When the Senior Pastor of my church insisted that I go to the Men’s retreat, I had little choice. I was employed as the Youth Pastor, and I was expected to go and spend time with the men. The reality was that he wanted me to drive up to the San Bernardino Mountains so he could avoid paying for the gas.
Our first night there, we were assigned to a cabin. I ended up in an upper bunk with three other guys from our church. The Senior Pastor had a private cabin, which the church paid for because he needed to have a quiet time for prayer. The open night speaker was an older man who was a Senior Pastor at one of the denominational churches. When he went up to speak to the eight hundred men gathered, he was concerned, he wished to share with us the greatest danger facing young men today. He wanted to share this danger so we as pastors could intervene and prevent it from spreading to our young men.
He said, “The greatest moral problem facing our young men today is “naked games.” The entire audience of eight hundred men didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. He went on to explain how his church hired young men to intern. They were given food and board in a house next to the church. He went on to explain that he was at the house one evening and found several of the young men playing cards NAKED!
He, of course, confronted them, they explained that it was no big deal, they were all guys. Our speaker, of course, explained that each of them had a perverse desire for other men to see them naked. They were told to dress and the whole group of interns was put on probation. If they were caught naked around each other again, their internship would be ended.
The entire evening’s teaching was on the moral decay of America’s youth as evidenced by “NAKED GAMES.”
When it was time to go to bed, the guys in the cabin seemed nervous. They all stood awkwardly looking at each other. I finally spoke up, “Would anyone fall into moral depravity if I undressed for bed?” I asked. The guys broke out laughing. The tension was gone. We got undressed and went to bed.
The next two days of the retreat, our speaker continued on the theme of moral decline and the shame of nudity. He spent a great deal of time explaining how the exposure of young men to the sight of a penis could have harmful effects. The shameful display of male nudity would entice young men into homosexuality, and they would become perverted exhibitionist in order to entice other young men.
After the retreat, the Senior Pastor asked me what I thought. I told him it was the greatest wasted opportunity of all time. Instead of inspiring us as leaders; instead of encouraging us in our relationships; instead of deepening our spiritual lives; we were treated to two-and-a-half days of this guy’s rants about guys being naked in front of each other. Had this man never been in a locker room? Didn’t he have brothers?
Fundagelicals are so out of tune with their views on human sexuality. That this man could be so concerned over naked card playing by a group of twenty-something-year-old guys and need to vent all over a group of men he was meant to inspire shows how deep the fear of sexuality is ingrained in the Fundagelical mind.
This is the group who pushes abstinence-only education for fear that any information about sex will lead to sex. This is the group that thinks purity rings will keep girls pure. This is also the group that consumes porn at the same rate as non-Christians. Have you ever noticed the one book in the Bible that is least preached on is the Song of Songs? It’s too erotic and has a healthy open attitude about sex. You can’t have that kind of stuff in church.
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