I’ve been reflecting off-and-on over the last couple of weeks about a supposed “Christian” expression of sexuality – to paraphrase, I overheard a conversation in which a Christian was told by another (one supposes) that the person being talked to needed to get into the 21st century because it was now okay for Christian’s to be sexually active, and they should be.
I’ve thought about that conversation and my reaction quite a lot. Am I morally and ethically naive? Is my understanding of “love” naive? Or do I have a much higher view of sex; of “sex” as being a part of something much more deeply humanising and much more an act of love making rather than an act of self-gratification, or something we need to do (intention) in order to be loved and ‘loving’? There’s something missing in our thinking, and in how we frame and identify the issues – not least a whole and healthy view of the body and of the human person more generally (emotions, spirit, soul etc).
While he references “the young”, its equally applicable to the not so young, especially at a time in history where in the West more and more marriages are breaking down and breaking apart.
I therefore appreciated the following quote via Jamie Smith’s blog (this post):
"[W]hat the young properly demand is an account of life and the initiation into a community that makes intelligible why their interest in sex should be subordinated to other interests. What they, and we, demand is the lure of an adventure that captures the imagination sufficiently that for Christians 'conquest' comes to mean something other than the sexual possession of another."
It’s from Stanley Hauerwas’ essay Sex in Public: How Adventurous Christian’s are Doing It collected in The Hauerwas Reader, and beginning on page 481 in my copy.
For a general, thoughtful, though not specifically Christian view on sexuality, you might want to give Thomas Moore’s The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love. Or Jo Ind’s Memories of Bliss: God, Sex, and Us.