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JR. Forasteros - Sep 9, 2012
From Series: "After Happily Ever After"
In our culture, Love is all about the build-up to the Wedding Day. But what comes next? What happens AFTER "happily ever after"?
More From "After Happily Ever After"
We’re talking about sex this week. To help us frame this rather difficult conversation, we need to back up a few years, to 1926. To talk about sex, we need to talk about a little girl named Norma Jean. She was born in Los Angeles to a young single mother named Gladys Baker. To avoid the stigma of illegitimate pregnancy of the 1920s, Gladys gave Norma Jean her ex-husband’s last name: Mortenson. Unfortunately, Gladys was not mentally healthy, so little Norma Jean Mortenson was passed from one foster home to the next, sometimes living with various aunts and uncles and occasionally her mother. When she was 16, to avoid having to either leave LA or return to the foster system, Norma Jean married a boy who lived in her neighborhood, just before he left to fight in WWII.
While working at a munitions plant, little Norma Jean Mortenson caught the eye of a photographer who encouraged her to go into modeling. The agency, however, was looking for blondes, so Norma Jean dyed her hair (and never went back to brunette). Her modest success as a model brought her to the attention of a film executive. He insisted, however, that she take a stage name – he didn’t think “Norma Jean” was very marketable.
Over Norma Jean’s initial reluctance, the producer suggested the name Marilyn because he liked the alliteration with her last name. Norma Jean also decided to take her mother Gladys’ maiden name – casting aside both Mortenson and Baker.
At just twenty years old, Norma Jean Mortenson became Marilyn Monroe, and was well on her way to becoming the quintessential American sex symbol.
Marilyn Monroe was America’s sweetheart throughout the 1950s. Her story started out as the embodiment of the Fairy Tale Romance our culture loves so much. In a country without kings and queens, Marilyn was our princess. A cover story for the May 1952 edition of True Experiences magazine explained our fascination with her. The caption on the cover reads,
Do I look happy? I should—for I was a child nobody wanted. A lonely girl with a dream—who awakened to find that dream come true. I am Marilyn Monroe. Read my Cinderella story.
Throughout her film career and thanks in large part to her marriage to baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and her legendary affair with President John F. Kennedy, Marilyn became America’s mistress. Even today, her look is iconic and sensual.
Norma Jean Mortenson’s story embodies the American struggle with sexual identity.
Try to learn about sex and sexuality – try to pick out a singular message in our culture. You can’t find it. Far from clarity, dozens of messages assault us from every angle. Sex is good. Sex is bad. Sex is neutral. Sex is for procreation. Sex is for pleasure. 50 Shades of Sex. The best sex is married sex. Marriage kills sex. You should wait for marriage. But what if I’m not married anymore? You should wait until you’re in love. It doesn’t matter, it’s just sex. What counts as cheating? Is pornography really that bad? That doesn’t even count as sex. Do I look sexy enough? What about sexting?
Let’s explore sex within the framework we’ve established over the last few weeks. We’re going to listen to the voice of the Scriptures, to the clear message about our sex and sexuality and we’ll hear this:
How we have sex (or don’t) and how we express our sexuality is integral to living out Jesus’ Good News to the world around us.
Join us Sunday as we explore the better story of Sex the Scriptures teach.