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#MeToo might make a difference but nothing will change unless our the way we manage our sexuality changes.

#MeToo might make a difference but nothing will change unless our the way we manage our sexuality changes.

Are things going to be different for my daughters?

It seems like something might actually be shifting in the relationship between men and women.

In a world where the moral compass has felt like it was spinning out of control, the hashtag #metoo has become a vehicle of protest that seems actually to be heard…

It is almost like each story of men using women as objects to gratify themselves hit a little bit harder and Harvey Weinstein was the tipping point where women around the world began to speak up.

I was fascinated to see CNN host Jake Tapper blurt out his shock at what he saw on social media.  With a stunned tone,  he told the latest victim of abuse he was interviewing that it felt like every woman he knew was sharing a #MeToo story.

Initially, commentators were saying it couldn’t last and nothing would change. Too often we have seen public outrage dissipate within a week no matter how outrageous the story seemed to be.This time, however, it seems that just as one story began to fade, another took its place. A single wave has seemingly turned into a tide… at least I hope it has.

I have two beautiful daughters who are getting ready to make their way in the world.  I hope and pray for their sakes that things actually are changing.

There is one major concern for me as I watch these stories unfold.  It seems that we are rewarding those who cover up and deny their historic actions and punish those who come clean.

Senator Al Franken and Louis CK both declared their own guilt and remorse in response to allegations. Both have been hammered by commentators and CK has already paid a stiff penalty in lost career opportunities.

An Alabama Senate Candidate and the current President responded quite differently. When presented with charges that seem significantly more serious than Franken and CK, both Roy Moore and Donald Trump have issued denials in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Louis C.K. had a movie cancelled. Donald Trump became President.

There is a real danger that men all around the world will be learning the wrong lesson. Rather than facing their own tendency to objectify women, men will be seeing that they can get away with horrible abuse as long as they are not honest.

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The real question of healthy sexuality

The real question of healthy sexuality

Sexual20HealthwebsiteSmallI wrote a reflection about how Christianity is not anti-sex and I was blown away by the number of people who responded positively, and by the number of people that read it.

In just two days that reflection became the most read item I have written on Faith Reflections.

As I wrote last week, we as a church are engaging in a sermon series about Jesus, the bible and sexuality and one of the core things that is coming through in that series and also in what we wrote about last week is that the bible puts forward a completely different story about sexuality than the world does.

Unfortunately the story the world believes the church tells is that sex is something that should be avoided at all costs, and many Christians believe that is what the bible says… its not.

Sex is celebrated and encouraged in the bible. It was fascinating for me to study the Song of Songs at seminary and realise just how graphic and erotic those poems are.

Tremper Longman III and Raymond B. Dillard  who are authors of an otherwise fairly boring textbook called An Introduction to the Old Testament point out that

The Song of Songs… is a canonical corrective to the perversion of sexuality. It reminds us that sex is good and pleasurable. It is not evil when enjoyed within the parameters of marriage. Thus, most of the Song is a celebration of physical lovemaking. Furthermore, Schwab has reminded us that there is what he calls a cautionary note in the Song. This side of heaven intimate relationships will not be untroubled, and some of the poems (see 5: 2– 6:3) show that love can bring pain as well as joy

As I pointed out last week though, the bible points out what all honest people already know: good sex is a side effect of giving up your own agenda and putting someone else before you.

The other thing that I pointed out last week was the lie we tend to believe: that human beings have a physical need for sex. We all have a need for intimacy, but buying into the lie that the sex drive is a physical need like the need for food or water, leads to all kinds of problems.

One of the big problems for Christians though, happens when we pretend that the sex drive isn’t real. It is. All kinds of damage has been done by people who are not honest about their sexual impulses.

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Christianity is not anti-sex

Christianity is not anti-sex

imagesI’ve been thinking a bit about sex.

I realise that is not a sentence you will see often on a site dedicated to faith, but perhaps it should be.

Sexuality is such a big part of our lives and different perspectives about what is, and isn’t, right and healthy are constantly being fed to us through the media and also often through our friendship circle.

We need to talk more about sex.

Part of the reason I have been thinking about it over the past few weeks is that I have had to speak about it twice to two different groups of people. In addition to this I’ve been in conversation with my friend and colleague, Nathan, who is about to lead our church through a four week conversation about Jesus, the Bible and Sexuality.

Growing up I knew the bible taught about sex outside of marriage as wrong, but I didn’t find much other guidance from the bible about how to manage my sexuality. That wasn’t because it wasn’t there, somehow I managed to miss it, which is why I think we need to be talking about sex a lot more than we do. In fact the bible talks a lot about sex and addresses most of the lies that most of us believe.

At the root of the challenge most of us face is a simple lie that if we were to be honest, there is part of us would like to believe it, so we accept it as fact. It is a lie that the world re-enforces and that while there is no scientific basis for it, it is a lie that people look at you strangely for addressing.

The lie is this: that physical, sexual pleasure is a basic human need. It’s not. Our sexuality is a natural impulse or drive, but it is not a need.

I quoted C.S. Lewis a couple of weeks ago who wrote that we treat our sexuality “as no other impulse in our nature has ever been treated by civilized people.” Somehow we let ourselves believe that everything is ok as long as our sexual desires are being met.

The bit of the bible that I wish I had engaged with earlier in my life is 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, where Paul unpacks a what a healthy view of sexuality is and contrasts it with the lies that we so easily get sucked in to.

I thought that for this reflection I might just unpack what Paul says verse by verse, because I think it is the truth that we need to be communicating to our kids and remembering ourselves.

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