“Please let it be cancer, please let it be cancer, please let it be cancer… ” Mary in Saved
Yesterday’s article by Sheryl Gay Stolberg about an 18 year old student at Heritage Christian Academy in Maryland would be a great discussion starter for Church Folks this week.
Stolberg shares the story of a high school senior named Maddi who became pregnant and chose not to terminate her pregnancy. Her choice has resulted in her being removed as Student Body President and keeping her from walking across the stage at graduation. Oh, and she was suspended from classes for two days.
Maddi’s having a baby boy after graduation and she will raise him, assisted by her parents. If she had chosen to terminate her pregnancy, nobody would have known except her parents. But since she made a different choice, everybody knows and she’s paying for it, Shame Style.
“80% of young Evangelicals” have sex before marriage according to a study cited in the Stolberg article and by “young” we can assume that both teens and twenty-somethings are included. (Note: The National Association of Evangelicals say that it’s less than 80% except that their own organization did the study.) Another study by the Guttmacher Institute cited: “Slightly more than half of women who have abortions — 54 percent — identify as Christians.”
So, are we talking about this in Church? Many congregations have few to no “young people” but most of us know some. And for our congregations blessed with children, teenagers, young adults, and their parents, conversations about sex and faith seem to be especially essential for connecting who we are with what we believe.
What I’m not saying here is that teenagers should be careless about sexual intimacy. What I am saying: if we can’t talk about sexual intimacy in our spiritual communities, where can we? This is possible only if we normalize conversations, agree not to shame each other, and agree that we will treasure each other as God’s precious children – no matter what.
How is your congregation at addressing sex?