ISSUES OF FAITH: Teach children of God’s good gift

“LET MARRIAGE BE held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Heb 13:4 ESV).

What has happened to sex?

If there was ever an example of how humanity has misused, corrupted and confused a good gift from God, sex would be it.

Church and secular contributions together have skewed this precious and sacred aspect of life.

The church, with it’s pious, well-meaning teachings, has, in many circles, taught that sex is for procreation only, that passion is evil and sex is a dirty word; that it is a topic that is uncomfortable and not to be talked about.

This false mentality has led many to believe that sex will take care of itself … our kids will figure it out when the time is right, and when you are older your sexuality wanes slowly into a sexual coma.

Neither are correct assumptions.

You can name any number of reasons for the church’s misguided approach to sex education.

Whether this inaccurate teaching was a reaction to the Free Love movement of the 1960s, a resurgence of pietism in the theology of many denominations or the discomfort of the pastors with the subject, negligent parenting, it doesn’t matter.

This issue of faith is how we, as God’s children, can reach out to those trapped in this mindset.

“Sexuality and our need for intimacy is rooted in the origin of Creation as we are made to not be alone, but united as male and female” (Gen 2:18).

Going back to the church’s historic pietistic teaching that sex is for procreation is a shallow attempt at understanding the role of sex in creation.

We are not simply invited in to the creative process with sex, but into realizing the wholeness of God’s basic and fundamental community.

Therefore, we must view and teach sexuality as a creation of God and something affirmed in the goodness of God’s creative will for our lives.

Sexuality is not simply a mechanism or tool we are to use a few times in our life to accomplish the creation of the next generation.

Sexuality is a life-long journey of God’s created beings seeking the intimacy and community that was woven into the fabric of our existence, a journey that needs to explored and celebrated.

Leaning on scripture, searching its pages how we are wonderfully made, God will lead us to a fuller understanding of what sexuality is, and how God created us as sexual beings, seeking the union God created us for.

Only then can we see how sexuality is an embodiment of the physical and spiritual union of marriage.

It is how we express our trust, our compassion, our openness and our affirmation of the beauty of each other physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Sexual maturity is not genital maturity.

Sexual maturity is reached by the time individuals reach emotional maturity, intimacy, trust and compassion, as husbands and wives cherish each other.

This process grows over time and deepens with the age of the marriage.

Sexuality is not something that dissipates with the primal urges of youth, but blossoms into an expression of the multiple dimensions found in the marital union discovered over time.

We need to embrace the words of the Song of Solomon, “By night on my bed I sought the one I Love” (3:1).

Many people find this topic difficult.

Some so difficult they find it uncomfortable even discussing it with their spouse.

Treating sex as a taboo subject will only afford the world and its perverse approach to gratifying physical pleasure the only voice heard by our children.

If we believe sexuality is a good gift of God, then we, not the world, should be speaking openly, teaching, and correcting.

How dare this world take the parts of our body God created to celebrate and cherish one another and turn them into expletives and derogatory words.

We don’t talk like that about our hands that hold our spouse and our lips that kiss them.

Marriage and sex must be honored among all, undefiled (Heb 13:4).

The truths of sex and sexuality are not self-evident.

Our culture, our friends and our families will not learn about God’s design on their own.

A healthy sexual life will not take care of itself.

By ignoring our calling to speak plainly about this subject, we contribute to the downfall of so many who pervert sexuality, use it as an instrument of abuse, or experiment with it to the death of their relationships or bodies.

We must speak clearly and united concerning how sex is a physical representation of the love that is not envious, does not boast or is not proud; sexuality and the love expressed there is not dishonorable, self-seeking, or evil, but rejoices in truth, protects, always hopes, perseveres, never fails, yet endures all things (1 Cor 13:7-13).

It is a shame what happened to sex.

But that doesn’t mean the trend needs to continue.

Be bold, teach your faith, walk in truth and to God be the glory.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Patrick Lovejoy is minister of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. He can be contacted at 360-457-4122 or [email protected]

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