“The Sex Files”: My Ramblings about Mavuno’s Current Series [Part 1]

08/10/2012 — 21 Comments

This is something I rarely do on this blog – reviewing sermons. However, I thought it is only reasonable and important that I highlight a few concerns and observations regarding the current sermon series at Mavuno Church – The Sex Files: Living in an R-Rated World. One reason for choosing to do this publicly is that Mavuno Church does an excellent job at publicizing its events and sermons. The church is also one of the few that I know of which encourages its members to tweet the sermon bits and bytes during the service, as the preacher is speaking.

I couldn’t think of a simple and short way to summarize what I intend to achieve by writing this post. It is however my sincere hope that my aim in writing this will be clear by the end of the post. So read on and find out. Forgive me if it sounds more of a ramble than a review.

In the first installment of the Sex Files, Pastor Kyama lays down the groundwork for what lies ahead. He introduces the subject of sex by first pointing out the power that sex holds in our current media and society in general. “Sex sells – commodities, jobs, movies. Breakfast shows.” However, despite the popularity of sex as a subject, there’s something in all of us that acknowledges that we are abusing sex. Pastor Kyama then goes through a series of examples outlining the apparent double standards in people when talking about sex. Here are a few:

  • “People watch porn – soft or hard. It is normal. Why don’t they put porn watching as a hobby in their resume?
  • Why do people tend to watch porn on their own not with visitors ?
  • Why don’t people tell my aunties and uncles they are having sex with their boyfriend?
  • How come people can discuss sex with my boys but not with my dad?”

Pastor Kyama then proceeds to lay down a biblical (for lack of a better term) basis for talking about sex. He explains how sex is one of the things that became perverted after the fall of man. He takes us through Genesis 3 and shows how our broken sexuality is merely one of the inevitable consequences of a fallen humanity. However, a careful review of how he presents this brokenness raises several theological concerns. For example, Pastor Kyama points out that the fall led to pain, resistance and death. Pain from our labors, resistance from the objects of our labor (ground) and physical death.

I couldn’t help but notice the total omission of the spiritual death that took place in the fall. But then again, the Bible does not actually explicitly say “spiritual death” in Genesis 3. No need to force meaning into scripture, Cornell. Pastor Kyama describes death (the consequence of the fall) only as the physical death that we experience, and the moral decay that we experience – best illustrated by the second law of thermodynamics: “Things generally don’t get better they get worse”. Furthermore, this leads to a very practical conclusion – since we did something that led to the brokenness in the world, we can do something to restore this broken world… and our broken sexuality. He explains;

“As I look at scripture there are a number of things I see we can do. We can choose to do the right things, we can make deliberate decisions to cleanse our minds from those things which are wrong, we can build the right company around us to keep us accountable. I would like to focus on one practical area we can apply this week to help us get back to the right normal. I want to take a cue from the passages I have referred to today.”

And this is where he brings in his practical application of the Genesis account of creation and the fall. It is shocking how simple everything looks. The first thing we have to do to get out of our sexuality mess is simply… talk about it. That’s what the Bible shows us to do – according to pastor Kyama.

“You see –

  • God entered into a conversation to create men and women
  • While in the Garden God conversed with Adam and his wife and built relationship
  • The serpent is the one who came into a conversation which resulted in disobedience
  • The consequences came out of the conversation between Adam, Even and a heartbroken God. But it didn’t end there –
  • Our hope has come from Jesus who, through a conversation with us, promised a full life of abundance in every area of our lives including our sexuality
  • I think that we too can use our conversations to redirect us into God’s standard and values for our sexuality.”

I don’t know about you, but I felt like I was lying back on a shrink’s couch listening to this part of the sermon. The Godhead had a conversation that resulted in creation. The devil had a conversation with Eve that resulted in the fall. Jesus, through conversation with us, has promised a full life of abundance. So, it is only reasonable that we should have a conversation that will deliver us from this sexual brokeneness. Let’s just talk about it. Fungua roho yako. Ongea. The emphasis on the power of dialogue (or conversation) is umistakable;

“Could it be that you can change your part of your world with the conversations you enter into? Could it be that your words can begin to affect your world and the world of those around you and return us back to God’s normal? Could we end the awkward moments and the double standards we live in with what we do with conversations around us?”

