The more I think about it, the more I think sex divides us more than it brings us together. How’s that for counter-intuitive?!
And yet it seems to be all we can talk about. Or more accurately, it’s all we can think about as long as we don’t talk about it except that we can accuse other people of thinking about it or doing it wrong. Just don’t broadcast it. During the Super Bowl. Ever. Unless it’s a commercial and they paid for it.
Why don’t we talk about sex? Because we’re very busy hiding it between the thin pages of our bibles. That way it’s safely hidden from view. It’s safely hidden in the most scandalous, raucous, kinky, sex-laden book I’ve ever read.
But don’t read those parts. Those parts make us uncomfortable.
And it’s getting into the uncomfortable parts of faith that Brian McLaren does in his new book, A New Kind of Christianity. McLaren dives directly and fearlessly into the sex question, spending a great deal of time discussing what is clearly a public hatred of non-heterosexual attraction and behavior. And he cleverly steers us away from closed-minded rhetoric into thoughtful, scripturally-supported territory.
The reality is, homosexuality has become more of a buzz-word these days, used most often to generate fear and hate. Residents of California have heard all too often that gay marriage will ruin marriage for everyone, although I’ve yet to hear how exactly that would work. Conservative Christians will quote from any of 6 passages to condemn homosexuality – although Justin Cannon has written a compelling argument to all of these. Go Justin.
McLaren correctly recognizes that non-heterosexuality is not the only part of the sex question in relation to faith. Sadly, we don’t seem to be doing any better even when we avoid that sticky homosexuality thing. McLaren reminds us of these chilling realities:
- Social anonymity makes secret-sex easy.
- Easy drive-by birth control (as long as you can afford it, and many can) makes us forget that sex can lead to pregnancy.
- The technology of the condom and of medicine make us forget that sex can lead to STIs.
- The average marriage age is going up while the average age to hit puberty is going down. That’s a growing gap of time for extra-marrital sex.
- Porn is easy to find online.
- Commercial media is all about sex and sex appeal. Yes, even during the Super Bowl.
- Poverty and unemployment leave people with very little to do. And if you don’t have much to do, doesn’t sex sound good? Even though you can’t afford birth control. Nor do you have the $$ to support children who will then grow up in poverty & repeat the cycle.
But don’t talk about sex. That’s for private conversations. That should be talked about at home. That way it’s safe. And in the words of Dr. Phil, how’s that going for ya?
I don’t think it’s the gay Christian who’s damned (or the gay pagan, for that matter).
If there’s any place at all to talk about sex, shouldn’t it be in our churches? Doesn’t it sound better to talk about sex in the context of God and spirituality? Doesn’t it sound better to teach appropriate love and compassion rather than hatred and divisiveness?
Because when I read my Bible, that’s what I find. Yes, there’s scandal. But that’s not all.