Wednesday, May 04, 2005

What Hath Sex to do with Theology?

In her essay titled "Creed or Chaos," Dorothy Sayers wrote: "....it is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality, unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology." I was reminded of that quote by an article about and interview with Lauren Winner in the current issue of World Magazine.

Winner is an evangelical who, five years ago, raised quite a stir (not to mention eyebrows) with an article at Beliefnet.com titled "Sex and the Single Evangelical." In it she admitted to being sexually active and suggested that the church reconsider what the Bible actually says about premarital sex instead of assume that it already knows.

Winner has since become persuaded that the Bible does indeed confine sexual activity to marriage, a conviction she defends in her new book Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity. Gene Veith quotes Winner:
But as I wrote, I realized there was a good reason that Christian conversations about sex always circled back to marriage. What sits at the center of Christian sexual ethics is not a negative view of sex; the Christian vision of marriage is not, at its most concise, merely 'no sex before marriage.' Rather, the heart of the Christian story about sex is a vigorously positive statement about sex: Sex was created for marriage. Without a robust account of the Christian vision of sex within marriage, the Christian insistence that unmarried folks refrain from sex just doesn't make any sense.
Responding to a question about how churches can do a better job of teaching about sex Winner says:
One thing we need to do is give a richer, more theologically robust account of chastity. It's not enough to say "Paul says don't fornicate."....Rather, he is seeking to preserve, restore, and protect God's vision for humanity and sexuality, laid out at the opening of Genesis.

4 comments:

Owen said...

Interesting points. Growing up in a Christian household myself it is interesting to read what you have to say. I do think morality is important, but on the other hand I do think a lot of concepts need to be updated for today's world. Looking forward to more!

ephphatha said...

I used to believe that there was no such thing as premarital sex, because it seemed to me from a few passages in the Bible that having sex made you married in God's eyes. I have since then abandoned that view, because my conscience has always contradicted it, but I still find it difficult to make a Biblical case against premarital sex. Maybe I should get that book.

T.Mifune said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
T.Mifune said...

Hey, I was serious! Saying no is easier--and inculcating a deeper appreciation of Christianity in an attempt to increase chastity isn't an answer, it's a question. A greater understanding of "God's vistion for humanity" would solve a lot of problems, would it not?

As for the Breakfast Club, I'm sorry if you found the (in my opinion benign) reference offensive, but it's certainly representative of popular culture which, if anything, has become increasingly crass since the times of the brat pack. Unless the lessons being drawn from the Bible can be harmonized, or at least reconciled, with popular culture, the battle is tediously uphill.

And, by harmonize or reconcile, I certainly don't mean delete.