Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Youth Worker and Sexual Integrity. . . .

Two weeks from today I get to introduce my friend Jason Soucinek to a group of people who will gather to receive a day of training we're calling "Life Up Close: How To Challenge Teens to Embrace Sexual Integrity." I've been thinking about what I might say to kick off the day. Two of the facts I know I'll tell the folks in the room are these: 1. We are all broken and our brokenness has not left our sexuality untouched, and 2. There's not one of us who hasn't had to battle sexual brokenness and compromised sexual integrity in our past, our present, or our future.

Yesterday, my buddy Doug Fields posted a guest blog from my buddy Marv Penner that addresses these realities. In this case, Marv was writing to youth workers. Marv titled his post "Crossing the Line: 8 Warning Signs of Inappropriate Relationships With Students." PLEASE read it.

Folks. . . let me be blunt. This may be the most pressing yet ignored issue in the world of youth ministry and the personal life of the youth worker. I remember how easy it felt to point condemning fingers at Ted Haggard 5 years ago. That finger-pointing came on the end of arms attached to people who erroneously believe that 1) I'm not broken. . . at least not in this way, and 2) I would never do that! If you believe either or both of those lies, you are one or two steps closer to making that one simple little decision that today might be the only thing that makes you and Ted Haggard any different. Like Marv, I know too many first-hand stories. . . and the book of stories seems to get longer and longer every week.

It's taken me years to admit my brokenness in this and other areas. Maybe it's due to growing up in a Christian culture where this kind of stuff was denied and/or covered up. But I know I'm not above any of it in thought, word, or deed. Today, I thank Marv and Doug for reminding me and everyone else about that reality.


Rob said...

Great reminder, thanks!

Rafael Ortega, aka Ralph said...

Wow Walt. I read Mark's post. His 8 warning signs should be tucked into each youth pastor's Bible.

The photo on Mark's post captures the problem exquisitely.