Equipping Students To Live In A WAP World
By Albert Forsythe • Diocese of Knoxville • Knoxville, Tennessee
Pop Culture is the soup high school students swim in. As Bob DeMoss pointed out in last week’s blog, 2020 was the year that our students’ world got really sick. We asked Team interlinc writer Al Forsythe to help students process Cardi B’s XXX-rated song of the year. Here is a resource that can help you help your students.
God is our creator who made us out of love, for love, and to be love. Cardi B sings about sex as a simple means of self-gratification and fornication without regard to the dignity of the human person – that sex is an act void of love and respect. This is not true love – sex is meant to be the ultimate gift one can give through a marital act.
Have you ever thought about why God created us? We were made to love and serve Him in this life and the next. Genesis 2:24 notes that man and woman were created for marriage.
“WAP” talks about sex as merely an act of perverse gratification with no regard to the woman or the man involved or the dignity they possess. The woman is originally not an object for the man; only when the nakedness makes the other an “object” is nakedness a source of disgrace. Purity of heart prevented this originally and allowed them to see in each other the meaning of this true gift.
Christ stated that “someone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28) The Ten Commandments had already said, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” 1 John 2:16-17 describes the three forms of lust that are “not of the Father but the world”— lust of the flesh, of the eyes, and the pride of life. This is not the “world” created by God, which was good, but the world that results from man’s breaking the covenant in his heart. Sin transforms the world into a source and place of lust. With the lust of the eyes and the flesh, it leads to making the human being an object.
Christ wants the heart to be a place for the fulfillment of the law. The commandments must be kept in “purity of heart.” The severity of the prohibition against sin is shown by Christ’s figuratively speaking of “plucking out one’s eye” and “cutting off one’s hand” if they cause one to sin. Christ wants to remove lust from the relationship between man and woman so that, in purity of heart, the person can shine in mutual self-giving and sacramental unity. Purity of heart must mark mutual relations between man and woman. Lust is opposed to purity. The pure of heart shall see God. The heart is the source of purity and lust.
Our students are living in a sex-crazed “WAP” world. This Discussion Guide is one of a dozen or more resources in this special “Guys And Girls: Youth Ministry And The New Sexuality” edition of Youth Leaders Only. Click here and get all the new music, these articles, and the 3-week LOVE, SEX, & DATING 2021 series to use in your group!
For St. Paul, following Christ, real purity comes from man’s heart and concerns more than the sexual. As he writes to Titus, “To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds…” (Titus 1:15) There is the call to put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit in order to live. (Romans 8:12-13) This is the same appeal Christ made to the human heart to control its desires.
The heart has become a battleground between love and lust. The more lust dominates the heart, the less there will be love, self-gift, and nuptial meaning. We need to keep the heart under control.
St. Paul shares a contrast between what is “of the Father” and “of the world,” in the opposition between “flesh” and the “Spirit” (meaning Holy Spirit). The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16) “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)
Unfortunately, “WAP” reminds us that we are to stay pure in spirit and heart if we are to win the cultural battle for the salvation of our souls. This is why St. Paul says those who do the works of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom. (Galatians 5:21)