Friday, September 28, 2007

My friend with benefits

The other day I was cleaning house and watching an Oprah program from earlier this week that I Tivo'd. I have to confess, I'm shocked at some of the behavior from grown women...supposedly educated, intelligent, wise grown women.

I don't agree with a lot of what Oprah says. She is certainly a role model as far as weight loss. She looks just great and is to be admired for her accomplishment. She is an incredible giver to many worthy causes and honestly she's just a very likeable person. However, she's also off base spiritually about many things and very humanistic. On the other hand, she's also the most powerful woman in television with a viewership that no one else can claim and if somebody has a pulse on where women are at today - it's her. So I often listen to get a clue as to how other women are thinking. I pastor women and I need to know these things and quite frankly much of the time it scares me to death.

It doesn't surprise me that teens or twenty somethings who simply don't know better would be sucked into the whole "friends with benefits scene"...but 'mature' adult women? I was watching as these "sexperts" shared how great it is for women of all ages to have a friend with benefits (a friend of the opposite sex that they have no serious commitment to -- namely marriage - but somebody to just have sex with when they need it until they find the person they want to be committed to - if they ever even decide they want commitment at all.)

As they shared these pearls of supposed wisdom, Oprah smiled and the audience clapped like this was a fantastic revelation of freedom for women everywhere. Here is our latest dose of Oprahology folks, and it's scary. Feeling a little frisky? Don't have a marriage partner right now? No fear, just ask a male friend if they can do you a favor. Single and fancy free gals, you can now get a man to change the oil in your car, carry your heavy boxes up the stairs, and give you a little somethin' somethin', no strings attached.

Aside from being simply wrong, why can't women can't see how this is:

1) Still extremely risky - (despite the fact that they bill it as "safe" because you are with a "friend") -- unless you have umpteen tests and medical documentation on somebody - it's not safe no matter what a person tells you...even a friend that you think you know really well.


I have to be honest that if something were to ever happen to my husband, Lord forbid, and I was to ever marry again, I wouldn't do so without getting a doctor's note or a lab report from my future marriage partner, and giving them one from me. Maybe it's the fact that I'm a pastor who has counseled a zillion people and also traveled and preached and listened to a bunch of junk at the altars of our churches, but trust me, there are a lot of diseases floating around out there...even in the church. Too many people are "trusting" just because someone is a Christian, but you shouldn't assume anything.

Last night I was researching this issue on the internet. One man gave a testimony about taking one of his friendships into the "benefits" category and asking his friend, 'do you have any STD's?" to which the woman responded, "I do have herpes, but it's not active right now so you don't have to worry...trust me." He trusted her word and believed that since it was not apparently "active" he was in the safe zone, but...he was not. And he now has herpes. He was pleading with people on the internet not to enter into this type of a relationship even with a close friend you have known a long time.

Honestly, "friend" or not, and Christian or not, I would take no one's word for it on this except a doctor's and even then might ask for a second opinion. "A little overboard on this, Deanna?" Well, when your life is in someone's hands, can you really take something overboard? Sex is not just a recreational hobby. Besides being the most significant spiritual event between two human beings, it's also a life and death matter...literally. Besides that, friends with benefits is...

2) Degrading - that we would share our body with someone we aren't committed to. Really, "friends with benefits" reduces us to nothing more than being like two dogs in a field. It reduces the whole act down to a biological urge rather than a spiritual event.

Are adults these days so hyper sexed and out of control that they have to use their "friends" to get their biological cravings out of their systems? Is there no better way to handle this "problem" than to find a friend who will give you benefits?

Yes -- there is a much better way. In fact, I believe there are several other solutions. I will not list them all here due to the fact that the backlash can be tremendous from people who get their panties all in a bunch that someone is being so honest and so relevant about something they can't even prove or disprove with the Bible. So if you face this dilemma and would like some wisdom that I believe is in line with God's Word, just ask me privately and I'll be glad to tell you.

and moving on to number three...can't mature women see that having "friends with benefits" sets ---

3) A horrible example.

The whole "friends with benefits" thing is sending a dangerous message to our youth. As I said before, seeing this behavior in young people is not surprising to me simply for the fact of immaturity and not knowing better. However, seeing adults exemplify this behavior sends a message even to Christian teens. As I was researching this behavior, I came across this question from a young Christian teen on a message board:

"I am a good christian girl, I strive to be close to God, I want a great relationship with him, and I love to learn what he has in store for me. But there is this guy friend that I have and he isn't a christian, or at least not a good one and we love to hang out and be flirty and have fun. Well last night he asked me if we wanted to be friends with benefits and I was wondering if that is okay thing to do when I am a christian?"

I sincerely hope this girl took wise counsel before she acted on this and tried it out. One of the first respondents to her wrote, "don't worry, there's no such thing as a bad Christian" and they spoke about not judging, etc. Scary stuff. It seems these days when anybody wants to justify doing anything they just slap a "judge not lest ye be judged" on to it.

Thankfully more people wrote back to this girl and did give her sound counsel. The point is, even Christian youth wonder if this practice is okay. They actually have a question mark about it, and that's indicative of just how far off the thinking is on this in our world today.


