In her book “Holy Sexuality”, Becky Patton discusses some of the great differences that the way the world views sex versus the way the Church views sex. Amongst her revealings is the mindset in the Church that the “flesh” is evil and it must be suppressed. While the world believes that the spirit is to be denied and to participate in sex because it feels good. We have a belief in Western Christianity that the body is evil. The body is meant to be conquered.
In Genesis, we see the story of a man named Adam and a woman named Eve decided that being human wasn’t good enough. The consequence of them eating the apple that they thought would give them the knowledge of God was that they developed deep-rooted shame about their human condition. Amongst the part of their human condition was their bodies. When God confronted them, they hid because they were naked and thus our shame of our bodies began. Yet the Bible and elements of Church History have something to say about the human bodies. As Lauren Winner writes in her book “Real Sex” “God created us with bodies; God himself incarnated in a human body; Jesus was raised again from the dead with a body; and one day we too will be resurrected with our bodies”.
When we fail to realize that our bodies are the very thing that we worship with, the very thing we serve with, the very things we love, celebrate and live with, then sexuality will continue to carry the shame that is so often felt with sex. But when we begin to realize that these bodies were made in the image of God and that God called them good, then sex doesn’t have to carry the ambivalence, anxiety and shame that is often felt with sex and the human body. If we keep the perspective that our bodies are good, then true and healthy sexuality can become a form of grace between partners and God. This grace as Patton says “restores our memory; it reboots our mental computer with the original software that integrates God’s love into the very fiber of our being-spiritually, emotionally and physically.”
The physical body was not meant something to be conquered but something that was meant to have beautiful exploration in the right context. It should not surprise us then that this physical body has physical pleasure. I don’t think God had it in his mind that he was going to torture us with bodies that physically felt good and then told us never enjoy them. As we discussed yesterday, false exploration has serious implications but true explorations has healing sensual grace. God gave us the bodies, the neurological sensations, the physical senses to explore the physical and beautiful pleasures of each other bodies. Patton wonderfully says “To experience the beauty of the world around us is to experience more fully the God who created it all.”
My hope is that we can move away from a Genesis 3 sexuality, where our bodies and our pleasure is deemed shameful and move back to a Genesis 1 sexuality, where we are able to worship in loving unity and pleasure with our partners and God.
Monday- The State of Sexuality- http://wp.me/pFnzm-fZ
Tuesday- The Dangers of Sexuality- http://wp.me/pFnzm-g2