Saturday, November 17, 2018

New Abortion Bill Helps Identify Views of Life and Death

Ohio Americans and their thoughts about abortion are represented in a new bill, which is in process, according to The New York Times.

The purpose of this post is to understand how people think about life and death. What people say about abortion reveals their values. The language of legislation and related penalties reflect their morality. Actions taken to support or challenge legislation also reveals their values.

According to the news report, the legality of an abortion would be determined by the presence of a heartbeat. Thus, abortion is legal if there is no identified heartbeat. Do you know when a heartbeat can be detected? At this point, a heartbeat can be detected at about six weeks.

When does human life begin? People are understandably divided about this issue. Facts exist about fetal development but facts alone do not dictate moral judgments. Some people think life begins at conception thus all abortions ought to be illegal. Others think abortions ought to be illegal when the unborn is able to survive outside the mother. Survival rates vary for early births. Medical advances come close to helping babies live when delivered near 20 weeks. Earlier this year, Congress and the President supported a bill aimed at allowing abortions up to 20 weeks. The bill did not pass the Senate (NYT).

The illegal abortion would be classified as a felony. Thus, the rhetoric of abortion as killing an unborn child, or murder, is not supported here. This language suggests a difference in thinking between unborn lives and babies.

The person who would become a criminal is the doctor. No other person is legally responsible for the act as described in the article.

The penalty for the abortion also indicates the moral importance of the act to those who wrote it and voted for it. Violators are subject to prison and a fine. Thus we glimpse their view of the value of the life of the unborn.

The motivation for the bill appears in the news story--to test Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the USA, this Ohio bill would be one of the most restrictive laws if enacted. Next year's governor will sign the bill, according to the story.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Pagan Roots of Walking and Reflections on Yoga

A midwestern American clergyman, Rev. John Lindell of James River Church in Ozark, Missouri, made national news by warning people against demonic and spiritually dangerous practices, which include yoga. His sermon is titled Haunted: Pursuing the Paranormal. (Newsweek, USAToday).

Here's one claim about yoga poses: "They were designed, they were created with demonic intent, to open you up to demonic power because Hinduism is demonic..." 

It may be possible to dismiss Rev. Lindell as an extremist except, we find other leaders in other Christian groups (e.g., Catholic) have said the same thing. (Lindell is an Assemblies of God pastor).

But is yoga just really exercise like walking? Isn't it possible to move a body in certain ways whilst a person is engaged or not engaged in a variety of religious thoughts or experiences?


Christians are walking all over the world but have they considered the pagan roots of this activity? Many wear plastic devices created in godless countries to count their steps as part of daily exercise goals. And walking began long before the sacred texts were written in stone.

Long ago, in the unwritten antediluvian past, humans evolved skeletons that supported their ability to stand on two legs. No more scampering about like chimps. Ancient humans learned to stand up, look around, and use their hands for all sorts of activities while walking.

As the eons passed, humans of different religions kept on walking. Some stood on two feet praying to gods in trees. Others walked great distances to share the messages of their gods. Different humans, different gods, but all walking, breathing, chanting.

Although many humans have almost given up walking in some parts of the world, many still do so to spiritual songs, messages from favorite speakers, and audio versions of their sacred texts. Some even pray whilst walking.

Walking and faith have a long history.
Walking is good exercise.
Walking is good for the soul.
Walking generally improves wellness
Some humans focus their minds on spirituality when walking.

Humans walk for many reasons.


…some Christians think exercises used by people in other religions along with words directed to their gods ought not to be practiced by Christians.

There are sacred ways to walk, bend, and breathe they say. And one must avoid walking, bending, and breathing in certain ways according to those who tell people what God means and what God does not mean.

I think there is a more challenging message in Lindell's sermon that takes us back to witch trials. Listen carefully to his words on the sermon page.  "Yoga positions...were designed, they were created, with demonic intent to open you up to demonic power because Hinduism is demonic. Every false religion is demonic."

Demonizing the practices of people in other cultures and religions can produce fear and distrust of people who hold different beliefs, which interferes with friendly relationships. In fact, Christians have killed people suspected of consorting with evil spirits. 

I do not believe Rev. Lindell intends to harm Hindus or people who practice yoga. However, if you believe language can influence behavior, I think one must be careful to show respect for people who have different beliefs and customs.

The Lindell sermon page refers to various scriptures cited to support the pastor's view that Christians ought to be wary of the devil. For example, there's a list of "8 Things We Know About Satan." 