And the solution is not surprising. Of course Jesus is the answer. But hold on. He is not coming to do what you think He is coming to do. Dying on the cross? Paying for our sins? Nah. None of those. At least not yet (this is only part 1 of the series). He is coming to something a little bit more practical. This Jesus is coming to do something much more profound – He is coming to talk to us about it.

“Sex and sexuality is not meant to be a hindrance to life but an opportunity to glorify God through a thriving and not decaying life.

This is why God sent His Son Jesus into the world for us to overcome the decay and enjoy the fullness of life.

Jesus had many conversations – and in one of these he talked about this full life. In John 10:10 speaking to his disciples and to us he said.

The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they [you] may have life, and have it to the full.

The serpent, Satan brought – pain, resistance and death. He spoke with Eve and sin entered. He came to destroy and kill what God had created for us.

Jesus on the other hand came so that we can have full, abundant, thriving life – even in our sexuality.”

And since we are called and meant to be Christlike in our sexuality, where should we begin? Of course we should begin where this Jesus of John 10:10 began, by talking about it. It is the most reasonable thing to do, isn’t it? A series of conversations about sex and resolutions about our sexual escapades is what it takes to begin reforming and reclaiming our sexuality, right? It sounds simple and straightforward enough:

“What if

  • You made a decision not to be part of lewd conversations when you are with your friends?
  • You chose not to flirt with ladies [or men] in the office?
  • You stopped retweeting those funny but dishonorable things, exit wrong conversations?
  • You resisted all temptations to put on and listen to radio shows that you couldn’t listen with your mother in the same car?
  • You stepped out of conversations with friends that you knew are going south?”

Jesus, our wonderful counselor came to help us and redeem us from our broken sexuality by [first] talking about it. He came to talk us out of it. He came to discuss ideas on how we can avoid falling and giving in. He came to have a conversation with us and encourage us to have conversations with others so that we can be freed from the bondage of sexual sin. he began by verbally promising us abundant life, and we should therefore begin by claiming the promise. Pastor Kyama’s logic is so simple that I cannot imagine any unbeliever being offended or being stumbled by such a message:

“You see –

  • God entered into a conversation to create men and women
  • While in the Garden God conversed with Adam and his wife and built relationship
  • The serpent is the one who came into a conversation which resulted in disobedience
  • The consequences came out of the conversation between Adam, Even and a heartbroken God. But it didn’t end there
  • Our hope has come from Jesus who, through a conversation with us, promised a full life of abundance in every area of our lives including our sexuality
  • I think that we too can use our conversations to redirect us into God’s standard and values for our sexuality.”

That’s what we are left with. Let’s talk about it. Let’s see what we can do. What about Jesus? Let’s get Him in on the conversation. He knows just the right words to say. He will tell us what to do. The first thing we need to do is talk about it. The conversations will redirect us into God’s standard and values for our sexuality. Honestly, I expected a sermon that traces sexual sin back to the fall of man to mention that the death that occurred in Genesis 3 was not just physical, or psychological, it was primarily Spiritual. I expected a sermon that credits redemption from sexual sin to Jesus to mention that Jesus came and gave His life for our sin, that it is His death, and not His conversations that saves and redeems us. Okay, maybe my expectations were too high, too rigid and too dogmatic, but come on, if all we need to do is talk about it, how can we talk about sin and never mention the Gospel in our conversations?

I’ll tell you how we can do that. We can do that if the pastor is a psychologist, the pew is a shrink’s couch, the sermon is therapeutic and our offerings are the consultation fees. Honestly, the only thing I heard in this sermon was moralistic therapeutic deism at its best. It is not just ironic that there was no Cross in a message about such a grave sin as sexual sin, it is simply appalling. Maybe it’s just me, but a message about sin without The Gospel is a powerless message (Romans 1:16).

But maybe I am getting ahead of myself. It is too early in the series to make such a conclusive deduction. Perhaps I should wait until the end. So, let’s cool our jets, and wait and see.

.

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” [Acts 17:11]

In His service and for His glory,

Cornell

PS: The second part of these reviews is up. Please click here to access it.

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21 responses to “The Sex Files”: My Ramblings about Mavuno’s Current Series [Part 1]

  1. 

    Cornell, thanks for the review. I admire your courage. K2

  2. 

    Reblogged this on POETIC.

  3. 

    appalled. Hopefully the genuine believers will soon enough see the sometimes-not-so-subtle assaults on Scripture and leave Mavuno.

