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If you would turn on the TV right now, you would be bombarded with sexual images that go against everything we know to be honorable to God. You might land on a rerun of “Friends” where a one-night stand is not all that uncommon. You could catch an episode of “The Bachelor” where women compete with each other to catch the attention of a handsome man. You could even see a commercial that uses a scantily dressed woman to attempt to sell a car, a diet service, or even a hamburger. And that’s just on TV.
Sexualized culture is everywhere we turn. We see it on the news, on the internet, in books, in the lives of celebrities and now in real life. The exposure to sexual content is truly an epidemic that has changed the way we view the world. And sexualized culture is particularly evident in the workplace.
In a blog titled, “Sexed-Up Culture Ruined Healthy Male-Female Work Relationships,” author Halee Gray Scott argues that our overly sexualized world has created problems for men and women working in ministry.
Taking the lead for Billy Graham, men have vowed never to meet or eat with women other than their wives. The problem with that is women who are working in the ministry are then at a disadvantage.
In Scott’s research on women in the ministry, she found that women have difficulty advancing in their careers when their male superiors refuse to eat with them. Many men make significant business decisions over lunch; women cannot be a part of those decisions when they are not permitted to join the men for a meal. Other women in ministry told Scott that they struggled to find a career mentor because they only worked with men. The men did not want to establish a mentor relationship for fear that it could give others the wrong impression.
In a blog for The Gospel Coalition, Jen Wilkin calls this a "ghost" that haunts the church. She calls the ghost "The Temptress," a woman that men respond to with extreme caution for fear that his actions will be misconstrued as flirting.
Men in the ministry have become so focused on avoiding today’s sexualized culture, that they have created a whole new problem: preventing women from using their gifts in the ministry.
This does not mean women are guiltless. Some women shrink away from opportunities working with men in ministry, intending to respect their husbands. Both men and women need to put trust in the marriages to allow themselves to work in ministry. They do not need to fear the sexualized culture if they are truly working for the glory of God.
However, Scott is not suggesting that men and women begin working together without boundaries. Culture has already shifted to the point that doing so could ignite temptations and would be unwise.
Instead, Scott writes, “We can pioneer a middle way, acknowledging the surrounding culture but refusing to segregate ourselves according to gender.”
This means men and women need to work collaboratively, for the glory of the Lord. The ministry is a field for men and women to further the kingdom. The body of Christ is made up of many parts, male and female, adult and child. All of the parts matter for the ministry to prosper.
Ephesians 4:16 says, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
While we can’t pretend sexualized culture doesn’t exist, we can fight it. Do your work for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) and gender will not matter.
Your Turn: Has our sex-charged culture impacted your work relationships? How can we erase sexual tension in the workplace?
Carrie Dedrick is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com.