That concept of "We Know" is of course a matter of how Christians interpret the Bible texts  and use their reason to apply old texts to modern life--matters like yoga and meditation that are not mentioned in the Bible.

Who cares about one man's sermon? Well, those who practice yoga in the Ozarks care. Early reports indicate some businesses were negatively affected. But Rev. Lindell is not alone in his views.

According to Relevant Magazine, Clergyman Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, preached a sermon titled, "Jesus and Demons." Driscoll also denounced yoga as demonic (seattlepi).

Go back a few years and find a story in the Independent about an Irish priest, Father Roland Colhoun, who warned people against a path leading into "the bad spiritual domain" and "Satan and The Fallen Angels."

An even stronger position against yoga is that of Catholic leaders (See Amorth note below).

Father Colhoun is not alone, within the Catholic Church, in his suspicions of Yoga as a potential source for evil. In 2011, the Vatican’s own chief exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, told The Telegraph that it leads to a belief in Hinduism, and that "all eastern religions are based on false belief in reincarnation".
         "Practising yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter", he added.
And the late former Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, warned Christians that yoga, Zen, and other forms of transcendental meditation could "degenerate into a cult of the body" that devalues prayer.
(Dunn, 2015

Choosing to avoid yoga or other practices linked to various religions should cause no concern in countries where there is freedom of religion and where the rule of law protects people and their religious practices from those who might attack people of minority faiths as perceived enemies.

A different warning. Guiding followers in how to practice their faith is certainly a part of freedom of religion and free speech. But responsible leaders must be mindful that some demonizing and proclamations of evil can incite people to action against the perceived enemies of Christendom or another faith. It's happened before. It can happen again. 

I am reminded of the Apostle Paul's advice to Christians worried about eating meat sacrificed to idols.

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.”But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.[a]

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. (1 Cor 8: 1-8, NIV)

Avoid yoga if you wish. But consider that not even God sent "his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:17; NIV). Oh, and don't forget that previous, and oft quoted verse, John 3: 16-- the one about God loving the world. In this case, it would be a good idea to love those who believe and behave in different ways.
Note on Rev. Lindell. I assume Rev. Lindell is genuinely interpreting the Bible as he understands it. I do not assume he has any malevolent motives. We both have the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Because Rev. Lindell has made his ideas public on the internet, and because those ideas may negatively influence others well-beyond his congregation, I offer a different view.

Note on Amorth: The quote from the Independent referred to well-known priest, Bariele Amorth. A comment on the 2016 documentary notes that Father Amorth was never attached to the Holy See but to the Diocese of Rome-he had no special title (Greydanus, 2018).

Read more about Christians as A House Divided and how Christians can find common ground.


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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Male Clergy Sex with Women- Paths to Destruction & Prevention

Although it should not be a surprise, the sexual assault of women by male clergy continues to surprise congregants and church boards. Perhaps its time to look at the facts and take preventative action. There are lessons that can lead to prevention.

Recently, a clergy sex story made news in the U.S. Here’s a headline from the Chicago Tribune.

“Willow Creek pastor, elders step down,
admit mishandling allegations against Bill Hybels”

What reportedly happened at Willow Creek can provide lessons for every churchgoer in the world because the problem is common in Christian churches and in society at large. I do not wish to pick on Christians. I just do not know about leaders in other religions. As a Christian, I have seen far too many scandals make national news stories so, I hope people will wake up and do something to minimize future destruction; hence, my attempt to draw lessons from the Willow Creek story and other similar stories.


The Clergy Sex Problem

According to the news reports, the Willow Creek pastor was accused by a woman of sexual harassment over a two-year period. Other women reported sexual harassment. The pastor denied the allegations. The church leaders supported the pastor. The reports of the women were not believed until a tipping point was reached.

The research is fairly clear that many Christians know pastors who have engaged in sexual misconduct with a congregant. The problem is large but does not include almost all clergy as some might be tempted to think by such frequent reports.

A few colleagues and I have studied the problem of pastor misconduct in a series of experimental and survey studies. Twenty plus percent reported knowledge of a pastor who had a sexual problem during ministry. Another study found 69% knew a pastor with a relationship problem in ministry. Keep in mind that no names are disclosed in these studies so it is possible that anonymous participants knew the same pastor. Broader clergy surveys indicate sexual boundary violations in the range of 12 to 15%. (See e.g., Sutton, 2016)

The Impact Problem

As in the news article, the impact of clergy abuse spreads like the expanding circle of rings we see when we toss a rock into a pond. The pain we see in the primary abuse female victims is real. In addition to the internal distress marked by feelings of betrayal and guilt, times of depression, and the effort to keep matters silent while trying to avoid further contact, there is the credibility issue.

