The theme for the upcoming Idea Camp in Las Vegas is sex.

Oh boy.

For many of us in the church, myself included, this is a really tough topic. Talking about it can be awkward, embarrassing, or confusing. Throw on top of that the vast amounts of Christians who struggle with pornography and sexual-based sin, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for sweeping this conversation under the rug as fast as possible.

However, I deeply appreciate the leadership of Charles Lee (founder of the Idea Camp) in being willing to go there because these conversations need to happen. Sex shouldn’t be some shameful thing (no matter how badly our culture has skewed things); in the light of Christ and His redemption, it can and should be a beautiful thing.

Birds, Bees, and Uncomfortable Questions

For reasons I have not been able to pin down yet, San Diego has a high number of strip clubs (An aside: has there ever been a more misleading name than “gentleman’s club”?), many which are visible during our family’s drive from home to our church building.

The one and only time in my daughter’s life where I did not encourage her reading was the day she asked me, Daddy, what does “nuh-dee” mean?

It took a moment for my wife and I to realize what she was asking. She had just read the sign on a strip club that said, “Nudie Cuties” on it.

How do you explain to a first-grader the depths of human depravity? That, inside, men and women were degrading themselves and their souls, turning something intended for beauty and intimacy into, essentially, a financial transaction.

The World Has Turned and Left Me Here

Although it’s painfully obvious to say it, we live in a hyper-sexualized culture. I would not consider myself old, or particularly old-fashioned, but I am very aware of the not-so-subtle messages bombarding my daughter everyday. My wife and I want to speak honestly with her, but also to protect her childhood.

Jesus’ words ring true as we try to raise our daughter: it’s easy to feel like we’re trying to protect a little lamb among wolves, wise about how the world works and yet pure in heart.

We try the best we can to help our daughter see herself as God sees her — as a beautiful girl made in the image of God — and to build up her sense of confidence and self-confidence. We want her to know that she can talk to us about anything, even things that might seem awkward, embarrassing, or confusing.

Back to the Conversation

My wife discerned that our daughter’s view was drawn to the sign because of the word “cuties.”  We explained to her that, even though the sign had a fun word in it, that place was not for kids at all, that it was not a nice place.  We explained what the word “nude” meant and our daughter moved on to the next topic of conversation soon after.

I’ll be honest: I was extremely relieved that our daughter lost interest in that place so quickly. However, I believe raising her is a sacred trust and calling from God. My wife and I want to be bigger influences in her life than media or pop culture, so we know there will be many more conversations in the future. At each stage of her life, we want her to know we’re walking with her, and we are committed to guarding her heart with all we have.

Campfire Talks

Many thanks to blogger Dan King for taking the lead on the many incredible blogs that have been written leading up to next week’s Idea Camp (it’s not too late to register!).  You can catch up on these blogs, organized weekly by topic, here. Conversations so far have centered around slavery, sexual orientation, abuse, addiction, pornography, and gender. My post today is part of Family Week, the last set of posts before IC//SEX next week.