Live Blog: “grow” week at MBI-Spokane: Session I

So, I thought this might be a good idea to give us a concrete reminder of all that we will be learning and experiencing this week.  From session to session I hope to share some of the thoughts that I take away from what we are going through together.  But my hope is that this is not just a place for me to share my thoughts, but to ask hard questions about our purity and give readers an opportunity to respond and share their experiences as well.  Please feel at liberty to do so.

 “And he [Christ] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”  Ephesians 4:11-16

Oh God, we welcome you in this place with our praise.  We are here for you.

When undertaking a topic that may, at times, seem far too frequently discussed amongst our age group (as Mr. Hantz alluded to), I cannot think of a better reminder to all: we approach this week of spiritual development, this topic of purity, all of our lives, knowing that we are here for our great Lord and for him alone.  But although a topic that has been driven into our minds since entering adolescence it may be, the question that must be asked is this: we have heard it many times over before, but how many times have we actually listened?  How many times have we heard about how we ought to be pure and actually changed our ways, from the inside out?  How many of us still struggle with issues of purity that have plagued our minds and our hearts for longer than we can remember?  Though a topic we have most certainly heard before, the topic of purity bears relevance to many, if not all, of our hearts today, at Moody Bible Institute, in Spokane, Washington.  And so, after a time of passionate and exciting worship through music led by The Incandescent, we enter into a time of worship in the Word of God.

Our speaker, Ryan Miller, is introduced.  We find that we are not alone in our initial feelings of “ugh” when hearing that this week will focus on sexual purity—Ryan feels the same.  He assures us that this week will not be a week filled with statistics, encouragement to wear abstinence rings, and tired Christian clichés.  Thank God.

He then begins.  Purity is way bigger than remaining a virgin until you are married.  It is also something that does not end at the wedding.  Bummer.  This certainly comes as a cold reminder to many of us, who may look at marriage as the finish line of the marathon of our struggles.  We are reminded that the issue also is not the end-all of sinfulness.  It is merely one of the many arenas we may struggle in.

Is sex something that can be dichotomized to be either wholly virtuous or wholly vicious?  Or, like many other things (spray paint, video games, the iPhone, etc.) does sex rather exist on a continuum where it can be used for a number of ends (good or bad)?  Is sex (and the body) inherently evil, as (some) of our early church fathers believed?  Or is sex an action created for good that we have simply begun to use instead for vice?

Christ has no body but ours; no feet, no hands, but our own.  We have such massive potential for to be Christ to this world with our bodies and yet we “become one” with prostitutes (1 Corinthians 6).  Why?  God, have mercy on us, sinners.

Sex as the idea of knowing and being known by another is introduced.  Shared knowing of another is so much bigger than “just sex.”  But, before jumping into this topic further, we end with a cliffhanger, something to ponder between now and the next session.

Some questions that I hope will be answered and get the feeling we can expect:

How are pornography and knowing someone connected?  Can the same “knowledge” of another be transferred through a computer screen?

What effect does our sexual lives have on the world around us?  Is it just something secret between us, our partner (actual or digital), and God?

As stated earlier, feel free to contribute your own thoughts to this blog.  I hope that this is an effective medium to dialogue and discuss all that we encounter this week.

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