, in God’s world, sexual love leads to the establishment of the home into which new life comes.  No child is ready for this privilege and responsibility.

Children need the discerning wisdom of parents who trust God’s Word more than voices of the world.  Christian parents are well acquainted with sin.  We are born in sin.  We battle sin daily; therefore, in a highly sexualized culture, it is not helpful to give detailed sexual information to adolescents who are just beginning to experience new emotions and thoughts about themselves but who do not have the ability to discern the proper use of that information.

Imagine if we described to a child the most delicious candy he could ever want.  We walk with that child by the candy store to look in the window, but tell him he must not go in.  We promise him that the day will come when he can enter the store and enjoy some of the candy he sees on display.  We talk with him about the candy all the way home.  During the week, we ask him if he has any questions about candy.  What desire have we stirred in him?  What will he think of candy?  Will he be curious about candy and desire a taste right now?

Our sinful human flesh too easily desires what it should not have.  Our flesh, like human instinct, cannot be trusted.  Obeying human instinct is like obeying people.  But people, with all kinds of opinions, tell us different things.  So do our instincts.  In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis reminds us that our instincts are at war; each instinct, if we listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest.  So it is with our flesh.  Our flesh carries the sin inherited from our first parents.  Our sinful human flesh is fickle, selfish and easily deceived.  Better than helping young people be at ease with their flesh is helping them to stand guard.

In Gethsemane, Jesus knew His disciples would intend to be faithful.  Nevertheless, He said, “Watch and pray that you  may not enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).  For this reason, the faithful parent or instructive adult begins early to teach a child their identity and purpose in Christ, explain the order of God’s creation, and set boundaries for behavior.  God’s Word teaches self-control.  Parents need to help children practice self-control even as they model it themselves.  We are like athletes in training, but our prize is not perishable (1 Co. 9:25-26; 1 Tim. 4:7-12).

From The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (pp. 9-98)
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)

 

Identity Affects Behavior

potter's hands verticalThere is an inevitable result of identifying myself as a “sexual being.”  Such thinking will affect the way I fear, love and trust God. It will affect the way I act in His presence and understand His purpose for my life. It will also tempt me to see God in a way He is not.

As a fallen creature, I have a troublesome habit of projecting onto the Creator God my idea of Him based upon how I see myself. If I see myself as His daughter in Christ, I will be more inclined to recognize Him for who He is and acknowledge His authority. But if I see myself as “sexual being,” then I will be more inclined to define God according to my human perspective and on my human terms and less inclined to acknowledge His authority. This corrupts the image of God. Why? Because God does not bear the image of man nor is He sexual or sensual. God is holy.

God mandates holiness and He reveals its source. It is nothing other than Himself, His very essence and character. God is holy and expects me to conform to Him. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pet. 1:14-16).

It is not absolutely necessary that I experience the joy of “one flesh” in biblical marriage, but it is absolutely necessary that I should be holy. That which is sexual should never be viewed as a way to become more intimate with God nor should it become the intrinsic identity of the male and female first made in the image of God. In my Baptism, I put on the “new self” which is “the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

Identity affects my behavior. Let’s imagine that I am pregnant but contemplating an abortion. I need to ask, “What is it? What is this that I want to abort?” Women have explained to me that when the doctor called their unborn child a “blob of tissue,” it made the wrong thing that they knew they were doing much easier to do.  If I identify myself as a “sexual being” and my child as a “choice,” then I may fail to guard the treasure for which Jesus died.  I may fall into fear, then into idolatry.  It is then that I will find arguments for abortion, adultery, homosexuality and the counterfeiting or abolition of marriage.

The mistaken identity of “sexual from birth” tempts me to please myself. God did not have this in mind, so He does not identify me in this way because that phrase confuses my created femaleness with the corrupted state of my current sexual desires. A “sexual” identity is all about “me.” It means being in debt to my own flesh and bound to live according to its fickle ways. But a “holy” identity is all about God claiming me as His dear child in Christ. In Christ, my fallen nature has no claim on me. My flesh side may tempt me, saying, “This is who I am,” or “I owe it to myself,” but I am not obligated to obey its impulses or satisfy its desires. Why? Because I “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear” (Rom. 8:15). What a difference this makes in the way I live and who I worship.

