Category Archives: Religion

When A Sin Becomes A Crime

20150712_210956_resized-1The church has long taught that sex outside of marriage is a sin.   People who’ve spent any amount of time in evangelical, apostolic, or fundamentalist churches are familiar with verses like, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.”  (I Thessalonians 4:3 KJV)   Forget hunger, poverty, and unemployment.   Sex outside of marriage is what makes the church cringe on any given Sunday.   For the record, the word “fornication” used in the biblical text is taken from the Greek word porneia, which means selling off or surrendering sexual purity and promiscuity of any and every type’.   Marital status isn’t mentioned in the original Greek definition of fornication.

You’ll notice that I’ve highlighted the words surrendering and promiscuity.   That’s because some people don’t seem to understand that “promiscuously surrendering” is NOT the same as being forced to engage in sexual activity.   Being forced to engage in sexual activity is sexual assault at the least, and rape at most.

Why am I making this distinction?   Well, in case you haven’t heard, a major Christian organization has come under fire for overlooking reports of rape and sexual assault.   No, the organization isn’t a mega church or a religious denomination’s national or state conference.   The major Christian organization I’m talking about is Baylor University, the nation’s largest Baptist University.

Over the course of the last several years, several female students have come forward and reported being sexually assaulted or raped by members of the Baylor University football team.   The university, however, didn’t appropriately investigate these reports.   In fact, according to one news report, the University didn’t look into the allegations made by at least one young lady until 2 years after she reported the assault!  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/05/26/baylor-reportedly-fires-football-coach-art-briles-amid-teams-sexual-assault-allegations/

A columnist, who is also a member of a prominent family, many of whom are Baylor graduates, recently wrote that for religious schools like Baylor, “the question is how to balance the country’s encouragement of sexual assault victims to come forward with the school’s rules that restrict sexual behavior.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/05/25/the-ken-starr-baylor-story-shows-the-struggle-of-religious-schools-to-deal-with-sex-assault/

According to Baylor’s sexual conduct policy students, faculty and staff are expected to express sexual intimacy in the context of marital fidelity.   http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=39247

Surely, this prominent columnist can’t be suggesting that sexual assault is an act of intimacy.  But it sounds like this is exactly what he is implying: that because the policy prohibits sexual intimacy outside of marriage, persons who are sexually assaulted are reluctant to report these actions to campus leaders because they have engaged in a prohibited sexual intimacy.  No they haven’t engaged in an intimacy!  They’ve been criminally assaulted.  Sexual assault is NOT the sexual behavior that is addressed in Baylor’s policy on sexual conduct.   This is a bunch of double talk.  And quite frankly, it’s a bunch of bull.

I believe (and some might even agree) that Baylor’s leadership failed to appropriately address the reports of these young ladies who alleged to have been sexually assaulted by members of the football team for one reason.  MONEY!  When the football team started winning and finished with a championship win in 2010 under head coach Art Briles, big bucks started rolling in for Baylor!  The leaders of this prominent Christian university didn’t just delay looking into a sexual conduct policy violation between consenting adults. These leaders turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to sexual crimes on their Christian campus!  And an attempt to reframe the issue of a crime in terms of a policy violation is an epic fail.  https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/05/25/baylor-university-prepares-fire-president-over-handling-assaultshandcuffed

Sexual activity outside of marriage may be a sin.  But sexual assault is a crime.  It’s time for Baylor and the many faces of the faith community including colleges, universities, secondary schools, churches, fellowships and religious conferences to put as much attention on crime as they do on sin.

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No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @kanishaladkins

 

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THE DOORS OF THE CHURCH…ARE CLOSED??

20150712_210956_resized-1Let’s just jump right in. Many people reading this blog are tired of or know someone who is tired of church! This is not to be confused with being tired of God. God and church are two different things. People love God. In fact, if it wasn’t for their love of God, they would have given up on “church” a long time ago. Still, they’re tired of church. And this is not to be confused with The Church: that invisible and universal, timeless and eternal “body of Christ”, group of believers who have professed Christ as God’s son and their Savior and Lord. People are not tired of The Church with a big C, they’re tired of church with a little c.

I’m not making this up. And I’m not speaking solely out of my own personal frustrations. I have hard facts, first-hand knowledge, that people are tired of church. These hard facts are conversations with people who have said point blank, “I’m tired of church” or “I’m all churched out!”

