Dear Madre: "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?"


Dear Madre,

I'm in college and living away from home in an apartment near campus with some friends. I even have a boyfriend (finally!). He's really sweet and
thoughtful and all my friends really like him too. He's even Lutheran! 

But he goes to another school a couple of hours away so we really only get
to spend time together when he comes to visit, about twice a month for a weekend. I'm really committed to remaining a virgin until I get married,
but sometimes we fall asleep cuddling on the couch, and he's slept with me in my bed a few times too. Is it wrong of us to sleep together when he
comes to visit if we're really truly just sleeping?

Lady Strawberry Jam

Dear Lady,

Congrats on the Lutheran boyfriend! However, I must remind you that any man worth his salt wouldn't put you or your reputation in such a compromising position as to
intentionally plan to spend the night in your apartment, much less your bed, when he comes to visit. Surely you have some male friends who can
let him sleep on a couch or patch of floor for a weekend! Aren't you worth the extra effort?

Well, I guess it's not technically a sin to "just sleep" with someone of the opposite sex. But that doesn't make it right or even "not wrong".
It's one thing to fall asleep cuddling during a late night movie on the living room couch when other people are home, but it's quite another to
"go to bed" in your bedroom together.


Even if you're "not doing anything", sharing a bed with a man is hardly something that could be described as chaste or decent behavior (review
the 6th commandment and explanation). It's like living with a boyfriend and playing house together, pretending like you're a married couple
and doing intimate things that, normally, only married couples do together (like sharing a bed). But you're not married. You're not even
living together. You're just doing it for the night.

And we all know what sorts of things happen in beds, under covers, in the dark, and it's not just sleeping. Even if it is "completely innocent"
now, there will come a night when one or both of you lay down with hormones percolating away and you'll "accidentally" have "unplanned sex". Or
you'll manage to hold out and "technically" remain a virgin.

What it comes down to is that 1. It's inappropriate and harms your reputation as a chaste Christian young woman who prizes her virginity and 2.
It's playing with fire and eventually, to one degree or another, you will get burnt.

It's nice to wake up in the arms of a strong man who cares for you. It feels good. That's the idea. Let that be your husband.

– M

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The Man behind the Curtain

Like the Wizard of Oz who appeared to be bigger than life but, in reality,
was just a man with a microphone standing behind a curtain, pastors are also
just men. They are really no different from any other human men we all
know.  They’re not smarter, faster, stronger, more charming or better in
any way than butchers, bakers, or candlestick makers. 

Pastors do hold a unique office in God’s kingdom.  They are called and
ordained servants of the Word and set aside deliver God’s gifts to us. 
They’re divine delivery men.  Their office, like the UPS man or the pizza
guy, has an identifiable uniform.  A uniform denotes a certain respect for
a vocation’s office, and authority that it carries.  For example, we would
be happy to accept a package from a man dressed in brown shirt and shorts, but
might question receiving a package from a shady character wearing aviator
sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt.  The trustworthiness of the vocation
being fulfilled is shown by the uniform – the person who wears it is essentially
unimportant and interchangeable with any other person who is set aside to wear
it.

Their authority to preach and teach God’s Word as a called and ordained
servant of that Word and by His authority is in the office they have been
given.  And that office of pastor, like any other vocation, exists
authoritatively only in a specific relationship – to his own congregation. 
A pizza guy doesn’t have any authority to deliver free, all-you-can-eat pizzas
to his friends and family just because it is his job to deliver pizzas.  He
doesn’t get to choose whom he is called to serve with his vocation.  He
doesn’t get to choose what toppings you get on the pizza he delivers to you.
Like a pastor, he passes on to us what he has received, and what he has been set
aside to deliver to us.

However, pastors are servants of the Word as well.  The Word of God is
authoritative and powerful independent of the pastors who proclaim it.  It
creates faith (Romans 10:17), it is what makes Sacraments sacraments. 
"Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water comprehended in
God’s command and connected with God’s Word," and "It is not the water
indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and
faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God
the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a
baptism." (Small Catechism).  Note that it does not say that it
is the water comprehended in God’s command and connected with God’s Word when
spoken only by the pastor.

God’s
Word is authoritative simply because it is God’s Word and accomplishes what He
sets out for it, regardless of the delivery method He chooses in any given
situation – whether it is a layman, a donkey, a pastor, a burning bush, or an
unbeliever.  It is the Holy Spirit working in that Word that accomplishes
God’s will, not the Office in and of itself since the Office does not properly
exist except in service to deliver that Word.  That is why we can trust
that even the Word preached and Sacraments administered by an unbeliever in the
Office is still God’s Word and as sure as if Christ Himself preached it. 
God’s Word is living and active, it does what it says. "The Word…does not
become false because of the person or his unbelief," (FC SD IX:25).

Pastors, because of the authority of the Word that they deliver through their
office, need to be careful that they do not fall prey to the temptation of
believing in their own self-importance.  The pay isn’t usually very good,
but the authority with which many members revere him sure is a nice perk. 
The pomp and circumstance with which he carries out the service, often wearing
all sorts of fancy liturgical bling adds to the effect – and the temptation.  It’s easy to
see how some may be begin to think that God’s Word proclaimed from their lips
is more powerful and authoritative than that same word is from the lips of a
mere layman.

"For it is not founded upon the holiness of men, but upon the Word of God." (FC
SD  IX:24)