By: Shane James O’Neill
5 min read
(reader discretion advised)
Sex Week is an event that first began at Yale and it takes place in campuses all over the country. It’s branded as a time of education for students as “adult” porn stars and porn vendors are brought in to educate and sell their merchandise.
The event offers “courses” such as Fornication 101, which aim “to introduce students to carnal knowledge.” Needless to say, these workshops are thorough and graphic.
As one student puts it, “The message: Don’t be boring. Be like porn stars.”
During Sex Week, hook up culture is the ethic being presented, where “having fun means engaging in physical relationships without emotional attachment.”
Sex is Powerful
Sex is incredibly powerful, which should make us consider whether there is an appropriate way to know it. As Jennifer Fulwiler says, “A society can respect human life only to the extent that it respects the act that creates life.”
When sex is abused, it has catastrophic affects upon victims. But when sex is treated casually, as it is in hook up culture, what kind of affects does it have?
In a quote from a Vanity Fair article, a student named Amanda says, “It’s a contest to see who cares less… But if you say this out loud, it’s like you’re weak, you’re not independent, and somehow you missed the whole memo about third-wave feminism.”
Advent and Jesus’ Body
The message of hook up culture is that sex shouldn’t be intimate, that sexual non-intimacy is real empowerment. If you actually care about someone then they could hurt you, so take back power by castrating affection from sex.
Care about the pleasure, but it isn’t safe to care about the person.
The message is a hard one, and really, it’s a natural reaction to abusing sex. Like we said earlier, sex is a powerful thing, and whoever can use that power without being hurt by it is thus empowered. So, to level the playing field between men and women, hook up culture doesn’t discriminate by inviting everyone to live for pleasure, without the pain of commitment. Or so the logic goes. But at what price? We cut our heart away from our body, and every hook up, every time we get off to porn or person, we’re just cutting deeper into our humanity.
Even Miley Cyrus, in a Times article, colorfully describes the hard difficulty placed on relationships from hook up culture, “F—ing is easy. You can find someone to f— in five seconds,” she says. “We want to find someone we can talk to. And be ourselves with.”
From celebrity to college student, we’ve made our soul and our body two different things, but instead of evolving through empowerment, we’ve only made ourselves less human. And now we’re experiencing the damage and loneliness that comes along from it.
Advent and Jesus’ Body
This week begins Advent, the time we celebrate Jesus coming in the flesh at Bethlehem. Advent, Jesus’ incarnation, dignifies the body like no other religion. At Advent, we see a personal God who sits with us, eats with us, walks with us, hurts with us, and laughs alongside us.
The Eternal Soul inhabits the physical body in Jesus of Nazareth — where heaven’s pleasure was laid aside so that God could be here.
Advent brings us face to face with an embodied God. The fact that Jesus then resurrects in a physical body shows us that He will forever be personalized in a physical form. Jesus dignifies the body by tethering His soul to it for eternity (see 1 Cor, and NT Wright.) . Jesus’ bodily resurrection matters, and without it, as St. Paul says, our faith is useless and in vain (1 Cor. 15:14, 17).
The Master’s Body
In 1 Cor. 6, Paul goes so far as to say: “God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body… In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love… Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?” (emphasis added)
God honors the human body by coming in a human body. And He paid for our body, at the expense of His own. Consequently, words fail to communicate the royal value of our physical bodies.
In verse 16, Paul says: “Your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit.” In response to this verse, Nancy Pearcy says, “Astonishingly, this passage is saying that your body is where people will meet God. And other people’s bodies are where you will see God” (emphasis added).
Advent and the Power of Your Body
People in hook up culture are hurting because they are using their bodies however they want. But the body is sacred, no matter how much we want to believe otherwise.
With heart-breaking affect, a student says: “Wear protection, everyone says, as if that’s all that matters. But condoms didn’t protect my heart, and contraception doesn’t pay my therapy bills. How I wish someone had told me about the need to protect myself from being used.”
You can use your body for pleasure, but there will still be pain, along with so many wasted moments. It’s worth saying again, people are more valuable than your pleasure.
Your body is powerful, and it has the ability to communicate and reflect the love of a God who has come and held us with outstretched, nail-pierced hands.
This Advent, take time in prayer and study to look upon the embodied God to see the value of your own body.
Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for Proven Men Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.