Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Some Thoughts on Sex

Alice C. Linsley

Seraph, a reader of Just Genesis has written: "I would love hearing more about your thoughts on homosexuality, Alice. I am intellectually moved by your 'binary distinctions' argument. But I also know devout same-sex couples who have fallen in love with people of the same sex from childhood, and have gone through attempts at 'orientation change' for years, but to no avail. This subject cuts me to the quick. What are your thoughts as to folk who love the Lord Jesus, but who...despite all attempts...are just not drawn to people of the opposite sex?"

Here are some of my thoughts.

There is much we do not understand about sexual attraction. There is also much false information about homosexuality, much of it built upon the discredited Kinsey Report.  It seems to me the issue isn't homosexuality or even heterosexuality, by the use of the body, which is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Sex within marriage is the only approved sex in the Bible and in Holy Tradition. Both understand marriage as between a man and a woman.

My heart is cut to watch homosexual people suffering also. Family members struggle with this. My cousin died of AIDS 15 years ago. His life of multiple partners and alcoholism left him physically and spiritually destitute. My mother prayed for him for years and on his deathbed he asked for and received God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ and died in peace.

One of my own daughters left a 10-year lesbian relationship the same month that I left ECUSA and is now married with two children. Her same-sex attraction was formed while she was at an all-girl boarding school in New England.

I was the chaplain at an all-boy boarding school for 4 years and know that same-sex attraction is experienced in same-gender boarding schools, but for most boys and girls this is experimentation, not orientation.  However, it is experimentation that can leave deep scars, just as traumatic as rape, abortion, incest and sexual abuse.

In a nearby town, a 4th grader decided that he wanted to be a girl and threatened to commit suicide if his parents and the school system didn't agree to call him by a girl's name and allow him to dress like a girl.  He has made himself the center of attention. His teacher is a Christian and has been told that she must comply with the boy's wishes, though she explains that "God is not the author of confusion."  The teacher will probably have to leave the school because she is not willing to cause the other children to be confused about gender.

When I write about the binary worldview of the Bible, I do so as an anthropologist. The binary sets of Abraham's people are fixed. There is no confusion here. The Sun rises in the east and sets in the west. There is night and day. There is heaven and earth. People are born male or female. In the ancient Afro-Asiatic world, homosex was regarded as a violation of the divine order in creation. That is why the only evidence of homosex in ancient Egypt is a drawing on the wall of an isolated cave.

Homosex was in the same category as onanism. Both were regarded as grievous violations of the boundaries found in the order of creation. The seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. The seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth.

In our pleasure-consumed society, sex has become a comodity. The more orgiastic and pornographic, the better the comodity.  Sex as comodity misses the mark of God's righteousness by so far that it isn't even proper to discuss the two together.

A life of abstinance requires a pure heart and an almost monastic obedience. We fall, but God's forgiveness is always there for those who repent and stand upright again. Then there is another falling, and another, because a pure heart is a spiritual gift that comes after much seeking and a great desire for God, but it will come in the end. Holiness is God's will for us and God brings us on that path as we are willing to be led. 

Related reading:  Genesis on Homosex: Beyond SodomBinary Sets in the Ancient World; Understanding Binary Distinctions; Blood and Binary Distinctions; How to Invite Ridicule; More Thoughts About Sex


Anonymous said...

This subject came up at the meal after Church on Sunday- a comment was made that in Lebanon, their culture deals with this subject very differently. When someone has homosex tendencies they are still required to do the right thing and marry and beget children and create a family. It was phrased just like that, "do the right thing."
In our discussion, it became clear that this negating of one's personal desires was the root of the issue we struggled with, not homosexuality per se. In our culture of "have it your way" and "you're worth it" it seems impossible that anyone should be required to deny themselves and now we don't even know what the right thing to do is or why!
It seems we have really lost our way.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Very true, Leah.

All the evidence of the Bible indicates that Abraham and his people were Horite ruler-priests, a caste devoted to Horus who was regarded as the miraculously-conceived “son of God.” Horus prefigures Jesus Christ (just as Oholibamah prefigures the Blessed Theotokos.

Horite ruler-priests were to be pure. This was expressed in abstinence from certain foods, wine and sex in preparation for service in the temple. They ritually washed several times daily and shaved their heads. All these activities were adjoined to intense prayer. Their religious devotion and commitment to purity is to be emulated and Orthodoxy most closely resembles the religion we have received from Father Abraham.

This is the pattern of self-denial by which ascetics have ascended above earthly concerns for thousands of years. For most of us, merely abstaining from meat during Lent is almost impossible!

Anonymous said...

I would like to add, that if a gay Christian cannot be in a chaste same-sex relationship i.e. celibate then they should not be in one.

I think we are all called to love and friendship, the world around us reduces this to just one thing and that's sex.

I do think that the push for gay marriage is an experiment, to change the definition of marriage to make it inclusive i.e. polygamy, polyamory etc.

I also do not think these people should be allowed to adopt children and subject them to these things.