Sunday, January 30, 2011

Leading to the Bedroom: The Christian Guide to Soul Sex

Courtesy of David Reid

People of my generation will remember George Michael’s exhortation that “Sex is natural, sex is good; not everybody does it, but everybody should.”  Michael had it partly right.  Sex is natural and good, but it isn’t meant for everybody.  Specifically, it is meant for married couples.  When practiced within marriage, sex strengthens the relationship between husband and wife.  However, other forms of sex can be psychologically and emotionally damaging, not to mention destructive to families.  This is part of the message of Leading to the Bedroom by West Georgia pastor and Georgia Tech graduate, David Reid.

This book is important because the divorce rate in Georgia is one of the highest in the country.  At the same time, the national marriage rate has been declining for decades.  As more and more children are raised in fractured or single-parent families, society suffers.  Being a single parent is one of the most certain ways to end up in poverty in this country.  Even if the family is financially stable, divorce causes a multitude of psychological and physical problems for children.  The physical, emotional and financial toll of broken marriages is a major strain on American society. 

Reid, the pastor of Peachtree Community Church ( in Villa Rica, Georgia, recently authored Leading to the Bedroom, a guide to helping married couples enhance their sex life.  His program also helps couples to break down walls between them, which will help other areas of their marriage as well.  What makes Leading to the Bedroom different is the source of its inspiration:  the Bible.

Reid believes that sex is a gift from God that was originally intended for both pleasure and procreation.  Beginning with the first humans in the Garden of Eden, sex gave marriage partners a close soul-to-soul connection with no barriers between them.  This connection provided the basis for a stable family.  With the Fall of Man, however, came the Battle of the Sexes, shame, embarrassment, abuse, pornography, infidelity, and myriad other obstacles to sexual closeness.  Today, power struggles and mistrust between partners have robbed many couples of the joy of sex. 

Reid makes the point that Satan does everything he can to get couples into bed before marriage and everything he can to keep them out after marriage.  This leads to many married couples experiencing a sex famine that leads to other marital difficulties.  This book makes the powerful point that God intended sex to provide us with joy and pleasure and that couples who are not experiencing that joy are missing out on what God has offered them.  Christianity has never required joylessness.

Leading to the Bedroom offers a plan to overcome these obstacles and enhance your sex life.  It will surprise many people that the Bible offers quite a bit of sexual advice.  From the origin of sex in Genesis to the wisdom sayings of Proverbs to the graphic love story of the Song of Solomon (Song of Songs), the authors of the Bible had much to say on the subject.  Reid’s research includes not only these Biblical passages, but also psychological and biological information on sex and what makes men and women tick. 

Christianity is often confused with legalism and a “thou shalt not” mentality.  It is true that the Bible contains numerous warnings and guidelines on how we should live our lives.  Reid addresses many of these sexual guidelines and stresses that they are for our own protection and benefit.  As many of us have learned from experience, when these guidelines are not followed we put the happiness and welfare of ourselves, our spouses, and our entire families at risk.  They also prevent us from reaching sexual fulfillment, what Reid calls the “icing on the cake” of the sexual relationship. 

To help couples get past all of these issues, Reid has developed the LEAD process.  The goal is deal with past wounds, resentment, and disappointment in order to reach the pinnacle of sex, “soul sex.”  The four step process is designed to help couples become more familiar and supportive of each other, more comfortable sexually, and generally more happy.  Husbands are taught to be loving servants and gentle leaders, while wives work to become responsive “yes girls.”  Reid’s plan intends to help couples introduce more frequency, fun, and fantasy into their sex lives.

Leading to the Bedroom is not a how-to sex guide, but be forewarned that parts of it are graphic.  It is a frank discussion of sex that many husbands and wives will find to be a valuable guide to improve their sex lives.  Included are sample intimacy plans and guides for talking to your spouse.  Reid’s wife, Katie, provides a woman’s perspective throughout the book.

You can purchase Leading to the Bedroom on or the book’s companion website also offers additional resources such as downloadable podcasts of Reid’s sermon series on the Song of Solomon and links to teaching by other prominent pastors about sex.  The site also contains Reid’s LTB blog.  There is also a Leading to the Bedroom page on Facebook.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, what better gift could there be for your spouse that to give the gift of sexual intimacy?  Leading to the Bedroom can help rekindle the fire in your marriage, which can help to make you happier and healthier in other areas of your life as well.  Stronger marriages also help us to raise well adjusted kids, which is important for the future of our nation.

[Full Disclosure:  I attend David Reid’s church and provided some small assistance in preparing the book for publication.  I receive no remuneration or payment for my work on the book or this article.]

The original version of this article was published simultaneously on and on August 28, 2010.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Freedom or stability in the Middle East?

