I was once associated with a religious institution where a frequent speaker at our worship events liked to refer to his ‘hot wife’ and how he counted her sexual allure as one of God’s blessings. This upset me and I should have spoken to him about it but I never had the courage. His predilection to celebrate his wife’s sexual appeal especially troubled me because there were usually young men and women in his audience. They were hearing a man who had been placed in a leadership/mentoring role in a Christian institution consistently extol his wife’s sexual attractiveness. I don’t remember if I ever heard him express appreciation for his partner’s intelligence, talent, co-parenting skills, or loyalty. He left the impression in my mind at least, that it was primarily her physical beauty that made her a divine blessing.
I thought the man whose comments troubled me was a singular phenomena so I was surprised to learn on the blog of Sara Wenger Shenk, the president of the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, that the practice of continually commenting on a sexually attractive partner is according to an article from Christianity Today which Sara quotes, “an obsession among evangelical pastors/leaders who talk /tweet endlessly about their ‘smokin’ hot wives—an obsession that has spread throughout American Christian culture.”
In her blog post Sara admits that perhaps Christians have been too uptight about sexuality in the past and have something to learn from The Song of Solomon about holy sexual intimacy, but she suggests that pastors who make frequent reference to their marriage partner as “one more product to parade for her hotness” are practicing nothing less than “preacher-endorsed pornography.”
I am glad Sara and other men and women are speaking up about this issue. I wish I would have had their courage to do so as well.