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Sex, Temptation, and the Gay Christian: What Chastity Demands - Mere Orthodoxy | Christianity, Politics, and Culture
I take ‘neo-traditionalists’ to be interested in an ‘untangling maneuver’: we want to distinguish the terminology of ‘gay’ and from the moral content of sexual desires, to help individuals who do experience same-sex sexual attractions to discover, name, and love the goods within their lives as God sees them. ... The deep affection of an adult brother for his sister must be bounded and pervaded by chastity, precisely because—however unlikely, and however repugnant—the involuntary and even unwelcome emergence of sexual desires in such a realm is not unknown. The duties of chastity and its handmaid modesty require remaining alive toward such a possibility. They require a fearful reverence within one’s love for another which does not fixate upon the emergence of such possibilities, but recognizes their power.
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The combination of ‘needs’ and contraceptive use combine to transfigure chastity through destroying the environmental conditions in which the virtue is naturally (and therefore gracefully) engendered. Burk observes, rightly, that Paul suggests couple’s should only abstain from marital sex. But what for Paul is an admonition to not abstain too long should be for us an admonition to abstain for a short season, so as to prove within our marriages that we have the continence required to establish the gift of our sexuality to our spouse as a gift. Offering one’s body as a gift to one’s spouse in freedom depends upon the prior recognition that one’s body is a gift to be offered. But God’s gift of the body to us comes within limits: our liberty to alter it can only consign us to unfreedom. ... for the male and female to unite themselves in freedom, they must recognize and delight in the pre-existing gift of their own reproductive powers and the inherently procreative form of the sexual act. God has given us the form in which chastity takes marital shape: the entire artifice of bodily life impels us to pursue it through imposing upon us naturally short seasons of abstinence, unless we renounce them through the artifice of contraception so we can fulfill our ‘sexual needs.’ Burk thinks that it is enough for marriages to stand “squarely against the spirit of the age” by retaining a general openness to children, despite taking hormones specifically designed to prevent them. How this inherent contradiction can be explained, I have yet to hear. If one is worried about the bifurcation of the personal and the biological, of the will from the body—as one should be—it is impossible to denounce doing so with any meaningful moral authority while preserving the rupture for the sake of those married couples in our pews.
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The perfection of Christ’s human life through his temptation by created goods includes and represents our own temptations to evils. We are free to meet even those non-voluntary desires with renunciation and not repentance, precisely because Christ’s experience reveals to us that not all temptations arise from and within our own sin. Christ’s temptation announces in practice the moral salience of the distinction between an intention and a desire, which Christ had himself proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount.
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As long as disorder exist in the world around us, we shall at least be tempted to allow it to arise within us. The pure in heart see God within the man Jesus’s vulnerability in the Garden because they, too, know the deep humanity of wanting to enjoy goods that they are tasked with renouncing. The mature in the faith experience this form of temptation precisely because of their sanctity, not its absence. We pray to be kept from it, because in doing so we learn the humility that prepares us for it. But this sanctity can be reached only if within the fallen chaos of our desires we discover not simply corruptions that we renounce but also goods we can delight in. All that will remain, after all, of us are those dimensions that are swept up into Christ’s life. Yet this will include all manner of ways in which our lives have been indelibly and permanently marked by the sins and disorders of the flesh. We might say, in fact, that where we meant our lives for evil, God yet found within them good—because He found within our sinfulness His victorious life, having included our lives already within His own.
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In one sense, I take gay Christians as trying to steal the meaning of the word back: to mark a certain kind of vivacity of life, of abundance, of joy within a profound intimacy of friendship and a stable set of ‘attractions’ to their same same, which removes the ‘pride’ in those attractions that raises its fist against God. Why should not Christians today stand in the long line of their forebearers who have said no to the world, but in so doing found within it a Yes that is more potent and powerful—and taken over its own language to name it?
Christianity  children  body  birthcontrol  contraception  WesleyHill  sex  sexuality  love  identity  gender 
2 days ago by phillip.e.johnston
Sonya Renee Taylor
And Another Thing:
As the writer Joan Dickenson (1983) put it, “A woman is not a two-fold thing, a mind and a body - nor is the body a prison for the mind. We are our bodies.
body 
9 days ago by brittanydael

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