Today I ran across an article from Relevant magazine called “Four Lies the Church Taught Me About Sex.” In it, Lily Dunn writes about how “the Church” fed her useless and bad information about sex which led to her disillusionment as a young married person. She claims that “the Church” told her a bunch of stuff about sex that is downright untrue, and apparently she had no other resource of sex education in her life, so “the Church” was her sole educator on the subject.
I guess my question is: who IS this “Church” she speaks of?
Have you noticed how often this term is thrown around in regard to people’s personal experiences with individuals in churches? People say, “the Church” when they mean one pastor or one Sunday school teacher or one lady who sat two rows behind them when they were a teenager.
I doubt that Lily was really disillusioned because of ongoing and consistent teachings from all areas of her church. She was disillusioned because a friend or parent never told her specific things that she would one day wish she had been told. I mean, who hasn’t been there? But, she, as we all often do, is claiming that her her disappointment is with Christianity’s teachings on sex, when actually her disappointment is probably with one or two youth leaders she had at the time.
It’s important to acknowledge that most negative reactions to Christianity are actually the result of negative experiences with one or two people. I don’t know many who would look at Christianity as a whole and say that it is worthless or bad or that it doesn’t bring light to the world. But, people don’t look at Christianity as a whole. They look at it one Christian at a time.
When someone says “the Church” is hateful, he is likely picturing one or two specific people he has known in his life.
When someone says “the Church” hurt her deeply, she isn’t talking about Christianity as a whole. She’s talking about a specific Christian or group of Christians.
It really isn’t fair that all of Christianity is lumped into just one or two imperfect examples, one or two teachers we had or people we once knew. But, it happens every day. It happened with Lily Dunn and a magazine printed a story about it, as if her experience really explains ways that the majority of Christian teachers conspired to lie to her about sex.
But, there is a lesson in it. Because to someone, I am “the Church.” To someone, you are. We should take that responsibility seriously. Because my attitude and my actions and my reactions truly affect the way someone in this world perceives Christianity and our God. This is why Jesus said that we are the light of the world. Are we shining in a way that brings glory to the One who spoke light into existence?
I pray that we are.