Setting up a bed with a stripper pole, stilettos, and a pile of dollar bills on one side and a teddy bear, some candles, and a bottle of wine on the other is certainly one way to draw folks’ attention. But when these props are part of a church sermon series called “Battle of the Sexes,” you’re bound to also draw some raised eyebrows.
Pastor Mike Scruggs of the Light of Word Ministries in White Oak, Ohio is trying to bring what usually goes on behind closed doors to the pulpit for some education and frank talk. He thinks that “right now we’re having single people having too much sex and married people not having enough sex,” and wants men and women to recognize their differences to benefit both genders in the bedroom. He draws his inspiration from the book Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse by Texas-based Pastor Ed Young, but his first sermon, which was intended for singles, drew a packed house.
Scruggs told his local news affiliate : “We push the envelope, that’s true. Don’t take it out of context. Some people say, ‘He’s going to hell. He’s wrong.’ We want to talk about it. We don’t want them to guess at it, assume it’s wrong. It’s right. We want to talk about it.” Even his own mother approves of the message.
Those who believe that the church shouldn’t be encouraging single people to focus on sex at all will probably disagree with Scruggs’ approach, as will others who think that sexuality has no place in church, and more still who’ll consider placing a stripper pole by the pulpit just a gimmick to pack the pews.
But what I find unnerving is the stereotypical gender construction behind it all that sets women up as romance-craving, sexually traditional, teddy bear squeezers because we “like being wined and dined and cherished,” and men as sports and video game-driven beings bent on drooling over strippers and high heels. We all know that sexual desire is never that cut-and-dry, and it’s disturbing that the message once again becomes “throwing bills on strippers…yes, that is what men like…this is normal and healthy…hooray for traditional gender roles!” Pastor Scruggs sounds a bit like another relationship expert in disguise.