It Aint Over
The Monica Lewinsky interview has concluded; the book has been released. Yet, we as an adult society weary of scandal, impeachment, and embarrassing details about our nation's leadership still have lessons to pass along to our children. Yes, Hillary's village should not remain silent regarding these matters.
In the American village where our children live, here are the latest related statistics (from the Spring 1999 edition of Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner):
- 56% of women and 73% of men have become sexually active before their 18th birthday.
- About 25% of sexually experienced teens become infected with an STD/STI, Sexually Transmitted Disease or Infection, each year.
- 1 million teens become pregnant each year, resulting in 14% intended birth, 37% unintended birth, 35% abortion and 14% miscarriage.
Despite out fatigue on this subject, there are still three essential messages we must communicate. We, as an adult society, must begin to provide coherence to our discussions by having our words match our own actions and practices.
First, sex and physical intimacy are not just a game. Ms. Lewinsky described the beginning of the relationship as this "Everyone who has been in any situation where there's a flirtation, it's a dance. And it's sort of one person does something and then do you meet that person and raise the stakes." In a relationship, we grow closer in many ways, sharing time together, sharing interests together, and sharing hopes and dreams. In a mutual relationship, both parties can win, as they grow closer. True Love does not rack up relational chips in an effort to bluff or raise stakes to see if the other will stay in the game or fold.
Further, sex and physical intimacy cannot stand alone in the equation of True Love. A relationship built around physical gratification, both in brief encounters or during telephone conversation, proves not to be much of a relationship, at all.
Look at the list of negative consequences inventoried by Ms. Lewinsky regarding her own sexual encounters. She considered suicide due to the pain of the aftermath of the relationship. She, who could speak publicly regarding so much, could not speak of a recent abortion. She experienced the disappointment in not really knowing your partner, thinking there might be a future for them both, only to later characterize him as a "liar." Clearly, she does not seem to have a sense of appropriate boundaries- sharing too much information with too many "friends" including Linda Tripp. She acknowledged revenge sexual "flings" to spite former lovers.
True Love builds up the lovers. True Love seeks what is best for the other, not looking for one's own self interest or gratification. True Love does not take advantage. Ms. Lewinsky describes herself as "I don't have the feelings of self-worth that a woman should have. And that's hard for me. And I think it's the center of a lot of mistakes and a lot of pain." There are mistakes and pain with True Love, but never at the cost of one's inherent worth and value as a person, as a creation in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27)
Finally, sex and physical intimacy do have meaning. Both the President and Ms. Lewinsky have made a distinction between sexual variations and sexual intercourse. This is the "Pretty Woman" myth. In the movie, Julie Roberts describes her prostitute character as a "safety girl" well prepared for a sexual encounter. Later, in front of a TV with an old I Love Lucy episode playing, she and Richard Gere seem prepared to engage in acts similar to what has been discussed on prime time television lately. No further display of "safety", an intimate act occurs, yet the risks for an STD/STI is clearly present. Sexual intercourse, with any variation on the theme, remains sexual intercourse.
We cannot continue to speak as if means nothing. Our songs, our movies and other stories all talk of the meaning of love and touch. We must begin to add spiritual values to it also. Touch is one image and likeness of God coming in close, personal, emotional, social, psychological, and spiritual contact with another image and likeness of God. Touch has great value- it is sacred.
Physical touch and intimacy is one of our greatest gifts from God. It can be a source of great pleasure, the beginning of new life, solace and comfort in times of need. However, we must remain careful with this very same gift. We cannot lose it in a high stakes game. We cannot presume that it intrinsically speaks the language of love when power, selfishness, and lack of communication are involved. Finally, we cannot deny that there is meaning and worth to intimate contact with one another.
These are just some of the reasons we have to encourage young people towards abstinence until marriage. These are some of the reasons we have to encourage all people to fidelity and chastity within their relationships.
The village should not change the channel during the continued selling of Monica. It should just speak up a little louder during the commercials