Sexuality and faith. Although they are issues college students continually face, sexuality isn’t always the most common topic for a Sunday sermon.
University Ministries has decided to change things.
For the past two years, University Ministries has sponsored one of the largest convocation events of the year—the Sex and the Soul series—to provide students with the opportunity to engage in real conversations about sexuality and how it relates to Christian faith.
Each year, students have filled Neely Dining Hall to hear Christian authors and speakers talk candidly about living a life honoring God and dealing with healthy sexuality as well as concerns such as pornography and sexual addictions.
University minister Guy Chmieleski, believes the Sex and the Soul series provides a healthy way to point students in the right direction regarding faith and sexuality.
“Ultimately, we want to honor God and speak into what students are thinking. It’s not helpful when the church doesn’t address it,” Chmieleski said.
With issues surrounding sexuality consistently present in the media—and even at Belmont, University Ministries recognizes the need to continue talking about sexuality and faith with students.
“This is something that has been in the works since last summer,” said Chmieleski. “It is a need on our campus, and I hope it will serve to assist with campus-wide conversation surrounding these issues.”
Just as the series has already featured renowned Christian authors and speakers such as Donna Freitas, Sex and the Soul author and inspiration for the event, this year’s series will be no different.
Andrew Marin, president and founder of the Marin Foundation—an organization bridging the gap between the LGBT community and spirituality, will start the series on Monday, Jan. 24 and emphasize the power of love.
“Marin’s message is that whether you are straight or gay,” Chmieleski said, “above all else, choose love.” Students have three opportunities to hear Marin, beginning Monday at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., as well as Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m.
Dr. David McCarthy, from Mount St. Mary’s University, will follow Marin on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at both 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. McCarthy, author of Sex and the Home, will focus his talk on living in preparation for marriage.
“As a college professor, he knows the vast majority of students are not married,” said Chmieleski, “but you don’t begin preparing for marriage the moment you say ‘I do.’”
Correlating with McCarthy’s theme of preparing for marriage, the series will conclude with Wheaton College’s Christine Colon, who will speak on choosing to honor God above finding “Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Students often become obsessed with finding “the one,” said Chmieleski, and many even believe life doesn’t begin until they find a relationship.
Colon stresses the importance of choosing God right now—not just choosing abstinence, which is merely refraining from sexual activity, but choosing celibacy. Celibacy is not thinking about what one may be missing or wondering ‘is today the day?’ or ‘is he or she the one?’ It’s choosing to live honorably for God right now.
Students can hear Colon close the Sex and the Soul series on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. Filled with relevant material for a college audience on a Christian campus, the Sex and the Soul series is anticipated to impact students just as it has for the past two years.
“Our goal is for students to come and encounter God in the midst of the speaker’s message,” said Chmieleski. The Sex and the Soul Series will be held in Neely Dining Hall, Monday, Jan. 24 through Friday, Jan. 28.