"Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever." -Paul

28 August 2007

Animals and Angels

by Ben

I read The Song of Songs 3-4 and The Interpreter's Bible commentary "II. The Redemption of the Commonplace."

From the commentary:

"Love and sex are fundamentally different. A valid sex code would not confuse love needs with sex needs (as so many people do). It would recognize that the basic need of all people is for love. If love needs are met, sexual satisfactions will often become relatively unimportant. On the other hand, offering sex to the love hungry, whether within or outside of marriage, may result in making their condition worse instead of better."

This simple idea, without going into too much detail, broaches the topic of premarital sex. The desire for the physical act of sex is really a misplaced longing, the longing for love. Unfortunately for us, we are living in a time when sex is not considered sacred and physical pleasure is as accessible as a loaf of bread. The prevalence of pornography in its various forms has tainted many people's view of sex. This paradigm shift has served to further remove sex from being a sacred act of marriage and to dehumanize a sad majority of the population.

Rob Bell describes humans as being somewhere between animals and angels. Animals, which live by urges alone, and angels, which do not have physical urges because of their lack of a body.

"When we deny the spiritual dimension to our existence, we end up living like animals. And when we deny the physical, sexual dimension to our existence, we end up living like angels.

And both ways are destructive, because God made us human" (Bell 58).

"We have to talk about everything we're experiencing. Repressing and stuffing and refusing to acknowledge never works. Whether it's a friend or a group of peers or a priest or a pastor or a counselor, we have to get it out...You are not alone. Whatever you struggle with, whatever you have questions about, you are not alone. It doesn't matter how dark it is or how much shame or weakness or regret it involves, you are not alone.

Some say the struggle is about eros, which is where we get the word erotic. Others call it testosterone and blame it on hormones. The Greeks called it the madness of the gods. The truth is, we're crammed full of sexual energy. It's how we're made. We have cravings and desires and urges and temptations that can easily consume us and make us feel helpless in their presence. We have to talk about what we do with the forces that rage within us. We have to get it out of we will begin to die on the inside.

Some of the most comforting words in the universe are "me too." That moment when you find out that your struggle is also someone else's struggle, that you're not alone, and that others have been down the same road" (Bell 62).

Unfortunately, the church universal hasn't always been ready to talk about sexual matters. That is not to say that the Bible doesn't cover it. But as we read, and learn, and grow, individuals become more open and willing to talk about the realities of life. The term of the moment is "transparency." I try to live my life in a transparent way, so that all of my flaws are laid bare for all to see. In this way, I pray that my failings can help someone else to learn to follow God better.

As a final thought:

"The Church has always consecrated the union of man and woman in matrimony, and taught that marriage is a divine ordinance, and it is not unfitting that a book which expresses the spiritual and physical emotions on which matrimony rests should be given a place in the Canon of Scripture" (Commentary 126).


At 11:12 AM, Blogger Matt Wiggins said...

They quote Rob Bell in there? Now that's interesting.

I'm gonna be honest though, Ben, as interesting as the Interpreters' Bible is, I'm missing your own thoughts :(

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Ben George said...

No...sorry. They didn't quote Rob Bell...I misused quotation marks. The long quote is from Rob Bell in "Sex God." I'm trying to do research from multiple sources as I work through SOS. I'm trying to be very careful about what I put down in my own words, so I'm stealing from others and quoting the thoughts that I agree with here.

Although, I have found that my writing takes on more of a research paper feel when citing from other sources, so pay close attention to the notation (next time I'll get it write!) for clues to what are my own words.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Matt Wiggins said...

Ohhh, wow. Yeah, you definitely do take on another tone in these last few entries. Sorry I accused you such away. And nice pun on "get it write" :)


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