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That One Time we Talked About Love, Sex, Boundaries….and Masturbation

with

Pastor John Mark Comer

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Not gonna lie, we geeked out for weeks knowing we were going to have the opportunity to speak to John Mark Comer. Every time he speaks we take never ending pages of notes…. and leave with our brains exploding with new insight and goodness.

Today, Kait sit's down with John Mark Comer and they just GO there. On sex. Boundaries. The theology of love. The myth of the soulmate. And of course, masturbation. One question too far? We think not! John Mark has incredible things to say about all of the above and this is NOT an episode you’re going to want to miss.

Though this is one of our favorite interviews to date, we apologize in advance that at times our audio got a bit spotty. Forgive us BUT the content and John Mark’s wisdom is SO worth the listen.

John Mark lives, works, and writes in the urban center of Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Tammy, and their three children, Jude, Moses, and Sunday. He is the brilliant pastor for teaching and vision at Bridgetown Church… and boy does he do an incredible job. Prior to planting Bridgetown, John Mark was the lead pastor of a suburban megachurch. And even before that, he played in a band!  He is a man of many talents that’s for sure. John Mark has a master’s degree in biblical and theological studies from Western Seminary and is the author of Garden City, Loveology  God Has a Name, and My Name is Hope.

What is Love?

What does being in love really mean as a Christian? Over time, we have begun to import our culture’s definition of love over the New Testament words on love. John Mark makes the wise claim that love has become passive, rather than active which is nowhere near the meaning Jesus placed on love, or what Paul described as love. John Mark says that when Jesus talks about love, "It has more to do about WILL than emotion”. The instruction given by Christ to “love your enemy” was discussed so that we would put your enemy’s well-being above our own. This is not a passive love in any way, shape or form.

One of our favorite quotes from today was when John Mark said, “Love is the decision of the will and of the heart to put another person’s good ahead of your own. To sacrifice your good on the altar of another person’s flourishing”.

The fact of the matter is, building a long-term relationship on feelings of romance, lust, and desire will set you up for failure. Love based on these parameters can be thought of as “disordered love” and contributes in many ways to what is wrong with our culture today.  Today’s hookup culture, the sexual revolution, and the increasing divorce rate have fractured the romantic and human soul across an entire generation.

How To Make It Last

With divorce rates near 50%, Kait asked John Mark  how we can discern that it is God’s voice telling us this person is right for us. John Mark believes we should go about a dating relationship throwing it back to a modern day version of 90's phrase WWJD, or rather, "what would Jesus do if he were YOU?". Think about this honestly. It will look different for each of us.

The beauty and the danger of love is that we don’t see clearly so it is absolutely vital to lean and depend on our community to help us with clarity. Making big life decisions without honest feedback can lead to mistakes. Not consulting community in relationship is grounds for failure. We also need to consider Jesus, how God crafted us for relationship, and ultimately Scripture as we begin a dating relationship. If there are problems, red flags, or concerns, discuss them honestly and openly with your community rather than hiding these (or any) concerns. In that same vein, you have to willing to be honest and be prepared for the feedback you may get.

The myth of the “soul mate” is both toxic and unhealthy. There is no perfect person for your life because that is not how life works!! Reality is MESSY!! John Mark says, "There is no perfect scenario. No perfect spouse. No one custom fit just for you. There is no perfect marriage. There is not perfect dating relationship." Although some people will be a better match for you than others, it will never be perfect in this life.

Physical Intimacy and Boundaries

Heyoo, let's go there! In response to Kait’s question about physical intimacy prior to marriage, John Mark shared some principles to consider: 1. Work to make this relationship as Holy as possible. As cliche as that might sound, it's true! 2. Don’t do anything that causes arousal 3. Talk about your beliefs openly and honestly and set boundaries with the counsel of your community 4. Have your community hold you to those boundaries 5. Don’t put yourselves in situations of temptation. Place yourselves in an environment where temptation goes down and accountability goes up.

In all ways regarding boundaries, John Mark says to, "Control your sexuality, as an act of LOVE”.

Trust is the foundation of the relationship. John Mark believes that we are only really vulnerable with people we truly trust and we can only experience deep love that transforms us when we are ruthlessly vulnerable with the other person.

MASTURBATION (Bc why not?!)

Kait asks questions about lust and masturbation and, while Scripture doesn’t speak to masturbation, it speaks often of lust. If a man masturbates without lust as purely a form a release, Scripture does not speak to that but it is difficult to have one without the other. John Mark thinks this is a very rare occurrence, as it is very difficult to seek gratification without lusting. Because the line between gratification and relief is thin, John Mark suggests a very strong warning and caution against masturbation.

Finally, when it comes to HOW much is too much to share with your sexual past, John Mark says that being vulnerable in a relationship and discussing the sexual past of both partners, depends on the couple. Don’t drop your sexual history on the first few dates but don’t be misleading either.

In the end, John Mark’s ultimate Top Dating Advice is Make it Holy! As cliche as that sounds, it holds us to a high standards

Visit John Mark's Website HERE

Get Loveology HERE

Instagram @Johnmarkcomer

Twitter Johnmarkcomer

Bridgetown Audio PodcastThis Cultural Moment PodcastGet Loveology HERE

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