We need to have a conversation about sexuality that begins restoration. If you are like me, you are tired of 7-second sound bites suitable to reduce any complex issue for the evening news or the next sit-com. So often we’re not actually having conversations; we’re having serial monologues that turn into lobbing scud missile comments or spewing the acid we didn’t know we had deep inside us.
We need this conversation in Christ, informed by His life and word, and in the context of the whole person within the whole community aiming at restoration.
Here’s some of my thoughts on sexuality, as they are at this moment. These thoughts are neither complete nor authoritative; I represent no one but myself in the following comments:
- We are all sexual creatures.
- Sexuality does not define us as persons, but it is essential to who are are as persons. Personhood is best and most profoundly defined by the One who made us for Himself.
- We are all sexually broken.
- It is a false dichotomy to define people into heterosexual and homosexual, since there is a large locus of sexualities, all of which are sexually broken – including the largest cohort: heterosexuals.
- Christ comes to restore us relationally (including our relationship to the One who made us for Himself), to our ourselves (including our sexuality), and to others (including our spouse as lover).
- It is disingenuous to excuse sexual sin in the name of tolerance or just another lifestyle choice when sexual brokenness is not relational restoration.
- It is disingenuous to label other sexualities as sin when we live at a time when society winks and nods at sexual interference. As we’ve seen in the Jian Ghomeshi story and the Parliament scandal, sexual abuse has been often ignored, hidden, or accepted (when this is done by the Church, the betrayal feels more deeply painful).
- It is inconsistent with Our Lord Jesus’ comments in Matthew 7 where we ought not “look for a speck in our brother’s eye, while paying no attention to the plank in our own eye,” to corral certain sexual sins for condemnation while ignoring the impossible standard our Lord gave us in Matthew 5, which renders us all guilty.
- Our guilty status ought not to cause us to hate a God who condemns that which results in our separation from Him; it ought to help us become aware of our eternal thirst for the One who has made us to drink from Him as the source of living water (Jeremiah 2:13).
- There is a difference between judgement as condemnation (as used in Matthew 7), and judgement as discernment (as used I Corinthians 11:31). We live in interesting times where we are expected to “tolerate” the intolerable, thus preventing a reasonable discussion about “discernment.” (it is the difference between εκρινομεθα [judgment], and διεκρινομεν [discernment] both used in this verse).
- Some might exercise condemnation without discernment, while others may confuse all discernment as condemnation. But I celebrate discernment as a mark of wisdom, maturity and the action of the Holy Spirit.
I appreciate that some might be disappointed that I am hinting (strongly) that not all sexual expressions are sexually restored (and is therefore to be considered sin).
I further appreciate that others might be disappointed that I am not more “condemning” of sexual sin.
This is because I lament sexual brokenness, including my own. The lament of sexual brokenness informs my compassion for those who are sexually broken; and at the same time, it allows me to be definitive about sexual brokenness as the expression of relational brokenness with God.
Sin is the real, relational separation from God. Being out of right-relatedness to God distorts all other relationships, including our sexual relationships.
We are in need of a Saviour – the Lover and Redeemer of our Souls – Jesus – God the Son, who makes a way to restore, reclaim or otherwise redeem our relationship with the Triune God. Restoration is a bigger story than saving our souls, though saving our souls is an essential aspect of the restoration of all things – including our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with all His creation.
When it comes to sexuality, there is more enigma than dogma – thus I firmly point to the enigma of our worth, which says more about God than is does about us.
Now that I began this conversation, will you be capable of responding with the compassion of our Lord?
It is so true that we need to go beyond orientation. That matters but sexuality is a reflection of our relationship with God. Rusty, I love that you emphasize the relational context of our sexuality with regard to God, others and ourselves. Our sexuality needs to engender the same love, respect and awe that Creator God inspires in his beloved. Let’s love as God loves us.
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