  4. 

    I’m a bit…surprised. I know from personal experience how futile moralism really is in defeating porn and lust. I would have hoped for a re-direction to the cross. I’m more sad than angry. I really am…

  5. 

    “moralistic therapeutic deism”…tell me this isn’t something the pharisees must have tweeted about Jesus.

    Before we take out our daggers and start stabbing any moving thing in sight, slow your roll. First up, let’s not throw out a little word called ‘context’. If this was a message preached at a kiss-kiss-bang-bang hit-and-run crusade, maybe the outrage would be understandable. But it isn’t. This is preached in a church firmly grounded in Scripture and whose congregation is regularly fed the unadulterated word of God. It was also spoken in a service that has already built great context for Jesus in its worship and prayer times. So tell me when people hear the message they don’t hear Jesus? Please…My point? People hear messages through the lens of context.

    Secondly, and the author here mentions it severally but goes on to discard it, it is not called a sermon SERIES for no reason. SERIES. Season 1 episode 1 never tells the full story. Hold your horses…

    But for arguments sake. Let’s play a little game. Follow this trail of thought and spot the error in theology..wait…that’s too easy. Try spot the thing Jesus would be upset about (Jesus…not modern day teachers of the law).
    One…Our world is drowning in sexuality gone wrong
    Two…The reason for this is the broken nature of the world
    Three…God saw this brokenness and spoke life into it
    Four…As God’s people, we too can speak life into situations
    Five…Choose to speak life into our broken world with your words and your actions.
    Six…Jesus

    I just threw in six so that the name of Jesus would be included.

    Here we are as Christians, so busy daggering each other in plain sight of a world drowning in sin and showing off our understanding of theology and sermon preaching 101. Gimme a break. So a preacher did not join dots the way you would, I’m sure that is reason to blog about it and confuse the non-believer who had the message and after reading this is hesitant to do anything about it.

    I’ve been to Mavuno on a number of occassions, and I’m always impressed with the way I see lives being turned around. The day you see something ungodly or unbiblical, you can bet I’ll join you in tweeting and blogging about it. Until then, I suggest the different flavors of church try live together, even if they don’t agree about every single thing.

    • 

      Well said Pete V…

      • 

        Good job Pete V. It’s so sad that instead of working together in love to show the world that we serve a God of love, we spend so much time bashing each other.

    • 

      -speaking ‘life’ is the Lord’s work,not ours…this is yet another skewed doctrine fed to us by a number of our modern-day preachers…Be Berean,read the Word…listen to the Spirit’s guidance…

  6. 

    Its easy to block a messege,i’d say reread the messege and I’ll be praying for you and many others,that the messege is received as it was intended.I’ll also pray for Pastor K knowing that that even Jesus the bearer of good news was received with criticsm.

  7. 

    Ngare may be it might help you to know that the fall you are waiting to hear about ie the spiritual death as a result of man’s fall has been talked about in another series by another pr. in Mavuno. This is a different sermon by a different pr. You can get more sermons series on
    same topic then may be u will feel covered, just saying:)!

    • 

      Hey Alice,

      Siku mingi! Thanks for that tip. I’ve actually been following Mavuno sermons for a while. My issue was not so much the covering of all bases in one sermon as it was about the reasoning employed and worldview expressed in EACH sermon. That is the subtle but more serious problem.

      By the way, I actually know & believe that if I was to ask Pastor K whether he believes that a spiritual death actually happened in the fall, he will definitely say yes. So, it wasn’t really about what was mentioned and what was left out. Hopefully, this will be clearer in Part 2.

      Have a blessed day and week ahead 🙂

  8. 

    As people go back and forth on form and function, and I guess with some good reason, I’d much rather focus on the half dozen people who got born again as a result of the message – not to mention the dozens of others who made a commitment to re-commit their sexuality to God! As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

  9. 
    alexshianda 13/10/2012 at 2:19 pm

    I am with you Ciiru.that is my focus too.not on those begging for attention by dishonoring our leaders

  10. 

    The review is on point. Why follow leaders at the expense of the biblical truth? Who should we listen more: our leaders or what the bible says?

  11. 

    Interesting read. My opinion he this is the first part of the series, then don’t get ahead me yourself. The pastor is laying groundwork and explaining why it is important to talk /converse.

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