When a woman has the courage to come forward, her report is often given less credibility than is the denial by the pastor. When the problem is finally acknowledged, it is often worse than it first seemed. That is, more victims are identified. And every victim has family and friends—often people in the congregation. Consider, will the husbands of women stand by them if they think their wife is guilty of adultery? How will their children deal with a mother who some say had an affair with their pastor? Of course, people can say a lot of nasty things about single or married women who have sexual or romantic relationships with married pastors. Many, if not most, family and friends will deal with powerful feelings of betrayal, anger, and anxiety. There will be sleepless nights and much time spent in distressing conversations—the repeated story recurs in mental life for years.

The pastor usually has a family who suffer greatly—betrayal, humiliation, anger, and anxiety over such basic things like how do we pay the bills now he lost his position. And of course, the loss of a long-term relationship—even if the couple remain married, the relationship will need serious repair. Yes, the perpetrators will have many problems as well—they have lost so much and won’t get a lot of support from those who feel betrayed.

Beyond the immediate impact victims are the members of the congregation. As in the Willow Creek story, people leave the church. Church leaders lose their position—often an important part of their Christian identity—people who felt called to serve can feel they failed in their responsibilities. Every person who supported a pastor has been betrayed. Sometimes congregations divide. Sometimes groups of people move on. Sometimes people lose their faith.

The Investigation Problem

It is certainly common nowadays to call for an investigation. Not all investigators are created equal. But even the best investigators can be deceived. In the absence of firm evidence, the tendency is to assume innocence until a man is proven guilty. Internal investigations by inexperienced church leaders are never appropriate as a place to end an investigation. It is far to easy to be misled by a person who has been trusted. It is too easy to believe that a past mistake would not be repeated. It is too easy to discount a woman. Experienced clergy, attorneys, and psychologists can be among those who ought to be part of an investigation. Finding truth won’t be easy when there is a lack of physical evidence.

Establish Accountability

You will read articles about the importance of accountability. I agree, that’s a good thing. Every church must have a strong board with board members equal to the task of confronting their pastors. Pastors also need accountability pastors. All leaders need accountability partners.

Understand and Assess Narcissism

If you are ever in a church where the congregation applauds the pastor as if he were a celebrity, you might expect trouble. A clergy friend of mine said all pastors are narcissists. That might be a stretch. But perhaps we should consider that those with certain personality traits will harm others and themselves. Darrell Puls (AACC, 2017) reports survey data indicating 31.2% of pastors score in the diagnostic range for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It seems my friend was close to right—even if he exaggerated a bit.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, lack empathy for others, and have a strong psychological need for the admiration of others. They take advantage of others in pursuit of their goals. Most, but not all, are men. (Read more at PT). Understanding and assessment can help clergy and other leaders to take steps to modify behavior or set boundaries that will help the pastor and protect vulnerable persons.

Book Ad:      A House Divided: Sexuality, Morality, and Christian Cultures



Manage the Balance of Power

In a humble person, legitimate power can be a good thing. People need leaders to accomplish many tasks, including guiding the faithful in churches and Christian organizations. We know power can be abused. Thus, wise groups establish checks and balances to limit the potential for the abuse of power. Senior pastors have power, which must be checked by strong boards and leadership teams empowered to speak up when they disagree with a strong leader. Too often Christians view dissent as questioning God’s anointed or view consensus as evidence that God’s spirit is working in the group. 

Consensus can be an enemy of truth.

Broaden the Moral Foundations of Team Leaders

Religion by nature is conservative. Christianity is no exception. Traditional male leadership is the norm. A pastor’s authority is often respected as God-ordained. The markers of conservative morality are three: Authority, Loyalty, and Purity. These virtues bind people together in community.  When a trusted and respected leader is under fire for any reason, the community binds together to support their leader and their own identity. To balance this conservative triad, church leaders need to include people with strong foundations in two other moral dimensions of Care and Fairness. The latter two aspects of morality are common among those who focus on caring for those harmed by abuse and advocate for the equal treatment of those who are disadvantaged. They may not be favorite people of those focused on authority, loyalty, and purity concerns (Read more, Sutton, 2016).

Sex Education

I empathize with those who argue that problems like those at Willow Creek are not sex problems. The same kinds of arguments are made in regard to the #metoo movement. I’m concerned that the sex problem is minimized.