In the biblical context, holy usually means “set apart for God”. It means being different from the sensual world. I am “His own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9). As a “temple of God,” I have no agreement with idols (2 Cor. 6:16). This means no foolish or improper talk of sexual desire, no crude joking or teasing of the imagination. My purpose in this world flows from my identity as God’s holy one. My purpose is to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called me” (1 Pet. 2:9). My behavior, just like my identity, is not common. Something that is common is useable by anyone. But I am useable by God. My conduct as a baptized child of God— indeed, “holy one” or saint— should not reflect the ways of the sinful world, but reflect God’s ways.

I am called to be “a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). God is the master. The house is my body. My good work is to turn the heads of others toward the master and away from myself. “[B]e holy in all your conduct” (1 Pet. 1:15). Why? Because I was created for God’s glory, not my own. I am to “walk as [a child] of light . . . and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph. 5:8-10).

Adapted from
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett, Amazon

If I’m So Normal, Why Am I So Unhappy?

unhappy girlThe young women who find their way to the Lighthouse, a pregnancy and parenting resource center in my home town, might seem familiar to you. Actually, they could be your neighbor’s daughter, your pastor’s daughter or your daughter. They are not “bad” girls; rather, they are “normal” girls.

A negative pregnancy test provides opportunity to talk about their “normal” lives. One young woman, with goals of finishing high school and going on to college, opened the door to that conversation with a heartfelt confession. “I don’t understand. I’m not any different from my Facebook friends. I’m not any different from the people on TV. I dress like the models in my favorite magazines and do the things everyone else says they are doing. But if I’m so normal, why am I so unhappy?”

As a campus psychiatrist at UCLA, Dr. Miriam Grossman spent a lot of time with “normal” but “unhappy” young women. These educated women with goals of med school, performing arts or corporate law had little in life to complain about. They had active social lives, enough money and caring families. “Life is good,” they would tell Dr. Grossman, “so why do I feel so depressed? So emotionally stressed? So worthless?”

“If I’m so normal, why am I so unhappy?” This question—asked in small town pregnancy centers and on Ivy League campuses—should tug at the heart and soul of every pro-life parent, grandparent and pastor. “No amount of Prozac or Zoloft,” writes Dr. Grossman, “is going to solve this problem. These young women must, for their physical and emotional well-being, change their lifestyle.”

Change their lifestyle? But aren’t young women today more liberated than ever before? Haven’t the barriers that prevented complete happiness been chipped away? Isn’t it true that women can compete with men in sports, the workplace and the bedroom? It’s true, but all the supposed liberation in the world only puts us in conflict with ourselves.

In Genesis 1: 27, we learn that God created humans to be male and female. Later, and with more detail (Genesis 2), we learn that God created male and female at different times, in different ways and for different purposes. Try to ignore it if you will but a woman is built to bear and nurture children.

Matters of a woman’s heart are influenced by her biological design. Yes, my feminist friends, I said biological design. “The blurring of differences between male and female,” writes Dr. Grossman, “is a radical agenda unsupported by hard science.” One of the failures of nearly every kind of sex education, including Christianized sex education, is that we lump boys and girls together as equally “sexual beings” who just need more information and more comfort with their sexuality. But Dr. Marianne Legato, founder and director of the Partnership for Gender Specific Medicine at Columbia University, sees women’s health as more than a political or feminist issue because women differ from men in every system of their body.

It would seem that this important piece of biblical and scientific truth has been withheld from the young women who carry the burdens of depression, disease, fear, and broken hearts in the door of the Lighthouse and every other pregnancy center across this country.

Matters of a woman’s heart, by design, are connected to the love of one man, home and family. At the Lighthouse, however, we see young women who’ve been disconnected from all that is naturally womanly—most especially anything related to motherhood and childbearing—as something to be managed, minimized or even overcome. They have been shot up with Gardacil and soon after, like a right of passage, ceremoniously prescribed the Pill. They are prodded onto the football field, wrestling mat and arena of combat—no “holds barred”—which puts them at odds with their own biological and psychological functions and renders them more vulnerable. In abstinence class, they are reminded over and over again that sex is the most wondrous of all earthly gifts but not to be opened until marriage after first getting their degree, securing a good job and paying off loans. However, next to their heart is a biological clock that “tick, tick, ticks” the years of fertility away.

