Pleasure. Holiness. Intimacy. God. Religion. Eros. Naked. Unashamed. Very good.
These words are the ingredients to a most intoxicating and joyful experience that we humans know as sexuality. No matter what our culture, or perhaps our church, has made it to be, the Holy Bible presents it as wonderful.
It is possible that we really know very little about sex, no matter how much of a veteran we think we are in these things. The American culture in which you and I live has twisted it into commerce. Jon Foreman sings, “Sex is industry, the CEO of corporate policy. Addictive, bittersweet; suburban youth, hail your so-called liberty.”
The statistics on pre-marital sex, pornography, and STDs are enough to sober and scare us. Just walking through the mall, I feel I need a blindfold.
C.S. Lewis compares our culture’s obsession with sex to food. Perhaps his words could wake us up to the low and polluted place we have assigned to sex. He writes, “There is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying your food: there would be everything to be ashamed of if half the world made food the main interest of their lives and spent their time looking at pictures of food and dribbling and smacking their lips. For the past twenty years you and I have been fed all day long on good solid lies about sex.”
What has the church done to address this? Sadly, for the most part, it has made it worse. Preachers are often scared to address the topic. Most Christians I have talked with have never heard a message on sex, unless it is with condemning tone.
I wonder if we have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Erotic love was there before the fall of mankind in the garden; the fall did not create eros; it only perverted it.
Karl Barth said the result of this for human sexuality has been a vacillation between evil eroticism, on one hand, and an evil absence of eroticism, on the other.
This brings me to the point: Sex was created by God and is good. Very good, in fact. Heck, it’s amazing, I’m not ashamed to say. And you shouldn’t be either.
Block out everything you’ve heard that tells you otherwise and think of this: God invented sex. He invented pleasure. There are heights of ecstasy that are part of human reproduction, but are not necessary for the same. Why? Could it be that this is a wonder of God? How could pleasure evolve? Nay, I say, it is a gift, created by a benevolent Father.
These things are realized over a lifetime as we seek to find healing from the past and order our sexuality within the safe boundaries of God’s truth. Consider this crazy idea: a monogamous relationship between a man and woman without the worry of disease, abandonment, betrayal. Or waking up next to the same person every morning and growing together for a lifetime. If this sounds good stuff, it is, and God came up with it.
The Bible is stuffed with affirmation of the good of sexuality, portraying divine approval of the gift of sex when submitted to God. The Bible on marriage and sex? Try this: “Bless your fresh-flowing fountain! Enjoy the wife you married as a young man! Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose – be always intoxicated with her love! Nourish and cherish your wife. Enjoy one another deeply!”
In the season of Valentine’s Day, may we invite the truth of God into this most sacred part of our humanity.
THE REV. JEFF MILLER IS THE PASTOR OF VINEYARD COMMUNITY CHURCH IN AUGUSTA.