Tim cites an interesting article over at NTRT dealing with abstinence pledges. .
Based on those interviews with more than 20,000 young people who took virginity pledges, Bearman found that 88 percent of them broke their pledge and had sex before marriage.
88%! I only have theories about why this is the case... namely that I think "protecting our kids" is the wrong approach. I think "empowering kids to make wise choices" is a much better way. But again, they're only theories so I'll move on.
The vision to me goes something like: we want to empower healthy, successful sexuality. Right? I mean, no one wants kids to have unfulfilling sex or marriages or dating experiences. How we define "healthy" is the rub. I wonder what you think IS the best way for churches to empower healthy sexuality. As one commenter at NTRT points out, the church has done an abundant job of effectively shouting "ABSTINENCE!" really loudly. But that's a message; it isn't a conversation. As the article points out, perhaps it isn't the most effective strategy. Another approach would be to avoid the topic. "Let the parents deal with it." Unfortunately, I don't feel I have that liberty to avoid a conversation simply because it's difficult. And parents might be tempted to say the reverse, "Let the church deal with it. Send my kid to a class." But I wonder if we could come up with some kind of collaborative way to engage kids in helpful dialogs. Christopher Greco (again at NTRT) points out that these sorts of conversations have basically changed his whole life for the better. I went through several such classes that Christopher & Dorothy led as husband and wife... amazing things came from that.
I've seen church curricula that try to teach a dating & sex philosophy that goes something like, "love, marriage, sex, babies." It falls short for me because, as a child or teen, that doesn't answer my questions about sex. It's just another rule. I don't need more rules regarding sex; I need answers. Or perhaps life-giving, non-defensive, non-judgmental discussion.
I guess I have to go back to this: sexuality lends itself to two-way dialog. Why? What human being on the planet, married or single, has all the answers to sexuality? It's so closely tied to one's beliefs, values, experiences, etc. Dialog, not just "education", seems like it has to play a role at some point. Dialog seems like the only way to address ongoing questions, especially when everyone is at a different place in their sexuality.
So there's some thoughts. What do you think? Any suggestions on how churches could address the topic with kids?