I can feel your love teaching me how
Your love is teaching me how
How to kneel
Kneel! – U2, Vertigo
So, per the last post in this series, there are all kinds of amazing connections with sex and Christianity. It makes sense of course because it was God’s idea.
And, as we know, sexual desire and sexuality can also be highly disconcerting subjects. We might, for example, be certain that we should join Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek in appearing to casually dismiss the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson for suggesting that “’radical feminists’ don’t speak out about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia because of ‘their unconscious wish for brutal male domination.’”
Then again, on the other hand, there are phenomena like Fifty Shades of Grey, which, to say the least, well…
Chart from 2014. Note there were around 125.9 million adult women in the U.S. that year. Do the math.
And here, even if one rightly condemns this novel as the obscene — and presumably female-friendly! — pornography that it is, these questions cannot be avoided: should a man lead in relationships? (paging Suzanne Venker...)
Sexist. Why not try to reverse this?
Relatedly, is it somehow wrong for a man to aggressively pursue sexual relations with a woman?
Is that necessarily abuse or predation of the weak?
Totally sensible, right?: “A time when women can both enjoy rape fantasies and expect never to be raped or pursued without their consent would truly be the best of times. It’s not too much to ask for.” — Batya Ungar-Sargon
Does it not depend?
On the man? On the nature of the “aggression”?[i] On what, specifically, he is pursuing? On the situation (um, marriage, anyone?)?[ii]
Christians, more than anyone (Ezekiel 16? Song of Solomon?), should know that the secular world is not all wrong about love. Even how it, on the basis of the passion and vigor that can be found in what the Greeks called eros, understandably calls into question simple political ideas of what it means for human beings to be free (forms of political freedom) and what it means for them to obey (forms of political slavery).
And even as we confess that the Left was right to insist that the personal is the political we also know there is more… much more. Especially when it comes to the spiritual realities that things like sex – marriage’s core expression – point us towards.
So of course passion must be channeled by, must be surrounded by, the love which is described in I Corinthians 13. The fireplace for the fire. And this is the true love that, the Apostle reminds us, is born of the Gospel of Jesus’ forgiveness and life — and willingly and gladly submits to the Most High God.
Can we all admit how badly we need this love here – expressed in God’s Holy Law? In this law that must not only seen as universally “preferable” but as universally binding? As expressing the furious justice and mercy of the living God?
Know this: for the secularist, saying that is high blasphemy.
“[Alfred Kinsey (pictured)] even spoke as if the introduction of Bible-based sexual morality were the watershed in human history, a sort of ‘fall’ from which we must be redeemed” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 133)
Of course, in #MeToo we finally have some convergence of concerns on the political right and the left. Finally, because so much focus is being directed towards victims, even the most liberal persons are concerned about sex! Perhaps now is a good time to listen to Joy Pullmann
when she points out — no doubt to Batya Ungar-Sargon’s libido’s dismay — that “…[i]f mere consent is the standard, one woman’s rape could turn out to be another woman’s post-encounter regret for kink she consented to at the time, or thought she consented to until she experienced it.”
Pullmann does not relent either, pushing the implications of Ungar-Sargon’s thinking to the necessary conclusions:
Abuse victims very frequently assent to their abuse, whether it’s psychological, physical, or sexual. This mindscrew is in fact part of the abuse. Being able to know and affirm this truth requires establishing non-arbitrary standards for behavior outside of the parties engaging in it. It requires dissenting when morally confused people like [Batya] Ungar-Sargon insist the only arbiter of what is good for women and society is each individual in isolation. It requires deciding what the boundaries should be for the common and individual good and then, yes, enforcing them, both legally and socially. That requires clarity about what, over time, has proven to encourage and hinder human flourishing, not ignorant, short-sighted, experience-shriven, and feelings-driven decisions made in the moment.
You don’t need to be a biblical prophet to recognize that Pullmann helps us see the truth: even if Christianity made a world of free consent imaginable, laws demanding consent alone will never cut it (note that some might argue that many incidents of colonialism were largely consensual to, something that reeks of far too much self-interest to be taken seriously). Legislation which encourages, exalts, and protects “natural goods” like marriage and family — and fatherhood! (and if you wanted to destroy the faith…) — must be pursued.
