At the heart of Christian sexual ethics is not a dour set of rules, but a fetching trait: the virtue of chastity. Our contributors examine how chastity is exemplified in married life and singleness, and why its beauty has become difficult for us to appreciate.
Thinking well and Christianly about sex is critical, for it’s about the "place bodies have in the life of discipleship and how it is that God intends for us to thrive as men and women," writes Beth Felker Jones. “Christians have always acknowledged two routes for publicly declaring and displaying that God is faithful: celibate singleness and faithful marriage. In both, Christians testify, with their bodies, to the faithfulness and power of God." But singleness is too often ignored. Wesley Hill explores how churches "can provide the good company that their celibate, same-sex attracted believers will need for the long journey."
Chastity is "a habit of reverence for oneself and others that enables us to use our sexual powers intelligently in the pursuit of human flourishing and happiness," Matt Fradd notes. It is hard for us to attain and appreciate this virtue, Mary Hulst suggests, when we are "exposed to many lies about dating, singleness, sex, and marriage." She urges us to seek friends and, when led by God, "more than friends" who draw us closer to Jesus and help us to become better for the kingdom of God. Donna Freitas describes what college students face within a hookup culture, and Stacy George examines the different distortions inherent in the ring by spring culture on Christian campuses.
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore the virtue of chastity. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.
- "Radical Faithfulness," by Beth Felker Jones
- "The Long Defeat," by Wesley Hill
- "Chastity as a Virtue," by Matt Fradd
- "A Good Samaritan Response to Hookup Culture," by Donna Freitas
- "Beyond the 'Ring by Spring’ Culture," by Stacy Keogh George
- "Mary’s Worthy Suitor," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Raphael’s Marriage of the Virgin
- "Love in Control," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Sandro Botticelli’s Pallas and the Centaur
- "A Couple’s Intimacy," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Couple as Isaac and Rebekah
Hymn and Worship Service
- "Intense the Love God Molded," by Terry W. York and Kurt Kaiser
- Worship Service by Amber Inscore Essick
- "Sexuality and Spirituality in American Adolescents" by Lauren Taylor
- Donna Freitas, Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses
- Christine J. Gardner, Making Chastity Sexy: The Rhetoric of Evangelical Abstinence Campaigns
- Mark D. Regnerus, Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers
- "Christian Sexual Ethics in an Age of Individualism" by Julie Morris
- Wesley Hill, Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian
- Beth Felker Jones, Faithful: A Theology of Sex
- Dale S. Kuehne, Sex and the iWorld: Rethinking Relationship beyond an Age of Individualism
Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of five Study Guides)
- "Human Sexuality and Radical Faithfulness"
- "Living 'The Long Defeat’ Together"
- "Chastity as a Virtue"
- "A Good Samaritan Response to Hookup Culture"
- "Beyond the 'Ring by Spring’ Culture"
- Pornographic Culture issue