(Or, I’m not talking about the DTR!)

I said in my introduction to Friday Night Date Place that most Christian books on singleness boil down to “don’t have sex before you are married.” Well, we are many weeks into Friday Night Date Place and I thought that we could spend a few nights talking about sex (I fought the temptation to rename this “Friday Night Sex Place”). This is a topic that I have visited before (though that paper reflected where I was at that time, there are some things that I would probably word differently). And it is a topic that continues to pop up and be discussed, so I’m probably long overdue to write on this topic. One of the things that I’ve been reading, and highly recommend, is Lauren Winner’s book, Real Sex; so sometimes this will seem like Real Sex – lite.

There has to be more to the topic of sexuality than “before marriage, bad; within marriage, good.” Our sexuality is one of our most powerful drives. It speaks to part of our identity, the essence of who we are. So naturally, any discussion of sin in this area strikes particularly close to home. This has to be an on-going conversation within the church because it certainly is an on-going one outside of the church. Each day we are bombarded by our culture’s story of what sex is and should be. As liberating as the message seems, it is actually desensitizing, desensualizing, and dehumanizing sex. Desacralizing. In the casual way that we talk about sex, we have robbed sex of its deeper meaning.

I firmly believe that there is a mystical component to sex. If you don’t feel the transcendent aspect of sex, they you’re probably not doing it right. I know it will sound to some–to paraphrase a line from 40 Year Old Virgin–that I’m putting sex on a pedestal. The Bible speaks to the mystery of a man and a woman becoming “one flesh.” The unity described by this phrase encompasses familial, emotional, and spiritual ties; an entwining of souls and body not knowing where one ends and another begins.

We can’t let the mainstream culture define neither the boundaries, nor meaning of what sex means. Our culture’s idea of sex, frankly, leads to bad sex: “I need to get off, you are the means to that end” – my needs at the expense of yours (as if getting off was the entire point of sex). And that idea gets carried over into the marriage bed. This kind of takes us back to the sacredness of sex, but sex has its own ends/purposes:

1. To unite two people. The mystical union between two people. Sex is supposed to be (and is) a special bond between two people. That sense of connectedness that goes beyond the act.
2. To lead to children.
3. To recall (“re-enact”) the promise of fidelity. The faithfulness and intimacy of one to another as well as illustrate the same of God to all of us. (It’s the profound mystery that Paul alludes to in Ephesians 5:32, that sacramental element.)

Some people have trouble defining what sex even is. For example, many people don’t consider oral sex or anal sex sex (I guess the fact that both phrases include the word “sex” wasn’t clue enough for them). Furthermore, we have lost sight of the implications of sex; forgetting that there is not only a physical dimension to the act, but also emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions to it.

Yes, we harp on sexual sins because a lot of our identity, who we are, is wrapped up in our sexuality. However, our body parts, and their various interactions, do not define us en toto. We aren’t victims of our bodies, desires, and impulses. We still have will and reason. God created us as sexual beings and ordained sex as good. With the “Fall”, everything (including sex and our sense of sexuality) became distorted, disordered. We are sexually broken people. We are selfish. It’s not like marriage guarantees a mastery of sex because part of marital sex involves surrendering control of your body to another. And we are selfish.

Sex equals work. I’m not talking about the act itself because as the great philosopher, Bernie Mac, pointed out “three minutes is a heavy weight round.” Sex is a life uniting act. Kids are a life-uniting act. (I’m not one to demonize the act or its possible consequences, but when you think about it, disease can be a life-uniting act, too.) The bottom line is that there is no such thing as casual sex.

So, for the next few weeks, we’ll come at this topic from various angles:
-Looking for Biblical Loopholes (what DOES the Bible have to say on this topic anyway);
-The Line (probably the number one question I am asked)
-Chastity as Spiritual Discipline
-The Church and Sex

If I didn’t believe in God, if we were cosmic accidents living lives of no significance, then I could rut at will like any other animal. However, through Christ, all things have been re-ordered. So it’s important to continue to look at why we do what we do. Our life, our journey, is about (spiritual) formation. We will come back to the same questions: who created us? For what purpose? How does what we do form us and to what end? Because of Christ, to please Him, to know Him.

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