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Overheard on Sports Talk Radio

I happened to catch a few minutes of sports radio the other day.  The morning guys were talking about Prince Amukamara – a defensive back for the NY Giants football team.  Amukamara is a professing Christian, and in an interview with muscleandfitness.com he said that he doesn’t drink, is a virgin, and is saving himself for marriage.  He is currently engaged to be married right after the Super Bowl.  (After an 0-3 start for the Giants, it looks like he will be well-rested by then, but I’d rather not go there...)

Anyway, the sportscasters were having quite a raucous time over Amukamara’s professions.  Their jabs and jests can best be summed up in two statements:

“That’s impossible!”  They were sure he was making it up, just like every other athlete or celebrity who claims to save sexual intimacy for marriage.  They couldn’t imagine that a normal, red-blooded American male, or female for that matter, could or would actually do such a thing.

“That’s ridiculous!”  As in, what’s the point?  As in, what’s wrong with sex, anyway?  They wondered why anyone would think that saving sex for marriage was so virtuous.

I realize that being outrageous and provocative is part of their job description, but the sense I got was that they were thoroughly perplexed by such claims and commitments.  It brought to mind the words of Old Testament prophets who predicted a dark and future time when people would call evil good and good evil, and confuse bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.  (See Isaiah 5:20)
I had neither the time nor the inclination to call in, but if I had this is what I might have said in response to their comments.

First, there are actually great numbers of men and women who have saved and are saving themselves for marriage.  They are normal, healthy, fun-loving, and romantically-inclined people.   And every one of them I have ever talked to would say they are glad for that commitment. (Countless studies and surveys have revealed that the most sexually-satisfied men and women in America are faithfully-married men and women.)

Second, nothing’s wrong with sex, in its right setting.  Asking what’s wrong with sex is like asking what’s wrong with fire.  It all depends, doesn’t it?  A fire in the fireplace is wonderful – warm, inviting, comforting, intimate, and purposeful.  A fire in the kitchen, or the California hills, is dangerous – it destroys homes, scars the landscape, and threatens people’s lives.

Sexuality is one of God’s many good gifts, given for the pleasure and procreation of the human beings that He loves.  And like every gift, it is meant to be eagerly anticipated, received with gratitude, opened with care, enjoyed to the full, and treasured for a lifetime.

Prince Amukamara may not make it to the Super Bowl this winter, but sounds like he and his fiancée have a lot to look forward to.  What God calls good and sweet, let no sportscaster trash.

Feeling Out of Place

Last Sunday, sixty-five people walked around a large room. They moved slowly, feeling their way along, bumping into furniture, and each other. They were unsure of exactly what the room layout was, or what it contained. They were disoriented, a little intimidated, and felt out of place.

They were blindfolded.

But each of them had someone – a helper – who wasn’t wearing a blindfold. The helpers were attentive, offered guidance, and helped make sure that the blindfolded person was able to make their way around without stumbling. They described obstacles, empathized, and did their best to clearly communicate all the information their blindfolded companions needed to make their way around the room. While at first it was a pretty chaotic sight, after a few minutes, they honed in on the best ways to convey just the right kind of information their unsighted friends needed.

So who were these people, and why were they doing this? It was part of Grace Chapel’s Welcome Team training.

Every year, our Welcome Team gets together for a couple of hours of training. Most of them have been a regular part of life at Grace Chapel for a long time, but each of them is reminded that coming to a new church for the first time – especially one as large as Grace – can be a little confusing, a little intimidating, a little disorienting. They may not remember their first visit, but a few minutes walking around blindfolded reminded them of the feeling of being a little out of place, unsure of what’s around them, in an unfamiliar crowd.

And they also experienced how great it felt like to get a little help.

What about you? What was your first experience at church – or at Grace Chapel – like? We’d love to hear your story, good or bad. Share it in the comments below.

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