Read this piece about female masturbation and lust at Christianity Today and wonder at how anyone in the conservative Christian Church lives a daily life without constantly being distracted by their pants-parts.
Read Andrea Grimes’ tweets on the matter as well, because they are really quite funny and on point and well, highlight the eroticism in the actual writing about Christ that they rail against in people.
Then read this, found at Patheos about Purity Culture and Consent (how consent is absent from discussions in Purity Culture Circles). Libby Anne writes extensively about an article by Samantha Field on evangelical norms around sex. In Samantha’s words:
They don’t teach consent because teaching consent would undermine one of their basic assumptions about people. Namely, the assumption that every single last person–most especially men, but also women–are basically nymphos who are straining at their leashes every single second of every single day and if you let that sex-crazed beast out for even just a moment then BAM it’s all over and you’re not a virgin anymore and that’s horrible because now you’re a half-eaten candybar or a cup full of spit.
This is why the “how far is too far?” question is almost unanimously answered with “you can’t do anything that might get your motor going, because the second you’re aroused– at all– there’s virtually nothing you’ll be able to do to stop yourself from having sex.”
To them, consent is always guaranteed. There’s no such thing as a person who would say no to an opportunity to have sex. Ever. The only thing you have to do to give consent is be alive.
and in Libby’s:
As Samantha goes on to explain, evangelicals tend to see sex within marriage as a duty or an obligation. At the very least, evangelical women are told that if they don’t have enough sex with their husbands, their husbands will go elsewhere for sex. Within marriage, sex is seen as a given, and consent as unimportant. The closest evangelicals tend to go toward dealing with marital rape is to stress that the Bible commands husbands to love their wives.
And for people who aren’t married, well, they’re not supposed to be having sex either way. Consent doesn’t matter because nothing remotely near sex should be occurring. Consent doesn’t matter because sexual activity is wrong regardless of consent.
Then finally, this open letter to the Methodist Church regarding the potential ordination of a young woman, Mary Ann Barclay. Mary Ann is a lesbian and so because she is in a relationship, “practicing,” she most likely will be rejected from ordination because…sex.
I dare anyone to speak against that letter with any logic or meaning other than sheer prejudice. Because some men thousands of years ago in a particular cultural context wrote things about sexuality? Which isn’t even comparable to today’s world? If scripture is the living word (and it certainly has been edited, translated, codified, books brought in, thrown out) then shouldn’t today’s culture and needs be part of that life? If the American church can accept it’s error around slavery why not this?
I am troubled with Christianity’s seeming obsession with sex.
I look out at the evangelical world (generally from the conservative side) with their fear of cross-sex friendships, their purity fixation (only about sex, surely they aren’t out railing about our food and water supply and the environment) which SO toxifies the soul of children and only compounds shame in men and women, their privileged arguments about whether or not sexuality is an orientation as if they just get to decide who can experience marriage (something they see as a sacred covenant-sure you can civil union but God won’t bless it, how horrifying of a position and how it dehumanizes THEM and they can’t see it), how apparently masturbation is just lust (instead of a soothing mechanism, a stress reliever, a way to enjoy YOU, and a method to teach you about your own pleasure needs), and I feel this mixture of rage, anger, and pity.
Humans evolve, so too should the word. So too should the texts we consider sacred. Right now, we have old words, mangled through time and there are a lot of politically powerful people holding onto those old words (hardly the living word) and making decisions using those words to create and maintain classes of people, to justify war and torture, to attack people who just want to be in a FREAKING marriage, who want their kids to understand pregnancy prevention, who want women to carry rapists babies, and who could care less about what’s happening to our children, our land, our actual freedoms.
Mary Ann Barclay IS the living word. Let her live and let her minister for a minister is already is, no matter whether she gets rubber-stamped and magic dusted.
Repression breeds obsession and then the obsession provokes them to repress further. Meanwhile, people are being really and truly hurt and for no reason other than prejudice and fear. Mono or poly, gay or straight or celibate, choice or orientation, I think one can serve others.
Says Sid Hall in his letter to the board:
I ask you again: How does your sexual orientation shape your daily pastoral duties? How did it inform your original call by God into ministry, to your commitment to Wesley’s Works, to your understanding of atonement, to your ability to articulate the means of grace? We cannot, and would not, be separated from our sexuality, nor should we be. But should our orientation qualify us, or disqualify us, from ministry?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these topics.