How do you get heard?

The dominant non-religious attitude in America toward sex is something like the attitude Americans have toward commercial transactions. So long as both parties are fully informed about what they are doing and agree of their free will, whatever they want to do is fine with most people.

The standard is the same whether you are standing in a pawn shop or cruising Tinder looking for a hook up.

Because this is the American attitude toward sex, it makes much of what the church says seem silly or reactionary or bigoted. What does God care if two people — or more — enter into a sexual encounter with open eyes?

That is the question.

And the problem is that it is impossible to answer without back-tracking pretty seriously.

You see, Christians historically have not accepted the idea that we own our bodies. We are created by God and redeemed by Christ. Our body — like everything else — is placed at our disposal for a span of time, but belongs to God. So, the notion that we can do whatever we feel like with it is a bit like the teenager who trashes his parent’s house when they leave town over the weekend. He was left in charge of the house, but he was not given license to do whatever he wanted.

Paul gets at this to a degree in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

This idea that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit gets into another issue.

Some people will ask why anyone should care about what another person does so long as “no one gets hurt.” The problem for Christians is that sin hurts someone. It hurts the sinner. It profanes the temple of the Holy Spirit.

By the time we go back this far, of course, we’ve totally lost non-Christian conversation partners. It is nonsense and foolishness to them. In truth, it is nonsense and foolishness to a lot of Christians because we have largely adopted the secular attitude about our own bodies.

I’m not sure how to combat this within the church. How do you get to the point where those of us who follow Jesus and read the Bible can see the way a biblical view of who we are is at odds with the commercial view? The commercial view gets so much more time to make its case, and has spent a lot more time crafting its message and delivery. I’m not sure how we get heard, even inside our own sanctuaries.

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2 thoughts on “How do you get heard?

  1. A couple things, John. First, I think we connect the disciplining of our bodies to the joy of our faith in Christ. The joy of the cross is that we are saved. The joy of the resurrection is that Christ raises a new person to life. That means we get to joyfully live as people who are no longer enslaved to our passions.

    Second, I simply let Scripture say what it says about sex, live by it, and let the hearer decide what s/he will do with it. Like many things in our faith, we should expect that people who do not have the Holy Spirit will not understand. We won’t convince them merely by telling them they are wrong. We must demonstrate that the way of Jesus is better byway the joy of transformed lives.

  2. We must “truth in love”, not just in what we say, but first of all by how we live. If people who call themselves Christians live and relate sexually no different than other people, why should they show any interest in Christianity and the truth of the Gospel?

    As we live the truth before others and let our light shine, we then can and must speak the truth to them in love. Foremost of course should be the core Gospel message of repentance and believing in the Gospel, through believing into Jesus Christ. In making disciples of course we are to “teach them to observe all Christ has commanded us, and that includes His commands to be sexually pure. Clearly, given our sex-crazed culture and the current low view of marriage by so many, what the Bible says about marriage and sexual purity is a priority.

    Obviously, with so many professing Christians and church leaders in the UMC bowing to political correctness, swept up in the tide of the sexual revolution, we have quite a challenge before us.

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