Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution by Mary Eberstadt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An excellent book that covers the consequences of the sexual revolution and in particular the connection to birth control and pornography. She explains how the sexual revolution has harmed women, men, and society as a whole. As another friend commented, her chapter on food and sex was an eye opening chapter. She writes about how we now treat food like we used to treat sex and sex how we used to treat food. She is surprisingly optimistic about the ability to combat the sexual revolution. She believes that as studies continue to accumulate the sexual revolution will start to die, though the consequences have been and will continue to be heartbreaking.
The chapter on pedophilia feels dated even though the book is only 5 years old. She notes that prior to the priest-pedophilia scandal, sex with children was gaining steam. The scandal slowed that train considerably. But now, here in 2017, the objections to sex with children continue to erode.
One does not need to condemn birth control in all circumstances to see that easy, cheap contraceptives have dramatically altered our sex lives, including most importantly our approach to marriage and children, and not for the better. Thus we have a culture where the basic building block of society, a biological man and woman married and having children, is not the norm. She noted the upsurge of Protestant evangelicals who are questioning the rampant use of birth control. Since 2012 I have noticed an increase in pastors and leaders having 5, 6, 7 children and in writing more on birth control. This is encouraging and I hope it continues.
All in all, a book I would recommend though those who are conversant with more recent literature will have heard much of this before.
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This post contains semi-graphic discussion of pornography that readers may find unpleasant. I have put a break here so if you are not interested in reading you can retreat. Continue reading
I have been listening to Tim Bayly’s Shepherds’ Conference on ministering in a post-Obergefell World. Tim has worked with homosexuals and lesbians in Bloomington for over 30 years. He is not speaking as someone who has read a book or two, watched a couple of Youtube videos, or had a homosexual friend in college. He speaks as a pastor who has prayed with and for sodomites, has loved them, preached to them, cried over them, and seen them repent. He has many stories about working with homosexuals as well as stories about compromise in evangelical circles. These add substance to what he is saying even if it makes him long winded at points.
He makes the suggestion that we drop the term “sexual orientation” and use sexual temptation instead. So instead of saying “same-sex orientation” we would say, “same sex temptation.” I have thought about the term sexual orientation quite a bit lately as I read Preston Sprinkle’s book People to be Loved. Terms and words matter. Sprinkle throughout his book nuances words to death. Every word is carefully chosen. He parses out why we shouldn’t use “homosexual,” “gay,” etc. He knows words matter. Conservative Christians need to understand this as well. What words we use to describe things will often shape the entire discussion. I like the suggestion of using temptation instead of orientation in connection with homosexuality for several reasons.
First, it will help us see sodomy as one type of the many sexual temptations we all face. Those who struggle with this sin are not worse than us nor better than us nor different than us. Tim talked about his own fornication and how when he got married his wife was pregnant. All of us struggle with sexual temptation of various kinds and to various degrees throughout our life. I saw my first porn magazine (yes real paper) when I was eleven years old. It lay beside the road. My friend from church said his dad, a deacon, had videos with more of that. We went back and watched porn on VHS. This struggled continued through Bible college and the early years of marriage until I was about 25 years old. I am so grateful there was no Internet when I was young. Many of you I guess have similar stories. Some of you still watch porn on your phones during your lunch break or at night when your wife is asleep. Some of you slept around in high school and don’t want any of your Christian friends to know. We could do this with any temptation not just sexual ones. The point here is if we label it temptation it puts that sin or the struggle with that sin on level with the sins all Christians struggle with. We are all sinners working, agonizing to fight the lusts which wage war against our souls (I Peter 2:11). Continue reading
Recently, I preached on Hebrews 13:4:
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
How do we keep the marriage bed undefiled? What should a Christian sexual relationship look like? When we ask this question we tend to begin with the sins. Is this a sin? Is that a sin? But that complicates things. The truth is simple to understand, but hard to live out due to our wayward hearts. The only proper sexual expression is between one and one woman within marriage. Every other form of sexual expression is a sin. Fornication, adultery, bestiality, rape, masturbation, sodomy, lesbianism, multiple wives, and pornography are all sins by the standard that is set in Genesis 1-2. One man and one woman in a marriage covenant until one is dead is the boundary for Christian sexual activity.
This does not mean that all of these sins are equal in their sinfulness. Is fornication as bad as adultery? No. Is adultery as bad as sodomy? No. Does this mean divorce is always wrong? No. Does this mean it is impossible to sin against your spouse sexually and yet remain sexually faithful? No. A spouse can never sleep around or look at porn and still be sinning in the marriage bed. And yet despite all the “but what abouts” the Lord has given us a paradigm in Genesis 1-2. We love to find loopholes. What is allowed? What can I get away with? Is it really that a big a deal if I masturbate, watch a little porn, or flirt with the married man at work? However, our goal should not be to see how much we can get away with. Instead we should be striving for and teaching the standard the Lord set up: one man and one woman married to one another and faithful to one another in heart, mind, and body until death separates them. The question should not be how close is this to the line, but rather how close does my life conform to the Biblical standard.
A good reminder from Pastor Douglas Wilson in his book Father Hunger. Too many men want sex without children. Obviously this applies to porn, but it also applies to purposely barren marriages.
One of the things that should be most obvious to a man about the women involved in pornography is that such images, however appealing a man may find them, are images that can present him with no children. They are barren. They flaunt their breasts, but they will never nurse the children of those who gawk with them. The men who pursue such women are men who want such barrenness; they find it a selling point. Another way of saying this is that they don’t want to be fathers. They want the privileges of sexual release (after a fashion) but without the responsibilities that God’s wisdom necessarily attached to these pleasures.