Within the Christian community, discussion topics are considered more off-limits than sex. The Communitas Club at Palm Beach Atlantic University attempted to break that stigma with its “Love and Godliness” talk on Wednesday night.
The idea for the event was inspired by discussions about C.S. Lewis’ “The Four Loves” in an Advanced Interpersonal Communication class taught by Professor of Communication and Media Ecology Dr. Stephanie Bennett. Mariah Kent and Joshua Welsh, both members of the official cabinet for the Communitas club at PBA, decided to take the topic of Eros, the Biblical Greek word for romantic love, outside of the classroom.
“We started talking about Eros and everyone got super excited about the topic,” Kent said. “It’s just a topic that people don’t really talk about and people had a lot to say about it.”
Bennett saw the need for her students to discuss Eros as a necessary tool for forming healthy relationships in the future.
“You can’t talk about love without talking about sex,” Bennett said.
Welsh and Kent chose a panel of four students from the class to voice their thoughts, and invited Bennett to be featured during the talk as well. They discussed marriage, lust and sexual purity for an hour and a half in front of an audience of 25 students.
Mathis Hartman, a student who attended the talk with his girlfriend, said that he learned some principles which he can now personally apply to his own relationship.
“[Resisting] lust isn’t all about you, it’s about the other person too,” Hartman said. “If you are in a relationship, you want to protect that person from sin.”
Bennett said that this topic is relevant to everyone who struggles with impurity, not just college students.
“Sex is a powerful thing and it’s a gift from God,” Bennett said. “But any gift from God can be abused.”
Bennett believes it is important that students hear the Biblical understanding of love in comparison with the ideals of today’s society.
“Our culture has gone crazy with false ideas of love and sex and we need a Biblical view,” Bennett said. “We need to dialogue about it, we need to be open about it, we need to rejoice over the gift of God and not fall into the pit of sin.”
Kent agreed that Christians should overcome the usual reluctance to talk about sex.
“As Christians, we’re supposed to talk about the things that are hard and the things that are confusing, instead of having there be a stigma of shame,” Kent said.
Bennett was proud of her students for taking the initiative to broach a potentially uncomfortable topic.
“I hope that other students will get involved to have more of these crucial conversations,” she said.
Kent was pleased with the success of the event. She said that this topic is important for college students who may be struggling to foster godly relationships, and she hopes that the open discussion brought some clarity.