Come, let us exploit and be exploited: “[Bad dad] Freud…. had nothing but contempt for people who kept sex within the covenant bond of marriage: ‘Only the weaklings have acquiesced in such a gross invasion of their sexual freedom’” (quoted in Pearcey, 131).
Speaking of abuse, what about the abuse of one’s self? Strawn, whose paper on conscience in Martin Luther we looked at in part I
, asks concerning homosexual activity:
The Enlightenment ideals of “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” popularly are repeated within American culture in view of homosexual activity with the sentiment: “They can do what they want as long as they don’t hurt anyone else.” But what about harm to themselves? Have we no responsibility there?
“All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” — the Apostle Paul
Once again, one doesn’t need to be a biblical prophet to see this. At the very least, there is no difficulty finding impartial studies which suggest that homosexual activity is much more likely to accompany a panoply of other harmful behaviors. In any case, for good measure we should ask this: are we so sure that such behavior is only harmful to the ones directly involved in it? Certainly, some situations involving those engaging in homosexual behavior will give most anyone pause:
The daughter of famed science fiction author Marion Zimmer Bradley has written an autobiographical account revealing the horrors of growing up in a home raised by LGBT parents who repeatedly sexually abused her and her brothers….
The trauma suffered by Moira and Patrick was so great that both of them chose a new last name, “Greyland,” to repudiate their parents’ last names. The abuse was not only sexual, but also physical and psychological, and was so savage that both siblings continue to suffer from powerful symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.[iii]
Greyland’s conclusion about this is about as un-politically correct – though not theologically incorrect — as one can get…
“[W]hy do materialists choose sex as their religion? Because in materialism, the core of human identity is in the biological, the natural, the instinctual – especially the sexual instincts” (Pearcey, 134).
“I have heard all the customary protestations. ‘Your parents were evil because they were evil, not because they were gay,’ but I disagree,” writes Moira Greyland in her new book, The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon.
“The underlying problem is a philosophical one that is based on beliefs that are not only common to gay culture but to popular culture. And this is the central belief: All Sex is Always Right No Matter What,” she wrote….
Greyland says she has spoken to many others who were raised by LGBT parents and their stories are very similar to her own.
“Every single child of gay parents with whom I spoke had certain things in common,” she writes in The Last Closet. “Those with only same-sex parents in the home ached for their missing parent and longed for a real father, and nearly all of us had been sexualized far too young.”
Nothing to see here. Move along…
But, oh, nevermind (we wouldn’t want to be politically incorrect, “insensitive” and worse, would we?)
Sexual liberty must reign — because it is essentially, in practice, false religious liberty.
Luther: “…it is a rule that whoever has started to neglect faith and conscience soon becomes a heretic and is forced to be zealous.”
What has happened here? How have we become so blind? Why must we now, as secularists increasingly insist, abandon our convictions or be kept from helping children? Why do so many remain convinced that they are actually helping? Why do so many conservatives who give in to the pressure remain convinced that they are helping?
Gerber’s popular new baby Lucas aside, don’t you silly Christians know, per Nietzsche, that aborting 90% of these is the compassionate thing to do?
Well, sin of course. And yet note the distinct, clever form it has taken in our place and context. Here, the very tolerance that Jesus’ love makes possible has now been turned against the Bible itself. Despite the biblical prohibitions to the contrary, more progressive Christians often support, for example, women’s ordination to the pastoral ministry. If you resist this, this is the basic “nice” answer you might get: “You simply do not understand what I am saying; but if you try, someday you will, and you will then embrace my position.”
That sounds really civil and all, but here is the bigger picture – with its persistent undercurrent – just in case you missed it:
- Then, if you “get it” on women’s ordination but are not the acceptance of homosexual behavior, you are an intolerant bigot, full of irrational animus
- Then, if you are for the acceptance of homosexual behavior but not gay adoption you are an intolerant bigot, full of irrational animus….
- Then, if you are for gay adoption but not….
See how it works?
