MANILA, Sept. 3, 2012—Thousands of young people became equipped for raising the bar when it comes to love, from the message of purity, pursuing genuine love, and the notion of redemption after grave mistakes, given by speakers Chris Stefanick and Leah Darrow at the Real Love Revolution 2012 event held at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.
“You know in the depths of your heart you were made for something noble, beautiful, authentic and true in that area of your life. Say yes to authentic love, to real relationships, to your Maker’s plan. You see, if you don’t follow the Maker’s plan, things tend to end up broken,” said Stefanick, who started his segment with some guitar-playing before delving on dating, the consequences of sex taken outside of the divine plan, and the joys of love-driven relationships.
Stefanick, the dad of a brood of six, gave the nearly 15,000-strong audience glimpses of his children aged 13 to 4 months and wove in stories demonstrating the fulfillment, the pursuing and staying on the path of love, can bring.
“To love someone is to do what’s good for them – and real love doesn’t always feel good,” he said.
The error of the idea of “safe sex”
Pointing out his awareness that his country is among the biggest funders of birth control distribution in the world, he explained the influence that the misleading concept of “safe sex” has had in the lives of numerous young men and women when it comes to making choices.
“I’m not here to tell you what to do. You can choose any sin you want, but you can’t choose the consequences,” he pointed out.
“What is one of the most basic, plain and obvious consequences of taking sex outside of God’s plan?” he asked the crowd before launching into an extensive picture of the remarkable incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States.
After showing statistics including the results of a study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) which “found insufficient evidence to determine [the] effectiveness” of condoms against HIV-AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes and other STDs, he remarked that till now “they’re still calling it ‘safe.’ They did some more tests recently, [and] they came up with 60% risk reduction on some of those [through the use of condoms].”
With HIV-AIDS, on the other hand, the figures presented showed an 85% risk reduction.
“If I have a skydiving company and the parachutes open 85% of the time, you wanna go skydiving? There’s insufficient evidence to determine if my parachutes will open,” he said, amused.
Looking to the West for STD prevention tips?
Some 43,000 people in the United States — “a country where you can get condoms everywhere to ‘protect’ you” — today will get a sexually transmitted disease, and Stefanick found it silly that the Philippines seemed to be looking to that country for tips on STD prevention.
“Here’s what blows my mind: we’re telling you how to protect yourself? Are you serious? [Consider] the error of condom distribution around the world and the lives this is claiming,” he said.
“They promote condoms, often funded by Western countries, they track condom distribution alongside the spread of HIV AIDS and it shows they both rose at the same time till they leveled out. What? Guys, the math is simple! You decrease the risk this much (small), you increase the [risk-taking] this much (big). That’s what you end up with!”
“We’re giving young people the wrong impression of how safe ‘safe sex’ is, and there’s a lot on the line, guys. We’re giving young people the wrong impression of how safe they are and it’s a great injustice because so much is on the line,” he lamented.
“But even if you could have all the shots and the pills and latex to protect your body, it can’t protect your heart,” he added.
‘We’re made for love‘
The human heart is made for love, and this yearning for love was put there by God with an infinitely good plan behind it, he reminded the youth. It matters, therefore, to whom one looks up when making important choices.
“We’re made for love, it’s an act of love that brought us into existence… and the fact is there’s a universal longing for love. When we come to this area of our life, we often look to the wrong people for role models, we [end up choosing] an imitation of love! We settle for momentary pleasure!” he said.
“When it comes to love, relationships, [dealing with men, women]… sex, we have to start looking for the Maker of those things and following His plan!” enthused Stefanick, who, besides being director of youth, young adult and campus ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, co-wrote the book Raising Pure Teens with Jason Evert, another renowned speaker on love and relationships.
Amid sporadic laughter from the audience, the speaker reminded guys of the need to be able to tell the difference between “I love you” and “I need you,” then advised the girls to be sharp in sensing the difference between “I love you” and “I want you” “’cause guys will try to make those two things sound the same and they’re not. Now the guys are thinking ‘Dang, he just blew my cover.’ Yes, I did!” the songwriter quipped amid more laughter.
“That’s why you have to know the difference between what’s real and what’s fake,” he added.
Practical tips, taking pride in one’s own
Before ending his segment, he gave practical reminders for dating such as going on dates in public places, keeping one’s thoughts clean – specifiying the wisdom of keeping away from pornography — and staying out of dangerous situations that may put either party in a compromised position.
“Don’t ask the question ‘how far is too far?’ When you love someone you don’t ask how far you can take her to the edge of a cliff,” he pointed out.
Stefanick urged Filipinos to take pride in themselves and in their culture amid pressures from overseas to accept foreign concepts that were not in keeping with a culture of life.
“Be proud of who you are, and I mean that on every level. You guys are beautiful…. your culture is beautiful. When I talk in the United States about chastity, I feel like I’m trying to grab people out of the culture of death. Here [I] get a sense like [I’m] pushing it back. You have no idea how beautiful this culture is. Be vigilant, be strong, speak out and keep the culture of life alive,” Stefanick said.
Real Love Revolution 2012 was organized by Catalyst, a leadership and outreach student organization at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), in cooperation with the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth, and Couples for Christ – Global.
Catalyst brought Stefanick and Darrow to Cebu and Iloilo to speak to thousands of other students, young professionals, teachers and parents before heading back to Manila for the final stop. (CBCP for Life)