Love and chastity, a teaching series for young teens (Part II)

Posted By on January 31, 2011

So here we are, the sometimes dreaded conversation about love and sexuality, from the religious point of view.  Isn’t it strange that something of which you can see an ugly version each afternoon in reality TV shows or at will when you tap into the Internet becomes embarrassing when you talk about it from a religious point of view?  Why is it that talking about something openly and respectfully is harder than to look at the cheapest versions of it? [Not for young readers without parental oversight.]

Sex is all around us–from Victoria’s Secret advertisements, to people sleeping around in detective or police series on TV.  The idea of sex having something to do with religion, with who you are in the depth of your soul seems to be utterly strange to society.  But is it? Even if we take religion completely out of the equation for just a moment, the idea that you actually share your body, your physical self, with someone else should be more than a type of fun sport, but a matter of trust, an act of giving.  Unfortunately, we mostly see sexuality portrayed as a matter of taking whatever you can get from the other, while giving away the least of ourselves. That is the way it just ‘is’ around us, and if we try to step away from that viewpoint, we are challenged.  It is also the reason why the emphasis in school programs about sexuality is simply on the mechanics.  This is how sex works, and this is how you protect your body.  Very few programs talk about protecting your emotions, let alone your soul.

But what do faith and sex have to do with one another?  We might as well ask what body and soul have to do with one another.

What do we see if we look at ourselves as something more than just a body?  If we look at our whole life from a religious point of view?  If our faith is not just the icing on the cupcake, easily scraped off and put aside, but it truly infuses us? In that case, we are not just a body with things that hurt and things that feel good.  We are created body and soul by God.  Body and soul are not separate things.  We can’t be holy in our souls but steal with our hands.  And we can’t reach out our hands in communion or comfort without it affecting our soul.  If we are body and soul, then everything we think, watch, hope, eat or do will affect both body and soul.

So, if your faith influences what you do with your body, it will or should influence your thoughts and deeds when it comes to sexuality, just as it should influence every other decision you make on what to do in life.

So… what should you do?

Let me start by saying something some of  you may not expect to hear, and certainly not as the beginning point of all: sex is good.  Your sexuality is good.  It is natural.  It is a wonderful, precious gift from God, and it is supposed to be beautiful and fun and life-giving.  If you have any doubt, read the Song of Solomon.  And between a husband and wife it can be all those things.  But there is a cheap imitation of this wonderful gift out there, and it is sold to you everywhere as what is normal.  “Sex is fun, and that is all there is to it.  And you have to protect yourself, because all kinds of creepy things can happen–but it’s really fun and everyone does it and if you don’t, you’re not normal.”  That’s the litany that is being fed to us.

Excep that it’s not true. It’s the cheap imitation of what sex is supposed to be, or what it can be, if you choose to only have sex with the one you also have committed yourself to before God and man. Yes, there we are at one of those rules that often scare people: “No sex outside marriage.”  In this day and age it sounds almost crazy, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself why we are not supposed to have sex outside of marriage?  It is a commandment of God, so it must be important, but why do you think that is?

Let us dig into that question to start.  No sex outside marriage is really only the tip of the iceberg.  Christian sexuality asks us for self control to have a better, more beautiful experience of the fullness of love.   And here we come to a rather old-fashioned, and often misunderstood word: chastity. Chastity is acting appropriately to one’s position in life.  For example, an unmarried person is to act differently than a married person.  A nun is supposed to act differently than an unmarried or a married person.  And a young man is supposed to act differently than a young woman.

Here we come again to something that seems pretty clear to most people: Men and women are different.  Even popular culture admits this by now. I saw a little book a few weeks ago at Barnes and Noble.  The title at first shocked me, as it was there so openly between calendars and gifts for book lovers: “Porn for Women.”  When I looked at the cover, though, the “joke” became clear to me.  The book showed men in a car asking for directions. Fixing things. Loving to shop.  While the book is obviously intended as a joke, it does touch on something deeper: men and women are often attracted to different things.  There are different parts of a man’s and a woman’s personality and physicality that are attractive to the other sex.  And sometimes that truth makes people uncomfortable, because it points to God’s original design for us.  And that is why it’s easiest to make a joke out of it, instead of letting it challenge people to a deeper understanding of the way they were created and how acting upon that knowledge might make one happier and deeper connected to Christ.

About The Author

I’ve been a contributor to LAF through many changes in my life. From Miss Eva B to Mrs Eva H. From living in Europe to living in the USA. From being single, to being courted. From being courted to marriage and further into motherhood. I like to share the realities of life as well as the inspirations, the beauty as well as the work that it takes to honor God in our daily life.

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