Girls have been told that they are no less sexual than any boy and have every right to enjoy the pleasantries of intimacy. But most girls have not been told about oxytocin, the neurochemical that floods a woman’s brain during a cuddle or a kiss. By design, oxytocin promotes trust and serves to bond a woman to the man she is with. Oxytocin at work in a wife who is sexually intimate with her husband helps produce long-term connectedness which is good for children.

But bonding is like glue. It can’t be undone or ripped apart without great emotional pain. Once, I asked a young woman why she was spending nights with her boyfriend. She responded, “Well I was hoping that if I did, he would ask me to marry him.” During another visit, she told me how much she liked tending “their” garden and decorating “their” house. “But,” I asked, “when it’s the end of the day and you sleep over, whose bed do you sleep in? Do you think of it as his… or ‘ours’”? Her eyes dropped. Her shoulders slumped. She whispered, “It’s his.”

A great many young women, despite the cultural acceptance of multiple partners, want to be married to one man and make a nest for their children. But a woman’s consent to play house without commitment of marriage actually encourages many young men to postpone marriage.

“I’m just doing what everyone else is doing. I’m normal.” So then why is this girl so depressed and unhappy? Because it is simply abnormal for a woman to be in conflict with the design of her own body. “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who frustrates the signs of liars . . . who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish” (Isaiah 44:24-25).

At the Lighthouse, we take matters of the heart very seriously. We want to guard the physical and spiritual health of a young woman just as we want to guard her right to a childhood, right to girlhood, and right to maidenhood.

This was first written as an article for LifeDate (LFL).
Linda Bartlett is co-founder/president of the Lighthouse Center of Hope
and author of The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity

(Amazon – Our Identity Matters)
Miriam Grossman, M.D., is the author of Unprotected (Amazon).

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

Modesty on Sunday Only? (#2 in series)

girl thinking by windowThe outward adornment of a woman who professes faith in Christ should reflect her inner beauty and identity as a baptized daughter of God. This is true especially in worship but, because women are always in the presence of God and men, it is true for all times.

1 Timothy 2:9-10 encourages women to “adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” The Christian woman is called by God to profess godliness every day of the week in her vocation of “helper” (Gn. 2:18) whether she is in class, at work, or having fun. She should refrain from being proud and sensual but can be generous with “good works” that help men think about what is honorable and pure.

Identity matters. How we dress says something about who we think we are. Focused on an identity of being “sexual,” it is easier for girls and women to disregard self-restraint and responsibility in favor of personal rights. Dressing “sexy” can have a powerful influence on our feelings and, therefore, the decisions made based on those feelings. But if girls learn to see themselves as daughters of God in Christ, then they will be encouraged to dress in a way that calls attention not to themselves, but to their Father.

Women who see themselves as God sees them help their brothers in Christ better navigate the journey of life to their eternal destination.

From Chapter 14, Question 85
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett, Copyright 2014 Titus 2 for Life
Our Identity Matters

The Language of Clothing (#1 in series)

what label are you wearingDoes clothing speak?  Does how we dress say something about who we think we are?

With eyes open, it appears that clothing even for Christians is a thing indifferent. Younger (and older) women too often approach the Lord’s Table clothed in eye-catching attire not dissimilar from the women one might see working the corner of Hollywood and Vine. From time to time, I ask teen girls and their moms if they would be comfortable wearing their lingerie or bra and panties out in the front yard or going shopping. “Of course not,” they proclaim, “no way!” But how is their bikini any different?

As a wife and mom, I strive to see the world through the eyes of my husband, sons and grandsons. They are sorely put to the test. For example, there was the time when a beautiful and well-endowed woman waited on the table of my family. The cross the server was wearing hung low and visible between her breasts, but where were the eyes of my husband and sons invited to focus: upon the cross or somewhere else?

Sex education turns the eyes of boys to the bodies of girls.  It turns the eyes of girls to the bodies of boys. Sex education teaches that there is no shame in the human body. After all, as this thinking goes, God made our wondrous bodies. But this thinking ignores the fact that sin has corrupted our desires. This thinking may unconsciously encourage girls to become temptresses. Sometimes a young woman is completely unaware that she is being a temptress. She is, perhaps, uneducated in godly womanhood, dressing “like everyone else” or unaware that immodest clothing draws a man’s attention. There are other women who know full well that sensual clothing invites attention and this is how they exercise power over men.

