There are some who would make a kind of righteousness out of ignoring sex, defining it as somehow ungodly and something to be left unsaid or ashamed of. As a Christian teacher I had a lot to say about the ‘Ok Status’ of sex. Sure I taught young people that the right place for it was marriage. But I also taught them that sex was created by God for pleasure and the celebration of togetherness.
The inability of the fundamentalist and the puritanical to talk about sexuality has an origin in the inability to relate to God and to themselves.
There is something wild and elemental about sex which is tied to the spiritual and animal part of our being. It’s also part of Godliness as the entire Song of Solomon attests. It’s by design that new people come into the world as a result of sex. This indicates that it is a pursuit of both pleasure and sacredness. Religion has attempted to separate sacredness and pleasure in a neo-platonic stew of stoicism and humbug. With Jesus as our life we will live every aspect of life to the full.
Some kinds of religion, Hinduism is one, have incorporated the joy of sex into their culture for a reason. There is a wild life in it that has to do with a state of being that we call human. Research indicates that those who have a personal Jesus life have a better sex life than those who live in religion. I can believe it. Religion insulates us from God and from each other. Religion insulates us from life.
The incarnation – which is our new testament reality – joins us to God and each other.
A colleague at the school at which I taught was taken aback - nay affronted - when I pointed out that “I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the bolt” (Song 5.5), was what it appears to be: Arousal.
Another colleague’s reaction to discussions of the topic of sex in Bible class was, ‘Is it necessary?’ It is necessary because it is part of life and even more necessary because it is at the conception of life. The ‘Is it necessary tribe’ usually belong to those who have found religion but have never found life. They live a life that can be described as over-all hibernation. Others live a double life at the whim and control of drives that cannot be controlled because these drives cannot be acknowledged as part of themselves.
STOICISM AS RELIGION
There’s a certain kind of law-conditioned religion that sees god as the key stoic of the universe and themselves as King Stoic’s disciple. They attempt a life of moderation that turns out to be a life of inhibition - a far cry from life to the full and a kind of life lived in a fish tank in which the fish thinks The tank is the world.
Well not all do. Years ago I read a book by a thoughtful Catholic entitled Original Blessing. You need not agree with everything Matthew Fox says, but you can agree with Fox that everything God created was good. Anything that is in God is wholesome and part of our new creation living when we live in the new covenant instead of the knowledge of good and evil. We no longer live in the categories, opposites and dichotomies of the knowledge of good and evil today if we have embraced our treasure in the field. We live in life and this life is a person and this life is God.
PARTISAN VERSION OF SIN
It's easy to give sexual sin a bad rap. Sure it degrades and fragments families. It’s easily identifiable, is linked with exquisite pleasure and also with guilt. But it’s not more sinful than other things. It’s not more sinful than capitalism, partisan greed, rationalisations of the status quo and the denial climate of change. How could sexual sin be any more sinful that adopting a version of Christianity that justified getting Donald Trump into the White House?
I found this today in an essay about cardinal George Pell, which makes the point nicely. “Behind rigidity [and contrived blindness] something always lies hidden,” he said. “In many cases, a double life.”
We can easily live a double life in religion. It’s not possible in Jesus because He becomes us by the Spirit and we are interwoven into Him and the Trinity. When Christ is our life we are joined to life itself. God is incarnated in creation and when we are in I AM we and the creation have in a sense become one. Jesus’ aim is to bring all things together in Himself.
The core of our existence will either be in God or in ourselves. If we are still attached to the law we will be stuck in ourselves and insulated from the infinite life that is ours in God. We may be sincere but we have not been born again. Michael Kapler writes, “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represented the morality tree where man would choose to determine right and wrong based on his own standard, instead of trusting in the life of God that had been gifted to them. The result was passing from life into death, and it affected the entire world around them. Where Adam had been created in the image of God, after his own likeness, sin would cause everyone else to be born in the likeness of Adam, after his own image (see Genesis 5:1-3).” (1) But Adam has been undone. His dire culture of death has been brought to a halt. The culture of the knowledge of good and evil has been replaced. There is a new culture, a new life, a new spirit that is Christ for you and Christ as you. This is the new covenant. New Creation life in which the personified life of Jesus becomes you.
(1) Kapler, Michael C.. Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee . Kindle Edition.