The virtues and vices of humankind are infinitely interesting. Even more so, a single subject that is both virtue and vice provides hours of thought, conversation, and hilarious entertainment. I mean really, just stop to think about it for a minute. If you want to watch someone absolutely lose his/her mind, don’t just point to a controversial journal article, don’t invite an argument by your own personal experience, and definitely don’t cite the adverse philosophy and wisdom of the ages. All you have to do to evoke a rational implosion, is simply bring up any version of the sexual act that offends one’s worldview.
And by this, I am not saying that the foundational beliefs about our reality are trite. Not at all. These are very serious issues that should be debated and defended. Visions of our world actually shape the way in which we experience this life and hope for the future. There are truths and lies that should be honorably de-mythicized.
But you have to try this sometime. Just to watch someone’s head explode. Don’t worry, it will be good for them. It will be good for you. The art of debate – even if it only dances around a made-up morality in choosing green beans over brussel sprouts – is a skill that should be in practice. Always. In fun and in seriousness. But beware, if you take me up on this challenge, that the unsuspecting party will take your assertions involving sex way too seriously.
Isn’t that interesting.
Sex plays with power and emotion. Whether is is power given and taken or received, power abused, power created, power conquered, power relinquished. It makes sense why this unique little issue is the catalyst for the most volatile feelings and opinions we can have. It makes sense that this is a sensitive subject, where it has both set us free and enslaved us in our own life. Deeper conversations are sparked by such a strong emotional reaction that accompanies sex. Because, maybe, we take it too seriously.
Just by writing these words, I imagine the tension rising as you recall greater authorities than me that can refute this claim. Let alone Bible verses that take sex all too seriously, calling out the adulterous and immoral. I can see where the adverse conversations may go; disrespect for the laws of God, denying the sanctity of marriage, endorsing unloving acts of neighbor and body and soul. I know, I get it. I’m not asserting that any of those things are untrue. But I am extremely interested in just what you say next.
In a book I wrote a few years ago, “Woman: the Forgotten Story,” I painted an explicitly sexual image to portray the sacrifice of Christ for His bride, inspired by a short story from the Book of Proverbs. It was fascinating the response I heard from that particular chapter, the one that dared to associate Jesus with an adulterous woman. (But if you want to be offended by a really great Storyteller, check out what God says about His whore nation, Israel, in the Old Testament.) My book had a lot more offensive issues, I like to think, such as why women shouldn’t be pastors, and what silence means, and maybe hats in church aren’t a bad idea, and other uncomfortable stuff. But no, I’m learning if you start a conversation about sex, then you may uncover the real issues.
And so they said… Jesus can’t be that dirty. Jesus can’t share a bed with a prostitute. Jesus would never be found in such a precarious unmentionable situation. Well, now that’s a conversation worth having. A conversation about the nature of mankind, the depths of a disgraceful sacrifice that was the most salutary act. A theological awakening inspired by a gut-wrenching emotional response. All because we are taking sex too seriously.
So maybe, we can’t help it. Taking sex very seriously. Like a cosmic poker game, sex is our tell when the issues get hot. We like to think the root of our problems are porn and hormone replacement and infidelity. I dare you to have a little fun with our instinctive obsession with sex, because I wonder if we are even talking about sex at all.