Wednesday, February 02, 2005

True Love...

I went back and edited this after reading Steve's comments. My original post was more sarcastic, and the sarcasm could be seen as directed towards the kids, which is not my intention. I think that so many things in this world fail children--parents, schools, teachers, leaders. God never fails; His Love, and the Love He imparts to us, never fails. True Love DOES Wait, no waits, always hopes, always loves, always perseveres. My heart grieves for all the kids making destructive choices.

Most of the kids who signed pledges to wait until marriage to have sex...didn't.

"True Love Waits, a program sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention, is one of the most famous evangelical efforts to reduce premarital sexual activity among our youth. Since 1993, about 2.4 million young people have signed a pledge to wait until marriage to engage in sexual intercourse. Are these young evangelicals keeping their pledges? In March 2004, researchers from Columbia University and Yale University reported on their findings. For seven years they studied 12 thousand teenagers who took the pledge. Sadly, they found that 88 percent of these pledgers reported having sexual intercourse before marriage; just 12 percent kept their promise. The researchers also found that the rates for having sexually transmitted diseases 'were almost identical for the teenagers who took pledges and those who did not.'"

I know how these "crusades," or whatever you want to call them, go. They attract youth groups to arenas for a one-night conference. A few speakers, a 'cool' band, and then the pledge cards come out. Kids who either feel like they'll be looked down upon if they don't sign or who have been emotionally piqued sign the card (and, of course, the 12 percent who kept their word). All of them are now counted in the ministry's numbers as a success. I am simply uncomfortable with that 'crusade' kind of ministry--I prefer one-on-one discipleship. I distrust glitz, crowds, and things that end quickly. I guess I have been burned.

I grieve for teenagers in this country, kids whose parents think they can raise them in the world and then drop them off at a convention for a night to learn not to have sex before marriage. I know I am totally oversimplifying, but there is a sense in which many youth groups as they exist today, and many parachurch ministries for teens--all of it is in some sense absurd, appealing to the flesh, or flitting down for the spiritual equivalent of a one-night stand. Kids need and deserve so much more.

I pray for more good soil for the sower. I pray against the schemes of the enemy to drown children (schools and media are such cesspools). I pray that people will see that what we need to do is FOLLOW JESUS and teach others to do the same.


Steve Forman said...

I think you need to look at the glass as half full. The 88% would have had sex, whether or not they took this pledge. If only one young man or woman holds out for marriage, then the it is worth it. Didn't Jesus talk of leaving the 99 sheep to find the one lost one?

The Jewish writer Elli Weisel (I'm sure I botched the spelling) said, "If I save a life, it is as if I saved the whole world."

Please reconsider your sarcasm.

Kristen said...

You're right, Steve. You're right. I had a feeling I wasn't expressing myself well in that one.

I definitely rejoice over the 12 percent. That's a lot of kids. I just grieve so deeply over the 88 percent. I was THEM. I was not the 12 percent who kept themselves clean...I was the 88 percent who made choices that hurt, that defile, that lead down a broad road.

My sarcasm is not directed at the kids. I wish that parents had more discernment; I wish the world wasn't so wounding to children; I wish we could escape modernity. I realize these are not realistic wishes, and I know the parable of the sower.

Anyway, Steve, thanks. Let's rejoice over the children who were convinced and who long to serve the Lord.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with you on this one. While I'm glad that the "crusadey" things work for a few, they are NOT the answer. The answer are children growing up in homes where their families believe and practice the fine art of speaking of Him "when they rise up, when they lie down..." and of LIVING it. The answer lies in parents NOT sending their children off each day to spend 8 hours in a system that is catagorically AGAINST Christ, to be walking the halls each day bombarded with the message of sex-outside-of-marraige being hip, harmless, and fun.

So for those who haven't had homes like that, the crusade-style abstinence programs might be the only chance they have--and I'm glad they are exposed to it. But as the answer to the problem? That, it is NOT.

My 3 cents (as always),

Kristen said...

Molly, that's a lot of what I was trying to say, though I think I did a poor job. Ah well, you win some, you lose some. Especially when you blog every day.

Coffee and a Muffin said...

I agree, Kristen. Crusades are not enough. Maybe not even that great. We need more one-on-one interaction to change lives. We need to be there when they are tempted to give in. Actually, we need to be there to guard them from being tempted in the first place. Too many parents shirk their responsibilities and let their kids have too much freedom too soon. I'm totally against dating. We'll be doing courtship when our younger children are old enough to marry. We had allowed our oldest 2 daughters (now 27 and 25) to date when they were teenagers and deeply regret it. There is no point to dating. And it only breeds temptation.

Macromoments said...

Kristen, I admire your courageous writing. I have seen lives changed at "crusades," but without followup and one-on-one discipling from someone willing to invest *up close*, some of these kids fall by the wayside. Programs are great supplmentary events but not the answer. Great post!

Kristen said...

I totally agree, Macro. It's all about one-on-one (but like you said, of course things can and do happen at group events!). I've always been interested in discipleship, and have always believed that our walk with the Lord should lead to radical change from who we were before we knew Him. :)

Hey, thanks for stopping by.

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