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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

Wednesday, February 9 2005

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Sexualizing culture, 3:
college campuses

When my campus ministry moved in 1972 to Stanford University, the first co-ed dorm had just opened and was a hot discussion topic. During the eleven years I spent there, the women's and men's gymnaisiums were also made co-ed. I heard talk of men and women using the same dorm bathrooms and that making for awkward moments, but the 1970s were a decade of radical changes and this seemed part of the flow which, in turn, seemed flowing toward the decline and fall of western civilization. Most of my student acquaintances were dedicated Christians and though the sexual revolution was in full flower in the culture as a whole, it was generally understood still in the '70's that being a Christian meant being celibate until marriage or at least engagement.

Fast forward to 2004. In November a new novel was released by an author who had years earlier been one of my favorites, Tom Wolfe, whose work is usually insightful sociological treatments in popular and palatable literary form. The new one, I Am Charlotte Simmons, updates the campus sexual scene. "'I personally would be shocked out of my pants if I was at college now,'" Wolfe told an interviewer with the Guardian, who says he "spent four years trawling the campuses for raw material. The book, he says, is 'about sex as it interacts with social status. And I have tried to make the sex un-erotic. I will have failed if anyone gets the least bit excited. So much of modern sex is un-erotic, if erotic means flight of fancy or romantic build-up. Sex now is so easy to consummate—it is a pressure that affects everybody, girls more than boys, I think.'"

Last week, my Christian News and Media Portal website linked to an article at Christianity Today on the same theme by a theology professor at Loyola College of Maryland in Baltimore. Vigen Guroian, the author, indicates there is not much difference between the campuses Wolfe visited in researching his novel and the campuses where he teaches and has taught in the past: "the commendability of sexual experimentation has become an orthodoxy among many who hold positions as deans of student life at our colleges. Of course, some colleges take concrete steps to resist this revolution of morals.

"Still, in most American college coed dorms, the flesh of our daughters is being served up daily like snack jerky. No longer need young men be wolves or foxes to consume that flesh. There are no fences to jump or chicken coops to break into. The gates are wide open and no guard dogs have been posted. It is easy come and easy go. Nor are our daughters the only ones getting hurt. The sex carnival that is college life today is also doing great damage to our sons' characters, deforming their attitudes toward the opposite sex. I am witnessing a perceptible dissipation of manly virtue in the young men I teach."

And though the sex is more pervasive and casual in campus dorms and off-campus apartment complexes, the same "new morality" pervades the lives of all members of our younger generation, except the few who choose to resist. A recent episode of CSI Miami used the murder of a young woman at a nightclub to probe the inner workings of that club scene, in particular the fact that the club had only one restroom and the stalls were specially made to accommodate and partially, but not entirely, mask sexual trysts. The idea of a glamorized dance bar having only one restroom was momentarily shocking, until viewers realized that the same coed "sharing" is the norm at most of the campus housing in the country. And I'm sure even the young adults who aren't in college are at similar clubs—more about sex, "hooking up," than drinking or dancing—in large and small cities every night all over the country.

We began with the sexualization of our children, but these, too, are our children. The spokespersons for MTV and other kinds of smut entering our homes through media—and our free choices—want us to believe that those who find such sexual preoccupation unhealthy "underestimate [our] young people's level of intellect and sophistication." But there is no such thing as enough intellect and "sophistication" to insulate us from being besotted by such inputs.

There's only one way, in any stage or passage of life, to come into the presence of God and it's through being as innocent and guileless as a child.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

DEEP OBSERVATIONS ON LIFE

1) When I die, I want to die like my grandfather—who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car." —Author Unknown

2) Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: "Take two aspirin" and "Keep away from children." —Author Unknown

Sent by Trudy Myers 

Thought for today

One of the most obvious and significant differences between secular and Judeo-Christian values concerns human worth. One of the great ironies of secular humanism is that it devalues the worth of human beings. As ironic as it may sound, the God-based Judeo-Christian value system renders man infinitely more valuable and significant than any humanistic value system. The reason is simple: Only if there is a God who created man is man worth anything beyond the chemicals of which he is composed. Judeo-Christian religions hold that human beings are created in the image of God. If we are not, we are created in the image of carbon dioxide. Which has a higher value is not difficult to determine.

Dennis Prager  

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