• Better questions about sex

    January 21, 2012

    I promise we’ll get into the Scriptures soon, but you should know I’ll probably be all over the place from day to day as to what I want to talk about. I’m not following any outline. Just blogging as stuff comes to mind and seems relevant.

    This morning I’ve been thinking about why so many outside the world of conservative Christendom look on that faction of the church as ignorant and simple-minded. After all, I know many people who would fit the title, “conservative Christian,” and I know them to be quite intelligent, thoughtful people. My guess is, it’s like many stereotypes. When you look at the population as a whole and listen to their discourse from a distance, you develop ideas about the lot that may not be true to the specific individuals within. When people listen to conservative Christians talk about sex, what do they hear? Often, not much of substance. Pretty shallow waters. People outside the church–or at least outside that element of the church–want to hear deeper questions. They want to sense that the church is dealing in reality, that their discussions match the complexity of what we know today about human sexuality. Instead, what we often get is, well, what I got in the last email I quoted a couple posts back: “Gay is not who you are … it’s who you’ve decided to be.”

    We need to be asking better questions. Regardless the conclusions we come to, people need to see that you and I are willing to take a long, hard look at the world as it truly is and then wrestle with the difficult questions that arise.

    What, for instance, would the apostle Paul say to an intersexed person in the church, a person who has some degree of both sets of genitals? Would he tell them to remain celibate since we’re not sure which sex God intended they be? Would he tell them to pick the one they felt most like and go for it, but once they’ve chosen, they’re stuck with that sex? Would he say they can date whomever they want because God made them with both sets of genitals, so it’s not a big deal either way?

    What about a transgendered person, someone born one sex who feels like the opposite sex trapped in the wrong sex’s body? Would Paul tell them to accept how they were born, physically, and stop trying to change it? Would he permit surgery to make the body conform to the person’s psyche (a possibility he surely could not have imagined in his own time)? Would he require they remain celibate? What if they became a Christian after having had the surgery? Would that mean they can date and marry in accordance with how their body is post-surgery? Or would Paul say they must now choose celibacy since a part of their repentance and faith is acknowledging that they never should have had the surgery? Or would he simply rejoice that they now feel like their body and psyche are one?

    What if a gay couple who is married has a profound encounter with Jesus and begins to follow him as Lord? They come to your church and request baptism and church membership. Do you tell them they must first separate since you don’t recognize gay marriage as legitimate? What if their finances are melded? What if they have a house in both their names? Oh, and they have kids! Do you still tell them, “Sorry, the Bible’s clear. You have to split up your family since it was never a real family anyway”? God has accepted them because of their faith in him. Are you then allowed to set conditions on that? “Well, just don’t have sex.” If you think that’s likely to work, you don’t know the male body or mind very well.

    You say, “Well, no married gay couple with kids has ever come to my church.” I say, “Exactly.” And until we do the hard work of wrestling with questions like these, I suspect they never will.

    Posted in: The Gay Posts

Comments are closed.