Freitas, a professor at Boston University, is the author of Sex & the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses. The book is a summation of the research she conducted on campuses across North America.
Towards the end of my interview I asked Donna to predict (based on her research and best educated guess) what significant changes (if any) those of us who work closely with college students might expect to see as it relates to students, sex, sexuality, and faith. Her response was clear:
One of the things I think will change the most in the next 10 years at Christian colleges in particular has to do with attitudes about LGBTQ students/identities. There is a massive generation gap right now in terms of opinion on these issues between (and I am speaking generally, of course) the “adults” on Christian campuses and the students. Students tend to be far more accepting of their LGBTQ peers and how they fit in a faith-based context. This issue of there being a generation gap seems to come up a lot when I speak to students at Christian colleges—they are hungry for the opportunity to have a safe space for conversation on this subject.
Providing students safe spaces to talk about sex in all contexts is so important. Students yearn so deeply to be listened to, and for honesty from all of us.
And I think Donna’s comments can easily extend beyond Christian campuses to Christians working on private and state school campuses, as well as in local churches.
Fast-forward 18 months from my interview with Donna to today and one of the most played songs across the numerous radio stations I flip between on my commutes to and from campus is this song: Same Love. At the time of this posting, the video for this song has been viewed more than 67, 000,000 times since it was posted 10 months ago.
I recognize the readers of this blog are coming from different backgrounds, denominations, and theological perspectives — but I think there are things that we (as Christians reaching out to today’s college students) need to hear — and allow to shape our understanding of today’s culture and our approach(es) to ministry with students — especially as it relates to issues of sex and sexuality.
Have a listen and let me know what you hear:
If you decide to leave a comment, sharing your perspective and/or approach to ministry with students as it pertains to issues of sex and sexuality, I would simply ask that your words be thoughtful and respectful of those who may not believe like you do.
May God illuminate our path as we navigate ministry with students in a rapidly changing culture.