Most folks will surely agree that the desire for sex is powerful. Almost all people want to have sex. Young people want a lot of sex. And data suggest men want more sex than do women. If I am right, every Bible school, seminary, and online clergy preparation program must provide sex education along with recommendations for establishing interpersonal boundaries. Clergy and church leaders must really understand sexual attraction and all the subtle ways people can become aroused. Humans flirt. Some do not realize the presence of or the effects of their flirtatious behavior. Sex Education won't solve the problem of self-control over sexual activity. Sex education must include self-control strategies.

I’ve written about this sex-morality issue at some length in the book A House Divided and other posts. Keep in mind that sexual attraction is not just heterosexual. Some people are attracted to members of their own sex and some are bisexual. Each culture adds shades of nuance to what people consider sexually attractive. Churches must deal with the reality that their congregants can be attracted to energetic godly men and women. And the people attracted to their male leaders may be teens and women of all ages as well as men of all ages. More and more women are entering church leadership at high levels. Women will also need to deal with sexual attraction experienced by both men and women of all ages.

Evaluate and Correct Forgiveness Theology

In recent decades, forgiveness has taken on some characteristics of a fad as psychological science has established support for a practice mandated in the Bible. The problem is not forgiving a fallen leader but what people think forgiveness entails. Forgiveness does not mean reconciling with an abuser nor does it mean restoring a leader to leadership.

Forgiveness, like the sabbath, is made for people. Forgiveness allows the victim to be freed from the burden of the past. Forgiveness does not mean setting an abuser free to abuse others. Forgiveness is not excusing an offense.

Teach and Practice Boundary Maintenance

In recent years, especially as a result of the #metoo movement, many men who would not think of engaging in sexual activity with another woman at work have become more aware of less overt ways that harassment can occur.

Touchy-feely leaders are in risky territory. Leaders should neither touch nor encourage touch by congregants. Leaders are always in a power position in any organization. Given the high rates of women who have been sexually abused in human societies, it is better for all concerned to limit interactions to friendly smiles and conversations. In society, unwanted hugs, kisses, and more are grounds for dismissal. Why is the church behind the culture? There is no need to focus on intent or motives. All people in a work or social group need to respect interpersonal boundaries.

Perhaps some do not understand the touch issue.

Sexually abused people may react to touch differently than those who have not been abused.

Verbal and written communications between a pastor and a congregant can approach boundary violations and should result in advice or counseling when a communication problem becomes known. 

Some comments and long looks may be outside of a leader’s awareness, which is why church leaders need accountability partners. One sexual harassment trainer advises people to keep their eyes to themselves (Best). That may be difficult for a pastor or other church leader, but it illustrates Jesus comments about looking (Matthew 5: 27-28) and the eye that offends (Matthew 5: 29). 

Some looks are innocent and some are not. Some looks are innocent but misinterpreted. It is not going to be easy.

Settings that involve close working relationships require people of integrity to maintain strong interpersonal boundaries. Boundaries are not just physical.

Clergy who provide counseling need to participate in ethics training common to that which professional counselors and other mental health professionals receive (e.g., AAPC). Boundary violations are taken seriously. Some violations lead to loss of license and others lead to required supervision. Even experienced clinicians benefit from supervision. Almost every two-person relationship can be a blessing or a problem.

Bible Study and Prayer

I place this last because many Christians believe that the answer to sin problems is more Bible study and prayer. The challenge to this belief comes from evidence that so many clergy have problems of sexual boundary violations with congregants. And that does not include all the leaders in the church. It is hard to believe that all of these fallen leaders failed to engage in Bible study and prayer. In fact, some fallen leaders are well known for their Bible teaching. So, do not discount bible study and prayer and do not discount the importance of other ways to set boundaries and keep leaders on track.


As we consider the detructive effects on the people involved in any leadership failure, let's not forget to help those who have been hurt. Recovering from moral injury usually takes time and involves support. Pastoral counselors and Christian counselors and psychotherapists may be needed when support from family and friends is not enough. We should also remember that some will need practical support when they have lost employment.


Many of the articles are free pdf downloads. The books are available from the publisher or AMAZON, GOOGLE, and other stores. Most books can be examined free by instructors.

