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Gender, Sexuality, Empire, and Evangelicals

As promised, I am writing my thoughts on gender and sexuality in light of the world we live in today.

I have also realized that I hardly know enough to be writing on the subject.  There is one main thing I have realized as I have been looking into this subject over the past few weeks.

The problems within the evangelical church with sexuality and gender are not the root problem.  The bigger problem is that Christians have no idea how to interact within modern society.  Yesterday I put up this video

Christians are behind the times in the sense that they still believe there is a scientific method.  Lee Smolin, in the video above, admits that schools still teach the above model as if we can somehow prove our hypotheses right or wrong.  Smolin’s view of science is quite different when he says, “Both the scientific and the democractic processes require reasoning from shared, but incomplete, evidence to limited, but ever expanding, consensus.”  The rest of the world has moved away from the idea that there is a “right” and a “wrong.”  Christians, whether they agree with this model or not, have to engage with these types of philosophies on a regular basis.

What has this to do with sexuality?  Everything!  Teens today define sexuality based on consensus.  In the overused church metaphor, students are entering into quite serious relationships at very young ages and, oftentimes, Christian teens have been taught in church about “the one.”  These teens begin thinking (somewhat inevitably) that this other person they have met is “the one” because they have been taught, mostly by the tradition of their faith communities, that they will “just know” when the right person comes along.  All this speech of “the one” and “just knowing” provide horrible advice for teenagers who are often more prone to make decisions based on feelings.  Knowing someone is “the one” or “feeling right” about the person or “just knowing” are often based on subjective feelings of rationalization.

Because these students live in a society of consensus, they and their partner move further and further down sexual lines until it becomes normal for them both to consent to sex on a regular basis.  Our culture of consensus has led to sex becoming something that is defined first within ourselves and then in negotiation with our partner.  Our larger communities have no say in our sex life.  Our parents are left out of the picture, as are the leaders in our churches, and it becomes something individualistic between the two in the relationship.

What then is the key?

Perhaps it is the rebuilding of Christian community so that teens do not enter into an island of individualistic love which often ends for them in heartache.

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4 thoughts on “Gender, Sexuality, Empire, and Evangelicals

  1. The One thing is always disturbing. It’s one of those nebulous concepts like Nostradamus’ quatrains. You can fit anything you want to its definition and you can always correct it later so it can never be proven or disproved. So in a sense, it’s an empty truism that really does nothing.

  2. I have told my children that “the One” is a foolish concept drawn from sappy love songs, not a philosophy to base the choice of their life partner on.

    In my opinion there are many people in the world that would make a good spouse for each of my kids, but once they have married that person becomes “the One”, and that is the change that occurs in the Marriage.

  3. Thanks for writing this, coldfire. It is so difficult to talk about sexuality among a group of peers, let alone your parents who have experienced sexuality so differently. The problem that keeps my parents and I far away from understanding each other’s concepts of sexuality and right action is how they have let themselves assume what I believe time and time again, so that we never talk and if I bring up some sort of conversation they become emotional and irrational, unwilling to have a peaceful and appropriate conversation. It is hard for me to not blame the right wing agenda and rhetoric for this. Thank you for creating dialogue regarding this wide subject. Community is key. Though my parents respond so horribly to my life regarding sexuality, it is hard for me to emotionally separate myself from their reactions, however harmful they are.

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