Identity: Inseparable from Sexuality?

robe of righteousness

That’s what Christopher Yuan thought.

As a young man, Christopher struggled with homosexual desires. He prayed that God would change him. When God did not, Christopher gave up the struggle, believing, “This is who I am.” While serving time in prison for drug-dealing, Christopher confessed his sexual identity to a chaplain who told him that Scripture doesn’t condemn homosexuality. Christopher was motivated to contrast the information given to him by the chaplain with God’s Word of Scripture. In light of the Word, Christopher realized that “my identity shouldn’t be defined by my sexuality.”

Christopher writes,

Paul said in Acts 17:28, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” Christ should be everything—my all in all. My sexual orientation didn’t have to be the core of who I was. My primary identity didn’t have to be defined by my feelings or sexual attractions. My identity was not “gay” or “homosexual,” or even “heterosexual,” for that matter. But my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone.
God says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” I had always thought that the opposite of homosexuality was heterosexuality. But actually the opposite of homosexuality is holiness. God never said, “Be heterosexual, for I am heterosexual.” He said, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Christopher desired change. But, he writes, “change is not the absence of struggles; change is the freedom to choose holiness in the midst of our struggles.”

In The Book of Man, Bill Bennett tells about his friend who was recovering from life-threatening cancer. “His doctor told him that he could not work, exercise, or enjoy the other fruits of life,” explains Bennett, “all things that men pride themselves on. I asked him what hurts the most to be without. ‘Work,’ he said. ‘I don’t feel like a man. Work has more to do with me being a man than sex or muscle.’”

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

Who Does God Say That I Am?

woman shaped by PotterGod alone has the right to bestow my identity because “It is he who has made [me] and [I am] his” (Ps. 100:3). I am His creation (Gen. 1:27). All people were created in God’s image, not the image of animals. God is holy, not sexual, sensual, or captive to instincts. God says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16).

But the Fall into sin introduced horrible corruption to the human race, so that now the thoughts and desires of people are sinful and centered on serving the self (Gen. 6:5; Eph. 2:3). Christians, however, have been given the Holy Spirit who begins in them a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), and starts to re-form the image of God in them (Col. 3:10). All of us struggle with our sinful human nature because we are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, but we are not bound to that human nature because of the washing and renewal of our Baptism (Tit. 3:5-8). In my Baptism, Jesus Christ restored my identity as an “heir” of eternal life. I am strengthened to “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against [my] soul” (1 Pet. 2:11). Re-creation in Christ makes me God’s adopted child who is invited to cry “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15).

My body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” bought at great price (1 Cor. 6:19). I am a treasure of God for whom Jesus gave all He had. In Christ crucified, I reclaim my identity. Since Jesus is holy, God declares me holy through faith in Him. “I have called you by name,” God says. “You are mine” (Isa. 43:1). “‘I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18). Jesus spoke to my full person and human identity when He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk. 12:30).

I hold to a body-soul anthropology or understanding of the origin, nature and destiny of mankind as expressed in the Athanasian Creed. I believe I will be resurrected, not as a disembodied spirit, but with a perfect body joined with a perfect soul. In heaven, I will not be an angel but my resurrected body will be like that of angels (Matt. 22:30). I will neither marry nor be given in marriage. This is a sound argument against the idea that human beings are fundamentally “sexual”. If that were true, in the resurrection I would be somehow less than human.

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 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

Identity Theft

identity theftIn today’s world, we are all at risk of having our identity stolen.  We call this crime “identity theft”.

But do we realize that identity theft begins at birth?  Alfred Kinsey and other humanists attempted to steal away our true identity when they theorized that “children are sexual from birth”.  But children are not sexual from birth, not in the way that Kinsey meant.  It is not normal or beneficial for a child to engage in sexual activity.  While it is true that a boy or girl will, with maturity, develop sexual desires and have sexual inclinations, it is hardly true that a boy or girl should be defined by those desires or inclinations.  We are not, first and foremost, “sexual beings”.  We are male or female persons called by God’s name and created for His purpose.  We are not primarily “sexual beings” but spiritual beings with body, mind and soul.  Our identity and how we live based on that identity has eternal ramifications.

We humans are not the first to have our identity challenged.

Not long after His Baptism, the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness.  Satan literally challenged Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.

How did Jesus respond?  “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Matthew 4:7).

When Satan persisted in challenging Jesus’ identity, the Son of God replied, “Be gone, Satan!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’” (v.10).

In today’s world, there is the very real risk of “identity theft”.  It happens when our credit card or personal information is stolen.  It is a crime.

But the subtle and far more dangerous identity theft that is practiced by the culture and in sex education classrooms should be recognized and resisted by every believer in Jesus Christ.  When children are sexualized, we can respond, “Be gone, Satan!”

Let us not put the Lord God our Creator and Redeemer to the test.  He has made male and female for His glory and purpose, not our own.

He has called us by name.  We are His.

Please visit 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.