Author Topic: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality  (Read 2725 times)

Pasgolf

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A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« on: October 15, 2017, 05:07:48 PM »
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/452683/sex-consent-morality-culture-ruined-sexual-revolution

David French makes the case that the acquiescence to a "culture of consent" leads instead to a culture of oppression. He challenges the church to stop withholding one of its strongest messages to culture, namely that of sexual commitment in chastity. 
Mark (retired pastor, golfs the pastures) Renner

Dave Likeness

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 05:45:21 PM »
Once our contemporary culture declared that the 10 Commandments were obsolete,
then the 6th Commandment was ignored and adultery was in vogue.

The Christian husband and wife see their marriage as a life long commitment to be
faithful to their wedding vows.  They pray for God's blessing on their relationship
and nurture their marriage by a strong intake of Word and Sacrament.  They will
worship the Lord each week in their local congregation and have the support of other
Christian couples in their parish.

Bottom Line:  People who live by "Situational Ethics" believe there are no moral absolutes.
Each individual is free to define right or wrong for their own particular situation.  Hook Ups
or One Night Stands become the norm as people assert their independence from God.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 05:55:31 PM by Dave Likeness »

SomeoneWrites

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 10:19:43 PM »
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/452683/sex-consent-morality-culture-ruined-sexual-revolution

David French makes the case that the acquiescence to a "culture of consent" leads instead to a culture of oppression. He challenges the church to stop withholding one of its strongest messages to culture, namely that of sexual commitment in chastity.

I think his argument as presented is a straw-man.  Consent is a baseline, to be sure.  No consent- no sex.  But it's not the only line. 

Quote
You can sum up the sexual ethic of the sexual revolutionary in one sentence: Except in the most extreme circumstances (such as incest), consenting adults define their own moral norms.
This is phrased wonky.  It shouldn't be defined in one sentence.  There's also social constructions and other factors. 

Quote
One-night stands? Fine, so long as there’s consent.
In and of itself, yeah, sure.  What else is going on there?

Quote
May/December relationships. Fantastic, so long as there’s consent.
And other factors - no abuse, manipulation, etc.  If both people are on common ground about what it is, then most likely.  Again, what else is going on.

Quote
Workplace liaisons between boss and subordinate? No problem, with consent.
Woah, there.  There's some proverbs not in the Bible that speak to this.  Company ink...  where you eat... etc.
It's not illegal in many cases, but there are things like conflicts of interest and issues of power, about which people should be educated.  It is understood that sexual harassment is a thing - so who is saying that people should JUST be about consent?


Quote
Adultery? Yes, there are tears, but the heart wants what it wants.
This is also wonky. 

It's more about consumer vs. covenant relationships.  Consent is a necessary part of both.  Covenant relationships are the strongest ones, and breaking the agreements (whatever they may be) is where the tears really come. 

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Rev Mathew Andersen

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 10:47:09 PM »
"Is there any issue that the church has been more defensive about — and retreated more from — than its biblical sexual ethics?"

Um, what?  Seriously, when has the church as a whole ever retreated from biblical sexual ethics?  I will agree we have done a lousy job of confronting certain sexual sins like divorce.  But we certainly have never given the impression we were in favor of such things.  He may be right that a culture of consent produces oppression.  But what rock has he been living under for the last 30 years that made him think the church has retreated on biblical sexual ethics? Over all he lost credibility for me on that sentence.


SomeoneWrites

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2017, 12:24:07 AM »
"Is there any issue that the church has been more defensive about — and retreated more from — than its biblical sexual ethics?"

Um, what?  Seriously, when has the church as a whole ever retreated from biblical sexual ethics?  I will agree we have done a lousy job of confronting certain sexual sins like divorce.  But we certainly have never given the impression we were in favor of such things.  He may be right that a culture of consent produces oppression.  But what rock has he been living under for the last 30 years that made him think the church has retreated on biblical sexual ethics? Over all he lost credibility for me on that sentence.

I pretty much agree with you on all counts.  I don't think even the liberal churches support hook-up/consent-only culture. 
And again, I don't think it's a consent-only culture. 
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Charles Austin

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 04:01:34 AM »
Pooh. This is a typical National Review overstatement, touched with hysteria and hostility. (Oh, how I long for the days of the sensible and genial William F. Buckley!) The churches I have pastored certainly do not support the "hook-up" culture, nor have I done anything (I hope) to encourage or endorse a casual approach to sexuality, which says that only "consent" matters.
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Matt Hummel

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 08:55:19 AM »
Pooh. This is a typical National Review overstatement, touched with hysteria and hostility. (Oh, how I long for the days of the sensible and genial William F. Buckley!) The churches I have pastored certainly do not support the "hook-up" culture, nor have I done anything (I hope) to encourage or endorse a casual approach to sexuality, which says that only "consent" matters.

