Friday, September 09, 2005

Dedicated to my friend RG -- Another Post On SEX!

At the risk of confirming yet again RG's belief that I'm fixated on sex, I want to reflect on sex in the ministry. Reverend Mommy led me to a new blog -- new for me at least. SoMa Review had a post "Got MILF?" I was relieved, by the way, to see that blog define the F as FRISK. I thought the F stood for something else.

It is a disturbing review of sexual misconduct among clergy. It says, in part...

Berry cites another survey of 300 Protestant clergy in which 38 percent admitted to inappropriate sexual contact with parishioners, and 12 percent admitted to sexual intercourse with them. Similarly, a survey sponsored by the Fuller Institute of Church Growth in 1991 revealed that 37 percent of pastors confessed to having been involved in “inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church.”

I will confess that I've had sex with a member of my church on many occasions. I should point out, however, that that particular church member and I have been married for 30 years.

OK, this is no laughing matter. It really is serious.

I remember a funeral I did several years ago. After the grave side service, I followed the tradition of shaking hands with those seated on the front chairs under the tent. The woman whose father had died took my hand and put it on her breast and said, "If there is ever anything I can do for you, please let me know."

Half way through her statement, she squeezed her hand so that my fingers sank deeper into her breast -- well, at least that is how I remember it.

Without taking the time to savor the moment, I yanked my hand away and stuttered, "Just doing my job, Miss."

I've never been tempted to have sex with anyone other than my wife.

But I also know that given the right timing, anything is possible.

I'm feeling lonely. Or insecure. Or lost and angry. Or just plain horny.

It could happen.

I remember what Billy Graham did in his ministry. He decided the world was full of people with feet of clay, and he was one of them. Therefore he set up rules to live by. Never be alone with a woman was one of them -- not even in an elevator. His staff helped him with this. The temptation might be there, but the opportunities were reduced.

I do the same with ice cream. Being diabetic, I set up certain rules. No trips to Baskin Robbin Ice Cream Parlors that are in the town in which I live -- I can only go to them when I'm out of town.

I have rules for movies. No popcorn. I take a box of raisons or nuts, but none of that good tasting, unhealthy movie popcorn. It's a rule. I'm weak and I know it.

When I visit Atlanta and go to the Varsity -- there is a limit. It's a rule. No more than 2 hot dogs and one order of Fries. The proper way to order it there is to call for 2 naked dogs and strings. OK, that one I break. I can't leave without ordering one more naked dog for the road -- or as they would say at the Varsity -- "I want to take a naked dog for a walk." Those of you who have been to the Varsity will understand. Oh, just the thought makes me want to find an excuse for some continuing education at Columbia Seminary.

But I digress.

What were we talking about?

Sex.

Sex. Hot dogs from Varsity. Baskin Robins ice cream. They are all so tempting.

These are all wonderful gifts. To enjoy them as God intended requires moderation. Control. Rules that will keep us within our limits.

If I ate those hot dogs the way I wanted to, I'd be dead in a weak.

Ice Cream -- I hate to think what my blood glucose readings would be.

Sex with someone besides my wife? It would mess up the great thing I've got going with my wife. It could destroy my ministry. It would change everything, and none of it for the better.

Jesus said, "Go and make disciples."

Disciples.

Discipline.

I think the missing element in our spiritual discipline is not just resisting temptation, it's limiting our exposure to temptation's opportunities.

5 Comments:

Blogger Anne said...

excellent excellent post. I'd never thought of the correlation between discipline and disciple before.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Ryan Baer said...

We'd love for you to come to Columbia. Have you ever heard of the hamdog at Mulligan's tavern in Oakhurst? It's a hotdog, wrapped in a pound of ground beef, deep fried, topped with a fried egg, cheese, peppers, onions, and two fistfuls of french fries.

Just what every growing boy needs.

4:36 PM  
Blogger cheesehead said...

I have to repeatedly remind well-meaning Elders at my church to stop nominating my husband to be treasurer, even though he has years of experience as a church treasurer in my life B.O. (before ordination).

I simply ask them, "Do you really want a pastor who sleeps with the treasurer?"

Sadly, sometimes it takes them three beats to get it.

They just might be under the impression that our kids came from the cabbage patch.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Apostle John said...

Ryan Baer! Is that what seminary suicidal students do during exam week these days?? Hey, if it's deep fried, it's gotta be good :)

5:24 PM  
Blogger HeyJules said...

That post was spot on!

I have a man in my office who is in his early fifties and he said to me one day, "Yeah, I just don't get it. How could one night with another woman possibly be so great that it would be worth the 25 years I have had with my wife? What...are they doing something new I don't know about?"

I love this man...and I don't mean in the biblical sense!

8:43 PM  

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