Sex (a response to another blogger)

While I do not think that one should be barred from speaking about topics such as sex, I do think that we need to be cautious as to the context in which we speak of it lest we inadvertently turn it into something that it was not intended to be. As Richard Foster says in Celebration of Discipline,

Sex is like a river – it is a good and wonderful blessing when kept within its proper channel. A river that overflows its banks is a dangerous thing, and so are perverted sexual drives.

I think this is why groups such as the SBC and other conservative Christian groups are loathe to breech topics like sexuality: We don’t want to accidentally cause someone to sin, therefore we will not speak of it (kinda like how we don’t want people to fall into temptation with alcohol therefore we will use grape juice). But in avoiding the topic completely, even within its proper context, we make it sound like it is something bad or something to be shunned.

I mean, look at your typical Christian marriage. How often is sex even mentioned? Take a look in any of those devotional Bibles for couples, and you’ll find very little mention of sex. It makes you wonder if it even happens at all. Rare is the couple who is so passionate and attracted to each other that they make love 3 or 4 times a day. You would probably be hard-pressed to find a couple that does in once a month in most churches.

Marriage is, I would say, the proper context for sex, and yet it isn’t even happening there. What gives?

Within the SBC, I believe that there is a deeper issue as to why sex is a censored topic. Let’s start with an illustration.

The SBC views the Lord’s Supper (second problem) as merely symbols (first problem). Nothing more. In viewing the elements in this way, they are robbed of their power and, ultimately, robbed of their symbolism. And since there is no true meaning to them, we can view it with less respect, hence how it can be called “the Lord’s Supper” instead of “Eucharist” or “Communion.” Not only that, but since it is not a means of grace in any capacity, God is not truly present in the sacrament (ordinance) in any capacity. It becomes simply something you do 4 times a year that really doesn’t effect anything save for making the sermon shorter and raising a few extra bucks for benevolence.

Now to sex.

For the SBC-er, sex really has no symbolic meaning. It is simply a literal interpretation of the statement about becoming “one flesh.” Man and woman come together and…well…that is it. There is nothing special about it. And since there isn’t anything really special about it, there really isn’t any need to speak on it save to pay lip service to it in pre-marital counseling where we tell the couple that it shouldn’t be the basis of anything in their relationship aside from baby-making. God is removed from His presence in love-making and it ceases to be sacramental in any way.

Look at what has happened in both of these situations: something that was at one time rich in symbolism has now become merely a ritual that we can skip out on with no harm done.

But, if you look at even secular sources, I believe that you will find that sex is VITAL to a healthy marriage and that it really can make or break a relationship (this is of course not taking into consideration relationships where sex is not possible, as there are some). Just because sexual desires are not being acted upon does not mean that they are going to just go away. The husband or wife that is not being touched sexually will turn elsewhere for that fulfillment. Sex is addicting, and to deny it has the same effect as denying a cocaine addict his cocaine: he will do whatever it takes to get that fix.

I would say that sex is actually SUPPOSED to be addicting because the husband and wife are to be lost without each other. They should almost constantly seek to taste of each other. I won’t even go into detail of Song of Solomon (or my own sex life for that matter), but, suffice it to say, he couldn’t get enough of that woman and she couldn’t get enough of him (and if you assume that the book was NOT written by Solomon, it takes on a whole new meaning).

And God’s grace is found in this relationship. Sex is sacramental, and, without it, we miss out on a very special and intimate means of grace.

So, really, within many circles, I think the issue really goes beyond censorship of sex and into the realms of Scriptural interpretation and what grace really means.

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