Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Selah

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
Psalm 119:9

It's been about twelve or thirteen years now.
Twelve or thirteen years since I led one of my first workshops for girls on choosing and maintaining a lifestyle of purity.

Twelve or thirteen years since I had my eyes opened to the expanding struggles and definitions and technologies and fight for our kids' purity.

Because it was in the class, led in my home, in a safe environment, in a place where these precious 13 and 14 year old girls felt free to share, that I realized the extent of that battle. All of these girls were being raised in homes of faith, all of them attending church regularly, all of them going to church camp and youth group and prayer groups.

And yet. And yet,

We were failing them.

Failing them.

Because as a whole, we were not encouraging open talks about temptations and challenges and trends. And these kids were struggling. Struggling. With all manner of sexual sin. And they were not boys, not wild party girls, not kids who had no access to faith. I didn't want a repeat of my youth group experience when it came to seeking information and answers.

The 'talks' of my youth were inadequate. I remember maybe one youth event in which an anonymous question was shakily written and placed in a question box. When the visiting youth minister fished it out at a youth conference and read it ("When you're dating someone, how far is too far?"), he shook with fury and scolded all assembled that this kind of question simply revealed the sinfulness of the asker's heart, revealed someone looking for loopholes and excuses.

But while I wasn't the one who put that question in the box, I thought it was a brave question. An important question. One that I hadn't been courageous enough to ask. But it was the question on many of our hearts, as our spiritual preparation was only being given basic biology facts and an admonition to 'behave' ourselves. I've been very passionate in my ministry today to be very open about such matters, to talk and listen, to, yes, sometimes make people uncomfortable. But I'm convinced these are conversations that MUST take place.

There have been some advances in recent years in the church. I see more material, more open discussion.

But we still have a long way to go.

The percentage of people viewing online 'adult' material is the same, whether you are surveying people of faith or without faith. The very same. And studies now show that women are involved in viewing online 'adult' material at a rate of 1 in 3. Those are certainly numbers that play out in situations where Mike and I try to help strengthen marriages and listen to people's challenges.

We had a fantastic guest speaker in today. Craig Gross runs a unique ministry (you can visit his website by clicking here) and I want to encourage you to head over to his site. We owe it to the Body to have these conversations.


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