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The holy spirit and sex

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This is a collection of writings dealing with the issue of sexuality and the Holy Spirit. Sexual intimacy plays a major role in both the physical and spiritual area of life.,

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The holy spirit and sex

  1. 1. THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SEX EDITED BY GLENN PEASE Thentheycame to Jesus,andsawthe one who hadbeendemon-possessedandhadthe legion,sitting and clothedandinhisright mind.Mark 5:15 NKJV Whenthe demoniacbecame converted,he wasclothedandinhisrightmind.Sotoday,the closerwe come to Jesusthe more appropriatelywe dress.InGenesis3,whenAdamrealizedhe wasnaked,he triedto make a garmentof figleavesandworkouta wayto coverhisnakedness.Asalways,man’s worksfailed.GodcoveredAdam’snakednesswithanimal skins,meaningananimal hadto die tocover hisshame.ThispointedAdamtothe cross, where Jesuswoulddietocoverour nakedness. I believewe grievethe HolySpiritwhenwe refuse toacknowledge ournakednessphysicallyand spiritually.The demoniacwasphysicallynaked(Luke 8:27) and so wasAdam(Genesis3).Whenthey bothmet God,theyboth became clothed.Sophysical clothingisapart of the gospel.One way we show the HolySpirithas convictedusof our needof a Savioris bydressingappropriately. Whenwe letJesus’righteousnesscoverournakedsouls,we alsocoverournakedbodies.Thisiswhat happenedinthe Bible withAdamandthe demoniac. Jesus’message toLaodiceadrawsa close parallel betweenphysical nakednessandspiritual nakedness. … you are wretched,miserable,poor,blind,andnaked— Icounsel youtobuyfromMe goldrefinedin the fire,thatyou maybe rich;and white garments,thatyoumay be clothed,thatthe shame of your nakednessmaynotbe revealed.Revelation3:17-18 NKJV Whenthe Holy Spiritconvictsusof the needof a Saviorto coverour spiritual nakedness,we dress appropriatelyphysicallyaswell. While the Bible usesmeninillustratingthe needformodesty,we usuallyuse womentoday.We talk abouthow menare stimulatedbysight;sowomenneedtobe careful how theydress.Indiscussionson modestly,Icanalwayscount ona womansayingshe dressesmodestlytokeepmenfromlustingafter her.To me that soundsa bitarrogant and assuming.Itplacesafocus onsex rather thanJesus.Ihave listenedtoChristianpeopletalkingaboutmodestyinawaythat wouldmake youthinksex wasthe focus of theirlife insteadof the crossof Jesus. Whenwe accept the HolySpiritand acknowledgeourneedof aSavior,we dressappropriately,because we sense the presence of God.Trulymodestpeople don’tassume theirbeautyisastumblingblock.
  2. 2. Whenwe are trulymodest,meekandpoorinspirit,we coverup,because we realize people needtosee lessof us and more of Jesus.Ourdressis notin response towhomayor maynot be turnedon.Our dressisin response tothe HolySpirittellinguswe needaSavior.Afterall,the HolySpiritglorifiesJesus, and those whohave the Holyspirit,glorifyJesusintheirwords,actionsanddress.Whenwe doso we make the HolySpirithappy! Amen!(51) Postedin2017a HolySpiritandSpirituality,Feature TaggedGrowinginChrist,modesty,the HolySpirit permalink AboutWilliamEarnhardt WilliamEarnhardthasbeena Bible Worker,literatureevangelistandlaypastorinOklahomaandTexas, before comingtothe Tampa Bay area, where he hasbeena Bible instructorandlaypastorfor the past 15 years.He has alsoheldrevivalsandevangelismseminars,aswellassoul winningworkshopsfrom Peruto Connecticut.Youcan findWilliam'sstudyguidesanddevotionalsatwilliamdearnhardt.com No wordsinthe Englishlanguage couldpossiblydescribe the lookof paniconmymom's face as she pulledintothe drivewaytowitness5-year-oldme standingbarefootinthe dew-coveredgrass,holdinga fallenelectrical lineinmytinyhand.I'dbeenwatchingSesame Streetwhensuddenlythe TV wentdead, alongwithall of the lightsinthe house.Iwentoutside toaskmy dad to investigate butstumbledupona potential explanationwhenIsawthe severedblackcordlyinglimponthe frontlawn.So I pickeditup, as if somehowIcouldreconnectitto itspowersource and restore everythingtothe wayit was supposedtobe—andamazingly,Ilivedtotell aboutit. In manywaysthisarticle ismy attemptto do somethingsimilar—toreconnectus,the bodyof Christ,to our original PowerSource,particularlytorestore energy,passionandcreative freedominthe marriage bed.HopefullyI'll getbetterresultsthistime(andavoidanyshockedfacial expressionsinthe process!). Is there anyreal connectionbetweenoursexualityandspirituality?Isthere adirectconnectionbetween our bodiesandourspirits?What happensif we severthe connectionGodintendedthroughaddictionor ignorance,orif it's severedthroughabuse ortraumainflicteduponus? The Energy Equation First,let'sthinkof our spiritasbeingthe energywe're givenashumanswhoare made in the image of God. Let'sthinkof our bodiesasthe conduitthroughwhichthatenergyflows.Withoutthe conduit(the
  3. 3. body),there wouldbe nowayforus to experience thatenergyandletitflow fromourselvestoanother humanbeing.Butwithoutthe energy(the spirit),ourbodiesalonecan'tmusterthe deephuman connectionwe naturallycrave. Oh,many try. Theyfindhumanoutletsfortheirwarpedphysical sexualdesires,whichcanleadto manipulativeseduction,childmolestation,sexual abuse,sexual addiction,prostitutionandhuman trafficking,toname justa few.Itwearsall kindsof uglymasks. But sharinga physical connectionwithsomeone withwhomwe alsoshare astrong spiritual and emotional bond—that'ssomethingelse entirely.That'spure love,romance,passion,intimacy,ecstasy. Whenwe're expressingoursexualityinthe wayourDesignerintended,there isanenormousand undeniablypowerful connectionbetweenoursexualityandourspirituality. Like twosidesof the same coin,bodyand spiritare intertwined. So,since we can't separate bodyfromspiritorsexualityfromspirituality,how aboutlookingtosee what we can learnfrom fullyintegratingandcelebratingthe synergybetweenthe two? A Most ShockingQuestion "How isour relationshipwithGodsexual?" Thiswas the questionaprofessorposedtooursmall groupin a humansexualityclassatLiberty University.Translation:Whatdoesourspiritual relationshipwithGodhave incommonwith oursexual relationshipwithourmate? Here are justa fewanswersthatsurfacedduringthislivelydiscussion,aswe discoveredboth relationshipshave deeplevelsof: Trust Full acceptance Closeness Openness Risk Purpose Euphoria Vulnerability Connection
  4. 4. Honesty Intimacy Pleasure Completion Genuine interest True communion Life-givingtransference Humility Passion Transcendence Synergy Giventhatthere are so manymore possible answerstothe question,perhapsthere'sagreater connectionbetweenspiritualityandsexualitythatwe've everfathomed! Whenwe pause to reallyponderit,we have toadmitit's quite fascinatingthatGodwouldcreate us bothin Hisimage and as sexual beings—simultaneously.It'seasytowonderwhyGodmade us thisway. DidHe designsexualityasaburdenor a blessing? You be the judge.What else inall of creationcan: Comfortyouwhenyou're sad? Calmyou whenyou're anxious? Provide anoutletforexpression whenyou're excited? Relieve boredom? Helpyouforgetyour currenttrialsand tribulations? Make yousleepbetter? Provide intense,guilt-free pleasure? Helpyoufeel deeplyconnectedtoanotherhumanbeingandto God? Erase feelingsof lonelinessandisolation? Give youan interestingbreakfromyourdailyroutine?
  5. 5. Relieve stressandevencertainachesandpains? Enhance your overall healthandvitality? Fulfill yourhopesanddreamsof parenthood? Revyour engine,floatyourboatandlightyourfire? Sendsparksthroughyour brainand shiversdownyourspine? Make youfeel sogiddy,sospecial,socherishedandsocelebrated? Onlysex can doall that—anditdoesall that quite well! So,what wasGod thinkingwhenHe createdsex?IbelieveHe wasthinking, "I'mgoingtomake theirday ...and theirnightstoo!" SeeingandCelebratingGod I alsothinkGod createdsexual intimacytoprovide uswithapeekintoHisowncharacter and nature.As we understandoursexualitymore fully,we understandGodmore fullyandvice versa.Here are a couple thingswe learnaboutGod throughour sexuality: 1) He getsgiddywhenHe has our attention.A coachingclientonce askedme,"WhydidGodcreate usin such a way thatwe have physiological responsestoouremotions?WhenI'mattractedto someone,why do I getbutterfliesinmystomach,sweatypalmsand a racing heart?Why doI get all giddy?" At firstI responded,"Ihave noidea!"Butthenitwas like Godopenedmybrainandpouredthe answer in,like liquidDranotounclogmythoughts.He said,"Shannon,Icreatedhumansto respondtolove like that so they'dknowhowI feel whentheyturntheirheartsandattentiontowardMe." I sat there,blownaway,fora fewseconds.WhenIsharedthe epiphanywithmyclient,she wasblown away too.The God of the universe getsgiddyoveruswhenwe turntowardHim?Yes,He does.AndHe's givenyoua glimpse intothatfactthroughthe thoughtsandfeelingsyouhave towardthe objectof your affection(yourspouse). 2) He's givingusa foretaste of heaven.One dayIwas contemplatingwhyGoddesignedthe humanbody to feel suchintense pleasurewhenwe experience the heightof the sexual experience.Seriously,sex feelsplentygoodwhileit'shappening,anditcreatesbeautifulbabiesandbondsa couple in extraordinaryways.Sowhygive ussucha stunninglyripe cherryontop? Justlike a fungame of peek-a-boo,ourheavenlyFathergivesusthroughthispeakof pleasure justa glimpse of the "bigfinale"we face aheadinheaven.
  6. 6. I mean,let'sthinkaboutit.Is there anymomentinexistencewhenwe feel amore primordial delight,a greaterlossof control (ina goodway) or a greatersense of absolute euphoriathaninthose sacred momentsof extreme,intense pleasure?Ican't help butbelievewhenChristreturnsforussomedayand ushersusintoour heavenlyhome,the intensityof the heavenlypleasurewe encounterisgoingtobe evenmore mind-blowingandsoul-stirringthanthe mostamazingorgasmicexperience we've everhad. The joy anddelightof sexual intimacyismerelyaforetaste of the intimaciesandecstaciesthatawaitus there! LettingGo of Sexual Legalism While Godintendedoursexualitytobe fullyenjoyedinthe contextHe provided,it'sunfortunate that the church has historicallyfocusedonfear-inducingsex-negative messagesinsteadof empoweringsex- positive messages.Asaresult,manywalkonsexual eggshells.Some Christianshave evenoptedoutof sexual intimacyforthe mostpart.Theyfear displeasingGodwith anysexual thought,feelingoraction. But doesa marriedcouple thoroughlyenjoyingsex withoutanyguilt,shame orinhibitiondisplease God? DoesHe roll Hiseyesindisgust?Absolutelynot!Ibelieveacouple delightinginthe giftof one another's bodiesbringsourheavenlyFathergreatjoy,like aparentwatchinga belovedchildexcitedlyopen presentsonChristmasmorning. Do youknowwhat doesupsetGod?The same thingthat upsetJesus:legalisticreligiouspeople putting wordsin God's mouthandspiritual burdensonpeople'sbacksthatHe nevermeantforthemto carry. While Ican't speakdirectlyforGodor Jesus,I,too,get prettyupsetwhenIhearthingsfromwithinthe Christiancommunitythatsoundalittle somethinglikesexual legalism—thingssuchas"Women shouldn'twearsexylingerie fortheirhusbandsorelse itwill awakentheirappetite tolookat pornography"or"The missionarypositionisthe onlyholywayfora marriedcouple tohave sex"or"Oral sex isanimalisticbehavior"or"A man shouldn'texpecthiswife tohave sex more thanonce a weekor else she'll feel putupon."WhenIhearcommentssuchas these,Ican't helpbutthink,Wow!I don't recall readingthatanywhere inmyBible! These viewsandsentimentsmaybe well-intentionedandmaycome fromverysincere Christianswho deeplylove the Lord,butone can be trulysincere yetstill sincerelywrong.Ibelieve thismightbe one of the reasonsthe worlddoesn'tlooktothe church as a source of real wisdomwhenitcomestosexual matters. If we are evergoingto re-establishChristiansasauthoritiesonthe topicof healthysexuality,we must move beyondoursexual andreligiousbaggage,studyScripture carefullyandproclaimthata married couple'schosensexual repertoire isentirelybetweenthe husband,the wifeandGod.Barringany sexual activitiesspecificallyforbiddeninScripture (suchasadulteryorprostitution),there iscomplete freedom inthe marriage bedto mutuallyexperiment,exploreandenjoyall of the manywondersof human sexuality.
