So, Chapter 4 - the one about sex! This is the 2nd of the 'God-obsessed life...' titles that I woke up thinking about one morning, which first persuaded me to agree to speak in this subject. I've mentioned the 'marriage-obsessed church' already. So is our world sex-obsessed?
Just think for a moment about the adverts you've seen recently - on TV, in newspapers & magazines, on billboards. How many of them were using sex, explicitly or implicitly, to sell a product which had nothing at all to do with sex - anything from shampoo to fizzy drinks, chocolate to cars. We've become so used to this that we barely even notice it any more - but is it right? Do we want our children and young people to be exposed to this sort of advertising on a daily basis? And it's not just the adverts - there are the sexually explicit magazine covers which are still clearly visible to children, and the nonsense of being able to see naked women in daily newspapers on sale for a few pence. (on which issue, you might want to go here - http://nomorepage3.org/)
And what about TV and cinema? Almost all of the shows and films we watch have sexual ethics which are very far indeed from the way that I would want my Godchildren, and the people in my church, and my friends to live and to act. Relationships are made and used and thrown away the moment anything goes wrong. People cheat and lie and get found out and lie some more. There are numerous casual sexual encounters. Anyone who isn't living this way becomes an object of fun - from gentle teasing to downright ridicule and scorn.
If you ever find yourself overhearing a conversation between a group of young people, you may well be shocked by what you hear. Of course there's an element of bragging to mates, there always has been - but nevertheless I find it pretty scary sometimes when I hear some of the things quite young kids seem to know about and be talking about today.
And even when we forget about the advertising and the media, even when we discount playground boasting - is the rest of society any different? It's almost like it's seen as weird to live a life which isn't dominated by sex - by having it, by thinking about it, by talking about it.
I'm a 35 year old virgin - something that's seen as so impossible to believe or imagine that it's almost the title of a comedy film. Am I unfulfilled, unhappy and desperate? No.
Don't get me wrong, my mind isn't pure and white and innocent all of the time - very far from it! But I do want to make sure that I don't get sucked into a way of thinking and speaking and acting which is very far from the 'pure life' that I want to live (which I talked about last time).
In this chapter I look at what the Bible has to say about sex - after all, sex is something which God created, and which is a very good thing! And yet there are guidelines there, for the good of us all. In the right context sex is wonderful and beautiful and good, but in the wrong context it can be harmful and damaging and destructive.
So I try in this chapter to think about what God has to say about all this, and how he might want us to live - in ways which are pure and (to use a somewhat old fashioned but very relevant word) chaste.
In the past when I've given talks on this subject, I've had people thank me afterwards for being honest, and for using "real words" (some 16 year old girls once said that!). I hope that's what I've done in this chapter too. This topic is too important to ignore or gloss over just because we're a bit embarrassed about it.
I hope that this chapter will give us a framework for how we should live as single Christians, in the light of what the Bible says, and of what we know about God. It won't always be easy, but that doesn't mean it isn't right.