Charles- I do not doubt your word about what you have done in the parishes you have pastored. But I am sure that you are aware that that number is a vanishingly small percentage of ELCA congregations. If you don't think that commitment to the "consent" model damaged the Church, I would ask you to look east across the Hudson. Bp. Sudbrock's pusuit of the White Whale of consent damn near imploded the synod. And in his letter explaining his actions, he never once cited the fact that the pastor for whom he was gunning was guilty of adultery (a violation of covenant) all while talking about power and consent. I know this is not the only case out there.
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James_Gale

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 08:57:38 AM »
Pooh. This is a typical National Review overstatement, touched with hysteria and hostility. (Oh, how I long for the days of the sensible and genial William F. Buckley!) The churches I have pastored certainly do not support the "hook-up" culture, nor have I done anything (I hope) to encourage or endorse a casual approach to sexuality, which says that only "consent" matters.


I just don’t see hysteria or overstatement in the linked essay. Could you identify specifically where you believe French has engaged in either?

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2017, 09:08:34 AM »
Pooh. This is a typical National Review overstatement, touched with hysteria and hostility. (Oh, how I long for the days of the sensible and genial William F. Buckley!)
Well, pooh back at you.  Despite your shout out to Buckley (not unlike contemporary liberals pining for the "reasonable" Ronald Reagan in the age of Trump...as if), I simply don't believe you read National Review enough to be qualified to make such a judgment.

Now if you want examples of hysteria and hostility, I would recommend both Slate and Salon, the .com variety I regularly read to "understand" all sides.

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peter_speckhard

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2017, 10:46:49 AM »

And again, I don't think it's a consent-only culture.
What are the facets of sexual morality apart from the issue of consent that you think are operative among the progessives that drive our academic and popular culture?

It seems to me we've rid ourselves of any vestige of the idea that sex has a purpose beyond pleasure, that sex, love, marriage, and procreation are designed to be intertwined, and that some sexual desires are perverse as desires because they are inherently disordered. I was once read a case where a judge banned a teenager from owning pets because the boy had had sex with his dog, but the judge's ludicrous reasoning was that it might have been uncomfortable to the dog (again, consent issues), not that sex with animals is immoral. Even pedophilia is only considered problematic because of age of consent issues, not because it is perverse to lust after children. Sodomy, three-or-more-somes, prostitution, pornography, sado-masochism, and basically whatever bizarre fetish you can think of are all treated as matters of, "We're consenting adults, we're not hurting anyone, who are you to judge?" You have to hurt someone against their will to be considered immoral. Basically we've gotten rid of the 6th and treated all things sexual under the 5th.

 

MaddogLutheran

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 11:18:55 AM »
It seems to me we've rid ourselves of any vestige of the idea that sex has a purpose beyond pleasure, that sex, love, marriage, and procreation are designed to be intertwined, and that some sexual desires are perverse as desires because they are inherently disordered. I was once read a case where a judge banned a teenager from owning pets because the boy had had sex with his dog, but the judge's ludicrous reasoning was that it might have been uncomfortable to the dog (again, consent issues), not that sex with animals is immoral. Even pedophilia is only considered problematic because of age of consent issues, not because it is perverse to lust after children. Sodomy, three-or-more-somes, prostitution, pornography, sado-masochism, and basically whatever bizarre fetish you can think of are all treated as matters of, "We're consenting adults, we're not hurting anyone, who are you to judge?" You have to hurt someone against their will to be considered immoral. Basically we've gotten rid of the 6th and treated all things sexual under the 5th.
Actually, I think the problem is that we are still unwinding the excessive criminality of particular moral taboos.  That's not to say that some immoral things shouldn't also be illegal.  Along the way, when a particular action is decriminalized, people can't agree what that means culturally.

Watching the currently trendy "nostalgic" TV shows, set in recent earlier eras (before cell phones, the deus ex machina that stifles dramatic tension), the moral preachiness that one encounters, particularly with regard to homosexuality, can be tedious.  Personally, I DO sympathize with closeted characters on Endeavour or Inspector Gently, who don't just face public shaming for acting on their forbidden sexual preferences, but jail time (or should I write that "gaol"  ;) ).  These situations were unjust.

The bottom line is that one can respectfully believe that a man shouldn't go to jail for consensual sodomy, while still believing that it is a sin.  I've made similar arguments about abortion here.  Just because abortion isn't outlawed doesn't mean we can't argue against exercising that "choice" in the culture.

Sterling Spatz
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 11:27:31 AM by MaddogLutheran »
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peter_speckhard

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 11:48:21 AM »
It seems to me we've rid ourselves of any vestige of the idea that sex has a purpose beyond pleasure, that sex, love, marriage, and procreation are designed to be intertwined, and that some sexual desires are perverse as desires because they are inherently disordered. I was once read a case where a judge banned a teenager from owning pets because the boy had had sex with his dog, but the judge's ludicrous reasoning was that it might have been uncomfortable to the dog (again, consent issues), not that sex with animals is immoral. Even pedophilia is only considered problematic because of age of consent issues, not because it is perverse to lust after children. Sodomy, three-or-more-somes, prostitution, pornography, sado-masochism, and basically whatever bizarre fetish you can think of are all treated as matters of, "We're consenting adults, we're not hurting anyone, who are you to judge?" You have to hurt someone against their will to be considered immoral. Basically we've gotten rid of the 6th and treated all things sexual under the 5th.
Actually, I think the problem is that we are still unwinding the excessive criminality of particular moral taboos.  That's not to say that some immoral things shouldn't also be illegal.  Along the way, when a particular action is decriminalized, people can't agree what that means culturally.