  7. 7. The Powerof a CleanSlate My guessisthat some are readingthisandthinking,How can sex be a sacredactivitywhenit'sthe motivationbehindsomuchevil inthe world? I can understandthatconcern.It's true that sex usedforany purpose otherthanmarital bondingis incrediblydegradinganddestructive.Someof ushave beenvictimsof rape orother formsof sexual abuse.Othersof us have beenharmedbythe proliferationof pornographyinourimage-drivensociety, perhapslearningof aspouse'saddictionandfeelingata lossandto blame fortheiraddictioninsome way. Let me say this:You are not to blame forsomeone else'ssexual wrongdoing.The otherpersonis responsible before Godfortheiractions,andtheyare alsoresponsible fortakingthe appropriate actions to be made well.God'sreal hearttoward youis to heal youforthe waysanotherperson'sactionsdid youharm. I urge you to seekshelterinthe comfortingarmsof the God who lovesandcherishes everythingaboutyouandlongsforyouto experience yoursexualityinthe wholeandfulfillingwayHe intendedforyou. What aboutthose of uswho weren'tvictimsof anotherperson'scrueltybutratherplayersinastory not reflectiveof God'sbest?Premarital sexualactivity,forinstance,candoa lot of relational damage,and that damage oftendoesn'tsurface until longafterthe honeymoonphase isover.ManyChristians bemoanthe fact that theystill struggle withguiltoverpremaritalsexual involvementyearsoreven decadeslateror thattheystill holda grudge againsttheirspouse because theyfeeltheywere manipulated,coercedortakenadvantage of while dating. If that's you,you can beginthe sexual healingprocessbyinitiatingtwosmall steps: 1) Take responsibilityforyourpartinthe dance of sexual dysfunction. 2) Start witha cleanslate by forgivingyourself andyourmate completely. Duringone of myWomenat the Well intensive workshops,awife wasmourningthe lossof hervirginity priorto marriage. Eventually,Icompassionatelyasked,"Didhe holdagun to yourhead?" She was shockedatthe questionbutsatwithitjustlongenoughforsomethingtoclickinher brain.The hard linesonherface meltedasshe lookedme andcourageouslydeclared,"No. No,he didn't." I couldtell itwas a much-needed"Aha!"momentforher,asI thoughtshe mightstand upafterwardand shout,"Hooray!I don't have to playthe victimanymore!"Intruth,the responsibilitywasonboththeir shoulders,notjusthis.She couldhave saidnojustas easilyashe couldhave. Unlesswe are beingforcefullyraped,we alwayshave asayin the matter.Perhapswe saidnowithour wordsbut our reciprocal andresponsive actionsspoke louderinthe heatof the moment.We mustown up to the powerwe willinglysurrenderedandgive upthe victimmentality.Itservesnogoodpurpose.
  8. 8. Whenwe recognize we weren'tvictimsbutratherinitiallyreluctantyetultimatelywillingpartners, forgivenessisnolongeraone-waystreet.Itbecomesatwo-lane highway. It's amazinghowmuch easieritisto forgive anotherpersonwhenwe realizehow muchwe ourselves are inneedof forgivenessforthe exactsame infraction.Throwingastone isn'tsomethingwe're aseager to do whenwe realize justhowmuchwe belonginthe middleof the stone-throwingcircle. The Powerof Prayer If there'ssuch a powerful connectionbetweenoursexualityandourspirituality,perhapsinvestinga little more spiritualenergyinpreparingforsexual encountersisawise move. Wouldyoulike toguesswhatmy husbandand I have foundtobe the bestaphrodisiacavailable?Prayer! Whenwe snuggle uptogetherandholdeachother,thenpour outour heartsto God on behalf of one another,itcreatessuch an intense bond.Infact,it'ssometimesimpossible tojustroll overandgo to sleep.We can't helpbutwantto followthe "Amen"withawhole lotof goodlovin'! Go ahead—give itatry tonight,andsee if drawingclosertoGod doesn'tdraw you incrediblycloserto one another! ShannonEthridge isa best-sellingauthor,speakerandcertifiedlifecoachwitha master'sdegree in counselingandhumanrelationsfromLibertyUniversity.She'sspokentocollegestudentsandadults since 1989 andis the author of 21 books,includingthe million-copybest-sellingEveryWoman'sBattle seriesandherlatest,The PassionPrinciples.Tolearnmore,goto shannonethridge.com. Watch ShannonEthridge explainwhyGodmade youa sexual beingandhow to embrace Hisdivine purpose forthisat sex.charismamag.com Bryan Davenport A Journal of Practical Theology How Doesthe HolySpiritFeel AboutHumanSexuality? PostedonJuly1, 2017
  9. 9. In the fifteenthchapterof Acts,leadersinthe churchgatheredtoaddressthe conflictthatarose betweenJewishChristiansandGentile believers. Some teachershadgone outamongthe new gentile converts/ churchesandtoldthem,essentially,thatif theyreallywantedtobe “saved” – if theywanted to be righteous,they’dneedtofollowall of the Torah.This causedno small frustration. There wascalleda conference inJerusalemforthe eldersandapostlestoresolve thisissue.They deliberatedthe matteruntil affirmingthatsince the gentileshadreceivedthe HolySpiritinthe same waythe Jewshad,andthat to place a burdenonthe gentilesthatthe Jewswere unabletobearfor generations,thattheywouldrequire gentilestoobserve onlyahandful of the elementsof the Torah. Specifically,gentile believersshouldabstainfromidolatry(fromthingsofferedtoidols),fromstrangled meatand blood,andthat theyshouldabstainfromsexual immorality. What isimportant,absolutely,tograspisthat these were the thingsthatwere tobe carriedoverthat were unique tothe Torah.Murder and theftwere noton the “list,”butthat doesn’tmeanthatit seemedgoodtothe HolySpiritthat nowthose thingswere fine,andthatanyreference totheminthe Torah were antiquated,obsolete.Rather,whatispresentedisanaffirmationof thingsunique tothe Torah that the HolySpiritpressedasnecessaryforrighteousliving. Prohibitionsagainstmurderwere notuniquetothe Torah,nor lawsagainsttheft.Bythe time of the Jerusalemcouncil,these typesof regulationswere notuncommoninanyorganizedsociety.But what was NOTunlawful wasvariousformsof sexual congress.Norwasidolatryillegal (justthe opposite,in fact it wasprescribedinmanyplaces).So,whatthe leadersinJerusalemaffirmed,underthe affirmation of the HolySpirit,were the unique elementsof OTlaw that were germane torighteousliving. Amongthe requirementssetforthbythe leadersinJerusalemwasthatbelieversshouldabstainfrom sexual immorality.Remember,theseare regulationsbeingimportedfromthe Torah.Therefore,one mustkeepinmindthat these Jewishleaders,prohibitingsexual immoralityinall Christ-followers,hadin mindthe contextof sexual immoralityasdelineatedbyMoses.Forthe Jew,sexual immoralitymeant any sexual relationshipwithanypersoninanywayoutside the sacredcovenantof marriage betweena man and a woman.Anythingelsewasfornication.Thisiswhat“seemedgoodtothe HolySpirit”to prohibit. It ishipto redefine sexual immoralityinthe contextof contemporaryculture.Todaysexualityis“moral” if it isconsenting.Violentsexualityisstill consideredwrong. So,whatissexuallymoral isnolongera matterof the actual behavior,butthe intent.If the intentismutual stimulation,orevenone-sided stimulationmetwithacquiescence,thenit’sall fine.More thanfine,infact,itiscelebrated.Itisinsisted upon.Practitionersof experimentalsexual congressbuildforthemselvessmallmole-hillsandplantin thema flagof moral high-ground.Andtheydemandagreementthattheirbehavioris normal, normative,andinsome cases,theyrequire ittobe recognizedasholy – ordainedbyGod Himself. But no matterhowloudtheircry, no matterhow many timestheyrepeattheirclaim, itisstill absurd.It isfornication.
  10. 10. Many claimthat theiraberrantsexual expressionmustbe right – because itfeelssoright.Itfeelsgood; it’sfulfilling;it’spleasantandevenhelpsthemfeelclose totheirsexual partner.None of thisisevidence for righteousness.There isnothingmeritoriousaboutanorgasm. The abilitytoclimax isnot sacred.It’snothingtobe proudof,march in a parade over,or celebrate.In fact, the chemicalsinthe braingenerate feelingsof desireandcommitmenttosomeoneafter –because of – sexual releasewiththatperson.Literallythe braincanbe trainedviasexual expressiontobondto almostanythingoranyone.Sopowerful isthisbond,thatvictimsof abuse whounwillinglyexperience sexual arousal mightretainfeelingsof desiretowardthe experience. Itispreciselybecause of the fragile nature of humansexualitythatitissoimportantto regardit as sacred,to protectit and use itas designed. Human sexuality,asdesignedbyGod,to be sharedinlove,ina monogamous,heterosexual relationship, issacred. Anythingelseisfornication.Anditispleasing(seemsgoodto) tothe Holy Spiritforbelievers to abstainfromit. The Educated Hick vHumanSexualityandthe HolySpirit As I write this,mydenomination,the UnitedMethodistChurch,isinthe thirdday of its quadrennial General Conference. Itisalsothree daysbefore Pentecost,whenthe churchcelebratesthe giftof the HolySpirit. Ashas beenthe case for the past 44 years,probablythe mostcontentiousissuebeingfaced by thisGeneral Conference isthe matterof how the church regardsLGBTQI persons: whether homosexual practice iscompatible withaChristianlifestyle,whetherpracticinghomosexualsshouldbe allowedtobe clergy,whetherpastorsshouldbe allowedtoofficiateatsame-genderweddings. Althoughmuchof the landscape aroundthisdebate haschangedinthe past 44 years,the denomination has continuedtofightaboutthisissue,andsofar has notchosento be more opentoLGBTQI persons. Legislationaroundthissubjecthasnotyetcome to vote thisyear,butthe prospectsforchange are slight. It seemstome that much of the debate aroundthisissue concernswhatthe Bible doesanddoesnot say,and alsoabout whatthe rulesshouldbe. The HolySpirithas beenpeculiarlyabsentfromthis discussion. There are alsothose whowouldlikelysaythatthe HolySpiritwouldnevercontradictScripture. They are mistaken. Whenone readsthe Bookof Acts,one findsseveral instanceswhere the HolySpirit contradictedthe HebrewScriptures(whichisall the earlyChristianshad,since the New Testamenthad not yetbeenwritten).
  11. 11. In Deuteronomy23:1,it iswritten: “If a man’stesticlesare crushedorhispenisiscutoff,he may not be admittedtothe assemblyof the LORD.” (New LivingTranslation). YetinActs8:26-39, the Spirittoldthe apostle Philiptoapproachachariot where anEthiopianeunuch(whichmeanshe hadbeen emasculated) wasreadingfromIsaiah. Philipproceededtouse the prophecyof Isaiahtotell of Jesus Christ.The eunuchrequestedbaptism,Philipbaptizedhim, andthe eunuchrejoicedtohave been receivedasone of God’speople. It was alsowidelyunderstoodinthe Judaismof the time,basedonanumberof textsinthe Hebrew Scriptures,thatGentileswere notpartof the people of God,and were notto be eatenwith. Butin Acts 10, the Spiritgave the apostle Peteravisiontellinghimitwasall rightto violate the Jewishdietarylaws, then,whensummoned,wastoldbythe Spiritto goto the house of a Gentile,aRomancenturionnamed Cornelius,andtell himandhishouseholdaboutJesus. Theyheardandbelieved,the HolySpiritcame uponthese Gentiles,andPeterbaptizedthem. Of course,some of the JewishChristiansdidnotapprove of whatPeterdid,norof the ministryof Paul and Barnabasto the Gentiles,especiallyinnot requiringcircumcisionof them. Thisledtoa conference inJerusalem,describedinActs15, inwhichPaul and Barnabastoldof whatGod was doing,givingthe HolySpiritto Gentileswhobelievedwithoutthembeingcircumcised. Atlastthe leadersof the Jerusalemchurchdecidedthatthe Gentile believersdidnothave tobe circumcised,saying,“Forit seemedgoodtothe HolySpiritand tous to lay nogreaterburdenon youthan these few requirements: You mustabstainfrom eatingfoodofferedtoidols, fromconsumingbloodorthe meatof strangled animals,andfromsexual immorality.If youdothis,youwill dowell.”(Acts15:28-29 NLT) In John14:26 Jesusisquotedassaying:“But whenthe Fathersendsthe Advocate asmy representative– that is,the HolySpirit–he will teachyoueverythingandwill remindyouof everythingIhave toldyou.” (NLT) Is the Holy Spiritdone teachingusandremindingusof Jesus’commandmenttolove Godwithour whole beingandlove ourneighborasourourselves? Surelynot,forwe still haven’treallylearnedhow to do that to the fullestextent,especiallywhenwe rememberJesus’definitionof neighborincludes people whoare verydifferentfromus,peoplewe mightnotevenlike,people whose wayof livingwe may notagree with. The one Jesusdescribedasagood neighborinone of hismostfamousparables, afterall,wasa Samaritan,a memberof a people whomJewsof histime despised. I am alsoremindedof whathappenedinActs5. The apostleshadbeenarrestedforpreachingabout JesusinJerusalemandhadbeenbroughtbefore the Sanhedrin,the Jewishcouncil,whoorderedthem to stoppreachingaboutJesus. The apostles’responsewas: “We mustobeyGod rather thanany human authority. The God of ourancestorsraised Jesusfromthe deadafteryou killedhimbyhanginghimona cross. ThenGod put himinthe place of honorat hisrighthandas Prince andSavior.He didthisso the people of Israel wouldrepentof theirsinsandbe forgiven. We are witnessesof these thingsandsois the HolySpirit,whoisgivenbyGod to those whoobeyhim.” (Acts5:29-32 NLT) The HolySpirithad led the apostlestodefythe authorities,defythose whomade the rules,anddare topreachChristcrucified and risen.
