Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bristol Palin, Sex, and Motherhood

Addendum: Once you read my post, read Dan's passionate reflections on Bristol's interview. He may sound mean, but he's right.

World Magazine online posts a video interview Greta Van Susteren of Fox News managed to snag with Bristol Palin, daughter of Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin. For those individuals who were living in Antarctica from September to November of last year with no access to the outside world, Bristol was the unwed pregnant daughter when Sarah Palin ran as V.P. with John McCain.

The 12 minute interview is making the various blog rounds because toward the end, Bristol makes the comment to Greta that abstinence is "not realistic at all." Her comment is suppose to be taken as scandalous for a couple of reasons:

First, she gives the appearance that she is coming out against her mother's conservative, evangelical convictions as one who would advocate abstaining from sex until one is married. Then second, critics of any evangelical views of sex, especially abstinence education being taught in public schools, seize upon her comment and gleefully exclaim, "you see! Bristol is the product of such foolish ideas because she had sex anyways like every teenager in America is already doing and she got herself an unwanted pregnancy!"

If only Bristol had known the proper way to use birth control, or wasn't enslaved to such backward thinking views against abortion...

A few thoughts struck me as I watched that interview

- Since when does an immature and clueless teenager have a valid opinion about anything, let alone whether or not abstinence education is effective?

- That being stated, rather than taking her comment as slighting abstinence as being unrealistic as a means of educating teens about sex, I took her as clumsily trying to say something along the lines that teens are not being abstinent because they haven't been educated as to why abstinence is to be preferred. Following her comment about abstinence being unrealistic, she seemed to clarify what she meant, even though her words came across as awkward.

- I must confess I was a bit disappointed with her lack of repentance for what had happened. The girl is suppose to be from a solid, evangelical family and attending a good church. However, rather than taking the opportunity to talk about the need for personal self control in such situations as opposed to making sinful choices to engage in fornication, she had more of an "Oh well, life happens" attitude. In this case, life just so happened to her and her boyfriend. Now her and the boyfriend have to grow up quicker than they both anticipated and that sort of stinks because now she has to be self sacrificing and has no ability to do her own thing.

- She mentions how she wished she would have waited 10 years from now to have a baby, because a baby cramps up her ability to go to college and enjoy life as a single young adult and all those other great opportunities our culture says girls should value over motherhood. But fornicating and getting pregnant out of wedlock at 28 would be just as sinful then as it is now with her being 18.

- With these family trials happening at the moment, I am left wondering if Sarah Palin's political ambitions are the wisest course of action for this time.

- In spite of her "It's no big deal, I'm managing" attitude, there is a bit of honesty in her comment because abstinence education is unrealistic in many respects. Sure we can tell teens abstinence is the best choice because a person will avoid unwanted pregnancy, prevent STDs, and be safe from all the emotional scarring which comes after experiencing the ultimate form of intimacy with another person. But in reality, during the heat of passion, down in the basement converted family room, when hormones are raging, the thrill of naked bodies and sex devours all those reasons given for abstinence between a teenage couple.

What many evangelicals miss - and certainly the secular conservatives who advocate such "feel good" programs as abstinence education - is anchoring sex in the Lordship of Christ. I as a hotblooded, all American boy, remained celibate until marriage because I longed after a high view of God and scripture. There is reason why Proverbs ties true wisdom and knowledge to the fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7). I controlled myself sexually because Christ is the Lord of my life. I respected women I dated and did all I could to guard their purity because I had Christ Lord of my Life. Believe me: I wanted to have sex with them something fierce, but I restrained my flesh because Christ is the Lord of my life.

Now, that is not to say Christians won't fall into sin. Christians certainly do. It is not like I have this power in and of myself apart from the work of the Spirit. I can also thank God's grace from sparing me many of the anguished trials which could have resulted from bad decisions I would have otherwise acted upon but was prevented by divine providence.

But, when one's convictions are anchored in scripture, and your life is submitted to the Lordship of Christ, and you are being shaped daily by the sanctifying Spirit of God, abstinence is not only realistic, it is certain.

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Blogger DJP said...

Well, if anyone ever tells you you're mean, you can always say there's someone meaner than you.

(IOW my take at my place was less... er... gentle than yours.)

9:57 AM, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Kim said...

I agree with you Fred; I thought she sounded rather unrepentant. And I don't think enough time has passed nor has she dealt with motherhood long enough yet to have much profound to say about the whole situation.

And I agree with you about the motive for abstinence. Abstinence won't happen if it's just something we are "taught." It must be a conviction based on the Lordship of Christ.

Good post!

10:37 AM, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Mike-e said...

While I think methods that are designed to keep us from sexual immorality ("every man's battle," etc.) can help, I think you are right that the Lordship of Christ should be first and foremost. Its unfortunate that these camps teenagers go to which are supposed to be teaching a biblical view of abstinence and all that talk nothing or very little of God's holiness and the Lordship of Christ, when that should be the basis and foundation for our striving for purity in the first place.

6:10 AM, February 19, 2009  
Blogger Hayden said...


I preached Proverbs 5 to the youth ministry I used to lead and told them it was not enough to just say 'no'. Abstinence is not enough in the sense that it falls short of biblical purity.

6:25 AM, February 19, 2009  
Blogger The Seeking Disciple said...

How sad that true discipleship was not taking place in Bristol's life. Her interview shows what is wrong with many youth ministries in that our teens not only are not being taught God's Word at home but in their youth groups. Discipleship is so vital to living the Christian life (Matthew 28:19-20) and without discipleship, we would quickly turn away to our flesh (Hebrews 3:12-13).

1:50 PM, February 23, 2009  

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