Pop, J. L., Sutton, G.W., & Jones, E.G. (2009). Restoring pastors following a moral failure: The effects of self-interest and group influence, Pastoral Psychology, 57, 275-284.  Academia Link    Research Gate Link

Sutton, G. W. (2016). A house divided: Sexuality, morality, and Christian cultures. Eugene, OR: Pickwick. ISBN: 9781498224888

Sutton, G. W. (2010). The Psychology of Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration: Integrating Traditional and Pentecostal Theological Perspectives with Psychology. In M. Mittelstadt & G. W. Sutton (eds). Forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration: Multidisciplinary studies from a Pentecostal perspective. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications.

Sutton, G. W. & Jordan, K. (2013). Evaluating attitudes toward clergy restoration: The psychometric properties of two scales. Pastoral Psychology. doi 10.1007/s11089-013-0527-7 Published online 16 March 2013. Academia Link  ResearchGate

Sutton, G. W., McLeland, K. C., Weaks, K. Cogswell, P. E., & Miphouvieng, R. N. (2007). Does gender matter? An exploration of gender, spirituality, forgiveness and restoration following pastor transgressions. Pastoral Psychology. 55, 645-663. doi 10.1007/ s11089-007-0072-3 Online Link n11144j1655536l2/ Academia link Research Gate Link

Sutton, G.W. & Schmidly, S. (eds.) (2016). Christian morality: An interdisciplinary framework for thinking about contemporary moral issues. Eugene, OR: Pickwick. ISBN: 9781498204767

Sutton, G.W., & Thomas, E. K. (2005). Can derailed pastors be restored? Effects of offense and age on restoration. Pastoral Psychology, 53, 583-599. Academia Link    Research Gate Link

Sutton, G. W., & Thomas, E. K. (2009). Following derailed clergy: A message of healing for a shocked congregation. Enrichment Journal   Academia Link    Research Gate Link

Sutton, G. W., & Thomas, E. K. (2005). Restoring Christian leaders: How conceptualizations of forgiveness and restoration can influence practice and research. American Journal of Pastoral Counseling, 8, 29-44. (The journal has been renamed, Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health.) Academia Link    Research Gate Link

Thomas, E. K., & Sutton, G.W. (2008). Religious leadership failure: Forgiveness, apology, and restitution. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 10, 308-327. Academia Link    Research Gate Link

Thomas, E. K., White, K., & Sutton, G.W. (2008). Religious leadership failure: Apology, responsibility-taking, gender, forgiveness, and restoration. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 27, 16-29. Academia Link    Research Gate Link


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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Early Vote for Women Inversely Linked to Distance from the Vatican

I noticed that New Zealand and Australia were early leaders in changing laws to include women as voters.

So, I plotted the years women won the right to vote in their nations against the distance (km) their nations are from the Vatican based on Google maps.

I should point out that the data vary depending on the source. For example, only some UK women won the right to vote in 1918. Also, the Russian revolution was linked to a few other countries in 1917 (e.g., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine). And I did not list all the central European countries for 1918 (e.g., Austria, Germany, Poland etc.) vote in 1918.

You will also find that some localities included women in various nations during the 1800s. The bottom line is that the trend will vary depending what you include.

The correlation for these results is -.86 suggesting in the early years, the further nations were from the Vatican, the traditional center of Christianity for centuries, the more likely they were to support equality for women when it comes to voting rights.

Here's the data if you wish to work out a more complex chart with more nations or parts of nations.

Nation Year women vote Distance from Vatican Capital City
NEW ZEALAND 1893 18366 Wellington
AUSTRALIA 1902 16210 Canberra
FINLAND 1906 2875 Helsinki
NORWAY 1913 2496 Oslo
DENMARK 1915 1905 Copenhagen
CANADA 1917 6722 Ottawa
Russia+ 1917 3068 Moscow
AUSTRIA + 1918 1126 Vienna
UK 1918 1878 London
Pearson r =  -0.86

The interpretation is open to different perspectives. And of course you could argue that it's just spurious.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Sex in Christian Universities

Christian parents feel good that their children are heading to a Christian University in the Fall. I’ve heard them agonize over not being too pushy but hoping and praying that God would “shut all other doors” and make His will plain to their youngster.

Then you see a headline like this:

“Liberty University professor accused of trying to have sex 

    with a minor”           (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 29 June 2018)

or this...

Baylor coach: At least two football players suspended for sexual assault allegations  USA TODAY 14 March 2018

But perhaps you wondered about what kind of sex and gender rules they will live by after seeing this post by Molly Worthen of the NYT (2 June 2018).