Recently a co-pastor friend of mine was ministering at the altar of her church at the close of the service. The youth of the church were gathered around and one young lady who had grown up in the church approached her and said, "Pastor K, I need you to pray for me." When the pastor asked, "what is your need?" the girl responded, "To know God's will. I want him to direct me about my future and what boy or girl I am supposed to be with."

The co-pastor had to take this young church girl aside and explain to her why it would not be God's will for her to be with a girl. I realize why a girl who had no church background or upbringing in a Christian home would have this question, but from our church youth? This line of thinking is surprising to me.

The same message board I read last night was filled with young people who are using the "benefits" of oral sex until they get married so as to not get pregnant or contract diseases (another thing they are mistaken about - you can, of course, get diseases from oral sex. And yes, it's still sex - no matter what our former president says. If it's not sex then why does everone refer to it as oral SEX? Why not oral play? oral petting? oral kissing? Sort of redundant don't you think? oral touching? Yes, there's a reason we call it oral sex. Because it's quite possibly the most intimate and close up you will ever be to another individual. I have some married friends who describe oral sex in their marriage as much more intimate than intercourse. Those who bristle against calling it sex simply want to justify their supposed technical virginity or innocence.)

I have to confess to you, the longer I pastor, and the longer I travel and speak, the more I just shake my head and say, "who made this shift when the rest of us weren't looking?" Is it just me or does it seem like every time we turn around another 180 has occurred in what is bizarre becoming the norm?

In my travels, I have met married couples in the church who switched partners, divorced, remarried and are in the same church. Amazing. I even know of two brothers in a Church of God who switched partners, remarried and both couples are on the church worship team. I promise you, I did not make this up. For their privacy I will not tell you the name of the church but I assure you this is the truth!

I have met many (too many to count) women in the church who, when single, had sexual relations with several men in the church who now happen to be married to other women in the church -- and they just go on in relationship/friendship like nothing ever happened and even discuss their former sexual relationships with no problem. This is seen almost as a given or completely normal among some friends these days. To me, this is "bizarro world."

I have met more women than you would ever believe who could rate their sexual experiences before they were married, with their friend's spouses, before they "settled down and got married." As they talk amongst themselves as women they find themselves saying, "well, when I was sleeping with Tony...we sometimes had problems with this or that..." or "he always liked it when I did _______________" like it's no big deal to be saying that. My point is...this even goes on with Christians. Some have memories from the "friends with benefits" days and don't hesitate to share them as if they were talking about something as unevenful as eating a bag of potato chips and how they rated compared to others.

Well, but that's all the past Deanna...is it such a big deal?" Honestly, it is. Whether it is under the blood of Christ, whether you were saved, unsaved or whether you were a martian at the time - sex is a big deal. It connects you to another person in more ways than one. Sex is one of the most profound and holy acts a person can engage in. The Bible is the greatest sex book ever written, and it details the incredible mystery of what happens when a man and woman unite.

Has sex really become that blase a thing, even among CHRISTIANS that we compare men, or use them and discard them like we would a case of lipstick? Actually some women keep a lipstick longer than they do a man...

If a person believes that God has not called them to a life of singleness, then I believe they should be praying about marriage. Instead of seeking a "friend with benefits", they need to ask God to help them in the best way possible by giving you a friend WITH THE BENEFIT of marriage! This is the greatest way to get benefits -- GOD'S WAY.

I personally have a friend with benefits. His name is Larry Shrodes. Through the benefit of marriage I began getting fantastic benefits from him in June of 1987 and the benefits just keep getting better all the time.

Sex does not get better simply because you are 30, 40, 50, 60 years old and have been practicing and doing it a lot. Sex does not get better simply because it's "wild". Nothing wrong with wild sex, whatever you deem that to be, but what makes for fantastic benefits? Depth of relationship and commitment. Surrendering oneself to someone with total abandon because of trust and commitment. Sex gets better because of INTIMACY - true connection and the joining together of two lives not just physically but spiritually, and emotionally - body, soul and spirit. Sex gets simply phenomenal because you have been married to the same person for so long and the more you get to know them, the better it is. Through commitment and mutual desire to fulfill the other person not just physicallly but emotionally and spiritually, you develop something far beyond what anyone could develop in a casual non-commital relationship.

I highly recommend this to you, this whole "benefits of marriage" thing.. No matter what you hear on Oprah, it's really the way to go.


2 comments:

Pastor Lisa said...

I took Lindsey shopping yesterday and the radio was on and they were featuring the top 10 panty dropping songs. I was in awe. Sex has become just that casual and someone to do.

While I was home, I was watching one of the judge shows. One young lady, age 14 got pregnant and was convinced this one guy was the father. Well he wasn't. While at CHURCH, the boy called her out of the revival to have sex with him and his friend on the CHURCH VAN! She got pregnant by the other guy. This young lady had no self-esteem...it was written all over her face. And to them sex was just something to do. I couldn't believe. I didn't want to believe but these are the facts unfortunately.

I stopped watching Oprah a long time ago. It's been a sad spiritual descent.

Pastor L said...

And they say we don't to start talking to kids about purity before they're 13? Ha!! It's like I told my husband yesterday, "2nd grade is the new junior high!!"