Earlier this morning, as I perused the usual websites I tend to haunt over my morning cup of coffee, I encountered a news item entitled: “Pastor Ed Young, Wife to Stream Time in Bed on the Internet.” Needless to say, I did a double take.
Apparently, Ed Young, who is the Founding and Senior Pastor of the multi-site Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, has a new book to sell. This book, which he co-authored with his wife, is called Sexperiment; and it encourages married couples to commit to having sexual relations every day for seven straight days. Now please understand, I am not questioning a pastor’s decision to teach on the subject of human sexuality. Far from it. What I am questioning here today is the seemingly boundless lengths to which we are willing to go to market Christianity to a Modern, presumably disinterested, culture.
Back in 2008, Paul and Susie Wirth released a book entitled, 30-Day Sex Challenge. It was marketed with the tagline:
“Every man’s fantasy: 30 days of sex! Every woman’s dream: 30 days of intimacy!”
Now I want you to stop and look at that for a moment; and I want you to ask yourself: what is being “sold” and who’s “selling” it? While I don’t know the sales figures for the book, its basic premise caught fire, as it was used as the inspiration for many “challenges” delivered in numerous churches across the nation.
But as we all know, news cycles move on, and Modernity is always anxious to discard the “old” in favor of the “new.” And so now, just three years later, capitalism once again rears its ugly head within the church, and two new books are released. The first book, Young’s Sexperiment, promises to do in seven days, what the “old” book could only do in 30. And as for Mark Driscoll’s book, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together, it promises to tell you all sorts of explicit things, the likes and details of which I will leave for you to investigate.
Here’s the problem. Not only are we, as Christians, caught in the lie that the “new” must be better than the “old,” we’re also caught up in constantly struggling to find new and “innovative” ways to market our materials. If N.T. Wright goes on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, than Driscoll has to show up on Dr. Drew’s Loveline. And if Rob Bell previews his book, Love Wins, with a catchy video, than Ed Young has to one-up him and stage a “Sexperiment Bed In.” You read that right. In an effort to generate some serious sales volume, Ed Young and his wife, are camped out for 24 hours on a bed on the roof of their church. And you are invited to witness this live event through this link.
The question are numerous. Where will this all end? Is it even possible for this to end? Or are we all caught up upon a wave – a wave that leaves us flailing about as we wait to be dashed upon the rocky shoreline? I guess only time will tell.