the sex knot - part 3

Here is Part 1 and Part 2.

So now that I have elaborated about my view of the responsibilities that come alongside having a healthy relationship with sex, I feel more comfortable eventually delving into the two major current debates that I have been having with various Christians over the past year: gay marriage and abortion. I don't write this to convert anyone to my side of thinking. As a debater, my biggest issue is that I understand where the people that disagree with me are coming from (because I have been them), and so I don't take a stand and say "this is my opinion." Normally I say "well this is the other side that disagrees with what you're saying." I actually believe that if God's will can be identified in any of this, it is the will that both sides be represented enough to have the struggle. Will it reach an inevitable conclusion? If we look at the past to arguments that have been similar, like slavery, racism, misogyny- we're still working them out all over the world, so I would say, not until Jesus returns.

But anyway, in my view, both the debates on gay rights and pro-life/pro-choice actually come to debates about sex. This may seem surprising because no one ever actually mentions sex itself, the closest people come is talking about babies. Just like in regular life, actually talking about sex open and honestly is avoided. I believe this is because people have had no practice and are not comfortable discussing sex with other people. It always gets awkward. Thus, my emphasis on understanding the sex knot in our brains and passing that information on as open and honestly as possible, first to those closest to us that require the benefit. If we want these debates to progress beyond where they are at, we have to raise the level of dialogue. We have to get to the root of the issue. We have to be more open and honest about what we all think about sex. Eventually, we have to own our opinions about sex and share them with people who don't know us very well.

Why don't we share what we think about sex now? Why don't we struggle through the awkwardness? It's because on the other side of the awkwardness is the threat of judgement. Even now, as I write these words, a part of my mind is wondering who is going to look down on me for them. For my culture, where I come from, I squarely place blame for this on the church- it's all tied up in their history. I have a general understanding of how following Jesus became a legalistic and judgment based religion, which I think would be helpful to share. Note that I am presenting this in an incredibly simplified manner, and also, there is definitely a strong bias towards the Anabaptist perspective.

The first Christians were Jewish. They were Jews that believed Jesus was The Messiah. At the time, there were people who followed other men that were not Jesus, but were also claiming to be The Messiah. When those "messiahs" died, so did their movements. This did not happen with Jesus, in fact the inverse happened, (arguably) because of His resurrection. Soon after Jesus walked the earth, He revealed to the disciples that followed him: not only was he the Messiah for the Jews but for the rest of the world as well! This is when the Jewish Christians started falling out of favour with the other Jews, because they were mixing with people who were "unclean." Then the Christians started falling out of favour with the Romans (who are ruling) because Ceaser was supposed to be their god, and no matter what way you slice it they couldn't recognize him as such. So for about 300 years being identified as a Christian meant people would probably try to kill you. But then, Constantine is the Roman Emperor and he becomes a Christian! The problem is being a ruler of an empire (which is always in a battle to conquer land or defend it) alongside following the way of Jesus makes you a huge hypocrite and threatens the existence of your Empire. But, if the Christians could reconcile this problem then they could stop being murdered!
How could Constantine be a Christian AND an Emperor? Enter Augustine. Augustine was probably not the first person to twist around Jesus' words such that it was suddenly OK to kill people in His name, but Augustine is certainly the most famous first person to do it. People still quote Augustine's writings today, his logic (especially when it comes to war) is still held as sound. Now the church had a place of power, and with it they exerted control. The church formed opinions on lots of different things which they implemented like laws. So from Jesus, the Man who said no human (aside from himself) is in a righteous enough position to judge another human; the Man whose main adversaries are the Pharisees (Jews that care more about following the letter of the law than understanding its intention); the Man who gave us the new commandment: to love God above all else and then to love others as we love ourselves... In Jesus' name the church turns into a judgemental, legalistic, institution of persecution. And the biggest legalism they fixate on is sexual purity.

I'm talking pre-protestant reformation still. The biggest authorities on sex were people who had vowed never to have sex! This can only produce ignorance. Then the protestant reformation happens. The reformation was essentially a whole bunch of Christians saying "Dear Church, you are so judgemental you can't even follow your own rules. We're leaving- you're now the Catholics. Peace out."  And then those new Protestants were like "OK people, this is the RIGHT way to judge other people." So while the new Protestants reformed a lot of the legalism that had been introduced into following Jesus, they kept a lot of it too. Including the sexual purity stuff. So, now days, while it might be fine in certain denominations for a leader of a church to have a wife and engage in sex (WHAT?!), we still hold to these ideas that were made up by the early church in order to control sex and a lot of Christians still use these ideas to pass judgement on other people- including hypothetical ones. 

I understand where the ideas of sexual purity come from in the bible- and I'm not trying to say they are wrong. The bible is a tool, used so that one can connect with God. It's not a weapon to be used to cut other people down. The problem I have is that people hold on to sexual purity so tightly that they let go of other ideas Jesus spent way more of his teachings on. Imagine if Christians cared as much about controlling urges to judge people as they do about controlling urges to have sex with people. Or as much about taking care of the poor. We would live in a different world.

*A note on my lack of sources: 
If you are curious about something I have said, feel free to message me or leave a comment. My opinions and ideas have been formed over years of study, so right now I just have a list of the general major influences that have created these thoughts. The things I present as fact are things that were presented as fact to me, and then sat in my head for a long time- this is only my perspective, only how I see the world. If you want to know more about where my perspective comes from check out:

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