  12. 12. The council was preparedtoput the apostlestodeath,butRabbi Gamaliel,arespectedPharisee, offeredthiscounsel,whichwasheeded: “Menof Israel,take care what youare planningtodoto these men! Some time ago there wasthat fellow Theudas,whopretendedtobe someone great.About400 othersjoinedhim,buthe waskilled,andall hisfollowerswenttheirvariousways.The whole movement came to nothing. Afterhim,atthe time of the census,there wasJudasof Galilee.He gotpeople to followhim,buthe waskilled,too,andall hisfollowerswere scattered. Somyadvice is,leave these men alone.Letthemgo. If theyare planninganddoingthese thingsmerelyontheirown,itwill soonbe overthrown. Butif itis fromGod, youwill notbe able to overthrow them. Youmayevenfindyourselves fightingagainstGod!” The movementforthe inclusionof openlyLGBTQIpeople inChristianityhasbeengoingonformore than 40 years. It has notgone away. Indeed,ithasbecome stronger,eventothe pointof moving beyondthe Protestantmainline andstartingtoimpactconservative ProtestantismandRoman Catholicism. Coulditbe thatbycontinuingtooppose thismovement,the churchisactuallyfighting God? Coulditbe that the HolySpiritistellingustowelcome themastheyare,justas the Spirittoldthe church 2000 yearsago to welcome Gentilesandeunuchs,andmore recentlyhastoldthe churchto welcome the giftsof womenasleaders? YAHOO ANSWERS Who has the presense of the holyspiritandhassex withyourwife? whohas the holyspiritsurroundingyouwithjoy,andyouare full inthe spiritand havingsex? I am not talkingspeakingintoungeseitherwhile youare havingsex,justyousense the presense of God inyou and youhave yourwife? doesthissoundevil toyou? Update:not that I wouldbe thinkingaboutGodwhile Ihave mywife,justyouknow he isthere. Update 2: I planon becomeingaveryholyman,that iswhyI ask thisquestion.
  13. 13. 1 following15answers ReportAbuse Answers Relevance BestAnswer: I do,as can everyChristianmarriedman. Nope.Sex isa beautiful gift,becomingone fleshisdevine.Iwouldthinkthoughthatif youwere wrappedupin the holyspiritthatperhapsyoushoulddevote thattime toGod.That makessense to me. But if youhave a wife,youshouldnotneglecther.itisselfishtogetmarriedif youknow youwould rather devote all yourtime toGod.The love sharedbetweenhusbandandwifeisverybeautiful andI findthatit isverymuch a small reflectionof ourrelationshipwithGodinthe future Source(s): If you wantto be a holyman,have you considerednotgettingmarried?Imaginethe time youcould devote toGod! If thisis truleyyourgoal,thandon't getmarried.If you feel youneedtogetmarried than do it.But youwill sacrafice some aspectsof yourrelationshipwithGod.Imyself ammarried,andI enjoy havinga companion.ButI knowmy life couldbe enrichedevenmore if IhadonlyGod to focuson. A Christianhusbandandwife inunionisnot evil.HoweverIsense youhave aproblemorhangupabout sex fromreadingyourquestionswhichare verytelling.Talktoyourminister.Disturbing. Intimacyisone of the giftsthatGod blessesmarriedcoupleswith - otherthanthat yourquestionisodd and notveryclear :} well itdepends,ifyourare marriedtoher bychurch if youare take that as a blessinganda goodthing thenhe is tryinto tell youthatyou are blessed. idyoure not he is tryinto tell youthatyou are doinwrong andthat u need to getbaptized,andbcareful bc whenthishappenusualysomethingwill happentouandhe mightbe warningyouto turn to him the holyspiritisthe bringerof life.
  14. 14. God made us like this,soyou'll have tofigure itout. If you haven'treadthe book of Tobit,you're inthe dark. Sexual AddictionandFreedom –The Powerof the Holy Spirit March 23, 2016 / Devotional,FreedomFromSexual Sin&Shame,Healing,Pornography,Relationship withJesus,Sexual Addiction/1 Comment Freedom.We wantit,we crave it,yetwe thinkit’simpossible tohave. Evenas believers,there are alotof uslivinginchains.Slavestoourdesires.Slavestooursin.We have heardof the conceptof freedom,butwe have neverexperienceditforourselves. Most days we thinkwe can earnthisfreedom.Maybe if we praymore,do more,or workmore,thenwe will experience freedom,buteventuallywe runoutof steam.ThissemesterIhad the opportunityto workwithDirty GirlsMinistry,aministryprovidinghelp,hope andhealingforwomenwithpornography and sexual addiction.Fortenweeks,Imetwiththe same womenonlineforaface toface supportgroup. Some of these womenwere inrecoveryfromapast addiction,some hadrelapsed,andotherswere knee deepintheirstruggle. Duringour tenweekstogether,Ilearnedalotaboutaddiction,healing,andrecovery.Here are justa fewof the lessonsGodtaught me throughthese women: Satan usesourslaveryto addictionstomake usquestionoursalvation. Most sexual addictionissuesare reallyintimacyissues. Sexual addictionleadstoself-hate. It ishard to rememberGod’struthinthe midstof addiction. The church needstotalk aboutporn and masturbation. Whenwe don’ttalk aboutit,Satan thrivesinourisolation. These issuesare notjusta man’s problem! Those inbondage trulydesire tolive infreedom. We believe the lie thatlastingfreedomisnotpossible. We blame oursexualizedculture forouraddictions. Findingfreedomisnotjustbehaviormodification,butisaheart change.
  15. 15. Accountabilityis100%necessaryforcontinuedfreedom. In orderto heal,we mustrestore ourview of God. Lastly,we can’t experience freedomonourown. These womenwere constantlytryingtobreakfree fromthe cycle of addiction,butalwaysfeeling defeated.Asagroup,we discoveredthe keytofreedomisthe HolySpirit. The onlyway to experience freedomisthroughthe powerof the HolySpirit,notbyour ownstrength. Are you strugglingwithsexual addiction?Doyoulongforfreedom? You can experience freedom. Freedomfromthe chainsof sexual sin. Freedomfromthe thoughtsof shame andguilt. Here are 3 waysthat the Spiritgivesusfreedom: 1) The Spiritconnectsusto God inthe most intimate waypossible.Once youbecome aChristian,the HolySpirittakesroot inside of you.Nothingismore intimate thanone thinginsideanother.Thinkof the intimacyof sex.The intimacywe have withGodisevenmore intimate thansex.Thisintimacywill fixthe intimacyissuesof sexual addictions. “Do you notknowthat you are a temple of Godand thatthe Spiritof God dwellsinyou?”1 Corinthians 3:16. 2) The Spiritplantsinusthe verydesiresof God.We may desire the pleasuresof sex outside of marriage,butwe have the livingGodinside of us.God’sdesiresare livinginside of ustohelpusfind freedom. “I will putMy Spiritwithinyouandcause you towalkin My statutes,andyou will be careful toobserve My ordinances.”Ezekiel 36:27. 3) The Spiritenablesustobattle the fleshbygivingusGod’spower.The same SpiritthatraisedJesus fromthe deadisthe powerthat liveswithinus. “But if the Spiritof HimwhoraisedJesusfromthe deaddwellsinyou,He whoraisedChristJesusfrom the deadwill alsogive life toyourmortal bodiesthroughHisSpiritwhodwellsinyou.”Romans8:11. The Holy Spiritisour lifeline tofreedom.We have togive attentionandcare to the Spirit,spendtime withGod and constantlygetfilledbyHiswordinorder tofightthe flesh. The Holy Spiritwill helpyoulive outfreedom.
  16. 16. I knowthat freedomishard,butyou are not fightingalone.Youhave the Spiritof Godinside of youto give youthe desire tofollowhimandtogive youthe powertobattle all temptations. ThisFridayis GoodFriday – the day Jesuswascrucifiedonthe cross.I can’t thinkof a bettertime to share thismessage because the onlyreasonwe gettoexperience freedomisbecause He died. You can be free because Jesus’sdeathonthe crosswas forall of yoursins.Jesusdiedtogive you freedom.He tookonall your shame andguiltinorder to make youwhite assnow. Rightnow,you mightbe filledwithshame…youcanexperience freedombecause of Hisdeath.You mightfeel guilty…youcanbe free because of Hisblood. Jesusisour Savior,redeemer,andloverandbecause of thiswe are free. Once you become aChristian,youhave a new identityinChrist.Youare setapart. Sinno longerhasa holdon youand isno longeryouridentity.Thisdoesn’tmeanwe won’tsinanymore,butnow your identityiswithChrist.Everythingisdifferent.Youmaynotfeel it,butthat isthe reality.Itisnot about prayingmore or doingmore,it’saboutwhowe are in Christ. “It isfor freedomthatChristhasset us free.Standfirm, then,anddonot letyourselvesbe burdened againby a yoke of slavery.”Galatians5:1. Sexual Intimacy,Spiritual Belonging,andChristianTheology Michael Stoltzfus 06/01/2004 [1] Sexual intimacycanserve asa resource forspiritual transformationandrenewal inourlives. Throughit, we can experience arestoredsense of healing,joy,personalpowertoaffectandbe affected, passionate relationship,creative potency,andwondrouspleasure.Whensexualrelatingfunctionsthis wayin our lives,makinglovecanbe one of life'smostdelightful meansof grace. [2] Thisisnot to say that sexual intimacyisthe onlymeansof grace available tousor thatit automaticallysolveslife'sproblems. The goodnessof sexualitycanbe skewed,denied,oreven destroyedbyanynumberof means. The use of sex inan act of overpoweringorcoercinganother,
  17. 17. sexual abuse of childrenbyadults,orthe manipulationof sex asa tool of exploitation are examplesof waysin whichsexuality'sgoodnessismarredordestroyed. [3] Thispaperaddressesthree issues: First,the principlesthathave structuredthe traditional Christian sexual ethicare articulatedandsome problemsanddeficienciesare highlighted. Second,sexual intimacyisdefinedandlinkedwithspiritualbelongingbyareflective applicationof the incarnation. Third,the Gospel narrativesare usedtocritique anyimpliedlinkbetweensexualpurityandaccessto God's grace, salvation,ormembershipinthe church. ProblemswithTraditional ChristianSexual Ethics [4] Historically,Christiancommunitieshave followedlooselyathree-foldstandardforthe moral judgmentof sexual acts: Theyshouldbe done withthe rightperson(one'slawfully-weddedspouse),in the right way(heterosexualgenitalintercourse),andforthe rightpurpose (procreation).Those who followthissexualcode oftenare consideredsexuallypure,thosewhodonotfollow thiscode oftenare consideredsexuallyimpure(Nelson:54).Inthistheologicallyandculturallyconstructedframeworkfor controllingsexualexpressionthereislittleroomfordifference,change,orcritique;the moral frameworkisoftenconsideredfixed,final,andabsolute initsapplication. [5] The inflexible qualityof traditional Christiancommunitiesinregardtosexual moralityservesto restrictcritical reflectiononitsownpresuppositionsregardingpropersexual conduct. ManyChristians assume thatthisveryparticularstructure for sexual expressionisthe onlycorrectwayto engage in natural and lovingsexual relationshipsregardlessof the particularcontextinvolved. Thisapproachto sexual moralitylocatesemphasisonthe form(rightperson,rightway,rightpurpose) of sex,ratherthan the substance andqualityof the sexual relationship. Inthisform-orientedframeworkthere islittle concernwithissuesof consent,love,mutual pleasure,chastity,tenderness,intimacy,andjoy. Rather, the concern iswiththe purityor impurityof the sex act itself,i.e.,isthe couple married,attractedtothe rightgender,andis there procreative potential? [6] There are elementsof the traditionalethicthatare worthpromoting. Forexample,marital heterosexual sex isfineandwonderful inmanyinstancesandiscertainlyone of the appropriate contextsforsexual relating. Butthere are some problemswiththislimitedapproachtopropersexual relationships. [7] First,the terms"marriage"and"heterosexual"are semanticallyexclusive. The termsassume that everyone isgoingtogetmarriedandthat everyone isgoingtobe ina heterosexual relationship. This excludesthe experience of those whohave beenmarriedandare now divorced,whichisroughlyfifty percentof all firstmarriages. It alsoexcludesthe experience of gaymenandlesbianwomen,forwhom marriage to the personwhomtheywouldchoose,apersonof theirownsex,isnota legal possibilityin moststates. And of course,it excludesthe situationof those whobychoice oraccidentnevermarry. The veryterms "marital"and"heterosexual"excludeswhole groupsof people andexperiencesthatdo not fitthe terms.
