ETBU Human Sexuality Class Has A Guest Speakerby Mike Midkiff
MARSHALL, Texas (11/14/12)- Well known best- selling author on the subject of Christian healthy sexuality, Shannon Ethridge, spoke to an audience of students Tuesday morning at East Texas Baptist University. Ethridge was invited by ETBU Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Tom Haygood to speak in the Human Sexuality class that he teaches.
The issue of human sexuality and how it relates to one’s spirituality is not a discussion found often in Christian circles. Dr. Haygood believes it is an issue to be discussed.
"As a professor at a Christian university it is my commitment that we offer non-dualistic conversations that are healthy here and respectful for God’s gift of sexuality. Man did not invent sex God gave it to us for the marriage bed for heterosexual intimacy, for enjoyment, procreation, and we need to proclaim to the world this is a good gift. We can talk about it, and maintain our Biblical worldview.”
Ethridge, who is married with two grown children, shared with the class about her past that lead her to make bad choices concerning sexual relationships when she was younger. At the age of 20, she was working for a funeral home in Dallas while attending mortician school. One day while doing her job she noticed something. She was preparing bodies of many young people who had died of AIDS or took their own lives rather than face an HIV positive diagnosis.
At this point in her life, she had lost contact of how many sexual relationships in which she had been involved. This realization of people close to her age dying as a result of multiple sexual partners scared her. She broke down asking for God’s forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. Eithridge said to the students, "In a time of prayer God impressed upon me by saying, ‘I will redeem your past, if you will trust me with your future’.”
Ethridge shared, "I thought the wedding band would change the deep hurts of my past but it didn’t. All the baggage was still there.” Through intense Christian counseling, support from her husband, Greg, and through the grace of God, she was able to allow God to redeem the past and trust Him for the future.
Today, Ethridge takes her message of forgiveness and helps others see God’s plan for human sexuality by writing books on the subject. She speaks also at marriage, women, and youth conferences sponsored by churches. She has been speaking to audiences for over 20 years.
"I encourage pastors to consider the fact that sometimes it is so much safer to bring in someone from the outside, with expertise and experience,” said Ethridge, who has a master’s degree in counseling/human relations. "If people get shocked or offended, they are not running the pastor out of town, but me, which has have never happened. Usually people are very grateful for a pastor or congregation that recognizes the need to speak on Biblical human sexuality.”
Before Ethridge left campus, she signed copies in the Ornelas Student Center of her latest book, "The Fantasy Fallacy,” released by Christian publisher Thomas Nelson on October 16. She wrote this book in response to the "50 Shades Of Grey” book phenomenon, which is about domination and submission within a sexual relationship.
Ethridge has high regard for programs such as True Love Waits created by LifeWay Christian Resources. True Love Waits challenges teenagers and college students to make a commitment of sexual abstinence until marriage by adhering to Biblical principles.
"There is great value in educating the young, obviously it is not just to sign this pledge and make a commitment,” said Ethridge. "It is educating them as to why guarding your mind, heart, body, and spirit is so beneficial to the long-time health of your relationships. If you help young people understand the value of what the reward is, they will pursue it.”
The author and advocate for healthy sexuality and spirituality is scheduled to be back on the ETBU campus in April to speak in Chapel.
Click here for Marshall News Messenger story