A Follow-up About Sex

It has come to my attention that some people took my post “Is Homosexuality a Sin” to be answering that question definitively in the affirmative and to be condemning those who engage in it. While I don’t think that is a fair reading of what I actually wrote, it troubles me nonetheless.

In my post, I placed masturbation, for instance, on the same level of “sinfulness” as I did gay sex. Now, I don’t go around asking folk, but I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t masturbate. Or, at least, the practical, psychological side of me hopes I don’t. I mean, I think we all ought to know how our bodies work and what brings them pleasure.

But I was suggesting that our modern, secular, casual, free-love, sex-as-Right sort of attitude is problematic from a spiritual standpoint, and I think that’s true. And I think it’s something that we should each examine in our own lives–each of us, not just Gay folk!

But now I’m going to go ahead and say something I didn’t say before because I {scoff} thought it was too controversial. And I realize I’m on theologically shaky ground here. But if sex is, in its deepest sense, meant to be the most profound way in which we engage in the Lord’s creation, in which we become like Him and create life ourselves, well, then, I’m just going to say that I think it’s hard for us to be spiritually “pure” in sex. And I’m not sure even He realizes the toll that that act takes on our small, limited, enfleshed beings. We are so far from being Gods ourselves that engaging in an act of creation is utterly terrifying. Even writers, who are creating nothing more than words on a page, understand this on some deep, visceral level.

One of the interpretations of Jesus’s life is that God did not understand what it was like to have bodies made of flesh so he sent down his son, in the flesh, in order to understand us better and bridge the gap between us. Jesus lived, ate, drank, and died, just like us. But as far as I know, nowhere in the scriptures does it say that Jesus engaged in sexual intercourse and brought new life into the world. And I think most Christians would find such a suggestion distasteful. To the contrary, the established doctrine is that Jesus, himself, was immaculately conceived. Sex, it seems, did not create him, and it did not touch his life on earth.

No matter how well we live or how righteous we try to be, we are not Gods. The extent to which we can actually approach Him is so limited. I think, therefore, that sex is hard on us. And I’m not sure that even those who choose to remain celibate (monastic communities, for instance) are “pure” in sex. I have read multiple accounts of rituals taking on strange sexual overtones, for instance. And who among us has not “sinned” in thought, at least?

I guess what I’m suggesting is a lot harder than people might think upon first reading. I think that sex is a challenge for us to become like God. But I don’t think any of us is actually going to get there. And the Good News is that God loves us anyway.

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2 thoughts on “A Follow-up About Sex

  1. I’m not a christian (I’m a jew), but it seems to me that St. Paul freed the early christians from having to follow many laws of the Torah, specifically those in Leviticus relating to diet. Hence the christians could eat pork, or even boil a baby goat in its mother’s milk if they so wished. Like I say this is not my area of expertise. The dietary laws are in Leviticus, as are the laws that condemn homosexuality. If the dietary laws are no longer applicable, then why would the laws against homosexuality still be in effect?
    I don’t mean to offend anyone. I’m just curious about this.

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  2. That’s a good point, Ed. I think Anne Westrick was referring partially to this in her response to the last post. And I think it’s a point worth repeating loudly and vehemently when certain Christian’s start to get Judgey and Righteous.

    But I think that there’s something larger at stake here than the laws that we choose to follow. The nearly impossible (at least it seems so to me) task of a Christian life is not just to act in certain ways but to orient our very hearts and souls in line with God. Some people are taking this as a discussion about policing actions, but I’m trying to ask a question about how we orient our souls.

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