  18. 18. [8] Second,the terms"marriage"and"heterosexual"are normativelysuspect. Marital sex maynot be the bestnorm. Whenwe lookat marital sex inour culture we learnsome verydistressingfacts. Strause and Gellisestimate thatone thirdof all wivesinthe greaterU.S.populationare batteredinthe course of theirmarriage andthat wife rape accountsfor 38 percentof all rape inthe UnitedStates(Borrowdale: 68). The veryplace where womenhave assumedtheywouldbe safe isinfactnota safe place formany women--orchildren,forthatmatter. Marital sexualityissometimesviolentandabusive justlikenon- marital sexualityissometimesviolentandabusive. The assumptionthatmarital sex alwaysfitsahealthy norm isa false assumption. Otherrelevantfactorsneedtobe incorporatedinanappropriate sexual ethic. [9] Third,ChristianethicistKarenLebacqzarguesthatthere are people whoare livingtheirsexual lives accordingto church polity(heterosexual marriage),butthattheirsexual livessimplydonotexpress whatGod wants people toexpressintermsof qualityof relationship(113-133). VirginiaMollenkott articulatesthispointwell: Withthe blessingof churchandstate,I livedinsinforyears'in a state of permanentestrangement'with my husband.Frightenedandoppressedbyfundamentalism'sstructures,Idutifullycommitted fornicationwithmyhusband,deniedmyownnature,anddebasedthe holyinstitutionof marriage. Now,forthe pastelevenyears,withoutthe blessingof church,state,or society,Ihave livedinahealthy and holycovenant-relationshipwithawomanwhoencouragesmyspiritual questandsupportsmy ministry.Mymarriage was suicide byinches;mylesbianpartnershipisthe peace,joy,andblissof heaven-on-earth(114). Thisstory couldbe repeatedmanytimeswithothercasesof repressedorcondemnedgayandlesbian sexuality,orwithcasesof batteringor marital rape. The point,whateverthe particularsituation,isthis: Livingoutour sexual livesinaccordance withchurchpolicydoesnot,necessarily,bringintimacy,joy, and right-relationshiptosexualrelating. Heterosexual marriage isaholyandwonderful institutionfor some,butfor othersitcan be "suicide byinches." [10] Fourth,a common theme inChristiansexual morality,particularlystronginthe CatholicNatural Law Tradition,isthe viewthatthe major,if not the onlyvalid,purpose of sexualityisreproduction. Sexual activitiesnotopentoreproductionare saidtoproduce negative moral andspiritual consequencesfor people whoengage inthem. Therefore,the potentiallinkbetweensexual activityandreproduction shouldnotbe blockedbythe use of birthcontrol. Non-procreativesexual activities,suchas masturbation,homoeroticactivity,orheterosexual practicesthatcannotresultinpregnancy,are discouragedas'forbiddenfruit'anddetrimental tospiritual development. [11] A typical historical trendinChristiansexual moralityistodistinguishbetweensexual sins"in accordance withnature"andthose "contraryto nature." Natural sexual sinsinclude heterosexual fornication,adultery,incest,andrape. Unnatural sexual sinsincludemasturbation,gayandlesbian sexuality,andsodomy. These unnatural sinsdonothave procreative possibilities. Inthisorderingof
  19. 19. sinsmasturbationmaybe consideredworse thanrape andgay andlesbiansexualitymaybe considered more sinful thanincest. [12] Clearlythere are problemswiththe traditional criteriaforevaluatingsexualrelationships. An obviousquestionbecomeswhatdoesthe marital,heterosexual,form-basedprocreativeapproachto sexualityleave out? Amazingly,itexcludesthe qualityof the sexual relationshipitself. Inthe traditional frameworkthere isverylittle concernwithissuesof interpersonal relating,self-respect,the fullnessand diversityof humanlife,orevenissuesof appropriatesexual expressionsuchasmutual pleasure,joy, tenderness,intimacyorevenbasicissuesconcerningsexual consent. [13] Quite frankly,we needtobegindevelopinganew Christiansexual ethicswhereinthe qualityof the sexual relationshipitself isaddressedasfulfillingandempoweringordegradingandcoerced. We needa sexual ethicthatincorporatesthe potential forexploitationandabuse andaddressesbasicissuesof powerandconsent. The traditional approachfocusesalmostcompletelyonexternals(whatgoes where,withwhom,when)anddoesnotseemtobe concernedaboutthe intentionandmotivationthat groundsthe relationship. Christianyoungpeopleare oftenaddressedwithsilence concerningissues regardingthe sexual bodyandsexual desire ora seriesof don'ts:don't have sex,don'ttake pleasure in it,and don't talkaboutit. Christianchurchesmightconsiderengaginginmore positive ethical dialogue where youngpeople are encouragedtotalkopenlyabouttheirsexual desires,frustrations,indeed,their sexual liveswithoutfearof immediatecondemnationorguilt. [14] Perhapsone wayto beginsucha dialogue mightbe todiscusswhatismeantwhenthe terms intimacyandsexualityare linked. The termintimacy,accordingtoWebster'sNew WorldDictionary, stemsfromthe Latin word'intima,'whichliterallymeans"the inner-mostlayerorlivingmembrane of an organ,artery, or vein." Therefore intimacyrepresentsthe verybiological core thatgiveslife,vitalityand agencyto our bodies. Totalkabout intimacyistotalk aboutthat whichsustainslife,thatwhichserves to create,nurture,andcare about the wholenessandwelfareof humanbodies. [15] In startlingcontrastto the definitionof the termintimacy,popularculture oftenusesthe term "intimate"onlyintermsof the sex act. A more fundamental understandingis,however,thatsexual intimacyrequiresmore thansimplyhavingsex. Forsex to involve intimacyitmustbe mutually empowering,intentionallyconsensual,andmotivatedbyloving-kindness atthe veryleast. Anyhintof abuse,manipulation,coercion,orviolence negatesthe presenceof sexual intimacy. [16] Anysexual ethicthatisconcernedonlywiththe external contextof the sex (marital ornon-marital, heterosexual orhomosexual,procreativepossibilitiesornot) isnotan ethicthat is concernedwith
  20. 20. sexual intimacy. Traditional Christiansexual ethicsare concernedfundamentallywithexternal purity boundariesandlargelyignore the substanceandqualityof the sexual relationship itself. Incarnational Theology,Spiritual Belonging,andIntimate Sexuality [17] "In the beginningwasthe Word,andthe Word was withGod,and the Word was God . . . Andthe Word became fleshanddweltamongus,full of grace and truth"(John1: 1, 14). These versesspeaktothe core of Christianfaith,the embodimentof Godinhuman,flesh-and-blood encounters. Jesuswasembodiedinaparticularhistory,aparticularculture,anda particularbody. That Jesusshouldbe alaughing,crying,sweating,bleeding,sensuousbundleof fleshjustasall humansare seemsincomprehensible. Yetthe incarnation,the embodimentof JesusChrist,isatthe core of the Christianmessage. The liberationthatJesustalkedaboutwasa liberationof bodies. The significance of incarnational faithisthe importance of ourbodies. Itisas bodiesthatpeople share creative, intellectual, ethical,emotional,andspiritual power. Incarnationsuggeststhatitisinthe particularityof embodiedexperience andembodiedrelationshipthatwhateveriscommonamongpeople canbe recognizedandshared. [18] ChristiantheologianDorothee Soelle arguesthatsometimeshumanbeingsfearanddistrustthe God of the incarnationbecause Jesuswasnotthe kindof God that wasdesiredandexpected: Godthe all-powerfulandsovereignKing. Itisnotpowerand control but a notionof God's vulnerabilitythatisat the heart of the incarnation. God takesthe riskof beingmisunderstoodandunrecognizedinJesus Christ. In the incarnationGoddoesnot act as an independentall-powerful agentbutseeks companionship,friendship,andcommunitywithhumanbodiesinhumanhistory(3-17). [19] AndJesussaid,"Behold,the Basileia(Kingdom) of Godisin the midstof you"(Luke 17:21; Matthew 12:28). With thisproclamation,Jesusannouncessomethingquite startling;thatthe BasileiaorKingdom of God isalreadyat hand,experientiallyavailableinthe midstof humanhistory. New TestamentEthicist WolfgangSchrage writes: Throughhisministry,Jesusbringsthe effectual presenceof the Basileiaof Godintothe realmof historical reality. The involvementof the Basileiawithactual experience of the worldmakesit impossible tolookforthe substance andimportof Jesus'message inthe difference betweenGodand the humankindanda consequentseparationfromthe world(20). The thrust of Jesus'message isnotto announce the comingof a transcendentfuture Basileia,butto proclaimthatthe Basileiaof Godisat work inthe midstof embodiedacts of lovingkindnessexperienced inthe here andnow. Jesusannouncesthatthe transcendentGodbecomesthe immanentGodthrough visible actsof hospitality. Jesusstatesthatwhenyoufeedthe hungry,clothethe naked,visitthe prisoner,andcare forthe sick "youdo itto me" (Matthew 25: 40). Concrete acts of hospitality,care, and healingare recognizedasembodiedworksof the Spirit,embodiedworksof grace.
