Historically, Christians have an inherent tension with sexuality. Jesus wasn’t married, nor was Paul. And the Gospel writers are pretty silent on the topic. If you take that into the medieval monastic scholarship, the absence of the mention of sexuality leads to a prohibition of sorts. Just like certain orders prohibited laughter because while there is a mention of Jesus weeping in Scripture, there is none of him laughing. The thought process was that if it were mentioned at all, it was permissible. Anything unmentioned, we probably shouldn’t do. But the problem with applying that with sexuality is that if we don’t do that, we don’t really make it past one generation.
And so we behave strangely with regards that which is arguably most human, most carnal. Even when those of us ideologues know that gnosticism is a heresy, we don’t know how to fully engage a theology of incarnation when sexuality is such a bomb. And where we fear to tread, the world learns to dance and enjoys themselves. How then shall we live?
How would you answer this man’s question?
And if you don’t like Portuguese accents, here’s a transcription:
Sexuality and Spirituality. Why sexuality is a taboo for most religions? Why should we repress something that was given by God to us in the name of, we don’t know why? Our conversation this week is about how do you exercise your sexuality in a sacred way, and also to understand why society and religion tends to repress this important part of our lives.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Is it just a matter of repression? Can the church speak about sexuality in a healthy way?
Here’s a video of someone who was raised Christian, but as she grows into her mid-20’s is starting to re-evaluate her faith in part because of the “allergic reaction” (my words, not hers) she observed and remembers from her Christian background. Now if you watch the video, you can really hear her honesty come through. You can criticize her for being young and naive and whatever. But let’s also listen carefully – what I admire about this young woman is the fact that she wants to “do her own math”, work out the problem herself. She doesn’t want to just look at the answer in the back of the book regarding sexuality, but my point is that she’s also not looking IN the book either. So how can Christians discuss sexuality in a way that is healthy and not phobic; authentic without being cliche; with gravitas and faithfulness?
We cannot simply be a people of the “no” when it comes to discussing matters of sexuality, we must be people who first wrestle with our idealism about sex, sexiness, intimacy, and purity. Our abstinence in the dialogue will not lead to sexual abstinence. Only our confession and our engagement will bring about what we want. And to point out the plank in our own eyes would be to look at the rate of divorce and sexual addiction among Christians, we have to get healthy enough and strong enough to have this discussion.