You need more facts? Here they are: Look around your church over the course of the next month or so and you’ll notice some people are missing. The Baby Boomers (ages 51 to 69, give or take a year or two) and Generation X (ages 35 to 50, give or take a year or two) who have been raised in the church, who have been faithful in talent, time and tithe are taking sabbaticals from being overworked, uninspired and unmotivated (not to mention being under and unappreciated). These long time church members who usually show up every time the doors of the church open are going on hiatus from that Sunday morning same old, same old.  They’re finding reasons and excuses to not show up on Sunday morning.

These Old Faithfuls, as I’ll call them, have grown tired of routine and scripted Sunday morning worship and weekly activities and they’re slowing stepping away. Sometimes it’s not apparent because they’re still showing up but just not as frequently as before. They’re still showing up, but they’re not as active or as vocal as before. And little by little, one service at a time, one hymn at a time, one collection plate at a time, “Old Faithful” is inching towards the door and they’re just one pew away from being one of The Dones.

The Dones is a phrase coined by the research of Josh Packard, a sociologist at the University of Northern Colorado. The Dones are those people who are done with church. The Dones have not (I repeat, HAVE NOT) abandoned their faith, or their belief in God or God’s son, Jesus, but they’re ‘done’ with church as usual. The Dones may attend a service every now and then. After all, community and connection are still important to them. But don’t look for them every week singing a rousing chorus of “give me that old time religion.” It may have been good for their dear mother or father, and it may have been good for the Hebrew children, and Paul and Silas, but don’t get it twisted…it’s NOT good enough for The Dones. They’re done with that!

And as Old Faithful inches closer and closer to becoming part of The Dones and giving less and less time inside the four walls of the church, along with Old Faithful goes a big portion of the church’s talent and tithe because Millennials (ages 18 to 34, give or take a year or two) aren’t waiting in line to be pew members. They aren’t interested in being “seat-fillers”, like people who are hired to attend television, theatre and movie award shows so that the house looks packed. Millennials (and those whom I’ll call millennial-minded) want to be involved and active. They love good music, preaching and teaching but they’d rather spend half of the day doing service and outreach projects and not half of the day being benchwarmers. To borrow from the words of Thom Schultz of the Group Publishing and Lifetree Café, like The Dones, The Millennials don’t want to “plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate.”

And then there is Generation Z also known as “Generation V” (for virtual), the “Internet Generation”, or the “Google Generation”. These are the ‘tweens and teens who are still dependent on adults to provide for their every need. These are the children who often sit through church services and activities that are geared towards adults and they either end up falling asleep or playing with electronic games. And before the Google Generation becomes part of the Millennials and they decide that it’s more beneficial to get a job and work rather than worship on Sundays, church as usual has got to change.

Corporate worship is important and I (for the most part) enjoy it. But attending church services and activities shouldn’t be the highlight of our existence as Christians. And attending church services and activities shouldn’t be the requirement that people have to meet in order to prove that they are “living right”.

Years ago a friend of mine asked the question: “why are we [the same people who’ve been coming to bible study for 20 years] still coming to bible study and still talking about the same thing?  At some point we should be going out and putting into action what we’ve learned!” I think she has a valid point. Church should be a place where we enter to worship and depart to serve.

The gospel writer Matthew said that after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples went to Galilee, just as Jesus had instructed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him;… Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:17-20)

This is the Great Commission! It’s short and it’s sweet. It tells us that when people see Jesus, they will worship! And after we have worshiped, we are instructed to GO! GO into the world! GO and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! GO and teach people everything that Jesus taught.

The world has changed! And yet, some of our churches are doing the same things they’ve done for the last 20, 50, 75 and even 100 years. We can no longer continue to do church as usual. We can’t afford it! It’s time for us to stop doing church and it’s time for us to start being the CHURCH! Worship extends beyond the one, two or three hours that we spend in church on the Sabbath. In fact, the magnitude, the demonstration and the evidence of our worship should be what we do after the benediction…on our jobs, in our homes, in our communities. Instead of putting so much emphasis on “coming to church”, perhaps it’s time for us to give the benediction, close the doors of the church and GO!

…And by the way…relax…Jesus promised that He’d be with us.

 

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Sources: *https://baptistnews.com/culture/item/29535-new-term-recognizes-christians-who-are-simply-done-with-church

**http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/177144-thom-schultz-rise-of-the-done-with-church-population.html

No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

P.O. Box 28483 Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on twitter @kanishaladkins

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