”Heard any sermons on sex lately?”
I have. Lots of them. But not in church.
We live in a world obsessed by sex. Information technology makes this obsession the basic wall paper of our days. Yet the church is strangely silent on this topic.
That is why I was so delighted that at a recent wedding, the speaker spoke positively about sex as an important dimension of marital happiness. (This was also a wedding where Kenny Login’s ”For the First Time” was used as the processional. But that’s another story.) It was the first time I had heard a sermon on sex in church ever since I can remember.
We therefore have this glaring imbalance. The world talks about sex all the time. And the church is silent about the subject. Perhaps Christians have bought into Satan’s lies, that sex is dirty and bad. Perhaps it is such a strong force within us that we think that by talking about it we will open the flood gates of our passion. Perhaps in talking about sex we have to come to terms with our our own struggles with lust. Perhaps Asians are just plain shy.
Whatever the reason, the deafening silence on this subject in the church is not doing anybody any good. Surely not the young in our church we think we are protecting by our silence. They probably know more about the mechanics of sweaty couplings than their elders. But they are still crying out for meaning and boundaries. And if the church won”t teach them, they will get their answers elsewhere.
Here are the basic facts.
1. To be human is to be sexual.
Genesis 1:27 reads:”God created human beings in his own image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (REB). God created us to be sexual beings. It is part of our reflection of the divine image!
Penises, vaginas, breasts, etc. are basic equipment given to us by our Maker. Of course sexuality goes way beyond our different body parts. In some ways it reflects the ”diversity in unity” of the Trinitarian God! Sexuality, of which sweaty couplings (between husbands and wives), are only a small part, is part of our divine heritage.
2. Sex, like everything else in Creation has also being corrupted by the Fall.
I believe it was C. S. Lewis who reminded us that Evil is never original. It is merely the corruption of the Good. Evil also brings disintegration. So sex is uncoupled from love and covenant. It becomes another avenue for dehumanising each other. We treat people as things to be used for our personal gratification. It becomes another expression of violence and intimidation of which rape is but one horrendous manifestation. The list goes on.
Yet sadly, I have often suspected that our obsession for sex is a symptom of a deeper hunger, our need for love. We will never be truly whole and healed until we discover/rediscover God”s love. And the true love of our fellows. Until then we are looking for love in all the wrong places.
3. Therefore sex must be part of the basic curriculum of every church.
Any church that claims to be biblical is committed to teach the whole counsel of God. And that must include sexuality. This is not some peripheral subject. To discover what it means to be sexual is to learn a bit more of what it means to be truly human as God intended us to be.
And sex surely cannot be consigned to be covered purely under the rubric of naughty things that Christians must avoid. Of course there are many corruptions of our sexuality that the bible warns us about. But there is also a pressing need to understand sexuality in its bigger and more positive sense.
This glaring lacunae in our Christian teaching programme must be addressed. Otherwise Satan wins by default.
How many parents have had a good, positive, heart to heart talk to their children about sex? Let me see your hands. Anyone?