Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Unconventional Baptist church not shy about sex


TUCSON, Ariz. — A Web site with a name like Puresextucson.com is not something you’d expect a Southern Baptist pastor to brag about.

But not only is 27-year-old Jeremiah McDuffie flaunting the site — created it.

McDuffie sent not-so-subtle mailers this week to 35,000 Tucson homes: postcards showing a photo of four feet peeking out from under bedcovers in a suggestive pose.

He also took out full-page advertisements in two local newspapers.

McDuffie, pastor of The Element Community Church, explains that he wants us to know that God wants them to have good sex.

Ultimately, he hopes to open up dialogue on a subject he says is too often regarded as taboo in houses of worship. Yet it’s also at the root of so many issues he hears about from worshippers and others who seek him out for pastoral counseling, he said.

“Sex wasn’t invented in a dark alley behind a porn shop. It’s part of God’s design,” McDuffie’s Web site says.

Not everyone has been happy to receive the mailers. The Catalina Baptist Association, the organization whose name is on the back of the flier, has received a few dozen irate calls, and The Element has had a few, too.

“The negative calls we’ve had were basically from people saying this was a subject we shouldn’t be dealing with in church, that it’s inappropriate,” said McDuffie, who confesses he was once a porn addict.

McDuffie’s in-your-face message is meant to attract people to a series of sermons about sex that he’ll be giving on consecutive Sundays beginning Sept. 7. The first one is titled, “The Greatest Sex You’ll Ever Have.

It’s an interesting topic for a pastor whose one-year-old church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination with a conservative reputation.

McDuffie said that while he’ll be using the Bible in his sermons, he doesn’t plan on telling worshippers what they can and cannot do.

“This is not a ‘don’t have sex’ talk,” said McDuffie, who is restricting his sermons to those age 13 and older.

The Element is one of more than two dozen “plant” churches that the denomination has started in Tucson in recent years. The plant churches are typically contemporary in worship style — with rock bands instead of hymns and auditoriums rather than sanctuaries — and they don’t have the word “Baptist” in their names.

The Element is not the only such church talking about sex. Also on Sept. 7, two other local Baptist “plant churches” will hold events titled “Porn Sunday.”

One of those churches, CityEdge, is even having a wet-T-shirt contest in recognition of Porn Sunday.

“It’s actually just a couple of our guys being silly, wearing wet T-shirts,” said the Rev. Billy Creech, the 34-year-old pastor of CityEdge, which is just four months old.

But Creech said the message behind Porn Sunday is a serious one. Like McDuffie, he wants to broach subjects that are normally not discussed in church — at least not with frankness. Porn Sunday opens a series of sermons at CityEdge titled “The Unspeakable.” Other subjects include money, work and sex.

“Let’s stop hiding things and stop playing ‘church,’ ” Creech said. “People are tired of that. Instead of pointing fingers at what our culture is doing, we want to be real and talk about who we are in here.”

August 29, 2008 - Posted by | Baptist Church, Evangelical Tricks, Pornography, Sex in the Bible

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