The title of this blog post is essentially everything on my Facebook newsfeed over the last two weeks.
I have read (or more recently, just scrolled past) dozens of blog articles by dozens of people about each of these topics. In some of the ministry groups I’m a part of on Facebook, these articles and topics are being discussed more than anything else. Yoga Pants, Gay Marriage, and 50 Shades of Grey.
For the record, nearly all of these blog posts and articles have the same message, regardless of which topic they’re addressing: Don’t. Don’t. And Don’t.
Of course, it makes sense that they would all come to the same conclusion. They’re all talking about the same thing.
Sex. Sex. And Sex.
And so the question that jumps into my mind is, “Are we capable of talking about anything else?”
As I think back on my history with the church, I’ve noticed that the churches I’ve attended and the American culture I’m a part of tend to be pretty well-aligned on most major issues (even ones that I’m not sure we should be aligned on). Where Christians tend to deviate from society isn’t on the death penalty, or on violence and war, or even on charity and love. No, where Christianity and the world come in conflict with each other is on sexual ethics.
When the show Man Vs. Food comes on, I don’t see any Christians protesting the gluttony of the show. When movies like 300 came out, there weren’t a series of blog posts attacking the violent nature of the film. But when a movie comes out depicting an unhealthy BDSM relationship, all of a sudden, my newsfeed is filled with people condemning the worldly nature of the film. Why? Because it’s sexual. And sex is kind of the church’s thing.
And I don’t think that it should be.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important for Christians to have a strong sexual ethic. Part of living a life with God is giving over control of your desires to him. But as important as it is for Christians to submit every aspect of their lives to God (including sex), it just doesn’t need to dominate our conversation like it does.
When all the Church has to offer the world is a stronger sexual ethic, the Church has nothing to offer. If the only thing that is going to set the Church apart is that we don’t let gay people have sex, or we don’t read literary porn (unless its Song of Solomon!), or we don’t wear clothing that might lead to lust, then we’re failing in our mission as the church.
What ought to separate the Church from the world is the transformative power of Christ. We ought to be identified by Christ who lives in us. We ought to be known for the way we love other people. We ought to be posting articles about how Christians can help end sex trafficking, or can help the marginalized and oppressed come to be integrated into the community of the church, and be relieved of their suffering. And sure, when you enter into a relationship with Christ, eventually that ought to lead to a better sexual ethic, but that shouldn’t be what defines the Church among the world.
For many people, what they’re going to see as they scroll through their newsfeed is that the church says nearly all sex is bad. And that’s only going to be reinforced as we draw our battle lines around issues like yoga pants, gay marriage, and 50 shades of grey.
So let’s move the battle lines. Let us rally around Christ instead of around proper sexual behavior. Let us be identified by something other than what we think is okay to do with your genitals. Let us be a Church that brings blessings to the poor, the meek, the oppressed, the hungry, the thirsty, the lonely, and the marginalized. Let us be known for our generosity, for our love of others, for our forgiveness, for our service, for our faith, for our hope, and most importantly, for our Christ.
We might just wind up making a real difference.