1. What was your immediate or initial response when you saw the DJ cover? When you read the three letters? Why did you respond that way? Was there a time in your life when you would have responded differently? If yes, why the change?
2. Being as objective and careful as possible, summarize the letter-writers’ concerns. In what ways would you say their concerns are based on good or virtuous desires?
3. If you disagree with the letter-writers’ concerns, do you know Christians who would share them? How do you tend to think of or characterize them? How close are you to them? Do you harbor Christ-like affections for them?
4. If you agree with the letter-writer’s concerns, do you know Christians who would feel the DJ cover is not only fine, but that being concerned about it is silly? How do you tend to think of or characterize them? How close are you to them? Do you harbor Christ-like affections for them?
5. Having upper Midwest roots, I have numerous friends and family who grew up on or live on working farms. Unlike their urban and suburban friends and relatives, sex tends to be for them simply an unavoidable part of ordinary reality. Farms raise animals, animals reproduce, and most animals aren’t very secretive about the process. In fact, farmers usually are involved in the process, so the cycles of breeding, birthing, and weaning are labor intensive, involving not just the farmer, but his family as well. Growing up in this setting, the rural people I know tend to see sex and reproduction not as a secretive, embarrassing category of life but simply as part of the natural order of things. As a result, they tend to be more casual about sex than the attitude expressed in these letters. Or to try to see it from their perspective, when your 10-year-old helps the day a neighbor brings his stallion to breed your mare, or has bred a ewe to raise lambs for the County Fair, or helps during a difficult delivery when a foal is born, the DJ cover does not seem all that bold or remarkable. With this in mind, to what extent do you believe the letter-writers’ concerns are more the result of the cultural shift from rural to sub/urban settings than they are to a legitimate spiritual awakening to sexual purity? How would you express this to a sub/urban friend who replies that this merely proves their point: the DJ cover is inappropriate for children raised in today’s citified setting?
6. How would you respond if someone argued that a more casual approach to sex (as expressed in question #5) tends to lead to a more casual approach to morality, and thus eventually to immorality?
7. If you were not offended by the DJ cover or feel it was inappropriate, what would the cover need to include before you would begin to feel uncomfortable, or that the editor was not adequately exhibiting a Christian sensitivity in their cover art?
8. Is it possible for Christians who hold radically different views on the DJ cover to live happily together in the same Christian community? What would be required for this to occur? Could the fellowship in this community ever be anything more than superficial? How?
9. Some Christians would respond to the letter writers by saying that their concerns are so removed from both real life and a biblical view of sexuality as to represent a grievous barrier to the gospel. That it is attitudes like this that convince many young adults that evangelical Christianity is so inauthentic as to not merit serious consideration. That the problem is not in the cover but in the letter-writers’ consciences, which are immature, culturally bound, and biblically uninformed. Do you agree? Why or why not? If you agree, how might this be said to the letter writers without breaking fellowship with them?
10. How does this whole discussion make you feel about your faith? Why? Do you need to do anything about it?