Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Presexualization part 2: Adult Education

Kids, sex, information, too soon, too much, too late, what to say, how to say it? From discussions we have had with other parents it is safe to say that few topics invoke amazing fear in the hearts of parents like discussing sex with their kids. I personally think that fear comes from a lack of knowledge. Let's see if we can remedy some of that.

OK everybody, get your thesaurus, dictionary and maybe even a calculator out and be ready to use them.  Blake has the stage again. Usually babbling on about history and whatever gives me a headache and I tune it out, but Blake has really researched this stuff and it actually does make sense...give it a read and see what you think.

I will be speaking strictly from my experience and rather extensive research, but in no way do I claim to have a monopoly on sexual information, much less some magical approach on how to discuss it with kids. This would be a great post for some of you more experienced parents to share your successes and failures in this area...if you feel so inspired.

After an adolescent and adult life contemplating sexuality, primarily attempting to reconcile hormones, unhealthy behaviors/thoughts, faith and God, here's what I have been able to determine through experience, prayer, thought, science and a rather unorthodox yet in depth theological research project. First let me say that a few years back I started writing a book on "Sexual Theology" based on the above and I can't possibly cover it all but I'll attempt to hit the important points. Maybe this will serve as a catalyst to finish writing the book.

Let's look at some history: So God creates Adam and the Biblical text says, God created man in His image...the Imago Dei. God designed Adam for community and relationship which is also part of the Imago Dei. Unfortunately, Adam had no one with which to share relationship so God divides Adam. God's image is divided into Adam and Eve. I'll go a step further and say that God is completely masculine (i.e. Father, Son) and is also completely feminine (i.e. the Holy Spirit being a "great comforter" and other traits/roles more traditionally associated with the feminine).

So Adam, one half of the Imago Dei, and Eve, one half of the Imago Dei, are in the presence of each other for the first time ever...EVER in the history of the WORLD...and God is about to make the first introduction between two people that represent His image. He cordially says, "Adam, I'd like to introduce you to Eve"...or maybe He doesn't.
God says something relatively simple but amazingly profound. God says to do something that will confound the world for some and will make the world bright & beautiful for others. Simplistic complexity exists when God says...and this is MY paraphrase...
"Adam and Eve, get together, have sex and become "one" again. It hasn't been long since you were "one" so this will feel like home for you all. In fact, in the moments in which you are truly united physically and spiritually, you will know that I have designed the thoughts, feelings, hormones, chemicals, sights, sounds, tastes and touches found only in that place between a husband and a wife.
This will not be simply a physical act to be done to varying degrees and with ebbing interest by horny teens, intrigued newlyweds, addicted adults and senile old retirees. This will be a spiritual, physical and emotional venture that will accurately reflect my Imago Dei and through it you will be blessed in ways that will have you screaming my name".

So what the heck!?!? God's first command to a couple was to have sex? Yes. In my mind that makes it incredibly important for couples and it is proof that God is concerned about sex. Moreover, God calls sex "very good". For many that idea may seem foreign at best and at worst, sacrilege. I think it is simply the story of creation as revealed in the Bible. So what is sex for and what is it about? I think it is primarily an act of worship, obedience and celebration. It was created by God for God. How strange to the average church attender to think that God enjoys His followers having sex. Is God a gigantic cosmic voyeur? Is the Holy Spirit a peeping-tom? Well, not exactly.

I would say that God enjoys human sexuality in the same way a screen writer enjoys seeing actors and directors carrying out accurately his intent. Accurately reflecting the passions, the nuances and the details the writer imagined some time before the stage was ever set. So too has God set before his people a blessing among blessings. God knows that through Godly intimacy, which very much includes sex, His Imago Dei is revealed and His children are blessed for living out the very unity and intimacy God commanded.

So that is the overly simplified Biblical account of  human sexuality. What has happened in christendom since is nothing short of a tragedy and even blasphemy. For God's people to allow the world to largely define a creation of God, and to do so in ways that do not reflect God's heart of the matter, is blasphemous. Rather than loudly proclaiming the truth about human sexuality, christians have remained silent...largely lending credibility to the molestation and altering of God's "very good" creation (God's words, not mine-though I agree). Unfortunately, christians have been wussies in the area of sex and through our passivity (listed in the book of Revelation as one of the sins of which people in hell will be guilty) our culture has demeaned sex, cheapened sex, removed intimacy from sexuality and objectified humans. Few things angered God/Jesus in scripture like the objectification of humans.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out that the negative issues above are not new with the invention of pornographic magazines, porn flicks or even MTV. These issues began prior to the birth of Christ with Plato. We won't go into much detail here but Platonic Form Theory (look it up if need be) challenged the idea of a singular life. That is to say that mankind was an interrelated combination of body, mind and spirit. Plato suggested essentially that dual worlds exist (again, for the sake of brevity I am being incredibly simplistic). Plato placed a higher priority and importance on the spiritual life and left the physical life in some inferior place. So how could Plato and his theories impact christians some 2300 years later.

Unfortunately, christians accepted the platonic teachings generation after generation. Men typically known as heroes of faith or early church fathers fell victim to platonic theory. Constantine, Augustine and Eusibeus from the first few centuries after the death and resurrection of Jesus all accepted this teaching. We could walk century by century until we land in our life times without ever seeing a wholesale denial of this teaching. This is important because the idea that spiritual matters are divorced from physical matters is antithetical to Biblical teaching and it also degredates the accurate placement of human sexuality in the reality established by God. For example, no wonder sexual comments, teachings and discussions are largely absent and considered inappropriate in christian churches when one of the most well-known fathers of the faith, St. Augustine, said, "how lustful is man from his birth even as he suckles at his mother's breast that it is only fitting for such a beast that he is born between urine and feces". What a nice thought, right?

So here we are at some sexual crossroads. God creates it, places amazing blessings in the confines of it and calls it very good. The world, aided from years by a silent and misguided church, has defiled the creation and now assigns sexuality somewhere between temptation to "be real and free", a banal conquest and a great marketing idea. So where will we fall on this sexual paradigm? What will our kids hear from us? How will we lead them to healthy sexuality in a world awashed with dysfunctional sexuality? Will our kids find sex and intimacy that binds, heals and blesses or a sexuality that divides, hurts and curses? Well, that decision is up to you. Brook and I have personally lost too much in the fall of sexuality from its divine intent to risk our boys walking a similar path. So let's get into the specifics of what our kids should know, when they should know it and how we can best frame the discussion so that it is an ongoing conversation rather than "the talk".  It seems to me that this will require a part 3 to this discussion....stay tuned.