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Sex, Intimacy, and a Cautionary Tale (Yes I am a fan of the show) November 24, 2007

Posted by peterong in Asian American, sex.
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I know, I know, people have ranted, emailed me, and finally someone this past week told me that I have been a neglectful blogger…so I apologize, it has been a busy transition but there is so much that I am working through these past few months.

A few weeks ago I gave a talk called “Beyond Boundaries: Restoring Intimacy.” It was a talk about sex and intimacy and what God has to say about it. It was an extension of the talk I gave at the New York Summer Conference this past year as part of the Jesus Uncensored series and continued at the Eastern Chinese Bible Conference. Apparently I hit a nerve because I am getting a lot of invitations to give this talk at fellies and church conferences. After I gave the talk where I challenged the church to give permission to talk about this profound part of our lives. I have seen the damage it has caused because of the silence we have as a church. We don’t address it besides, “the bible says so…” and that is suppose to overcome this powerful sexual energy we carry around. Yet, I challenged them to reclaim it as a way for us to experience intimacy, to engage in the humanity of the other, and to be stewards of relationship that ultimately belong to God and their future spouse. I explained how sex can be so incredibly distorted to focus on the orgasm and not on the connectedness that it should be reserved for. I challenged them to not use each other to fulfill a sexual itch (What Mark Driscoll called “using women as toilets” when we seek to use our sisters simply as a means to release our urges). I had a Question and Answer at the end of the session.

It felt good to talk about this and I wished we talked more. But I realized this was just the beginning…After the talk, I received dozens of email describing their wounds and hurts from taking license in this area, a girl who was sexually and emotionally abused by her Christian boyfriend, another woman who is haunted by memories of being molested, brothers who confessed their pornographic addictions, a pastor shared with me about his lust for women in his congregation, a worship leader who slept with his girlfriend and others more. As I was praying, I was thankful for God bringing this to light but also knowing that this is beyond my abilities to address. But in some ways, I wanted to make them more open to listening and wrestling with this aspect of our lives.

One of the conversations that moved me the most was over coffee, I was meeting with a college student who was part of my youth ministry and as we talked about this issue, she mentioned that when she was a teen at church she dated another teen leader. She said how she lost respect for herself because what they were doing in private. She broke off the relationship and then started dating a non-Christian and all of a sudden she had a whole community reaching out to her and who wanted to get involved in her romantic life. She was hurt. Because she wondered “where were they when I needed them to hear my struggles? But when I started to date a non-Christian,  they were all ears but I needed them more when I was dating a Christian” (She recounted that her non-Christian boyfriend had more respect for her purity than the Christian…ouch).

This week, I am meeting with several folks who want to meet up to share their heaviness in their hearts about this. A young man is sharing that he found out the girl he is dating had been sexual with her ex-boyfriend who served as President of a major campus ministry. He is angry that this ex-boyfriend had taken advantage of her. So it breaks our relationships with each other as brothers too.

I feel there is more where this came from and I think we need to address this. Especially in the Asian American church, where our private worlds seems so hidden and dark. Where the unsavory elements of guilt, shame and “saving face” seem to overwhelm the freedom awaiting us in the gospel. We hide. We pretend. We put on an Oscar worthy performance that show our white-washed tombs. I know for myself, I am still reeling from my past experiences and although I see so many moments of pure repentance, I also find myself tangled in the soul numbing temptations that surround me.  But somehow, God has shown me that I need to place them before Him first and to His people as well.

One pastor called this openness a revival, another one said it was fallout. I am not sure what to make of it and it has in some ways the difficulty in talking about this topic is that it often involves another person. Another person’s shame. We don’t want that. We could share with each other what “I” did but if it means messing up the reputation of the “other” it becomes difficult. We feel like we need permission. So I sense there is a lot of the proverbial “skeletons in the closet” and the closet is bursting at the seams. On our college campuses we have young people who raise their hands as they worship God in the felly halls but in their dorms they are using their hands in other ways, we have leaders who are continuing to lead without a mention of what their private worlds are like (once again, they are simply a function for us as ministry workers), we have pastors who are left unchecked when they are “prepping” their sermons, and we have so many of our married couples who still don’t know how to have sex in a Godly healthy manner.

Our silence has murdered our call to purity. It has been this sin of omission that we are so afraid to ask and be asked of this area of our lives that has been a ground zero for so many of us.

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Comments»

1. Letitia - November 25, 2007

What a powerful and daring statement. Thank you for this!

*Letitia Wong*

2. LAK - November 25, 2007

Good stuff, Peter. I guess this goes along with the cheap intimacy talk that we had years and years ago. I also think that one of the reasons why pastors and other “holy” men (and women!) fall into sexual sin so easily and readily is because I think a person’s passion for God is directly related to sexual passion, i.e. BIG passion for God = BIG passion for sex. Even God talks about Israel prostituting herself…

3. crimson heart - November 26, 2007

let’s not forget about the Asian American culture too. sex is not appropriate for discussions for some reason. Asian parents don’t really talk about the “s” word since it is almost related to the “t” word (taboo) heck, my non-Christian parents never talk about it and im sure almost every other Asian American had the same experience. so .. AA culture + Christian faith … completely neglects the sex topic.

4. crimson heart - November 26, 2007

one more thing … oh im sure you knew all about that already.

5. Link Love 2 « Next Gener.Asian Church - November 27, 2007

[…] blogging hibernation to share his prophetic calling out of Asian American churches to talk about sex and intimacy. Our silence has murdered our call to purity. It has been this sin of omission that we are so […]

6. elderj - December 10, 2007

good post…. now can you help me help my AA students who seem to think that I’m as naive as they pretend to be about these issues?

7. Ray Li’s Blog - December 20, 2007

[…] is the unacknowledged and unacknowledgeable swampland beneath the church brochure of tidy scenery. Only a few are brave enough to confront and address it; the rest of us put on petty and hypocritical masks of […]

8. thecuttingtruth - December 21, 2007

Pete Rong,
glad to see someone gutsy enough to expose this underbelly of church life, warts & all. hope you don’t mind, but i’ve linked this site to a recent entry on my blog titled “Top 15 confessions for the Asian American Christian (2007).”

i’m sure you have a larger and deeper view of how sex affects the AA church as a whole, but in my limited experience, i do have this to add. In the minefield of sex, everyone wants to be perceived as a victim. A victim of abuse, a victim of the internet, a victim of a demanding boyfriend/girlfriend, a victim of porn. While many legitimately are victims, a great % are not. Some are the abusers, the assaulters, the exploiters . . . and they can’t hide behind this victim-persona so espoused by the likes of Oprah and Dr. Phil. Because sometimes shame IS good and necessary – even in the AA church.

9. Top 15 Confessions for the Asian American Christian (2007) « the cutting truth - January 18, 2008

[…] the unacknowledged and unacknowledgeable swampland beneath the church brochure of tidy scenery.  Only a few are brave enough to confront and address it; the rest of us put on petty and hypocritical masks of […]

10. Top 15 Confessions for the Asian American Christian (2007) « the cutting truth - January 18, 2008

[…] is the unacknowledged and unacknowledgeable swampland beneath the church brochure of tidy scenery. Only a few are brave enough to confront and address it; the rest of us put on petty and hypocritical masks of […]

11. Top 15 Confessions for the Asian American Christian (2007) « Man Downstairs - January 20, 2009

[…] is the unacknowledged and unacknowledgeable swampland beneath the church brochure of tidy scenery. Only a few are brave enough to confront and address it; the rest of us put on petty and hypocritical masks of […]


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