hmm... thoughts

All Californians are Liberals

This is one of those urban legends I’ve heard a lot of since moving to California. And I have to admit, this is one of those things that people in the Midwest say about California that drives me a little batty.

California is a blue state. That is true. I am not a political historian but I would guess that the last time California voted for a republican for president was Ronald Reagan. What’s interesting about politics in California is that it’s identical to a lot of states with major metropolitans. The major metros trend heavily towards being democrats while the suburban and rural areas trend towards republicans. Outside of the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas most of California leans republican… including Orange County in the LA area and San Diego County with it’s massive military community.

The land of fruits and nuts. As if Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana (states where I’ve lived most of my life) didn’t have people who were a little abnormal. It is completely true that you will see and hear some crazy stuff in public. Hang out near the beaches and you’ll hear the craziest things on the planet. But also bear in mind that twice in the last decade voters have passed a proposal to ban gay marriage. Sounds pretty conservative to me. Michigan only passed one! Those Michigan people are such liberals!

California is full of strange characters. This one cracks me up. Take me to any breakfast joint in the Midwest and I’ll show you the same cooky characters. California doesn’t have the corner on the market of weird people. In fact, while we did have people in our church in Northern California who were convinced that the government was coming to get them and the postal carriers were secret government agents… those same characters are played by different actors at coffee shops in downtown Romeo. I remember a certain guy who carried around a photo album of road kill, deer he’d shot, and stories he told about people killing deer with a hammer. Who is weird now?

California is full of hippies, gays, druggies, and women with fake boobs. OK, that’s true. Those are actually the four categories you have to fit into before you’re allowed to register to vote. An additional qualification is that you have to watch all the Cheech and Chong movies before you can get a driver’s license. When we signed the kids up for school they implanted a chip behind their ear so that government agents couldĀ  decide which category they’d fall into as adults.

Remember, labels are just devices people use so they know how to best ignore you.


Talking about homosexuality in the church

Homosexuality is one of the 1000 pound gorillas of today’s evangelical church. In other words there are a lot of people either struggling with gender preference themselves or someone they love is. And the churches silence on this issue has lead to a ton of people feeling like they cannot connect to God.

Into that understanding, Andrew Marin presented on Friday night. In a very loving, Christ-centered manner, Andrew challenged NYWC attendees to begin figuring out how to build bridges between kids who are either gay or thinking they may be gay and a loving, forgiving, and grace giving God.

As his part of the session ended I prayed that the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let this discussion die when Andrew left the stage. It’s my hope and prayer that this is just the beginning of the evangelical church taking this 1000 gorilla seriously. My favorite quote (paraphrase) of Andrew’s time, “If you think this issue doesn’t pertain to your church just know that there are gay people in your church. And if there truly aren’t any people in your church that are gay, and this issue hasn’t come to your ministry yet, you’ve got the opportunity to do something now so you don’t screw up.

Discussion question: Beyond an annual “talk on homosexuality” how can you help your ministry build bridges with the gay community in your town? How can you help facilitate a loving way to connect homosexuals to your ministry?

Church Leadership hmm... thoughts

Secret Sex

I’ve been around Christians long enough to know that they like to talk about sex. In fact, I know enough about internet traffic to know that only one thing is more popular than a post about sex. In fact, most of you are reading this because you clicked on a link with a keyword you like to click on, “SEX” and are wondering what the secret is all about.

What’s the one thing more popular than a post about sex? A post about sexual behavior Christians “shouldn’t do but like to talk about.”

– Homosexuality

– Cheating

– Masturbation

– Pornography

– Getting caught looking at gay porn and masturbating.

Here’s some data behind this Christian propensity to search for and click on things about sex. Notice the #1 read item at YMX over the last 2 years by a wide margin… it’s an article called “Solo Sex” and its about masturbation. In the 2 years that article has been on the site it has averaged 25 readers per day! Likewise, my blog data shows that most of my google visits from google searches arrive on terms such as “Christian dating” or “Christian sex.”

Proving this point further, stop for a second and think about this:Why are you reading this post? What about the title ‘Secret Sex’ made you click here?” Did I trick you to come here with my blog title? Did you click on a delicious link I served on Twitter? Or were you googling something like “Christian love advice?”

Here is my theory, disagree with me if you like. I think that internally many evangelicals are wrestling with sexuality. I don’t mean they are worried about their gender preference or even secretly longing to do sinful things. I think that within Christian circles it just isn’t safe to talk about sex which leaves many adult Christians very immature in how they handle sex. So the result is that we talk about sexuality in very immature fashions. (And then we wonder why students have messed up views on sexuality!)

While in non-Christian circles it isn’t unusual to have some safety within your peer group to talk about sex in an intelligent manner, I know I’ve never found Christian friends willing to have a serious conversation blushing it off as either “naughty” or diverting to childish jokes. (Of course, maybe its just my friends?) So while it may be normal and/or healthy to seek out talking with a peer about something intimate… in our circles we repress that discussion and look for answers privately.

And I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

I wonder if that repression of the discussion, which in and of itself is amoral but breaks a Christian taboo, is exactly what leads to the gross sexual dysfunction within many churches and marriages. Why can’t Christians just talk about sex? Why do Christians scour the internet searching for answers?

Sidebar: Of course it could also be that there are so many people out there googling anything to do with sex that this disproportionally elevates the click through rates of posts about sex… that’s a theory worth contemplating without devaluing the overriding question.

So, what is it?

– Victorian cultural leftovers permeating Christian culture?

– Fear?

– Our mommy told us never to talk about sex, just learn about it the way she did in the library?

– It should just be repressed. Asking this question proves that Adam is a pervert and just likes to say “sex” a lot.