Sexuality and Chastity -the Church’s perspective. Sexuality as Divine Fire. Life is a gift from God, and sexuality is a great power within life so that we might also create life. In Genesis, after God creates, he says “It is good; indeed, it is very good.”
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Sexuality as Divine Fire • Life is a gift from God, and sexuality is a great power within life so that we might also create life. • In Genesis, after God creates, he says “It is good; indeed, it is very good.” • Mature sexuality is when we co-create with God, break out of selfishness and feel as God feels when he looks at creation.
Sexuality as Divine Fire • Sexuality - the centre of the spiritual life. • Healthy sexuality - leads to selflessness and joy. • Unhealthy sexuality - revolves around selfishness and unhappiness. • Happiness in life hinges on how healthy is our approach towards sexuality.
Sexuality as Divine Fire • Spirituality helps us understand sexuality correctly. • The power of sexuality can be the most powerful force on the planet, for love, life and blessing. • Abuse of this can lead to death, hate and destruction
Toward a Christian Understanding of Sexuality • Sexuality as an Awareness of Having Been Cut Off • Sexuality versus Genitality • A Christian Definition of Sexuality • A Few Nonnegotiable Christian Principles
Sexuality as an Awareness of Having Been Cut Off • Latin root word of ‘sex’ is secare - ‘to cut off’ or ‘to sever’. • To be ‘sexed’ is to be cut off from the whole. • A cut off branch of a tree would know that if it wants to flower and fruit, it needs to reconnect itself to the tree.
In our experience of life, we are also ‘cut off’ from the great whole in our existence. • In our craving for sex, we are actually craving for a re-connection. • Sex is a dimension of our very awareness. • .We sense that we are incomplete, unwhole, lonely, cut off, from a whole. • We long for union. The sexes are like that.
Alone, we are incomplete and aching for a wholeness. • This ache is an energy that is painful and great at the same time. • It is the engine that drives our body and spirit. • Sexuality thus is not just about having sex. Sex and having sex are NOT the same.
2. Sexuality verses Genitality • Sexuality - The drive for love, communion, community, friendship, family, affection, wholeness, consummation, creativity, self-perpetuation, immortality, joy, delight, humour, self-transcendence.
Genitality - (having sex) is only one aspect of the larger reality of sexuality. • Genitality is only one particular focus of energy for a specific purpose. • Do NOT look down upon genitality as did many of our earlier spiritual fathers may have. • Celibacy is not to be seen as a spiritual ideal. • Sex is perhaps one of God’s greatest gift to life (animal and human).
At its best, genitality offers humans the opportunity of genuine intimacy this side of heaven. • Theologians have even seen the sexual encounter as a taste of heaven. • Genitality does not hold all that sexuality is supposed to carry (the world’s view) • Popular culture sees sex as only having sex - a tragic reduction.
We can have lots of sex but still lack real love, community, family, friendship. • We can be celibate and have all these.
3. A Christian Definition of Sexuality • Sexuality is a good, powerful, sacred energy given by God to overcome our incompleteness. • It is given to find our way back to the Garden of Eden - to make us co-creators with God. • Sexuality in its full bloom has many faces.
Sexuality is not about finding a lover of a friend. It is about overcoming separateness by giving life and blessing it. • Mature sexuality is about giving oneself over to community, friendship, family, service, creativity, humour, delight, so that we can help bring life to the world.
4. A Few Nonnegotiable Christian Principles. • Sex is something sacred. • Sex must be linked to marriage, monogamy, and a covenantal commitment that is all-embracing and permanent. • Sex is an inner dynamic that leads its partners to sanctity. • Sex always needs the protection of a healthy chastity.
Chastity is not the same as celibacy. • Chastity has to do with an all experiencing, and the appropriateness of any experience. • Chastity is reverence. Sin is irreverence. • Chastity is non-violence and non-violating. • Chastity maintains integration - wholeness.
Chaste acts do not cross others’ moral, psychological, emotional, aesthetic and sexual boundaries. • People are gifts in our lives, and chastity preserves this gift. • We lack chastity when we cross boundaries prematurely or irreverently. • Chastity is patience and respect, leading to gratitude and joy.
Sex always needs the protection of chastity. • Sexuality is an energy that is powerful and is not always friendly. • Sexuality is a holy fire that is a good servant but a bad master. • Before sex, there needs to be some taboos.
Our culture objects to this. Sexual revolution fought this. • Did the sexual revolution help us to: • -relieve loneliness? • -build lasting communities? • -build more stable souls? • -result in less sexual exploitation of others? • -create a society of less lonely, more loving, more gracious and happy adults?
Christianity has struggled to celebrate fully and in a healthy way sexual passion. • The world is struggling to honestly look at what happens to our innocence when we devalue chastity. • Both need to learn from each other. • Passion and chastity, sex and purity must be brought together.
Abuses of the gift of sexuality • Manipulating others sexually, treating them as objects • Rape • Pornography, prostitution • Fornication • Masturbation • Homosexual genital acts
Christianity must be the moral force that challenges all to celebrate the goodness of sex. • Otherwise, Christianity will always be seen as the enemy. • Our culture must re-learn the values of chastity and purity. • The world must admit that there is a terrible price to pay for devaluing chastity and purity.
Our lives as unconsummated passion - A Christian Perspective • The frustration of an unfinished piece of art. • In this world, there is no full joy - we are always frustrated. • This applies to our sexuality - we all have needs that are not met, and may not even be met. • Key to understanding the following is important
Understand the time we are living in. - (interim time). b. Understand that sexuality has a very ‘wide’ hunger.
How to handle this ‘restlessness’ - Turn it into a healthy solitude. - Solitude: making this aloneness into a strength that gives strength to others. • Accept that we are incomplete and dis-eased. • Stop expecting that there will be a perfect solution to be completely happy in this life. • Get familiar with an inner journey. • Know that this journey is an unending discovery of self.
d. See sexual restlessness as oneness with the poor • Jesus reveals something by his incarnation as a sexual being. • Shows that love and sex are not the same thing, and that chastity and ‘waiting’ and inconsummation are important in this in-between time • His celibacy was key to his solidarity with the poor.
In choosing aloneness, Christ was one with those who did not choose this but were victims of poverty, violence, war, and and unjust economic system. • To sleep alone is to be poor, to be stigmatized; to be outside of the norm. • Sexual inconsummation puts us together with the victims. • Even married people have this element of ‘aloneness’ and they must use this energy creatively.
e. In its inadequacy, our love has a real power. • In our deepest relationships, we need a confessor, someone we can stop lying to, someone we don’t have to wear masks in front of, someone to whom we know that our love we give is not enough. • We need to acknowledge that parts of us will forever remain untouched.
This ‘tragedy’ has a life-giving power. Knowing that it’s there allows us to rise above it. • Once this is accepted, we come to the centre where even in its inadequacies, marriage and celibacy are places where God in his brokenness exist.