Let’s talk about Sex

26 06 2008

In the previous post, I gave a brief account of my journey to embracing who I am as a child of God and as someone who is gay.

As I said, I grew up as a Baptist, and considered myself Pentecostal for a while, so I know what it means when everything goes back to “the Bible says … ” and anything other than the plain meaning of what “the Bible says” would not be considered in any part of a discussion about values, morals, behaviour, theology and so on.

In my journey to integration and wholeness, what I discovered is what the Bible appears to be saying may not be what we are intended to hear. God inspired people to write the Scriptures thousands of years ago, and times have changed a lot since then. The eternal truths contained in the Bible may not change, but the application of those truths may in light of science, reason, and of course the Holy Spirit, who is continuously guiding the Church in all of its messiness into a closer sense of the ultimate and eternal truth contained in Jesus Christ.

My intentions here are to show others who are on the fence about the place of anyone who is not heterosexual can also be a faithful Christian. Much of what follows is very much borrowed from the writings and prognostications of Ralph Blair of Evangelicals Concerned, to whom I am indebted for pointing out these issues of Biblical interpretation.


Strictly speaking, the concept of what it means to be a homosexual person as we know it today was not known in the Biblical times.  Sex between people of the same gender certainly did happen, of course, but it did NOT happen in the context of two men or two women living as spouses or lovers as we think of it today. As far marriage itself goes, heterosexual couplings and polygamy by and large happened not in a romantic context, but in the sense of preserving the society’s social structure and power relations.  In the words of David Halperin of MIT, the ancients, “conceived of sexuality in non-sexual terms.”  Far from being a mode of expression of intimacy and love and relational as we conceive of it today, sex in the ancient world “serves to divide, classify and to distribute its participants into distinct and radically dissimilar categories.  Sex posseses this valence, apparently because it is conceived to center essentially on, and to define itself around, an asymmetrical gesture, that of the penetration of the body of one person by the body … of another.  …. The proper targets of [a citizen’s] sexual desire include women, boys, foreignors and slaves..”  In short, citizens were men.  Everyone else was not, and on some level, not quite human.  Even in the history of the United States, the phrase “all men are created equal” refers to white men of a certain age with property (either human, animal or real).

When we look at what is said in the Bible especially as it describes what is happening to a particular people in a particular moment in history, we have to consider the societal norms of the time and the attitudes and social norms that went with it, and that includes attitudes about relationship and sex.  Wives and children were considered property.  One of the reasons men had multiple wives and children was to increase his own power and was in itself a demonstration of power and wealth.  Love was not usually part of the equation.

This should be kept in mind as we look at the following passages from one end of the Bible to the other.  A basic premise of biblical hermaneutics as I understand it is to not read contemporary concerns and ideas into texts which were written thousands of years ago in a totally different context.

To be continued ….



4 responses

26 06 2008
Robert Thomas

You will get a lot of readers with that title RB! 🙂

26 06 2008

Bravo Reverend boy- this is great.

As for the Bible, as the priest at our church often reminds us, “all the stories in the Bible are true. Some of them even actually happened. Maybe!”

I am also reminded, strangely enough – of a Vatican document (likely authored by Ratzinger at the time, at least ok’d through him) which said that literal interpretation of Scripture and fundamentalism cause “intellectual suicide.”

In any event, I look forward to more of this. We must free ourselves of the need to control God and His/Her intentions and to be open to what the Spirit tells us, to go where it leads us.

As you are an example of!

27 06 2008

You are preaching to the converted, but it’s very good to hear it again anyway.

28 06 2008
Diane Roth

Good one!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: