Author Topic: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality  (Read 2943 times)

Terry W Culler

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2017, 07:46:19 AM »
Charles: In answer to your question, people believe they can ignore the Church's teachings because of the excessive individualism of our culture largely birthed by the academic focus on "deconstructing" all statements purporting to be facts, rendering an individual's perceptions the only "real facts."  If the truth of a statement or doctrine is determined by how I perceive or feel about it, well there is no truth but my truth and my truth tells me to seek my perception of good.  No one outside myself is legitimately capable of denying me what I want--even the Scripture instructed Church of Jesus Christ.  I have actually begun to wonder if the American admiration of individualism isn't, at some level, Satanic.
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peter_speckhard

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2017, 08:49:59 AM »
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. ....We bless the greed of capitalism and we honor "success" which means, more, higher and better rather than humble, human and neighborly.

This shows that any it is fruitless to wonder why people don't believe what we're teaching. If we condemn something that is obviously popular, like sexual immorality (or birth control, or whatever) and they don't like it, they abandon the church for being too churchy. Yet if we condone something that is obviously popular, like greed, people abandon the church for being insufficiently churchy.

All we can do is preach and teach what has been given us to preach and teach, which is centered on Christ crucified but includes the whole of God's revealed counsel.

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2017, 08:53:42 AM »
Charles: In answer to your question, people believe they can ignore the Church's teachings because of the excessive individualism of our culture largely birthed by the academic focus on "deconstructing" all statements purporting to be facts, rendering an individual's perceptions the only "real facts."  If the truth of a statement or doctrine is determined by how I perceive or feel about it, well there is no truth but my truth and my truth tells me to seek my perception of good.  No one outside myself is legitimately capable of denying me what I want--even the Scripture instructed Church of Jesus Christ.  I have actually begun to wonder if the American admiration of individualism isn't, at some level, Satanic.


I am quite sure it is Satanic.....autonomianism is the rule of the day....but it is nothing new, clear back to the days of "they did what was right in their own eyes"


I rather think Milton summed it all up very well with the words he put in Satan's mouth as Satan was being tossed from heaven,"Tis better to rule in hell than serve in heaven."


Lou

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2017, 09:08:07 AM »
"I do not have power or control over the human heart like the potter who moulds in clay whatever way he pleases. I can go no further than their ears; their hearts I cannot reach. And since I cannot pour faith into their hearts, I cannot, nor should I, force anyone to have faith. That is God's work alone for only He can create faith in the heart. So then we should give free course to the word and not add our works to it. We have the right to speak but we do not have executive power. We are called to preach the word, but the results must be left solely to God's good pleasure."


Martin Luther, March 10, 1522; Wittenberg (WA 10/3:15)


I found it on page 315 in "A Year with Luther",  Athena Lexutt


Lou

Terry W Culler

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2017, 10:10:17 AM »
Charles: In answer to your question, people believe they can ignore the Church's teachings because of the excessive individualism of our culture largely birthed by the academic focus on "deconstructing" all statements purporting to be facts, rendering an individual's perceptions the only "real facts."  If the truth of a statement or doctrine is determined by how I perceive or feel about it, well there is no truth but my truth and my truth tells me to seek my perception of good.  No one outside myself is legitimately capable of denying me what I want--even the Scripture instructed Church of Jesus Christ.  I have actually begun to wonder if the American admiration of individualism isn't, at some level, Satanic.


I am quite sure it is Satanic.....autonomianism is the rule of the day....but it is nothing new, clear back to the days of "they did what was right in their own eyes"


I rather think Milton summed it all up very well with the words he put in Satan's mouth as Satan was being tossed from heaven,"Tis better to rule in hell than serve in heaven."


Lou


It is true that sin is the curving in upon ourselves--it has always been thus.  However, the question for us in this country is whether or not the individualism that under girds the American ethos is Satanic.  Was this entire nation lured by the enemy into believing something which is itself evil--that individuals have an indisputable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as they alone define happiness and liberty?  I am wondering more and more about the validity of the 18th century rationalism that was the foundation for our understanding of a just culture.
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James_Gale

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2017, 10:13:55 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.


I'm not trying to psychoanalyze anything.  I've simply invited you to support your assertion that Mr. French's essay is riven with hysteria and hostility.  You've dodged that invitation, which speaks volumes. 

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2017, 10:41:48 AM »
Charles: In answer to your question, people believe they can ignore the Church's teachings because of the excessive individualism of our culture largely birthed by the academic focus on "deconstructing" all statements purporting to be facts, rendering an individual's perceptions the only "real facts."  If the truth of a statement or doctrine is determined by how I perceive or feel about it, well there is no truth but my truth and my truth tells me to seek my perception of good.  No one outside myself is legitimately capable of denying me what I want--even the Scripture instructed Church of Jesus Christ.  I have actually begun to wonder if the American admiration of individualism isn't, at some level, Satanic.


Such thinking has been around since the Garden of Eden. It's nothing new.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2017, 11:02:12 AM »
Still would be interested to know what modern progressives think goes into considerations of sexual morality apart from consent. A couple of comments have denied that consent is the only ingredient in their thoughts on the subject, but nobody has said what those other ingredients are.

SomeoneWrites

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2017, 11:28:23 AM »
Still would be interested to know what modern progressives think goes into considerations of sexual morality apart from consent. A couple of comments have denied that consent is the only ingredient in their thoughts on the subject, but nobody has said what those other ingredients are.

I touched on some of those things on page one, and I'm working on a response to your question.  Gotta go to work  :)

Such thinking has been around since the Garden of Eden. It's nothing new.
I do not understand this response in light of your responses regarding the historicity of Eden. 
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peter_speckhard

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2017, 12:27:19 PM »
Still would be interested to know what modern progressives think goes into considerations of sexual morality apart from consent. A couple of comments have denied that consent is the only ingredient in their thoughts on the subject, but nobody has said what those other ingredients are.

I touched on some of those things on page one, and I'm working on a response to your question.  Gotta go to work  :)

Such thinking has been around since the Garden of Eden. It's nothing new.
I do not understand this response in light of your responses regarding the historicity of Eden.
Abuse and manipulation are both facets of consent. If the person was intimidated or tricked, the consent isn't real. And abuse is tricky to define if there is genuine consent by everyone involved and none of them are being intimidated or deceived into consenting and the behavior remains within the boundaries of what was consented to.

Genuine, Christian sexual morality revolves around marriage, which obviously includes consent, but also includes a much broader idea of what is being consented to according to what husband and wife are to each other, to their own families and children, and to society. Sexual behavior in itself-- that is, the pursuit of pleasure via arousal and/or orgasm-- thus has a larger context within which it must fit, and if it can't fit within that context it is considered wrong, immoral, perverse, etc.

People with a 6th Commandment sense of chastity or "sexually pure and decent" to use our translation, recognize autoeroticism, pornography, hookups, premarital sex, sodomy, bestiality, swinger parties, prostitution, burlesque/stripper shows, etc. as sexual immorality even when done on a fully consensual basis. Modern progressives, however, using the 5th Commandment only, have to claim there is nothing immoral about these things as long as they are consensual. Or, if they sense there is still something immoral about these behaviors, they have to find moral objections based on flaws in nature of the consent, such as social power imbalances between prostitures and clients that blur the line between free consent and pressured acquiescence. That's how progressives can still claim (though they are faltering even here) to oppose pedophilia while accepting all the other things I mentioned. A child can't truly consent, even though those same progressive would say that same child can consent to getting an abortion. 

Charles Austin

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2017, 12:29:41 PM »
Peter writes:
Still would be interested to know what modern progressives think goes into considerations of sexual morality apart from consent

I comment:
I dare to suggest that you read the ELCA social statement on sexuality. You will find that "modern progressives" think about things like commitment and holiness and fidelity and community living.
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revjagow

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2017, 12:45:56 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.

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.

I think the article lacked any data to back up what the author says the message from the culture is. This is the first I've read or seen some of the assertions of the "consent-only" culture.  He also did not spell out the Bible's counter message very well. 
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revjagow

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2017, 12:55:52 PM »
[It so happens, I read this in my devotions, today. I think I'll put this right here...]

The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ's words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism - for that is what the words 'one flesh' would be in modern English. And the Christians believe that when He said this He was not expressing a sentiment but stating a fact - just as one is stating a fact when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined. The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. The Christian attitude doesn't mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of breathing. It means that you  mustn't isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try and get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

C.S. Lewis from "Mere Christianity"
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peter_speckhard

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2017, 01:00:50 PM »
Peter writes:
Still would be interested to know what modern progressives think goes into considerations of sexual morality apart from consent

I comment:
I dare to suggest that you read the ELCA social statement on sexuality. You will find that "modern progressives" think about things like commitment and holiness and fidelity and community living.
I read the ELCA statement multiple times. It says literally nothing about holiness as far as I can remember. Nor does it revolve around marriage (commitment and fidelity). It revolves around trust. That was my major criticism of it-- it viewed marriage as good in so far as it builds up trust rather than trust as good because it builds up marriage. But again, trust, especially in matters involving extreme vulnerability like sex, is an aspect of consent. The statement's take on pornography, prostitution, masturbation, sodomy, etc. were not based on what is pure and holy sexual behavior. The statement rejects polygamy, somewhat absurdly, on the grounds that polygamy amounted to a transient sexual enounter, which is manifestly ridiculous, but was the only way they could be against it without bringing in a central pattern of marriage that demands one male and one female. In other words, according to the ELCA polygamy is bad because it isn't permanent (even though it is), not because it violates the church's pattern for marriage.

Even so, I think the ELCA statement does indeed introduce something more than consent. It brings in the ideas of exclusivity and permanence. I think many modern progressives would reject those things as quaint Christian vestiges of an outdated sense of morality. That is, the ELCA statement avoids ideas like sexual impurity, lust, or unchastity, but does seek to reinforce some aspects of traditional sexual morality in a way that tries to straddle the old teachings of the church and the modern view of sexual morality as purely involving consent. I obviously don't think it works, but it is an effort to bring more than consent to the question of sexual morality.

Charles Austin

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Re: A secular challenge to the church on sexuality
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2017, 01:24:40 PM »
Well, at least you think that it possibly brings more then the matter of mere “consent” into the sexuality discussion. I guess I’ll take that.
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