  21. 21. [20] The incarnationinvitesthe Christiancommunitytoexperience God'sspiritandGod'sgrace in concrete acts of lovingkindness: "the blindsee,the lame walk,the lepersare healed,the deaf hear,the poor are cared for" (Matt.11:4 and Luke 7:22). An incarnational theologysubvertsthe notionthatthe soul and bodyare distinct,thatgrace and embodiedloveinthe here andnow are distinct. The message of Jesusisclearinspite of the strong elementsinthe historyof Christiantheologythathave created dualistictensionsthatpitthe soul againstthe body,the sensual againstthe spiritual,andsalvation historyagainsthumanhistory. The Christiantheological emphasisof "beinginthe worldbutnotof the world"hastoo oftenbeeninterpretedintermsof "beinginabodybutnot of a body." Many Christian churcheshave not fullyconnectedthe humanbodywiththe HolySpirit,openlyacknowledgingthat compassionate response topeople'sspiritcomesthroughcompassionateresponse topeople'sliteral bodies. [21] If God ispresentinthe midstof humanhistory,if God's spiritandgrace can be experiencedin embodiedactsof loving-kindness,thenthe connectionswithoursexualitybecomequicklyapparent. Bodilylove maybe an expressionof God'spresence. Becomingabetterlovermaybe part of becoming a betterdisciple andvise versa. Atissue iswhetherornotwe will recognize the spiritof Godthrough the giftof sexual intimacy. Atitsbest,sex isa positive,empowering,joyful,creative,life-givingforce whereinthe grace of God isrevealedandembodiedinhumanaffection. Inthiscontext,sexualitytakes on a sacramental quality,aqualityof bringingGod,spirit,andgrace intohumanrelationship. A sexual theologytalksaboutGodin a physical,intimateandembodiedmannerandlocatesmutual physical pleasure asa fundamentallygoodanddesiredstate of being-in-the-world. [22] An incarnational faithrecognizesthattheologynotonlyspeakstothe humansituation,butthat theological understandingarisesoutof the humansituation. Incarnational theologyrefusestomake humanbeingsintopassive receptors,orwaitingvesselswhocannotactivelyengage butonlypassively respondtoGod's initiative. WhenGod'sgrace isnot acknowledgedinembodiedactsof lovingkindness and God isconsidereddistantandotherworldly,thenGodisnolongerexperiencedasvital,indwelling presence permeatingthe stuff of everydaylife. Incarnational faithdoesnotattempttoseparate spiritual belongingfromembodiedactsof sexual intimacyandpassion. [23] In the Christiancontext,it seemstome,asexualizedspiritualityshouldnotbe completelycontent withphysicallygratifyingsex done foritsownsake. Sexual expressionatitsbest,reallygoodsex, shouldbe bothphysicallygratifying,and,atthe same time,be a source of inspirationthatmovespeople to expandbeyondthe realmof private pleasure toincorporate amore compassionate approachto people inall spheresof life. Inthiscontext,sexual intimacymightserve asapowerful resource inthe buildingandmaintainingof the humancommunity;sometimescalledthe "bodyof Christ." Sexual intimacyviewsthe bodywithpassion,soitalsomay view the bodypoliticwithpassion. Sexual intimacy may helptocreate a passionforjustice because social justice issuesare atroot material andbody issues. [24] Sexual intimacy,perhapsespeciallyforwomen,isassociatedwithcreative power: the powerto give birth,the powertoproduce life,the powertobringjoy,energy,andpeace intorelationshipwith
  22. 22. self,lover,neighbor, communityandworld. Sexual intimacyisrecognizedasone of the manyfruitsof the spiritinour personal andinour collective lives. [25] The traditional Christiansexual ethicdoesnotconsiderthese issuesbutisconstructedaroundbasic puritycodes: Heterosexual,marital,andprocreative sex isconsideredpure while homosexual,non- marital,andnon-procreative sexisconsideredimpure. However,anincarnational theologysuggests that the signsof God spirithave to do withthe qualityof the way people holdeachotherdearinthis worldand not,necessarily,withstrictcompliancetoparticularpuritycodes. Sexual Purityandthe Gospel Narratives [25] Jesusdidnotcall hisdisciplestoseparate fromthe worldinordertoestablishsectarian communitiesmarkedbybarriersof physical,cultural,andsexualpuritycodes. ForJesus,the Basileia was representedmore byinclusive wholenessratherthanexclusive holiness. Biblical ScholarElisabeth SchusslerFiorenzawrites: The salvationof God's Basileiaispresentandexperientiallyavailable wheneverJesuscastsoutdemons (Luke 11:20), healsthe sickandthe rituallyunclean,tellsstoriesaboutthe lostwhoare found,of the uninvitedwhoare invited,orof the lastwhowill be first. The powerof God's BasileiaisrealizedinJesus' table communitywiththe poor,the sinners,the tax collectors,andprostitutes-withall thosewho'do not belong'tothe 'holypeople,'whoare somehow deficientinthe eyesof the righteous(120-121). Jesusdid notconformto a decisive ruleforPhariseesthatsaidthatGod's powerwaslocatedintemple and Torah. Rather,Jesuslocatesthe presence of God'spowerasembodiedinthe peoplethemselves, particularlyinthe presence of hospitalityandacceptance of marginalizedpeople. [26] The mark of the Jesusmovementisitsinclusiveness,notitspurityregulations. Indeed,the Gospel narrativesportrayJesusasone who regularlypreferredthe companyof the impure tothatof the religiousauthoritiesof hisdayspeakingparticularlykindlyaboutthe destitute poor,the sickandthe crippled,andtax collectors,sinners,andprostitutes. Jesusstates:"TrulyIsayto you,the tax collectors and harlotsgo intothe Basileiaof Godbefore you"(Matthew 21:31). Jesusremovedthe boundaries establishedbyphysical andsexual puritycodesandcreatednew possibilitiesindiverserelationshipsand inclusive communitybywelcomingthose whowere traditionallyexcludedbythe Phariseespurity regulationsregardingfood,temple,Sabbath,andmanyotherthings. [27] The Basileiaof Godwasand isimmanentinpresentmomentsof embodiedhealingandthe mission of the Basileiaistobringembodiedhealingtoothers. The Gospel writersrejectedastrictcode of physical purityinanattemptto breakdownthe barriers that purityruleserectedbetweenhuman communitiesandagainstthe marginal people of agivensociety. [28] Whenwe applythe Gospel teachingsaboutpuritycodestoissuesconcerningChristiansexualethics the implicationsare quite clear. The Gospel writersabolishthe linkbetweenphysical purityanddivine favorand rejectanyconnectionbetweensexual purityandaccesstoGod's grace. The practice of purity was andis wrongbecause of itsexaltationof one'sownreligiousexcellence atthe expense of others. In
  23. 23. the Gospel narrativesphysical purityremainsoptional,butitisirrelevanttograce,salvation,or membershipinthe church. Biblical scholarWilliamCountrymanwrites: The Gospel allowsnorule againstthe following,inandof themselves: masturbation,nonvaginal heterosexual intercourse,homosexual acts,oreroticart and literature. The Christianisfree tobe repelledbyanyor all of these andmaycontinue topractice hisor herown puritycode inrelationto them. What we [Christians] are notfree todo isimpose ourcodeson others(243-44). Jesus'critique of physical puritycodesdidnotfunctionasa rejectionof cultural distinctivenessand diversity. Whatit didwasto abolishanyperceivedlinkbetweendivine grace andphysical purity. [29] It is the Christiantraditionandnotthe Gospel narrativesthatmake sexual purityof primary importance. Countrymanarticulatesthatsexualpurity"originatedmore inthe spiritof the age than in that of the Gospel"(140). Sexual puritymaybe importantintermsof individual Christianidentity; however,itisnotimportantintermsof Gospel identityandChristiansshouldnotconfuse the two. Conclusion [30] In conclusion,letme saythatthe journeytowardssexual wholenessandcommunitysupportfor diverse sexualexpressionsisnotan easyroad forChristianchurchestowalk. But it isa journeyon whichChristianchurchesmustembarkforthe integrity,indeed,the survival of the churchassanctuary, a place where membersfeellove,safetyandacceptance. [31] In searchingfornewapproachestosexual relationsthatstressissuesof sexual joy,mutualpleasure, intimacyandspiritual belonging,Idonot suggestthatsex isthe be-all andend-allof life orthe onlyor eventhe bestmeansof experiencingGod'sgrace. On the one hand, there are otherimportantmeansof grace: worship,rituals,meaningfulwork,friendships,the arts,andthe worlditself,toname a few. On the otherhand,there are timeswhensex isnota rewarding orappropriate partof our lives. Sexual intimacyisnotsomethingthatpeople musthave;rather,itissomethingthatpeopleyearnforoverand overagain. Sexual intimacycanbe one of life'smostdelightful meansof grace. Sexual intimacycanbe a source that propelspeople tonurture notonlythe bodiesof self andpartnerbutalsothe broader humancommunitysometimescalledthe bodyof Christ. [32] Perhapsintime all Christianchurcheswill be able tospeakandembodythe wordsof James Baldwin:"Tobe sensual,Ithink,isto respectandrejoice inthe force of life,of life itself,andtobe presentinall thatone does,fromthe effortof lovingtothe breakingof bread(62). Works Cited Baldwin,James 1962 The Fire NextTime.NewYork:Dell PublishingHouse.
  24. 24. Borrowdale,Anne 1991 DistortedImages:MisunderstandingsBetweenMenandWomen. Louisville:Westminster/JohnKnoxPress. Countryman,William 1988 Dirt,Greedand Sex:Sexual Ethicsinthe New TestamentandTheirImplicationsforToday. Philadelphia:FortressPress. Fiorenza,ElisabethSchussler 1989 In Memoryof Her: A FeministTheological Reconstructionof Christian Origins.NewYork:CrossroadPress. Lebacqz,Karenand Barton,Ronald 1990 Sex inthe Parish.Louisville:Westminster/JohnKnoxPress. Mollenkott,Virginia 1992 SensuousSpirituality:OutFromFundamentalism.New York: CrossroadsPress. Nelson,James 1987 Embodiment.Minneapolis:AugsburgPublishingHouse. Schrage,Wolfgang 1988 The Ethicsof the NewTestament.Philadelphia:FortressPress. Soelle,Dorothee
  25. 25. 1970 BeyondMere Obedience.Minneapolis:AugsburgPress. J PARKER A Prayerfor Your Sexual Intimacy WhenI startedthisseriesonPrayingMore foryour marriage andyour sexual intimacy,IadmittedthatI didn’tknowexactlywhatitwouldlooklike.How wouldhave awhole yearof blogpostsaboutpraying? But God keptnudgingme thatthiswas the directiontotake,so I steppedoutinfaith.Okay,okay,I shuffledoutinfaith,butI’mlengtheningmystridesweekbyweek. Today I have thisstrongsense thatI justneedto write aprayer.One that you andI can bothsay for our marriagesandour marriage beds.I hope you’ll joinme. Dear HeavenlyFather, I reallydidn’tknowwhatIwas gettingintowhenIgotmarried.Yes,of course,I preparedinsome ways, and eventriedtofigure outsome thingsaheadof time aboutwhatsex wouldlooklike inourmarriage. But, as You know,Lord,it’sdifferentgoingthroughthe experience anddealingwithmyunique husband. Also,Icouldn’thave foreseenthe seasonswe’dgothrough — timeswhensex wasgood,andtimes whensex wasa struggle. I wantto bring myconcerns,my hurt,my longingsall before Youandlaythemat Your feet.Icast all my anxietiesonYoubecause IknowYou care for me (1 Peter5:7). Guide me to the path I shouldtake and teachme Your way(Psalm25:9). Nowlet’sstartwiththisbodyYou gave me.It’s an amazingcreation,able toaccomplishsomuch automaticallyandatmy will.Ithankyoufor all the workingsof my bodythat allow me togo throughmy daysand do whatI needto do.But whenitcomesto sex,it’snotalwaysbeenaneasyroad. At times, gettingarousedwithmyhusbandcanbe difficult,andatothertimes,mybodyis readyto go whenthere isn’ta chance inthe worldthat we can have sex.How fair isthat?!Orgasms can be like mybestfriend, eagerto hang outwithme,or my nemesis,avoidingme ateveryturn.I don’tadore everyinchof my appearance, mybodydoesweirdthingsincertainangles(like whyismystomachhangingdownlike that? — blech),andflexibilityfeelslike athingof the past. I needtosee myself howYousee me,how You designedmybody,andhow Youblessedme tobe with my husband.Ialsoneedmore understandingof mybodyand how to helpitcooperate withthe sexual intimacyIneedandwant to have inmy marriage.Helpme to identifyreal issuesthatneedaddressing
  26. 26. throughmedical assistance orcounselingorexercise,andtohave the purposefulnessandpersistence to followthrough.Place before me the rightresourcestodeal withthose concerns. Helpme to feel beautiful.Givebothme andmy husbandanacceptance and appreciationof mybody’s ownsexualityandhelpuslearnhowIcan experience bothpleasureandintimacyinthe marriage bed. My God,I alsostruggle withmybackground.I broughtbaggage intomy marriage — teachingsaboutsex that weren’tinline withYourWord,experiencesthatcoloredmyperceptionof sexuality,andlabelsthat I carriedin mymindaboutmyself andaboutmen.Please washawayall the debrisandreplace itwith truth. Helpme stepby stepto replace the negative self-talkinmymindwithmessagesthatalignwithYour designforsex inmymarriage.Helpme to demolisheveryargumentandpretensionagainstYourwill for my marriage bed,totake captive of everythoughtandmake itobedienttoChrist(2Corinthians10:5). Transformmy mindsothat I will knowYour will forme,eveninthe bedroom(Romans12:2). You are a God whoheals,soI alsopray that You will heal anyriftsbetweenme andmyhusband.Itis indeedgoodandpleasantwhenYourpeople live togetherinunity!(Psalm133:1).Where my husband and I do notsee eye-to-eyeonsexual intimacy,Ipraythat we can move towardunity.Helpusto listen to one another,to communicate aboutdifficultissues,andtomake the personal changeswe needto make to findcommonground. Andthisweekend,today,evennow,Ipraythat you’ll openupmyheartand mybody to takingevenone stepinthe rightdirection.While Ilongfora RedSeamoment,whenYouperformsome greatmiracle that makesmymarriage and marriage beda perfectreflectionof Yourdesign,Irecognize thatmore of my Christianlife iswalkingfaithfullywithYou.WithYourWord isa lampto my feetanda lightto my path,showingme onlythe bitof roadahead thatI needto see (Psalm119:105). Helpme take my next stepinthe rightdirection,andthe one afterthat,and the one afterthat. Until I am stridingalongonthe road You wantme to be on,and my husbandandI are movingtowardgreaterintimacyandmore honor to You, ourFather. Lord, whatI haven’tsaidhere,You alreadyknow.Where Idon’tknow whatto pray, the Spiritintercedes for me (Romans8:26). You are, andwill alwaysbe,mySavior. In Jesus’sname,Amen. Sex as a Spiritual Exercise
