Here I am in the beautiful Czech Republic, in a little village called Velka Dobra. I am about 20km outside of Praha (Prague), and in the countryside. I’ve been here for the past week and a half or so after visiting London and Paris. Last weekend (Thursday and Friday) I went to Budapest, Hungary, for a short time.
This trip has indeed been a spiritual journey for me as I had first written. A different sort of spiritual journey, sure, but one all the same. I would likely title it “transformation”.
I was at a church last Sunday night for the first time in a few months (for my new readers, I was formerly a nondenominational Christian; I grew up in church). The last time I was in a church was for Orthodox Easter, and the last time I was in a nondenominational Christian church was December. I was curious as to how it would effect me now to return to the same kind of church I’ve been in for most of my life.
The subject being talked about was “sex and love.” Of course. This is one of my hot button issues that I normally disagree with the Christian church on. Having grown up in it, I see a number of holes. I had a headset for translation from Czech to English, and at one point I took it off because I was too angry to keep listening. The issue that sparked my anger was the talk on sex before marriage.
My own personal standard is that for me, emotionally, I don’t want to have sex before marriage. Because of several personal issues I have, it’s just better for me to do it this way. It really has much less to do with religion and a lot more to do with how I connect to people. This is a conclusion, by the way, that I’ve come to in the last few months that I’ve been “religion-less.” So I really have little judgment towards people who feel that they want to have sex before marriage. It’s their choice, and if they find it beneficial and not a betrayal of their deeply held values, then by all means go for it. I am not going to be wagging a finger at you.
But I’ve grown up in the evangelical church who parodies “no sex before marriage!” But they don’t teach how to keep from betraying self and personal values, and don’t explain that often in order to find your values, a journey is required. (This, actually, is an archetype that is seen throughout history – for instance, the vision quest of Native American culture)
And after not explaining how to find your own personal values, they HAND you a set of values and tell you, “follow these steps and your life will be amazing! your wedding night will be spectacular! there will be magic and fireworks and you’ll be glad you waited!” This is generally how the wedding night is presented in Christian culture. Something that is a magical fairy tale and well worth the wait.
Having been married, and having waited until marriage, I can assure you – this is not true. It’s absolutely incredible how much the Christian culture usually leaves out, even practical information. Everyone outside the Christian world KNOWS how awkward their first time was. Why don’t Christians admit this? Why are they so quiet about even what everyone else knows – First time sex is awkward! But then, how else would they get teenagers to wait for the wedding night than to make it a majestic, otherworldly experience?
So when this issue was mentioned at church on Sunday, with the familiar stance of, “Wait for your wedding night, it’s worth it,” I couldn’t listen any more.
No matter what religious path I choose, that is not how I want to live
I want to be real. Life is hard, people won’t come hear about Christianity just because there’s free pizza, and first-time sex is awkward. Hell, sometimes sex is awkward even in long term relationship.
I want to be a person who makes my judgment scarce, embraces humility, minds my own business, and strives to love others.
I am going to search out my own personal values and live by them; not because someone else tells me to, but because I believe in them. I am not going to follow something I am told until I’m convinced it aligns with my own value system and what is beneficial for me.