   "Sex and Gender on the Christian Campus"


"So how do you manage relationships between the sexes at your school?" I asked.
"We don't have a problem. We keep them separate," came the confident reply.*

Knowing the conservatism of the school, I wondered if they had 24/7 surveillance. Frankly, I was speechless. Then questions came to mind. But I did not wish to sound impertinent.
A professor shared his news with us at one of those midday hallway conference gatherings at one of those quasi-resort hotels pitched at organizations whose members toil at low budget universities. Last month he’d seen a couple having sex in the parking lot, he shared as part of an "ain't it awful" discussion. The “I can top this” colleague informed us that all the girls at her school were” banging their boyfriends.”

No one wanted to top that so she won. Lunch was over. With bowed heads we checked our programs and hastily moved on to the next lecture.
“I was unfaithful to my wife,” a guilty Christian professor declared as I munched on my sandwich. I suppose he knew I’d keep everything confidential—psychologists do of course. But it wasn’t supposed to be a psychotherapy session—just a lunch discussion over common interests. 

I’m not sure about the range of naïveté to skepticism filtering the minds of students, parents, and employees connected to Christian Colleges and organizations. But people in the know, know Christian students are having knowing relationships despite the behavioral covenants everyone signs—essentially, the agreements are what you would expect—no sex outside marriage. I suspect the parents and administrors may be a bit more trusting when it comes to faculty and staff behavior.

It isn’t really part of the Gospel requirement for being a Christian, but rules about sex are pretty close to creedal statements. And you really won't know what goes on at your Christian college or university. You know their view-- sex outside of marriage is sin and therefore doesn't glorify God-- so you won't find it in a press release. 

As I wrote in A House Divided, most young Americans have sex before they marry. And the data amongst Christians suggest that their faith doesn’t reduce the general population sexual activity numbers to a large degree.

I suppose evangelical Christian colleges and universities will continue to make headlines as long as people assume everyone is heterosexual and abstinent unless they are married.

Silence is not an option. Christian colleges and universities must learn lessons from the #metoo movement. (See Griswold 2018 for example)

We still expect faculty and staff to toe the line. And in a “metoo" era we can probably expect a greater emphasis on no harassment by anyone on any campus. That's a good thing if universities help people create boundaries. But the boundary lessons cannot just be for students--faculty, staff, administrators, and board members need boundaries too.

The challenge will be to put the brakes on human nature. Perhaps facing reality will be a first step. Christians will need to understand sexuality in Christian cultures as they plan ways to keep people safe.

Perhaps you considered keeping your youngsters home. But then you read this article at Christianity Today (June, 2018)

    "Sex Offenders Groom Churches Too"

So, the problems we read about aren't just at colleges and universities.


Meanwhile, realistically, parents, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and board members ought to realize that Christians, whether at school, work, or church, deal with sexuality in many of its forms of expression.

  Adultery      See Christianity Today Lifeway Survey

  Rape and Sexual Violence      (See for example, Thornbury, Christianity Today, 2014)
  Sexual Harassment      in so many ways (See Christianity Today 16 Nov 2017)
  Unwed and pregnant      (See for example, Inside Higher Education 23 March 2017)
  Pornography      (See Barna Porn study 2016)
And some feel a great deal of guilt and shame.

But, it's not all bad. There's plenty of what you'd expect at a Christian university. There are lots of students, faculty, staff, and administrators who love God and love people. 

There are folks who are sincerely committed to a life of integrity. There are positive role models. There are people who treat each other with respect and demonstrate healthy boundaries when it comes to relationships. 

You can find love and romance. You can find good friends that will last a lifetime. It's true. My wife and I met in a Christian college. And we still have good friends and good memories from those years many decades ago.

As with many places in life, each of us makes a contribution to the organizational climate. We make choices favoring love, respect, joy, happiness, and all the moral virtues that enrich life experiences.

Here’s a link to a related post: Is my child safe on a Christian Campus?. I have some ideas about safety and what Christian campuses can do.

There really are things to be done for those who wish to create safe places.

*NOTE [If the conversations sound realistic, it’s probably because I’ve studied, taught, and practiced counseling and psychology for over 45 years. They are just illustrations and do not reflect real persons.]

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BUY A HOUSE DIVIDED and have a discussion about sex and morality in your book study group or course - You can buy from PICKWICK or other fine stores like AMAZON, Google, and so forth.

(or buy another book dealing with Christianity, morality, and sexuality- it is important to be informed before taking action) 

FREE samples can be DOWNLOADED from AMAZON or read at GOOGLE.


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 Geoff W. Sutton

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