Christians should avoid becoming lust-phobic, says a Dutch minister who has taken it upon himself to open an online sex store for Christians to encourage them to embrace their sexuality.
Devout Protestant minister Marc Angenent said that in his prayers to God, he has asked about whether or not eroticism is wrong. No answer has come, which Angenent takes as a thumbs up to what he feels is part of human nature. His reasoning is that if God made bodies which contain lust, how could this possibly be wrong?
The 56-year-old is currently selling out on his most popular item - a purple battery-powered silicone vibrator that's a whopping 22-centimetres long - and is doing well on items like condoms, erection rings, prostate stimulators and other dildos.
His website is called Liefdestuin.nl or "Love Garden" and Angenent tells Spiegel Online that he is conducting a private crusade against lust haters.
While he does offer a range of erotic goods, Angenent says he has considered each carefully according to the scriptures. That means that while lubricant is a straight-up "yes", whips and pornography don't make the grade.
In his 23 years of work in the ministry, Angenent lead a vibrant young community of Christians, choosing a more informal, open approach to guiding his flock. He would frequently turn up to services in his jeans and sweater and give his sermons, and when visiting members of his congregation at home, Angenent made sure to ask questions that counted - often questions that most other ministers wouldn't.
To him, a healthy, satisfying sex life is paramount to a happy life in general. He tells of his own married life - how he and his wife Heleen married in 1976 but were only really satisfied with their marriage once they had begun to explore their lust together.
Now a qualified sex therapist, Angenent has decided to quit the ministry and focus on helping Christians who struggle with problems of a more physical nature. From a pilot with erectile dysfunction, to others who think that sex is just plain dirty, he's working to dispel misgivings and misinformation about what he believes is a God-given part of life.