And you thought it happened only in America. Taking heed of the age-old axiom "sex sells", a church in Australia is inviting around 25,000 households for a course in sex, marriage, adultery and pornography.
Riverside Church pastor Andrew Newbold and his wife Megan have launched a four-week series on sex, marriage, adultery and pornography. They are advertising this seminar on a flyer that reads: "The best sex you'll ever have." The flyer shows two pairs of feet, belonging to Newbold and his wife Megan, protruding from under the sheets.
Talk about grabbing eyeballs. Madison Avenue should sit up and take notice.
The pastor's message is wonderfully simple and direct. Sex is natural; sex is fun. Heck, even the Bible tells us to go forth and multiply. So there is no reason why it should leave some people, including church goers, feeling guilty, frustrated or empty. Calvin is dead. Long live Hugh Hefner.
"Lots of people have asked, 'why would the church want to talk about sex in the first place?'" Newbold says. "That's a ridiculous question because everyone else is talking about it, and it's something God created. We deal mostly with young adults, who have been more exposed to sexuality than any previous generation, but that doesn't mean they are handling it well. There's a lot of confusion out there." You said it, Reverend.
Why does Newbold feel his flock needs guidance? To prove his point, he trots out statistics like: people are having sex younger, with an average age of 15.8 years at first encounter; relationships are getting shorter, at an average of three months: and the largest consumers of internet pornography are children aged 12 to 17.
According to Newbold, a need for a teaching series on sex is long overdue - and what safer place to impart that knowledge than in the house of God. In the first week, he talked about the link between human sexuality and God. In the second week, he will deal with affairs and adultery - "how to affair-proof your marriage, because it doesn't begin when you book a hotel room." The third week belongs to sex and singles, and week four asks; what's the big deal about pornography?
It is not known what Newbold's bishop thinks of his innovative sermons, but he is getting rave reviews from his audience. Church-going has never been so much fun. Sex sure beats the hell out of fire and brimstone.