In the past few weeks, Georgians have watched as two Arab nations were rocked by spontaneous uprisings.  First, the Tunisian people rose up against Ben Ali and threw the dictator out of the country.  The spontaneous revolution occurred without the support or aid of Western democracies.  In contrast, US presidents have long been friendly with the Tunisian regime.

The Tunisian revolution started after a street peddler set himself on fire to protest unemployment.  The protests spread throughout the country and four weeks later Ben Ali, who had ruled the country for twenty-three years, fled.

Now, the people of Egypt are taking to the streets against the one-party rule of President Hosni Mubarak.  Three protesters have already given their lives to push for an end to the regime as police and security forces crack down.  The ultimate outcome of the Egyptian protests is still in doubt.

What has fueled these unprecedented revolts?  For years, most of the Arab (and Muslim) world has lived under authoritarian regimes.  For the past half century, these leaders have marshaled their people against Israel.  The Arab people were convinced that they had to sacrifice in order to throw the Zionists out of the Middle East.  Every problem of the Arab nations, including shark attacks, was and is blamed on Israel.  Fifty years later, all the Arabs have to show for it are thousands of dead and impoverished economies. 

The first two true Arab democracies are less than ten years old.  Afghanistan had its first free election in 2004.  Iraq followed in 2005.  These elections are the result of the heroic efforts of American soldiers and the tenacity of President Bush.  Although many Muslim leaders condemned the United States and other countries participating in the War on Terror as waging war on Islam, it was American soldiers and other members of the Coalition who sacrificed their lives to free Muslims from the despotic rule of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. 

Perhaps, the people of Egypt and Tunisia were tired of listening to the empty promises of their leaders.  Perhaps they were inspired by the images of Afghan and Iraqi voters standing in opposition to the terrorists as they chose their own leaders.  Perhaps they grew to believe that the central control of a nation and its economy was not a viable path to prosperity.

The Middle East is at a crossroads.  For decades, American policy has been one of pursuing stability.  Stability means that the present authoritarian governments will stay in power.  Stability means no change.  Tunisia was unstable, but it is now free. 

Do we want to promote stability or freedom in the Middle East?  Freedom is messy.  Freedom is not stable.  Nevertheless, free Middle Eastern nations may be the best road to peace in the Middle East.  If the people of the Middle East throw off the shackles of their tyrants, it is more likely that their nations will grow into vibrant economies.  With strong economies and lower unemployment, governments will have fewer reasons to use propaganda to demonize Israel.  Peace might actually be possible.

The absence of stability means the possibility of short term violence and war, but there are worse things than war.  Freedom is never given freely by tyrants.  It is won with the blood of patriots who are willing to give of themselves so that their children can be free.  Our own country would not exist without our war of independence and the willingness of our forefathers to fight to be free.  As we Georgians celebrate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, let us applaud and support the people of the Arab world who are fighting for their freedom.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Obama is right: Conservatives should be civil

Sarah Palin (Therealbs2002)
My friends and readers in Georgia and around the country will probably be shocked to hear me say, but I agree with President Obama.  A phrase that many native Georgians heard while they were growing up was “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  This advice applies in politics as well.

Many Georgians have probably closely followed developments in the Tucson shooting, including the accusations that Jared Lee Loughner was inspired by conservative rhetoric.  These accusations were quickly discredited, but the controversy over heated political talk remains.

President Obama recently addressed these concerns in his recent memorial speech for the victims in Tucson.   He said, “But what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another.  As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility.  Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.”

He continued, “
If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost.  Let's make sure it's not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.”

I think that he is right.  Even if political talk from the right (or left, after all, at least one victim, Judge John Roll,
was a Republican) wasn’t the cause of the incident, we can still use it as an opportunity to slow down, take a deep breath, and think about alternatives to the way we are currently doing things.

Most conservatives are civil people.  There are exceptions.  There has been no shortage of conspiracy theorists on the right since the election of Barack Obama.  Most conservatives aren’t racists, but many have forwarded racist emails about the president.  Most Tea Partiers are nice people who love their country.  A few are nuts with insulting or bigoted signs.  Most conservatives speak in terms of facts.  A few want to label their opponents as “socialists” or “communists.” Most talk show hosts are reasonable and responsible.  Some, in the words of Neal Boortz, “make the kids run and hide under the bed.*” (Michael Savage, I’m looking in your direction.)  It is the exceptions that hurt conservatives everywhere.

Conservatives have nothing to fear from a civil discourse.  Facts and history are on our side.  Conservative policies work when tried.  Low tax rates lead to prosperity.  Second amendment freedoms lead to lower crime rates.  Economic freedom leads to a rising tide that lifts all boats.

On the other hand, liberal policies usually fail.  The Obama stimulus was a massive and expensive failure that did not lower unemployment or end the recession.  The same was true of FDR’s New Deal.  Gun control disarms honest people and leaves them at the mercy of criminals.  As President Reagan said, “… some years ago the federal government declared war on poverty – and poverty won.”  Liberal engagement of despotic regimes has led to nowhere except the empowerment of dictators.

