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What is Marriage to Evangelical Millennials?

A few weeks ago, I assigned the article “What is Marriage?” to the students in my gender theory class, which I teach at an evangelical university. This article presents an in-depth defense of the conjugal view of marriage, and I included it on the reading list as part of my efforts to expose students to a range of viewpoints – religious and secular, progressive and conservative. The goal is to create robust civil dialogue, and, ideally, to pave the way for thoughtful Christian contributions to cultural understandings of sex and gender. The one promise I make to my students at the beginning of the course is that they are guaranteed to read something they will find disagreeable, probably even offensive.That promise used to be easier to keep. Continue Reading »

Letters

marriage pledge R. R. Reno writes in “Government Marriage” (December) that he “can’t see how a priest or pastor can in good conscience sign a marriage license for ‘Spouse A’ and ‘Spouse B.’” Then, in support of the Marriage Pledge put forward by . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Christians Care About Sex

new study out this week shows widening gaps in how different demographics in America approach sexuality and family. The Relationships in America study, produced by the Austin Institute, looks at “how social forces, demography, and religion continue to shape attitudes about family and intimate relationships.” The findings are notable, boosted by a survey that draws from 15,738 respondents ages eighteen to sixty, a very large and representative sample of the general population of the United States. Continue Reading »

Sex on Campus

haven’t followed the details of the UVA sex scandal. Unless one is an administrator with responsibilities for such things, keeping one’s distance from the facts is probably best for one’s moral health. Indeed, we didn’t need this particular news story to know that there’s a problem. We’ve embarked on a de-regulation of sexual relations. In the official ideology of our time, our bodies are machines available to provide us with pleasure. The same holds for the bodies of others, limited only by consent. Today, at places like UVa this is the unquestioned and unquestionable orthodoxy. Continue Reading »

Thoughts on Men

Last week, at a panel discussion hosted by World Youth Alliance and co-hosted by First Things, entitled Mad Men, Modern Family: Examining the Role of Men in Social Development, the moderator opened with the question: “Is the cultural conversation about men, accessible to men?” “No,” came the first reply, from Dr. Paul Nathanson, author of several books on attitudes towards men, including five co-authored with colleague and fellow panelist, Dr. Katherine Young. Seated in the back, I watched the men in rows ahead of me, their shoulders visibly drop and the muscles in their face relax, affirmed by what they, and I, collectively knew to be true. Continue Reading »

Positive Chastity

Readers of First Things who are teachers and administrators at secular colleges know what happens in formal and informal discussions of student conduct when someone mentions the word “chastity.” Continue Reading »

The Pornographic Double-Bind

Forty-three percent of American men (and 9 percent of women) now report using pornography within the past week. It’s not an adolescent thing, either, as data from the new Relationships in America survey reveals. For men, porn use peaks in their twenties and thirties before beginning to diminish slowly. Indeed, sixty-year-old men are only slightly less likely to have viewed pornography within the past week than men in their twenties and thirties. Continue Reading »

Positive Chastity

Last week at National Review, David French had an article entitled “The Vindication of Christian Sexual Ethics” that takes a welcome turn in the controversies over sexual behavior on college campuses that have erupted in recent months. (See here and here and here for examples of thousands of stories from that last month.) Instead of focusing on incidents of proven and alleged sexual assault, then maintaining or denying “campus rape culture” at work, French speaks of “sexual-revolution values” in general and sets against them Christian values of sobriety, chastity before marriage, and fidelity after. Continue Reading »

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