Luther: “In His small flock He has poor and weak consciences that are easily hurt and are not easily comforted. He is a King of the strong and the weak alike; He hates the proud and declares war on the strong.”
God bless the simple natural families that seek to love one another and make their way in the world before Him!
Martin Luther majored in providing comfort to weak consciences – burdened “by the memory of former sins, actual sins, evil events, and the fear of future punishment” — through the Gospel of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
That said, Luther also vigorously upheld the importance of God’s law consistently forming the conscience of man — in the home of the Christian and beyond. Man needs both law and gospel. Before we can be comforted, we need to be confronted with the truth.
That includes the confronting the truth about America and confronting America with the truth.
Hope for compatibility? Well, which one first?
Not so long ago, a student of mine, speaking about a “seeker sensitive” megachurch he had attended, stated the following: “churches play an extremely valuable role in helping people feel the same freedom about their choices with religion that they are accustomed to feeling in other areas of life.”
Because capitalism has been so fantastically successful — with companies able to market directly to youth — the adolescent values ascendant in the 50s and 60s are quite dominant… — Heather MacDonald.
This made me think about something I had said in my 36 points explaining why I was now calling myself a “Liberal Christian Nationalist”. Point #20 said:
The hope that all persons would be able to freely express themselves and become the selves and nations they wish to be is true, pure and lovely (Philippians 4:8) – even as it is a hope that simply cannot reasonably be fulfilled in all situations.
Because of Classical Liberalism’s Bad Conscience?
Is this a lovely ideal that, in the end, is simply untenable in the world? That kicks against the goads of political realities? Because, we either cannot – or if we can we will not – be the people God created us to be? We who mock and blaspheme against God?
Contra David French, steamroll away Christian, unapologetically being formed and forming consciences by the word and grace of God. Converting and cowing your own and other’s flesh not with physical force, but with the Spirit of Truth.
Is that all the church militant does?: “Intersectionality steamrolls right over the lukewarm, leaving them converted or cowed. The answer, of course, isn’t to steamroll back — after all, our faith is supposed to be full of grace — but rather to respond with calm conviction” – David French
That’s right. We’ve been innocent as doves.
It’s time to be as wise as serpents….
Whatever you do, don’t despair – even if America fails – but lift up you heads….
Look to the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Come quickly Lord Jesus!
[i] So as not to be misunderstood: When love is awakened, as the Song of Solomon speaks of, a strength and vigor which stops at something (that is, rejection of the advances) is, to the world’s eyes, indistinguishable from one that stops at nothing.
[ii] To build on the above, is it, in general, wrong for a women to be attracted to a powerful man who, seemingly undeterred by rejection, gives every outward impression that he will strike while the iron is hot, so to speak?
[iii] More from the whole article, which is worth reading in full:
“Alarmingly, Greyland reveals that her parents’ sympathetic views of pedophilia and pederasty had been a public fact for decades, one known particularly among science fiction and fantasy fans who attended fan conferences. Science fiction fans documented Breen’s molestation of at least ten children by 1963, which had only resulted in his temporary exclusion from the largest science fiction fan convention, Worldcon, and was never reported to the police. Breen continued to attend conferences for many years afterward, baiting children he targeted with abuse with various science education gadgets that would attract their attention.
Greyland writes that Breen was an open member of the “North American Man-Boy Love Association,” and he saw his pederastic proclivities as a natural consequence of his homosexuality. He and Zimmer Bradley jointly published a journal on pederasty and pedophilia, The International Journal of Greek Love, in 1965 and 1966, and Zimmer wrote an article for it treating lesbian pedophilia in a positive manner.”
U2 on Vertigo Tour, CC 2.5 Generic, by Wikipedia brown ; 50 Shades stats pic licensed for use to me by https://www.statista.com/ ; Joy Pullian from http://thefederalist.com/author/joy-pullmann/ ; Figure skaters: http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Yannick+Kocon/ISU+World+Figure+Skating+Championships+Day/AuAnZUEynCJ ; Freud, Kinsey, Down’s syndrome boy (CC BY-SA 3.0) all CC from Wikipedia. Christian flag from Pixabay (free use).