The path to conservative victory is through showing the rest of America the differences in liberal and conservative policies.  In particular, we should point out how, despite their good intentions, liberal policies are prone to failure and unintended consequences.  Good intentions don’t matter if the result is a bigger mess and more problems. 

Some conservatives point out that liberals are the ones doing the majority of the name-calling.  From my perspective this is probably true.  That doesn’t mean that conservatives should respond in kind.  First, we should expect the left to be angry precisely because of the failure of their policies.  They cannot argue the effectiveness of their policies, because their policies are ineffective. 

Second, it has been my experience that liberals are usually emotional, rather than logical, people.  Their emotions dictate a call to action to resolve a crisis.  The rallying cry of Maude Flanders on the Simpsons is typical of modern leftists:  “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” All too often, they take rapid action, and then fail to notice, as they are congratulating themselves on their compassion, that they made the problem worse.

Health care reform is good illustration.  For years we were told that the US had to enact universal health care since many Americans were dying because they could not afford health insurance.  Then last year, against strong public opposition, Democrats enacted their version of health care reform.  This included many provisions such as free preventive care, a ban on excluding pre-existing conditions, and the claim that a new entitlement would help reduce the federal deficit and lower everyone’s health insurance costs.

Less than a year later, while Democrats are still congratulating themselves on their historic legislation, the truth is still coming out.  By not letting insurers screen out pre-existing conditions in children (this provision is not in effect for adults yet), the law has caused the market for children’s health insurance policies to collapse.  Many companies are no longer writing child-only health policies and others have been forced to raise rates, making the coverage unaffordable.

Far from making health insurance more affordable, the health care reform law has caused health insurance premiums to rise.  A report by Medicare’s Office of the Actuary projected that the law would increase health care costs.  The report was released not released until after Congress had passed the law.  Millions of Americans, me included, are finding that under Obamacare their health insurance costs are going up.  The much vaunted high-risk pools to cover those with pre-existing conditions have signed up only about 2.6% of the number predicted.  By all measures, the law is a spectacular failure.

The American people understand all this.  They consistently opposed passage of the law and now they consistently favor repeal.  In spite of Democratic and media support for the law, most Americans understand that it will add to the federal deficit, cause a decline in the quality of US health care, while hurting the economy and job growth.  If conservatives start engaging in a heated war of words with liberals, these facts may be obscured.  In fact, that is what the liberals are counting on!

Brooks vs. Sumner (John Magee)
As other conservatives have pointed out, today’s political arguments are not as heated as they have been at times in the past.  Sarah Palin was criticized for pointing out, correctly, that the Founding Fathers sometimes settled disagreements with dueling pistols.  Even duels paled in comparison to May 22, 1856 when Rep. Preston Brooks (D-SC) severely beat Senator Charles Sumner (D-MA) unconscious with a cane on the floor of the US Senate.  Brooks was re-elected.  Sumner later became a Republican.  Things got worse only five years later with the outbreak of the War Between the States.  Nobody today wants a war or violence.

In contrast, the Republicans should take a lesson from the liberals and the Bible.  Proverbs 15:1 says that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  This can be seen in the eight years of the Bush presidency.  Liberals were daily excoriating President Bush with accusations that he lied to start to wars, was complicit in the 9/11 attacks, caused global warming, allowed New Orleans to flood because he did not care about black people, and much more.  Where did it get them?  President Bush served two terms and was a largely successful president.  Voters rallied to support the president from unfounded attacks.

If conservatives mount baseless attacks on President Obama, we may suffer the fate of a second Obama Administration.  A new poll shows that 48% of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s policies, but only 21% disapprove of him personally.  Will conservatives win votes by insulting a man liked by 73% of the country?  It would be a far better strategy to attack Democratic policies rather than the president.

Finally, it has been pointed out that liberals are unlikely to maintain their air of civility very long.  This is true.  When you can’t defend your record of accomplishments, the only thing to do is either change your mind or lash out with charges of racism, sexism, or the accusation du jour.  Already one House Democrat has again started comparing Republicans to Nazis.  More will probably soon follow suit as the Obamacare repeal effort gains steam and the debate over debt financing heats up.

To this I say that Republicans and conservatives are not responsible for the behavior of Democrats.  We are responsible for our own behavior.  If the other side wants to (or has to) resort to childish name-calling to distract from the lack of positive results of the policies, then let them.  The conservative response should be to politely rebut their falsehoods and maintain civil criticisms of their policies.  This worked in the last election.  It will work in the next.

*Boortz is quoted as recalled by the author during an on-air live promo for the Michael Savage Show on WSB-AM 750.