Sunday, February 11, 2007

Christian Sexuality Part 4

Christian Sexuality as Ritual Worship



It is my hope to be able to present Christian Sexuality as a beautiful lifestyle, and a wonderful choice for living in union with creation, and the Creator. The current understanding of sexuality which comes from Christian circles seldom has a sense of the beauty, and liberty which one expects when discussing the wonders of God.

Humanity is envisioned as the pinnacle of God's creation by Christians, and yet the most intimate of human acts is often seen as a most tedious tension, and a most imperiled battleground. Though it certainly is true that sex is a battleground of struggle for many people, the lack of celebratory appreciation of the subject is a glaring empty page in the tomes of our faith today.

From the stories of Solomon, to the confessions of Augustine, to the failure of recent T.V. evangelists, sex has colorized our black and white theologies with steamy struggles of men, and women wrestling with more than just their God.

In our human failures I do not find myself ready to surrender the ancient paths of saints long past who battled for a morality they perceived as pure. Yet the age in which we live has maligned recent incarnations of this same ancient faith, making it a mockery. Perhaps this mockery has been justified as the church has presented the subject in a manner more befitting preparations for war, than the beauty of relationship.

SEEING LIFE AS A RITUAL

I am not ritualistic by nature in my approach to church life. I tend to appreciate simple, uncluttered, slightly disorganized, free and interactive worship, teaching and celebration. I do not disapprove of highly liturgical settings, but I do not find myself naturally drawn to them. For me ritual has another location.

I find ritual occuring in everyday living. My words are a part of my daily ritual. A smile upon my face, which brings out a smile on someone else's face is a ritual action. Acting out my faith through caring, sharing, giving, and loving are acts of worship which model the character of the Lord I serve, and His story of the redemption of broken humanity.

SEX AS A RITUAL PERFORMANCE

I do not believe that any action I take is mundane. Every action is spiritual by nature, because I am a spiritual being. Many actions may be spiritually destructive, but they are spiritual nonetheless. Sex is no exception. Sex is a spiritual action, and perhaps more so than many other actions we perform as humans.

More than most actions it cuts to the core of our passions. We find our investiture in sex to be deep, and tumultuous often tossing us about like a small craft in high seas. Our ability to master these waters brings calm to our souls, and sets us in the direction of peace.

For the servant of the Christian God sexuality is a model of God's character, and even of His story of redemption. We live what we discover about Him through the actions of our lives. Choices of who to have sex with, and who to avoid are based not upon strict and oppressive rules established by priests to suppress the joys of the common person, but upon a desire to mimic the character of God.

LIMITATIONS OF LOVE

The apparently brutal limitations to sex found in the Bible should not be viewed as gross demands upon a sensuous culture, but as guidelines for modeling Christian living. The virgin who was once celebrated, is now demeaned, and ridiculed. In a day when true romance still ruled, and sexuality was of higher spiritual purpose than simple animal function, the virgin was seen as a model of one who both waited, and sacrificed for the Lord. This action of limitation was therefore an act of love, and not simply a suppression of fear. Such high romance does not exist today. It has been replaced by scientifically designed sexual performance, and common indulgence.

Due to the ritual nature of limitations to sexuality for the purpose of modeling divine love, Christian sexuality can not be expected to be the norm for the the person worshiping other gods, or no gods at all. My personal sexual preference is a ritual act of worship, and I can not expect a person who does not believe in my God to worship Him as I do. This understanding gives me the freedom to treat all people with complete acceptance as they learn to discover a beauty in their own liturgies of daily life.

MUCH MORE TO SAY

The virgin is just an example of one way of worshiping God through sexual preference. There are other rituals of Christian sexuality which I will explore in a continuing series of posts, and I hope to be able to establish a beautiful pattern of sexuality as a ritual lifestyle as I pursue transferring these thoughts from head to page.

You can read the previous 3 posts on sexuality as you scroll down.

Christian Sexuality Part 1
Christian Sexuality Part 2
Christian Sexuality Part 3

Please visit our other SynchroBloggers talking about love today:

3 comments:

Adam Gonnerman said...

What happened to part 3? I can't find it.

Pastor Phil said...

Whoops. Had to repost it. It's there now. ;-)

Lisa said...

These articles are beautiful, Pasotr Phil. I enjoyed them very much. If I may offer my oh so humble opionion... To me some interpretations of scripture seem to be extremely archaic. When I read something ancient I try (hard as it is sometimes) to look at it from the perspective of the time it was written and then maybe look at it with my modern eyes. Try to see how it may evolve. So some things in the Bible may need to be looked at in a new way. I can not say that some things in the Bible are obsolete, I don't know. But maybe they could be looked at and applied in a more relevant way. Also (in my experience) the church spends far too much time talking about all the behaviors that will get you into Hell and not enough time talking about the things that will get you into Heaven. The question you raised in this article about whether the church should talk about sex and talk about it with children was good. I think all things in life should be addressed in church. But I think the talking time would be better spent talking about the positive. Spend more time teaching people how to live, act in ways that are affirming. Teach people how to celebrate life not merely avoid Hell. I was at a baptist church a few years ago. It was one of the best sermons I've ever heard. Not one time was Hell or any kind of punishment mentioned. The Pastor talked about "How to Pray." It was wonderful, useful... it was very specific... pray this way, do this, say this, this will please God, this way of prayer will get you answers. It was the most USEFUL sermon I've ever heard. It gave offered me ways to uplift myself, talk to God, worship God, please God instead of an opportunity to feel guilt and shame. If there are do's and don'ts then it is not sufficient to just talk about the don'ts, one has to know what the do's are...