Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It's not really about sex

Some weeks ago, I had a post on some of the questions I had about what does the Bible really have to say about sex. I now have a stack of books, most of them useless, on either side of the issue - secular and Christian.

One side of the aisle says "don't think about it at all! Don't let any sexual thought even cross your mind for that is lust!" The other says it's all good in a comitted relationship. Don't fight your fantasies. Not quite follow your bliss but it's getting there. So, like Aristotle, I sought out the golden mean.

I found it in Richard J. Foster's The Challenge of the Disciplined Life which acknowledged the struggles of sexuality in the modern world without sounding like I'm stuck in a health class in 6th grade with a nervous teacher would rather be talking about anything else... or the other teacher who wants to get into discussing technique. Foster talks about power and money too but I haven't read those chapters yet. Winner's Real Sex that I referenced in my earlier post was also a helpful resource.

Then it occurred to me last night - it isn't about sex.

It's about intimacy.

Foster writes that we have come to equate sex with intimacy when there is more to intimacy than that. We have lost the non-erotic part of intimacy that comes with spending time with one another in genuine fellowship. We have also attempted to make every touch sexual. He states that some older singles will go for MONTHS without the touch of another human - and we are talking just like a pat on the back here.

You don't know your neighbors. You only associate with your co-workers in the office. If you are lucky you may have a lunch buddy. If you go to a gym, it's about working out and not about getting to know anybody. How many of you have watched person after person breeze in and out of your church without stopping to say a word to anyone? How many of you (myself included) have done that very thing?

Note: this is not meant to be a accusatory. It is a hard look on what I think the real problem with sex and singleness is. And loneliness isn't just a single-person's problem.

We are created to be in community. Living in a fallen world, the idea of intimacy has been distorted and perverted to where we equate it only with sex. This leaves generations of single Christians trapped - we want to honor God and live our lives for Him but we are lonely!

How many of you have basically lost a friend after they got married? They slip into a world where they only associate with other couples and if you are around them, you feel like half a set of training wheels on a bicycle. Not much good for anything and really kind of in the way.

Well-meaning church folk talk about having relationship with God. Yes... we are supposed to do that. But God flat out says "it is not good for man to be alone." He KNOWS we need to be with other people.

A whole other discussion is can men and women really be friends or does the cultural imposition of sexuality on those relationships make it impossible?