We may hear people claim that clothing is a matter of “Christian liberty;” it is simply a personal choice. “Sexy,” they say, is just part of being female. It is, as I have been told, “showing my best assets.” But showing them to whom and for what reason? To believe it is a “liberty” to wear clothes designed to highlight certain parts of the body is to be fooled. Foolishness puts us at risk.

For the sake of young women and men, let’s be honest. There is a reason why the marketing industry uses scantily-clad women to sell products. There is a reason why the procurers of prostitutes want their “working girls” to dress the way they do. That reason is sin. It is sin when one person uses another person to gain power or financial profit. Young women need to know that they are more—far more—than objects of pleasure for display. Failing to speak about clothing as God’s protective covering for their bodies puts them at risk of being identified not as He created them, but as the world sees them. It removes respect. It places them in conflict with themselves and compromises their true identity. It sets young men up for temptation, frustration, and trouble. A young Christian woman in college told me that she never gave much thought to the way she dressed until the day her boyfriend blurted out, “Do you know what you’re doing to me?”

A classroom educator might try to explain to a young woman that a man’s eyes rest easily on a woman’s body. It is, however, far more appropriate and protective when a father explains the virtue of modesty to his daughter. He can explain to her that before sin Adam could gaze upon Eve’s body in appreciation for what God had made, but that after sin his eyes would distort that appreciation. It is also the father who best explains to his son how to avoid the temptress. The father’s warning away from the temptress in Proverbs 7 is wisdom to his son:

At the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have  . . . perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.  And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.  she is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home . . . let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths. (Prov. 7:6-11; 25)

The father in Proverbs 7 wanted his son to know that identity matters.  Even what we choose to wear says something about who we think we are.

From Chapter 14, Question 84
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromise Purity
by Linda Bartlett ~ Copyright 2014 Titus 2 for Life
Our Identity Matters

My “Thesis” Is Published!

My book coverWithout fanfare or ceremony, the deed is done!  I have just completed nearly two years of writing a book.

On May 2, 2014, it was officially published and made available on Amazon.  There is enough left in my well of words to say “thank you” to an extraordinarily patient and helpful support team.  You know who you are.

The title of the book is The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity.  It is not the book I dreamed of writing.  It is the book I was compelled to write after thirty years of working with and listening to parents and the children they care about.

The book is 250 pages with over 230 footnotes.  No, I’m not in graduate school, but yes, this is my thesis. It is a dissertation that covers more than the controversial subject of sex education.  It explains how humanists bestowed a mistaken identity upon our children and why, nearly a half century later, Christians still nod their approval.  Yet, everywhere I go, I hear people ask, “Why are children sexualized?” The fact that a book like this hasn’t already been written tells me that too many of us have been deceived about our identity.

Christians live in a foreign land.  We are called to be uncommon, but have accepted the common ways of our neighbors.  We have let the unbelievers identify us.

The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity is a “catechism” for parents, pastors, teachers, those struggling with sexual temptations, and everyone who is concerned about the sexualization of children.

For fifty years, Christians and non-Christians alike have been taught to believe that “children are sexual from birth”.  Nowhere in Scripture does God describe children this way.  The phrase was coined by a humanist named Alfred Kinsey who believed infants and children can enjoy and benefit from early sexual activity.  His social science was wrong, but his research was widely accepted.  Our nation and even the Church were set on a dangerous course.  By accepting Kinsey’s data and the expertise of other like-minded humanists, the Church played a role in bestowing a mistaken identity, compromising purity for multiple generations, and ultimately putting human lives at risk.

A false identity has both temporal and eternal ramifications.  With painstaking care, I have attempted to explain why the Church can no longer participate in a tragically flawed social experiment and going beyond diagnosis, I propose a hopeful, radical and thoroughly biblical remedy.

There is no personal delight in pointing out error.  I have persevered with this project because I am motivated by love for my own children and grandchildren and by love for God’s Word.  For the sake of all children, I believe that Christians need to know the origin of sex education, then ask:

  • What fellowship has light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)?
  • Upon what foundation have we built?
  • Young or old, single or married, who does God say that I am and what does this mean?

For the sake of generational holiness and purity, it is my prayer that we encourage honest and kind dialogue.  The 107 questions and answers I offer in my book are a good place to start.

Curious?  Please visit Our Identity Matters to learn more.

The book may be ordered from Amazon.