(Photo: Dan Delzell)
The annual party pilgrimage to Florida is taking place once again. "March Madness" involves more than just basketball. Thousands of college students are caught up in the madness of wild parties which have become the feature attraction of "Spring Break." Engaging in drunkenness and premarital sex can feel so natural and liberating, if only for a few hours. Interestingly, other college students have chosen a different path by using their school break to serve the poor and to spread the message of the Gospel. Different strokes for different folks.
Back in the 60s, there were not as many famous senior citizens in the public eye who had already traveled that playboy path. Young people back then wrongly assumed that they would find fulfillment in living with such reckless sexual abandon. Today however, we have many notable examples of old men who have spent their lives pursuing "tons of sex" with multiple partners. We also have many women who have been with those men for a brief time and seen how quickly their partner leaves them for the next "babe" he gets in his sights.
If this lifestyle was truly able to deliver the satisfaction it promises, then surely we would see it in the lives of Hugh Hefner and Ted Turner and their many female conquests. Today, Ted commands the attention of his four lovers (or his "lusters" if you will). He gives each woman one week of his time every month. How generous of him. Are the lucky ladies happy with the arrangement? "Sort of," said Ted. Sounds like Ted's spin rather than their honest assessment of the situation. Is Turner still lonely even in the midst of so many women? "Maybe a little," he admits. Now that sounds deeply fulfilling for everyone involved, doesn't it? Talk about "livin' the dream." Not exactly.
Not to be outdone by another "player," Hugh Hefner has spoken for decades about being involved with many of the "playmates" from his famous magazine. In recent years, quite a few of his young companions are ditching him after realizing they have no real future with someone old enough to be their great-grandfather. That's a scary thought. One of these women even called off her wedding to "Hef" last summer just five days before the big event. What a revealing snapshot of the spring break fantasy! Full of promises, but empty on delivering the goods....even for "serial spring breakers" like Hefner and Turner. You can chase that fantasy until you die, but it will never provide that sexual and spiritual utopia you are seeking.
Ted Turner is only doing what comes natural to man. It feels so right to pursue all those women in his life. He is seeking to satisfy his desires in the only way he knows. Years ago Ted famously said, "Christianity is a religion for losers." His walk matches his talk. The Christian way is indeed a narrow road and it has plenty of critics who have never tried it. Ted does not accept God's institution of marriage between one man and one woman. He has chosen a different path. It is the same wide road many college students are on today.
The spring break party life does provide a fix, just like drugs. It gives you a high that you have to keep chasing over and over again. Just look at Hugh Hefner and Ted Turner. They are addicted to it.....just as you and I would be if we chose to throw caution to the wind and sought to meet every sexual desire of our flesh. We are all sinners and prone to go astray if left to our own devices.
God describes this sex addiction in His love letter to His children. "There is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9) The Bible tells us how this thing has played out over and over again for millions of people: "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more." (Ephesians 4:19) In other words, the spring break lifestyle produces an even greater lust for more of the same. Rather than satisfying the urge and the desires, a person only increases the flame and the hunger for more sexual immorality. Just ask Ted Turner and Hugh Hefner. They have given their lives to this pursuit with every fiber of their being.
What lessons do these old men teach us about spring break? Many indeed. Their lives since their college years speak volumes about where hordes of young people today are headed. Multiple partners and unrealistic expectations will leave them empty and confused. Some of them will wise up and get off the merry-go-round of sexual immorality. But most will continue to pursue it with the zeal of a hardcore meth addict. It will control them and they will never control it. Only Jesus can release a person from such bondage. His grace. His forgiveness. His new life. The Lord is preparing mansions in heaven for those who turn to Him and away from the false promises of the Playboy Mansion. Hey....if it didn't look appealing and taste good for at least a minute, who would even bother eating the fruit of that tree in the first place?
In an interview a few years ago, Turner said, "I'm not chased by demons." Of course not. There is no need for demons to chase you when you are already following their lead. It is a willful lifestyle. No one is dragging Ted or Hugh against their will. The college students who are throwing their bodies and souls into the spring break culture are not being forced to do so. They are only doing what feels natural and what they hope will scratch their itch. When they return to campus, the "party high" will have worn off, but the itch will be ever-widening. There will be new weekends and new sexual conquests to pursue. You didn't actually think these cravings would go away after the party pilgrimage to Florida did you?
Hef and Ted are proof positive that you cannot defeat this raging monster by feeding it. It will simply eat you alive if you keep giving into it. And if you think that this lifestyle gives a person confidence to stand before the Lord on Judgment Day, think again. That is most tragic part of this whole thing. Empty promises on this side of the grave. Eternal punishment on the other side. And I don't just mean an eternity without any more Playboy magazines....or an eternity devoid of sex with old rich men. An eternity without Christ is actually brutal and unrelenting. That fact was articulated repeatedly by Jesus while He walked on this earth.
But wait a minute. Who really wants to consider such "deep issues" amidst the fun and sun of spring break? After all, there's a party going on down there. What right does God have anyway to let these moral issues interfere with my sexual agenda?
The names keep changing over the centuries, but the narrative remains the same. The beach scene today has become the Garden of Eden all over again. Welcome to spring break....where old people who have gone before us are teaching us more than they realize about the emptiness and the consequences of right and wrong.