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VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 8   |   Release date: January 15, 2004

In This Issue
No Grace on Moon, Mars
Black Family Flees Emergent Church
THO Guide to Christian Capitalization
Benefits of Abstinence After Marriage
Bible Study Divided for Sex Talk
Survey Results
January Church Sign of the Month

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Divided Bible Study Just Excuse for Male Sex Talk
Pastor splits sexes to chat men up about sexual sin

JACKSON, MI – The suspicions of the male half of Jackson Creek First Baptist Church's Wednesday evening young adult Bible study were quickly confirmed when Assistant Pastor Harry Waters – who announced at the beginning of the January 14th study that the normally unisex gathering would be split with men in the basement and women in the adult ed wing – somewhat clumsily steered the conversation in the direction of lust and sexual sin.

"It was so contrived," said Tom Lighting, a long-time study attendee. "As soon as he announced that the study was gonna be split between the men and women to 'facilitate a more open dialogue,' we [the men] all started shooting glances at one another. We knew what was coming."

Lighting said that once the women cleared out, Waters made a couple of comments on the disgusting nature of the latest Christina Aguilera video and then went straight into "so, how many of you guys are struggling with sexual sin right now?"

"It was such an awkward transition and such an uncomfortable moment," Lighting said. "No one spoke for like five minutes, and then it was just all in generalities about how hard it is to stay pure. Stay pure? What the heck is that? I wanted to crawl underneath the stack of old pews in the corner."

Waters defended his tactics.

"I wasn't trying to fool anyone," he said. "Once the ladies left, I just opened it up, and that's where the conversation led, and I'm glad it did. The only way to deal with this sensitive issue is to discuss it freely amongst a group of males who know each other casually from church."

For the women's part, they seemed completely oblivious to any hidden motives behind the split study.

"I thought it was great to have it be just us girls," said Ruth Mason, 25, who has been attending the study for about six months. "We talked so openly about how hard it is to be a strong Christian woman in today's workplace. There was a lot of hugging and crying."

Despite the reported awkwardness on the men's side, Waters was encouraged by the study and plans to start having the divided sessions on a regular basis.

"I saw some materials from Focus on the Family that I thought would be a good starting point," Waters said. "You know, if the free and open conversation takes us, ahem, there again."

Lighting, for one, hopes that Waters follows through on that plan.

"At least that way I'll know which weeks to skip," he said.

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