The world constantly bombards the church with messages about sex, and men and women’s roles, that are incompatible with the gospel. It is impossible to completely protect our self from these influences.
A recent TV commercial for Beyaz birth control pills is a good example. It opens with a group of attractive, well-dressed, 25-35 year old professional women entering a gift store. As they begin to shop, a background voice drones, “You know what you want today, but you never know what you might want tomorrow. Its good to have choices. It is good to have Beyaz.”

Stacked on the display tables are various life “choices.” The ladies begin to fill their baskets. On one table is a stack of college diplomas. Another, labeled “significant other,” contains pictures of handsome, eligible men. Another shelf boasts pictures of tropical vacation destinations. Then a beautiful brunette passes a stork with a cloth bundle representing a baby. The stork moves towards her, but with a smile she shakes her head and turns away. She puts a “trip to Paris” in her basket instead. The scene closes with another woman putting a new home in her basket. This ad expresses several assumptions about the ideal contemporary female.

• She is a well-educated professional.

• Even though she is in her late twenties or early thirties, she is still single.

• She is in control of her life. She doesn’t need a man or family.

• Her priorities are material and vocational. They are not maternal.

• Yes, she is interested in “relationships,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean marriage or children.

Here is the bottom line. Our culture’s plan for today’s successful woman does not prioritize marriage, parenting, or family. At the root of this is a more fundamental denial of the differences between men and women. This denial has produced a growing reluctance to marry; the decoupling of sex from commitment; a radical growth in the number of illegitimate births; and the gradual withdrawal of men from leadership and responsibility.

This post, and the ones to follow, contend that marriage and family, as biblically defined, matters greatly. In the words of Cicero (106-43 BC) “Prima societas in ipso conjugio est,” The first bond of society is marriage. Since this is true, the church should be a showcase of healthy, holy, happy marriage and family life.

More on these specific issues to follow tomorrow.