Watching the currently trendy "nostalgic" TV shows, set in recent earlier eras (before cell phones, the deus ex machina that stifles dramatic tension), the moral preachiness that one encounters, particularly with regard to homosexuality, can be tedious.  Personally, I DO sympathize with closeted characters on Endeavour or Inspector Gently, who don't just face public shaming for acting on their forbidden sexual preferences, but jail time (or should I write that "gaol"  ;) ).  These situations were unjust.

The bottom line is that one can respectfully believe that a man shouldn't go to jail for consensual sodomy, while still believing that it is a sin.  I've made similar arguments about abortion here.  Just because abortion isn't outlawed doesn't mean we can't argue against exercising that "choice" in the culture.

Sterling Spatz
Agreed. But the campaign about criminality is long since over, which is why the judge I was talking about was in a bind; he wanted to somehow establish that sex with dogs is wrong, but he wasn't allowed to anymore in a legal opinion. And that was over ten years ago.

My question to those who think our progressive ideas about sexual morality aren't strictly limited to consent is, okay, what else besides consent is in play? The campaign seems to be not only to decriminalize but to normalize and celebrate any and all sexual desire and bevahior as the exact moral equivalent of a man and wife sleeping together.

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2017, 09:58:55 PM »
The big unanswered and - so far as I know - unsurvey question is: Why do our people no longer believe what the Church has taught and is teaching. My confirmands heard me and my predecessors, but when they came a few years later for marriage, they were already living with their fiancé, and had probably lived with someone else as well.
Co-habitation is as widespread in the "evangelical" and "conservative" churches as it is in the "liberal" churches. So...?
I have at times in the past speculated that one of the ways that we in the Church squandered our teaching authority was the insistence on teaching about the earth, evolution, and the universe that did not square with science. We bless the greed of capitalism and we honor "success" which means, more, higher and better rather than humble, human and neighborly.
So for the past 15 or 20 years (the time since I've had a couple come to be married who was not already living together), I have just said - as they filled out the forms with a common address - "You know the church does not approve. But where do we go from here?"
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

James_Gale

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2017, 11:03:42 PM »
The big unanswered and - so far as I know - unsurvey question is: Why do our people no longer believe what the Church has taught and is teaching. My confirmands heard me and my predecessors, but when they came a few years later for marriage, they were already living with their fiancé, and had probably lived with someone else as well.
Co-habitation is as widespread in the "evangelical" and "conservative" churches as it is in the "liberal" churches. So...?
I have at times in the past speculated that one of the ways that we in the Church squandered our teaching authority was the insistence on teaching about the earth, evolution, and the universe that did not square with science. We bless the greed of capitalism and we honor "success" which means, more, higher and better rather than humble, human and neighborly.
So for the past 15 or 20 years (the time since I've had a couple come to be married who was not already living together), I have just said - as they filled out the forms with a common address - "You know the church does not approve. But where do we go from here?"


You still haven't explained how the National Review essay overstates anything or exhibits hysteria or hostility.  I'm not even sure to whom you could argue any hostility is directed.  The essay's author, David French, is an attorney, military veteran, and a Presbyterian (PCA).  I read his essay as a message to his own church and to similar church bodies.  I do not read it as anything close to a shot across the bow of other church bodies.  I'd certainly consider any different perspective, if you can support it.


(French, by the way, considered what he knew would be a quixotic independent presidential run in reaction to Donald Trump's victory in the GOP nomination battle.)


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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2017, 03:33:25 AM »
Mr. Gale, the topic is the topic, and should not be shifted into a psychoanalysis of why I think something is something. No one has to like or approve of my take on anything, and I usually doubt that they will.
The bigger question is the one I try often to pose: Why is it that people - even our active church people - are not strictly following what we think we are teaching?
Roman Catholic women and men quickly and overwhelmingly turned down their church's renewed declaration against artificial contraception. Millions of Christians stepped away from what the church was saying about homosexuality, even before there were actions like the one the ELCA took in 2009. Tens of thousands of teenagers and young people, yes, even those in our churches, are "hooking up" or living together despite what they have been taught.
The article says Mr. French believes the church has "retreated" from its teaching on sexual ethics. That's his view.
He says current views on sexuality are "oppressive" and "destroying lives," although he does not say how or offer your kind of evidence.
He says the "sexual revolutionary" believes that "anything goes" and all that matters is "consent." But no one seriously concerned about a Christian view of sexuality as a "gift" and "trust" is this kind of "sexual revolutionary."
I don't know what makes Mr. French itch, but I think he's scratching in the wrong place.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.