Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reflections on Sexuality

          A couple weeks ago, we had our Divisional Staff Meetings that centered around the topic of sexual brokenness and seeking sexual wholeness, and it got me thinking. In reality, this is a topic that I have been on a journey to understand why it is that God wants us to wait to have sex until marriage, and what it means to remain pure. I had a hunch that it was more than not having sex and avoiding sexual thoughts, and that thinking about purity that way wasn't very helpful.
         At Cal Poly this past quarter, the issues of sexual brokenness have come up and hit everyone in the fellowship, as students have been honest about the ways that they are sexually broken. It is amazing that the students are so incredibly honest, and it has started the journey of healing for them, but our staff team wanted to shepherd them well. We had a leaders meeting where we talked about boundaries- physical, emotional, and personal boundaries, and helped the leaders see ways that they could avoid going too far and ending up in painful situations. It was a great meeting, and students found it incredibly helpful, but at our next staff meeting I presented the thought that had been in the back of my mind- that the students need to know why they have the boundaries, and why it is that that God tells us that sex is for marriage. I feel that too many Christians have just been told to not have sex until marriage, and they're not sure why. Doing something just because you're told not to can lead to confusion and problems later if there isn't a solid foundation of understanding, and belief that God has our best in mind when He gives us laws.
          At the Divisional Staff Meetings, we read a chapter from a book called "The Holy Longing" by Ronald Rolheiser. The Chapter was called "A Spirituality of Sexuality," and he described how our understanding of sexuality is too limited. We only equate sexuality with the act of having sex, where as in reality is it so much larger than that. The Greek origin of the word sex means to be cut off, and the author described how sexuality is our longing to reconnect after we were cut off from God and each other at the Fall. Our sexuality is our longing for connection with things outside ourselves, and that means more than the act of sex.
         But there are many ways that we seek to fulfill that connection in ways that actually hurt us. One of the things the author talked about was how our culture fails to see how sex can actually be hurtful. I, like the author, have heard people talk about how sex really never hurt anyone, when in reality we are learning more and more how much it can. The sexual abuse of children, sex used as a tool of power, as a means of revenge, and as a selfish way to make oneself feel good- which can lead to pain later in life when someone may want to be unselfish with sex- all of these are ways that sex is incredible hurtful.
         Our sexuality- our longing for connectedness- really should point us towards God, as even human relationships are meant for our benefit, but also to remind us of the God who ultimately fulfills our relationship longings. Sexuality is misunderstood and misused, and the church has been at best silent, and at worst negative about a topic that everyone deals with perhaps more than almost anything else. At the Divisional Meetings, it was so freeing to be able to openly and honestly have a discussion about what we deal with and what those around us deal with. Its another step along the journey.