Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Knowing and applying God’s truth to sexuality brings freedom and blessing.

Those of you who are my age or older I want you to try to remember back to your high school days. As I read this news item from June 18th ask yourself this question, “How did we, as a nation, get here?”

As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies — more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there’s been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town. School officials started looking into the matter as early as October, after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren’t pregnant than when they were," Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. "We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," the principal says, shaking his head.

The girls who made the pregnancy pact — some of whom, according to Sullivan, reacted to the news that they were expecting with high fives and plans for baby showers — declined to be interviewed. So did their parents. But Amanda Ireland, who graduated from Gloucester High on June 8, thinks she knows why these girls wanted to get pregnant. Ireland, 18, gave birth her freshman year and says some of her now pregnant schoolmates regularly approached her in the hall, remarking how lucky she was to have a baby. "They’re so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally," Ireland says. "I try to explain it’s hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m."

The high school has done perhaps too good a job of embracing young mothers. Sex-ed classes end freshman year at Gloucester, where teen parents are encouraged to take their children to a free on-site day-care center. Strollers mingle seamlessly in school hallways among cheerleaders and junior ROTC. "We’re proud to help the mothers stay in school," says Sue Todd, CEO of Pathways for Children, which runs the day-care center.

Gloucester’s elected school committee plans to vote later this summer on whether to provide contraceptives. But that won’t do much to solve the issue of teens wanting to get pregnant.

Kathleen Kingsbury, “Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High,” Wednesday, Jun. 18, 2008

Welcome to modern America! That bizarre little story is just a taste of what’s on the way. I fear that we are only beginning to harvest the bitter fruits of the sexual revolution that began in the 1960s. That was the era when young people started overthrowing biblical standards for a more liberated view of sexual expression. In one generation we made the transition from one man and one woman in marriage “until death do us part” to “If it feels good, do it!” Ironically, what we thought would bring freedom is leading us into bondage and setting out nation up for ruin.

What’s happening in our nation is nothing new. We’re following an old path to degradation first set forth by Ham, one of Noah’s three sons. His story, from Genesis chapter nine, is one of the most bizarre and ambiguous in the Bible. Noah got drunk and naked in his tent, Ham walked in and saw him, went outside and told his brothers who then covered Noah without looking at him, and finally Noah awoke and cursed Ham’s youngest child Canaan to perpetual slavery. That’s the literal interpretation, but it leaves many questions marks about the story.

In order to make sense of the story various attempts have been made to fill in the blanks left open by the Genesis account. One interpretation says that Ham’s sin was homosexual voyeurism – looking at the nakedness of another to gratify lustful desires. The Jewish rabbis speculated that Ham went even further and raped Noah. Others disagreed and said that Canaan, Ham’s son, emasculated his grandfather while he was drunk with his father’s approval. Recent scholarship says that the story is discretely communicating that Ham raped his Noah’s wife and Canaan, the child produced from his disgraceful act, was cursed as a result.

The fact is that we’re not really sure what happened between Ham and Noah, but we do know a lot about Canaan’s descendants. The Canaanites were sexual degenerates. Leviticus 18 describes their disgusting practices. (You’ll be glad to know that I’m not going to read it.) It’s a horrible list of perversion, so bad that God commanded the extermination of the Canaanites at the hands of Israel. Whatever deviant thing Ham did to his father, his descendants through Canaan followed. As a result, they were enslaved and destroyed.

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