  27. 27. Author: Daniel A.Helminiak ChristianityhasshapedWesterncivilization.Inlightof thathistory,the title of thisarticle mayseem strange indeed.Christianityaffirmsthe Incarnation,thatinJesusChrist,Godactuallytookonhuman flesh,andChristianityinsiststhatsalvationoccursinandthroughChrist’sbodilylife,suffering,and death.Christiansfindspiritual nourishmentbysharingthe Eucharist,HolyCommunion,the bodyand bloodof Christ. AndfollowingJesus,Christianslookforwardtoresurrectionof the body:Heavenisnotjusta spiritual state,but a bodilyone,aswell.Nonetheless,fromChristianity’searliestbeginnings,inmostChristian thinking,the bodyandthe spirithave beenseenasenemies. In Galatians5:17, Paul wrote,“Whatthe fleshdesiresisopposedtothe Spirit,andwhat the Spirit desiresisopposedtothe flesh;forthese are opposedtoeachother.”Tothe Hebrew mindof the Bible, “flesh”stoodforall that isweak,passing,creaturely,andperhapssinful.“Spirit”stoodforall thatis life- giving,lasting,andof God. So,understoodaccordingtothe usage of hisday, the teachingof SaintPaul was merelythatevil andgoodnessare atodds,that the worldlyandthe godlyare intension.Obviously! But rippedfromitscultural contextandmisunderstoodintermsof ourcurrent usage,Paul’sliteral wordsare takento refertosex and to pitit—the flesh,the body—againstspirituality. Sex-positivityinChristianity’searlybeginnings In fact,the sex negativitythathascharacterizedChristianitydidnotcome fromChristianity’sJewish heritage,norfromthe teachingsof Jesus,norevenfromthe lettersof Paul.Jewishteachingtothisdayis sex-positive.Jewishcouplesare supposedtohave sex onthe Sabbathto hallow the day.The Genesis commandwas to be fruitful andmultiply.Andwithoutreference tomarriage,children,orfamily,the collectionof poemsinthe Songof Songsisa paeanto sexual love andromance. Jesus’remarksaboutsex mentiononlyadultery,divorce,andsexualobsession(lustinginthe heart).In addition,some argue that,inhealingthe centurion’sservant,Jesusrestoredathreatenedhomosexual relationship. SaintPaul doesnot deserve the badraphe gets aboutsex.AsI reportin What the Bible ReallySays aboutHomosexuality,L.WilliamCountrymanarguedcogentlythatthe intentof Romans1was not to condemnhomosexuality.Rather,thistextopposesthe splinteringof the Christiancommunityover irrelevantdifferencesaboutJewishpuritylaws—includingthe “abomination,”thatis,the ritual taboo,of male-male penetrativesex.In1Corinthians7,Paul doesdiscourage marriage butonlybecause he believedthe worldwouldsoonend;andflexible inhiscounsel,he isstill opentothe varietyof sexual practicesof his day.In Galatians3:28 Paul dismisseseventhe difference betweenmaleandfemale because “all of youare one in Christ.”Paul wasno misogynist.The commandin1 Corinthians14:34–35 that womenbe silentandsubordinateisnotfromPaul himself butwasaddedbyhismore conservative
  28. 28. disciplessuchasthose whoalsowrote 1 Timothy2:11–15 inPaul’sname.The final chapterof the genuinelyPauline lettertothe Romans,forexample,mentionsbyname twenty-nine disciples;among these are tenwomen,three of whom—Phoebe,Prisca,andJunia—heldpositionsof honorandauthority inthe earlyPauline churches.Initsbeginnings,Christianitywasnotsex-negative. The negativityof the ChristiantraditionderivedfromStoicismandNeo-Platonism,secularphilosophies that were prevalentduringChristianity’sformation.Thesesystemsof thoughtwere suspectof pleasure and were overlyrationalistic.Shortsightedintheirappreciationof humansexuality,theyfocusedon biological functionandarguedthatsex wasfor begettingchildrenandanyother use wasmistaken.This “mistake”wasquicklyturnedintosin,andintothe twenty-firstcenturywe all live withthe result: uneasinessandguiltoversex. The most brilliantmindsof the Christiantraditionrationalizedthatmisunderstanding.SaintAugustineis the theological favorite of Protestantism,andSaintThomasAquinasisthe greattheologianof Catholicism.Bothunderstoodrationalitytobe the crowninggloryof humanity,andbothwere waryof sex.Atthe pointof orgasm,theyreasoned,one momentarilylosesrationality,andthe riskof suchloss can onlybe justifiedforaseriousreason.The desire toconceive achildwouldbe the onlysufficient reason. Christiansex-negativitythroughthe twenty-firstcentury Warinessaboutsex throughthose earlycenturiesisunderstandable.Before modernmedicine,perhaps a quarter of all womeneventuallydiedinchildbirth.Noeffective contraceptive wasavailable.Children born outof wedlockwere social pariahs.A non-virginwomanwouldbe hardpressedto everfinda husbandandneededeconomicsupport.Sexuallytransmitteddiseaseshadnocure.Sexual urgeswere thoughtto reduce people tothe levelof ananimal.Onmanyfronts,sex wasthoughtto be,and infact was,dangerous. But whyhas religionremainedrabidlysex-negativeeventoday?Repeatedstudiesshow thatthe more religiouspeopleare,the more opposedtosex theytendtobe.A nearlyhysterical religiousop- position to sex—forexample,the enlistmentof hundredsof millionsof Americantax dollarstopromote sexual abstinence nationallyandglobally—makesone wonderwhatisreallygoingon. There isno easyaccountingfor thisreligiouscuriosity.Toexplainsocial attitudesisdifficultinthe bestof casesand, perhaps,impossibleinatime of rapidchange,like ourown.Yale historianJohnBoswell arguedthat Christianityhasbasicallyfollowedsecularmoresregardingsexual matters.Farfromsetting the pace,Christianitytendedmerelytogive itspiritual approval.Today,whenatrulytheological discussionof homosexualityhasarisen,Christianityfacesanovel challenge:tosortout sexual issues theologicallyinthe face of mushroomingnew evidence.Infact,suchsortingout has alreadybeendone. Theological argumentstolegitimatesexual diversity—biblical,historical,biological,medical, psychological,sociological,anthropological,ethical—are there foranyone whowantsthem.Yetthe religionsrefuse toadjusttheirteaching.Whyso?The causesare multiple,complex,andintertwined.A listingof likelyoneswill shedsome lightonthisconundrum.
  29. 29. • Ignorance isa major factor.Sexualityhasbeenatopicof studyfor barelya century.SigmundFreud’s notoriousemphasisonsex wasnota personal quirkbuta reflectionof the buddinginterestof hisday.In the past centurywe have learnedmore aboutsex thanduringall of prior humanhistory.Sexual orientation,transsexualism, transvestism, intersexuality—these topicsneverfitintotraditional notions of sex,yettodaytheyare known as relativelycommon,non-pathological,natural variations.Religionists are caught upshort to have to face these issues,and,despite theirweightymoral obligationtoprovide competentspiritualleadership,manymembersof the clergysimplydonotknow,orare unwillingto admit,the recentlylearnedfacts. • The powerful emotionsthatsurroundsexualityare anotherfactor.Emotionscloudthinking.If truthbe told,the heartusuallyrulesthe head.Sosome religiousleaders—especiallyseniors,whotend tohold the influential positionsbutwhogrewupinformergenerationswithdeeplyengrainedrestrictivesexual attitudes—mayactuallybe humanlyincapableof transcendingtheirprejudices.Besides,mostyounger clergyalsogrewup insexual repression. Itwill take generationsbefore comfortwithsex becomes typical of our society. • Emotional restructuringof the humanpsyche isaslow process.Deeppsychological healingoften requiresyearsof psychotherapy.Yetthe emotion- allyladensocial changesthatassaultourerahave come quickly—divorce,chemical contraception,racial equality,women’srights,accessforthe handicapped,gayliberation,transsexual andintersex liberation,gaymarriage,the Internet,the breakdownof national boundaries,the growthof aglobal community,andterrorism.The humanpsyche isnot builttosustainsuch rapid-fire assault.Byanyhistorical standard,the achievementsof sexual liberation,evenif haltedtoday,wouldremainremarkable.Infact,then,itisnotto be expectedthat people ingeneral ortheirreligionswill change theirsexualattitudesquickly. • Guiltisanotherfactor.Sexual explorationisanormal aspectof adolescence.Inthatexplorationmany people dothingsthatlaterweighontheirconsciences—especiallymenandespeciallyregarding homosexual play.Myhumansexualityclassinrural,Bible-BeltGeorgia,forexample,almostalwaysrates as true,withoutdebate,thatsame-sex experimentationisanormal facetof theirculture.Butgiventhe societal andreligiousguiltsurroundingsuchsex acts,adultbelievers,convertedandrepentant,are likely to wage a battle againstsexual “sins,”theirownandeveryoneelse’s.The factthat eventhese true believershadonce “fallen”providespersonal proof of the needtovigilantlyoppose pernicious homosexuality. • Reactionformation—the Freudiandefensemechanismwherebyone opposesinotherswhatone sensesbutcannotadmitin oneself—alsoplaysoutinotherways.Carl Jung notedthathomosexual people tendtobe spirituallysensitive.Sotheyare likelytobe overrepresentedinthe ministry.Estimates of homosexualCatholicpriestsrange from30 to 60 percentandmore.Because of the all-male structure of the Catholicpriesthood,thisincidence of homosexualityisprobablyhigherthanthatamong non- Catholicclergy.Still,despitethe de factorequirementof marriage forProtestantministers,the incidence of homosexualityamongthemisalsolikelytobe high.Besides,arecentstudysuggestedthat “heterosexual”menwhobecome more sexuallyarousedbyhomosexual pornographyalsotendtoscore
  30. 30. higherthanotherson a scale of homophobia.Overall,then,some clergysurelyoppose homosexuality because theycannotaccept the tendencyinthemselves. • Changingsexual moresshake the veryfoundationsof Westerncivilization,sofearalsocatalyzes religiousleadersintheiroppositiontochange.Suchchange isinherentinthe “sexual revolution,”and such change iscolossal,sooppositiontoitisnot whollyirrational.Onthe choppingblockof historical change lie the rule of patriarchy,the relation- shipof manandwoman,the notionsof femininityand masculinity,the mythicallypowerful andfinanciallyencumberingheterosexual wedding,the popular understandingof marriage,andthe Norman-Rockwellianmythof family.The threatalsoincludesthe fictionalizedenergyof “free sex”unleashed,the powerof romance todilute the workethic,andthe loss of easygovernmentalcontrol overpeople becausetheylove.The movementtowardaglobal community—builtonthe axiomof “humanrights”and respectful of all peoplesandculturesyet manipulatedforeconomicgoalsbymultinational corporations—isanotherentangleddimensionof this intricate scenario.Underdiscombobulatingcircumstanceslikethese,itisunderstandable thatreligious leaderswouldtendtowardconservatismand,impotentasanyone torestrainthe historical trends, wouldfocusonindividuals,theirprivate sex lives,andtheirfear-riddenrelationship withGod.Evidently and unfortunately,religiousfaithisnotstrongenoughtoallow thatall people couldbe themselvesand still live togetherinpeace,joy,andmutual respect.We are still incapableof conceivingatrulynew worldorder. • Philosophically,aswell,the bottomhasfallenoutof Westerncivilization.Radical postmodernism discreditsthe verynotionsof truthandgoodness,andmoderate postmodernismhas,inthe least, demonstratedthe difficultyof approachingthesetraditional ideals.No consensuswhatsoeveron epistemologyorethicsexistsinourday.Eventhe possibilityof correctknowinghasbeen—self- contradictorily—arguedunflinchingly.Noone—except,Ibelieve,BernardLonergan—envisagesa credible exitfromthisquandary.Thus,religion’seasyclaimtoknow the truthfromGod and to announce the goodappearsas a fictionfroma bygone era.Nonetheless,bettertohave a dubious ethical teachingthannone atall.So religionholdstoitstraditional position.Thistendencyisblatant in RomanCatholicism,whichcontinuestoinsistthatineverycase sex mustbe opentoconception.Other religionsare notasexplicitintheirteaching,butlogical analysisof theiroppositiontosexual variations because of a supposed“complementarityof the sexes”leadstothe same firstpremise.Thus,forwant of a coherentalternative,religioninsistsonthe falteringstatusquo. • Appeal tothe Bible shouldnotsustainoppositiontolesbianandgayrelationships,yetitdoes.As cogentlyashistorical researchiseverlikelytodo,biblical scholarshipshowsthat,understoodintheir original linguistic,historical,andcultural settings,the biblical textswere notaddressingthe questionsof our day anddidnot evencondemnsame-sex actsperse in theirday.Althoughnotall allow solucida conclusion,inthe veryleastanhonestpersonmustadmitthatthere isseriousquestionaboutthe meaningof those texts.Thisdoubtshouldfavorsexualdiversity.Standardandlong-standingreligious principlesapplyinsuchcases.Forexample,Catholicteachingholdsthatitisnot rightto impose amoral burdenona personif the needforthat burdenisquestionable:Lex dubianotobligat:A doubtful lawhas no bindingpower.Similarly,Baptistsadvocate “soul freedom,”the rightof everybelievertopersonally holdtheirowninterpretationof the Bible anditsrequirements.Yetneitherof these religionscutsslack
  31. 31. for lesbianandgaypeople.Evidently,justaspossessionisnine-tenthsof the law,soestablishedmoral teachingoutweighsrecentinsight.Thus,forall the reasonsalreadynotedandinoppositiontotheirown traditional ethical principles,religionscontinuetocomfortablyopposehomosexuality. • Blatanthumanperversity,downrightwickedness,isalsoafactor that shouldnotbe overlooked.It showsitself inscapegoating:the easyblame of lesbiansandgaysforall the illsof society;inan unscrupulousbutpoliticallyexpedientplayonpeople’sfearsforwinningelectionsandsustaining repressive political agendas;andinthe lucrative appeal tohomophobiainreligiousfundraisingefforts.A similardynamic,lessdeliberatelyculpable,isoperative withinpastors’andhierarchs’fearsof splitting congregationsandwhole religiousbodiesover acontroversial change inemotionallychargedsexual policy. • Finally,fairnessrequiresthatwe allowthe goodwill of those whooppose homosexuality.Undoubtedly and disconcertingly,manyreligiousleaderssincerelybelievethatsexual variationsare harmful,wrong, godless,andsinful.Theirreasonsmightbe anun-self-consciousconglomerate of those listedaboveor othersthat pertaintogeneralizedreligiousallegiance—suchasbelief inaparticularreligion,the voice of the pope,or the wordof the Bible,the Koran,or the Bookof Mormon.Althoughothers— myself included—mightsee theirstance asa fictionof blindconviction,the nobilityof theirspiritual commitmentmustbe credited. Obviously,forthe mostpart,religiousdiscussionof homosexualityisnota rational affair.Iknow no othertopicwhose mere mentioncanmake some people loseall perspective,succumbtoamygda- loid rage,and go bonkers.The inevitable change of religiousbeliefs,judgments,andattitudeswillbe difficult.While the slow processof change goeson,otherspiritual leaders—open-minded,questioning, honest,andgoodwilled—needtoforge a new visionof the relationshipbetweensexualityand spirituality.Suchavisionwill provide conservative religionistsacoherentandethical alternative.This theycan embrace ingood conscience whentheyfinallybegintoletgoof theirsex negativity.Tosucha vision,thisarticle turnsonce again. The human as body,psyche,andspirit In theirconcernto limitsexual experience, AugustineandAquinaswere correct:Sexualexperiencedoes entail amomentarylossof rationality.Butwithmore profoundpsychological awareness,the wisdomof our age assertsthat such a temporarylossmightbe to the good.The psychoanalytictermthat could applyis“regressioninthe service of the ego.”Sometimesitisuseful toexperience abreakfromourtoo- headyrationalism.Such“regression”allowsourmental structurestoregroupina healthier configuration:one stepbackwardforthe sake of twostepsforward.Justas a neededvacationletsus returnto everydaylife withanewoutlook,so,too,a respite fromouroverrationalizedandover intellectualizedpursuitscanbringa newsense of wondertodailyliving. To be humanisto be everbecoming.Throughoutourliveswe create ourselves.Inthe endeachof us will be the one andonlyeditionof ourselves.Ourbecomingdependsonashiftingbalance inthe various facetsof ourmake up. Asa pause thatgivesnew life,sex canprovide anoccasion toshiftourinner balance.Butwhat doesthisshifthave todo withspiritual growth?
  32. 32. Religionhastraditionallyconceivedthe humanbeingasa combinationof bodyandsoul.Similarly, psychologyspeaksof bodyandmind.The difference betweenmindandsoul isnotworthaddressingat thispoint.Bothconceptsare sufficientlyfuzzythatcomparingthemwouldbe awastedeffort.Still,this much remainsclear:A two-partmodel of the humanbeingistoosimple.There ismore goingonininner humanexperience—soul ormind—thanjustone thing. In hismajorwork,Insight:A Studyof Human Understanding,BernardLonerganspeaksof twofacetsof the mind.The one constantlyurgesusinto new frontiersandtowardfurthergrowth;the otherseeks, rather,the comfort andsecurityof a stable statusquo.Lonergancallsthe firstintentional consciousness or the human spirit,andthe other,psyche.Thus,he projectsatripartite model of the humanbeing: body,psyche,andspirit. Spiritisthe self-transcendingdimensionof the humanmind.We experience itmostfundametallyas wonder,marvel,awe.Itpromptsusto be aware,to be self-aware,andeventobe aware of our awareness.Itsverynature is“question”—outward-lookingdynamism, raw curiosity,thatwould understandevermore andmore and encompassevermore andmore.Open-endedinitspurview,its ideal goal iseverythingthatthere istoknow andlove.Itis,in fact,that by whichwe do come to know and love.Itguidesourwonder,ourquestioning,ourjudging,andourchoosing.Gearedtoembrace the universe—evenas,inthe ideal,we wouldwanttounderstandeverythingabouteverythingandinthe processbecome one withitall—itisabuilt-inhomingdevice forourlife’squest.It“knows”whatis requiredforwholeness,oneness,coherence,unity— justas,whenwe aska question,we anticipate whatkindof answerwill satisfyourquestion.Likewise,it“senses”whenwe verge off track—justas withoutactuallyknowingthe correctanswer,we recognize whenwe’re givena“snow job”and a proposedanswerdoesnotreallyaddressourquestion.Followingthe leadof thisinnerguidetothe extentthatwe are able,we wouldcontinuetochange,move,andgrow until we reachedthe fullnessof the positive growththatispossible inourparticularlife situation. Thisinnermental drive hasuslivingina worldof understandingsandlove,of meaningsandvalues,of ideasandideals,of visionsandvirtues.Variouslynamed,these mattersare clearlyspiritual;theyare not of time andspace.Because of thisdimensionof ourminds,remainingrightwhere we are,we can transcendspace and time.We can grasp abstracts—suchasa2 + b2 = c2 and t’= t√1–v2/c2—which applyeverywhere andalways.We canhave experiences—mysticism—inwhichwe seemtoattaintothe unityof all things.Thisdimensionof ourmindsisrightlycalledspirit.Itisthatbecause of whichGenesis saysthat we are made in the “image andlikeness”of Godandthe Psalmistsaysthatwe are made a “little less thanthe angels.”Itisthat because of whichSaintAugustinesaidinprayer,“Lord,youhave made us foryourself,andourheartsare restlesstill theyrestinyou.”Itisthat whichmakesuspersons, inpart spiritual beings,ratherthanbrute animalsorinanimate things. Withouteverexplicitlytalkingof Godor of a relationshipwithGod,Ihave beendescribingafacetof our mindsthatis spiritual.If Iam correct inso doing,thisveryaspectof our mindsisthe basisof human spirituality.Because of itwe knowwonderandawe,we questionourexistence,we contemplate the stars, we reachout inlove—andanticipatingthe answertooureveryquestionandprojectingthe
  33. 33. fulfillmenttoourdeepestlongings,we conceive of God.The humanspiritisthe real foundationof all spirituality.Theologicalconsiderationsare secondary;theyare derivative. To the extentthatwe allowthe humanspiritto guide ourliving,tothe extentthatwe integrate its urgingsevermore intothe verystructure of ourbeing,we grow spiritually;we become more spiritual. However,thisself-transcendingdimensionisnotall there istoour minds.There isalsopsyche.It supportsthe out goingspirit;it“houses”the spirit.Butbythe same token,the psyche alsolimitsthe spirit. The greatestobstacle toour spiritual growthisourselves.Althoughourspiritswouldsoar,facetsof our mindspreventsuchself-transcendence.Forreasonsalsobuiltintoourbeing,we cannotbe fullyopen- minded,we limitourwonderandawe,we fearto strike outon new adventures,we selfishlyattendonly to ourselves.Ourself-limitingself-defenserestrictsourpotential forunlimitedgrowth. Psychologistsandcounselorsworktofree upthe limitingaspectsof the self.Theseprofessionalshel pus heal our pasthurts,give up festeringresentments,enhance interpersonal relationships,putaside counterproductive defenses.The focusof suchhealingisemotions,memories,images,andhabitsof personality.Allthesemake upwhatLonergancallspsyche. Hence,there isa tug and pull inside of us.The urge togrow and the urge to stagnate are at war within us—perhapslikethe “spirit”and“flesh”aboutwhichSaintPaul wrote.The goal of growthisto integrate these innerforcesandtoletspirittake the leaduntil,throughrepeatedself-adjustment,ourwhole being—body,psyche,andspirit—movesharmoniouslyinone direction.Suchisthe pathof spiritual growth.Understoodfroma psychological pointof view—thatis,ahumanisticornaturalistic,notyeta theological,pointof view—spiritual growthresultsviathe processof integrationof the humanspirit. The mechanismof spiritual growth Nowit comesclearwhata pause inroutine hasto do withspiritual growth.Itissometimesuseful to breakout of our routinizedworldinordertoallow ourspiritstotake the lead.Thisisnota matterof goingon retreatso as to allowGodintoour lives—asif Godwere notalreadyalwaysoperatingthrough natural causesin andaround usand, as Christianitywouldadd,throughthe supernatural giftof the Holy Spirit,whohasbeenpouredintoourhearts.On myunderstanding,spiritualityis,rather,firstand foremostacommitmenttoreleasingthe self-transcendinghumanspiritthatiseveralreadypartof our ownwondrousbeing.Accordingly,like meditative practice,sex canalsobe a path towardpersonal— and,therefore,spiritual—integration.Bymovingusoutof our workadayworldand intoa more creative mental space,like meditation,sexual experiencescan fosterthe transformationof the psyche.Such psychological healingisthe God-givenmechanismof spiritual growth. Whereasa formerage emphasizedoppositionbetweenbodyandspirit,contemporarypsychological awarenessemphasizesintegration—becauseitenhanceshumanity,andiron-willedsuppressiondoes not.This psychological lessonissure.Pressure-cooker-like,bottled-upfeelingsandinclinations inevitablybreakout;butwithrespectful attention,innerforcescanbe unearthed,understood,and responsiblychanneledintopathwaysof personal growth.Thus,insteadof attemptingtosequestersex,
  34. 34. to restrict,control,andrestrainit,our age wouldrecognize sexualdiversityandineachcase helpbody, psyche,andspiritenterintoa unique,life-enhancingpartnership.Insteadof conceivingthe spiritual ideal tobe escape fromthe physical bodyandworld,ourage wouldfindspiritual growththrough personal fulfillmentinthe body—inalife of wonder,awe,honesty,gratitude,love,service,andgood will.The other-worldlyspiritualityof aformerage istoday givingwayto“incarnational spirituality,”a this-worldlypathof wholenessandintegration.Grantedthatone facetof humanwholenessisthe humanspirit,personal integrationentailsipsofactoincreasingactualizationof ourspiritual potential. Ratherthan oppose sex,contemporaryemphasiswoulduse sex toelicitandintegrate thispotential.This effectcanoccur ontwo levels:bodilyandpsychic. Bodilyaccessestothe spirit TibetanBuddhism haslongusedphysical sexual arousal toachieve transcendentexperiences.We know thistraditionasTantric sex.Inour ownsocietyinterestin“eroticmassage”ispopularizingthissame approach.It usesfull-bodymassage,includingsexual stimulationbutwithoutorgasm, toinduce intense and prolongedstatesof physiological arousal.Especiallywhenaccompaniedbydeep-breathing exercises,thisarousal caninduce profoundalteredstatesof consciousness,which,like psychedelic drugsusedreligiouslyorpsychotherapeutically,facilitate the restructuringof the psyche.Similarreports are made aboutkarezza,prolongednon- orgasmiccopulation,whichwaspioneeredinthe Oneida ColonyandlaterpopularizedbyDr.Alice Stockman.Evensolosex,oftensurprisingly,elicitsimages, memories,andlongingsthatoffernewoptionsforlife.Inhumans,forwhomthe brainisthe largestsex organ,orgasm isinseparablylinkedtothe workingsof the mind. Because the bodyisthe foundationof the psyche,anysexual arousal loosensupthe psyche.The relaxationthatsexual arousal requiresfreesupthe mind.Fantasyroutinelyaccompaniessexual arousal: images,memories,andemotionsrise upoutof the psyche.Thisshake-upof the psyche opensthe way to personal transformation.Thus,sexualarousal canserve asan access to the spiritthroughthe body— justas other,more standard,body-centeredspiritual practicesdo,suchasfasting,sleepdeprivation, yoga,ritual postures,movement,andsacramental intoxicants. Psychicaccessestothe spirit A passingsexual encountercansometimesbe abeneficial experience—thelegendaryweekendtryst that leavesbothpartiesgrateful foreachanotherandrestoredtofaithinlife.Still,onthe levelof psyche,sexual arousal has itsmostpowerful effectwhencoupledwithromance andongoing relationship. The emotional powerof relationshipsislegendary.Loversinterminablychallenge eachotherastheyjog to and froin a dance of on goingcompromisesandadjustments,some stepswelcomedandothers resisted.Sometimesthe powerof interpersonal relationshipscanbe explosive;but,tosome extentin everycase,theypryopenthe psyche.Fallinginlove andbeinginlove are excitinganddisrupting experiences.Whenpeople are inlove,fromtheirpsychescome pouringoutmemories,joys,andfears— as well ashopesandschemes:the dreamsandpromisesof lovers,the meaningsandvalues,the ideas and idealsthatare the hallmarksof the human spirit.Thispsychicupheaval turnsoverrichmental soil
  35. 35. and makeswayfor newgrowth.Withthe breakdownof habitual patternsof behaviorandresponse comesthe possibilityof reconfiguringthe self inahealthierform.Inthissense peopleinloving relationshipsare “goodforeach other.” Sex can be usedto facilitate self-transcendentexperience.Havingsex seducesloversintodreaming dreamsand makingpromises:Humansex engagesthe psyche,which,inturn,releasesthe humanspirit. Bringinga purifiedmindtosex alsotransformssex itself.Therefore,comparedtothe unaware,people whomeditate regularlycanbe more personallyengagedinasexual encounter.Theycanapproacha partnerwithclarityof focus,knowingwhytheyare there;withintensityof action,beingfullypresentto everymovement,touch,andgesture;withemotional attunement,flowinginsynchwiththe partner; withresponsivenessof presence,attendingspontaneouslytothe other;andwithprofound identification,findingthemselvesinthe otherandthe otherinthemselves. At the same time that the regularmeditatorbringsaricherself tothe sexual encounter,the bodilyand psychiceffectsof the encounteralsofurtherintensifythe meditator’spersonal presence.This reciprocitycreatesasnowballingeffect.Multiple systemsconspiretoincrease personal—andnow interpersonal—integration.Bodies,psyches,andspiritsflow inthe transcending,ever-renewingcourse that isdeterminedbythe open-endeddynamismof the humanspirititself.A unitiveexperience—a sense of onenesswithoneself,the other,andthe universe—maysometimesresult.Thisisto say, in sexual sharingorinreflectiononit,one canknow a momentof mystical ecstasy.Asdoesevery “religiousexperience,”thismomenthelpstofurthertransformthe psyche,openingontothe possibility of still furtherexperiencesof self-transformation.Inthisfashion,lovingsex canbecome apathto spiritual fulfillment. The ideal andthe real inperspective However,mydown-to-earthsenseof life requiresthatIadd a qualification.Itmustbe recalledthat mostoftensex isa rather prosaicevent.Peopleusuallyendupenjoyingsex notbecause itcanopenthe door to mysticismbutforthisor that more mundane reason.Aswithspiritualityitself,we mustbe careful notto idealize sex.Itisoftenlessthanitiscracked upto be.Sex is,afterall,a human affair,and, more oftenthannot, humanaffairsfall intothe grayrange,not intoblackor white. Be thatas itmay, sex andspiritualitycanbe integrated.Theycanmutuallyenhance eachother. However,asthe close relationshipbetweensexualityandspiritualitybecomesatopicof popular discussion,misleadingoversimplificationsemerge.Iexplainedthe inherentrelationshipof sexualityto spiritualityonthe basisof afacet of our humanmakeup—namely,the open-ended,self-transcending, dynamic,andnormativelystructuredhumanspirit.Grantedthisunderstanding,noteverysexual encounterisspirituallyuseful.Initself,of course,assheertitillation,sex hasamagic of itsown.But this merelyphysical andemotional excitementisnotthe self-transcendingwonderof the humanspirit.Not justany sexual arousal leadstospiritual fulfillment. Drugs can induce spirituallyuseful alteredstatesof consciousness,andmanyindigenousreligious rituals—nottomentionChristianity’suse of communionwine onanemptystomach—utilize
  36. 36. psychedelicsforthispurpose;butpeoplealsouse drugsonthe streetand endupin enslaving addictions.Similarly,sex canbe usedforspiritual growth,butitcan alsobe usedfor escapism.Initsown waysex can also become anaddiction.Itwouldbe a compoundedillusiontobelievethataninsatiable pursuitof sex has spiritual growthasitsmotive oritslikelyresult. The spiritual pathfollowsafine line.Itisthe narrow gate of whichJesusspoke,the razor edge that the bodhisattvamustwalk.If a formerage fell off the edge intoanother-worldlyextreme,advocatinga spiritual fulfillmentthatrequiredthe denialof sex,ourownage tendsto fall off the edge intoathis- worldlyextreme,ignoringthe spiritual andtoutingthe value of physical pleasure.Findingandexpressing a balance isnot easyto do. But worse thanmissingthe balance istonot evenattempttofindit. Integrationof sexualityandspiritualitymaycall forsome experimentation,andalongthe wayone may make some mistakes.One onlyhopesthatwe all have the goodsense nottomake irreparable mistakes—suchasunwantedpregnancies,incurablesexuallytransmitteddiseases,brokenhearts,or scandalousbetrayalsof solemncommitments.Itreatthe integrationof sexualityandspiritualityindetail inSex and the Sacred. The integrationof sexualityandspirituality Spiritualityisaquest.Composedof body,psyche,andspirit,we livepulledinmanydirections.The challenge eachdayisto pursue a newbalance aslife inevitablychangesandmoveson.The keyto the balance isattunementtoourown spirit,forthe spiritholdsavisionof unity,anorientationtoward transcendence,andafountainof wisdomthatare beyondourdeliberate control. For that veryreason—because ourownspiritseemstooperate frombeyondourselves,because we are more than our small,conceptualizedselves—peopletendtoattribute spiritual experiencestothings outside of themselves,mostcommonly,to“God.”I have attributedspiritualitytoanaspectof ourown beings.Properlyunderstood,thisapproachleadstonosolipsism,selfishness,selfism, godless humanism,atheisticnaturalism,ormyopicpettiness—ascriticsallege—forourspiritsare essentially outgoing,gearedtothe universe,orientedtoall thatis true and good.Fidelitytothe humanspiritcould not butleadgodward. One advantage of thisapproach isthat it easilyexplainsthe close relationshipbetweenspiritualityand sexuality—andmanyotherfacetsof humanliving,aswell.Anotheradvantage isthatitcountersthe centuries-longembarrassmentof Christianity—thereligionthatbelievesGodbecame fleshbuthas treatedthe fleshasunworthy. Despite intenselypiousbeginnings,Daniel Helminiak hasalwaysbeenfascinatedwithscience andgiven to optimisticengagementwiththe secularizedworld.He enteredthe seminaryandcompletedanS.T.B. and S.T.L.in Catholicdoctrine atthe Pontifical GregorianUniversityinRome,Italy.Afterleavingthe Catholicpriesthood,he completedaPh.D.insystematictheologyatBostonCollege (where he servedas teachingassistanttothe Jesuitphilosopher,theologian,methodologistBernardLonergan) andAndover NewtonTheological School,anM.A.inpersonalitypsychologyatBostonUniversity,andaPh.D.in educational psychologyatthe Universityof TexasatAustin.HeliminiakiscertifiedasaFellow of the AmericanAssociationof Pastoral Counselors.Hisspecializationisspiritualityasa psychological
  37. 37. phenomenonanditsrole of spiritualityinaglobal society.He teachesandwritesaboutspirituality, interdisciplinarymethod,humandevelopment,ethics,andsexuality.Mostrecentlyhe hasauthored MeditationWithoutMyth(Crossroads,2005), and Sex andthe Sacred (HaworthPress,2006). His bestseller,Whatthe Bible ReallySaysaboutHomosexuality,hassoldmore than50,000 copiesto date. Holy Spirit:YourBest Friend toKill SexualSin by TimConway of Grace Community ChurchonMay 26, 2017 Topic:Sexual Sin Category:Questions &Answers Bible:Romans 8:13 The Holy Spiritmustbe the believer’s bestfriendinthe battle tokill sexual sin.Youcannothave victory againstsinunlessitisvictory thatis hadby wayof the Spiritof God. We don’thave the powerin ourselves andsowe needthe powerof the Holy Spirittoovercome sin. Douglas Francis Mitchell P.O.Box 1004 Kingsland, Texas 78639 The Spirituality of Genderial Relations INTRODUCTION Among the many non-religious and so-called scientific concepts put forth whichattempt to explain the origin of all things (such as the Big Bang theory, and the theory of Evolution,etc.), none address the most fundamental phenomenon of life— that is, the reason for,or the cause of gender and love. For those whothink to embrace said Creator-less theories, here are some questions.
  38. 38. Why do gender and love exist? What caused the primal elements and forces(whatever they are conceivedto be) to take forms whereby they could perceive and be perceived by means of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, and evaluate said information in a mind, and have said mind influenced by emotional feelings (the heart)? Was it something wholly within each element or force(as though they created themselves – each one having an almost prophetic awareness of the others it would eventually be formed together with producing something greater than each alone)? Why did the so-called Cosmic Ooze(or whatever) decide to take on gender, fall in love with other Cosmic Ooze (actually,a part of itself, since it is Cosmic), experience the sensations of emotional attraction, procreation, and multiply itself thereby and thus become a family of Cosmic Ooze? Though vast multitudes have experienced loveand have enjoyed the pleasures of gender, the reason why things are the way they are has remained a mystery for most. Even Darwinwas at a loss to explain how and why eyes came into being. The Big Bang theory offers no hypothesis as to why things became beautiful to behold and why this has such an important influence in procreation and the continuance of life in the many species. In this study we will,by God's grace, see the higher meanings and significance of our dealings in regard to our sexual natures, and see that our creation as gendered beings was the result of the outworking of God's eternal principle of loving self-sacrifice.We will also see that the way in which we regard this divine principle (which is the foundation of true love) is revealed in the way in whichwe deal withour ownsexuality and that of others, and that our regard towards such is the direct product of the knowledge, beliefs, and/or presumptions we hold. How we understand the origin and purpose of love and sex is directly related to our sex/love lives and interactions with others. If we believe that loveand genderial relations are the product of chance alone, and not the specific design of a creative Intelligence, then our relationships will reflectthe random uncertainty and instability of our theories. If we believe that our gender and natural desires are curses fromGod, then our relationships willbe clouded by an unstable, conflictingmystery. It is written in the Bible, “My people are destroyed forlack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) This tells us that even believers, God's people, are being destroyed because they too have a lack of knowledge concerning life giving principles. According to the rest of the above quoted text this mournful lack of knowledge is not due to the unavailability of that life-preserving knowledge, but rather because of the willfulaction on the part of the some, forwe read, "because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee ..." Though there is certainly a mystery surrounding gender, such is not the end of the matter. "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." (Proverbs 25:2) Therefore, with honorable and noble intentions, may we now proceed with humble hearts as we explore this age old mystery.
  39. 39. Safe Sex? Holy Sex? Mirriam Webster's Dictionary defines safe as: "freed fromharm, injury, or risk: no longer threatened by danger or injury: unharmed, unhurt." Our English wordcomes through French from a Latin wordwhich means whole, healthy; and a Greek word whichmeans complete, entire; and from a Sanskrit word whichmeans unharmed, entire. Therefore,safe sex would be that whichis whole, healthy, complete, unharmed, entire. The word safe implies a judgment, a determination, a distinguishing between one condition and another. The so-called primal elements and forces,in the common conceptions of their natures, display none of the intelligence necessary to know or care about anything being safe. Gravity doesn't contemplate whether or not its effectresults in something safe. But as wehave intelligence and the powers of discernment above the base elements and forces wecontain which influence us, we have to lookelsewhere forthe explanation of why something is considered safe, and what it is safe from. The word safe has an interesting relationship to the wordholy. And that is, in their root definitions they both convey the idea of whole, entire, complete. The "w"in the word wholehas only been in use forabout fivehundred years. It was added to the wordwhich meant holy,and whichis also the root of the wordhealth. So wholeness, healthiness, and holiness are qualities of that whichis safe. And, as holiness is a quality of the divine – the creativeinfluence of life – to such wemust look to understand the why and whereforeof things being safe. It is written, "Godis love."(1 John 4:8, 16) In the realm of human experience, love is God. That is, the outworking of the intellectual principles of love,with its emotional attachments, is the motivating forcein human actions. Many of those who have experienced pure love identify it as divine. As the singer Bob Dylanputs it, “Loveis all there is, it makes the world go round. Love,and only love,can’t be denied. No matter what youthink about it, youjust won'tbe able to live without it. Take a tip from one who has tried.” Bottom line: something is considered safe and holy if it promotes and preserves life and love.For sex to be safe and holy (wholly safe) it needs to be free of anything whichdiminishes love, or fails to nurture it and make or keep it whole, healthy, complete, unharmed, entire. If,therefore, loveis the standard, the all-in-all, and love is God, and "God is love,"what then is God's (Love's)reason for creating genders and sexual interactions? Though there are elements of the revelation of God's (Love's)character and purposes in the various religions and philosophies of the many nations, the fullest and purest revelation is found in the Bible. It is therein written: "And GODS said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OURlikeness... So GODScreated man in HIS OWNIMAGE, in the IMAGE OF GODS created He him; MALE AND FEMALE,created He them." Genesis 1:26,27. The Hebrew word Elohim, whichis translated "God" (singular) in most Bibles, is, in fact,plural in Hebrew, not singular. This hidden truth is somewhat revealed by the factthat the pronouns used in direct relation withit are all, themselves, plural. Actually, there isn't any one English wordwhich

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