Everyone is talking about sex. Sex seems to be the favored subject of the human experience, at least the American experience. Sex is constantly on the television, the radio, the movie screens, computer screens, billboards, newspapers, it’s everywhere. And everyone is talking about it. Except in the church. Well, that is not entirely true nor fair. The church is talking about sex, especially lately. There is currently a great debate going on about homosexuality and sermons decrying homosexuality or sermons supporting the homosexual community (although less frequently) can be heard on Sundays throughout the Bible Belt, and throughout the nation.
But limiting the subject to homosexuality is a really problematic approach to discussing Christian sexuality for two reasons. First, the debate around homosexuality- is it a sin, is it not a sin?- reflects a very simplistic and underdeveloped understanding of human sexuality. Sex and sexuality are complex subjects. Homosexuality verses heterosexuality is, more often than not, a false dichotomy. Furthermore, most people trying to align their deeply intricate sexual desires with their religious beliefs have so many questions and the response, “just don’t be gay,” is not the answer to any of them, I would argue.
Second, limiting the conversation to homosexuality continues a long standing error in the Christian Church and that is that we only talk about how not to behave sexually. As a community of faith, we only discuss what is considered “bad sex.” We are told what not to do, “Don’t have homosexual sex. Don’t engage in fornication. Don’t commit adultery.” And then the subject abruptly stops after that. This leaves most Christians with the ominous questions, “What should we do? What do we do?”
So for the next three Sundays we are going to talk about the characteristics of “good sex” or sex that is holy, sex that is as God intended. We will articulate practical sexual ethics- inviting God into our bedrooms so that we can cultivate healthy sexual practices that take seriously our Holy Writ, our faith, and our tradition. We will take an expansive look at the many and varied conversations on sex in the Bible and allow our holy text to meet us at the point of our need… both literally and figuratively. We will let God teach us how to take the sin out of sex. So let’s begin: