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Are Christians Obsessed with Sex?

April 12th, 2014 Jill Posted in pro-life/abortion, sex Comments Off

By Nathaniel Givens, First Things

From time to time a member of the Christian left will admonish the Christian right to stop obsessing about sex. This is a clever move because in addition to undercutting traditional sexual morality it also suggests that those who are concerned with the topic are acting on some secret ulterior motive. Voyeurism? Projection? Repression? Whatever the precise cause, it definitely sounds unhealthy.

Tom Ehrich is one of the most recent to advance this case. His post, an excellent example of what C. S. Lewis termed “bulverism ,” largely takes for granted that Christians are obsessed with sex and speculates that this is the result of some kind of perpetual adolescence . The substance of his contention is that:

We obsess about sex, a topic that Jesus himself ignored. Our public presence has narrowed to questions around abortion and homosexuality. The “Christian” political agenda has become nothing more than electing candidates who will deal correctly with abortion and homosexuality.

One could suggest quite a few things that Jesus Christ had nothing to say about, but sex would not make the list. He reaffirmed the central moral teaching of fidelity in telling the woman caught in adultery to “leave your life of sin” (John 8:11, NIV), but then went much farther and stated that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28, NIV). Some rather stern language about plucking out eyes and cutting off hands followed thereafter and then further discussion of divorce and fornication. So much for the supposed silence of the Savior on the subject of sex.
 
Just as puzzling, however, is the assertion that abortion is a sexual issue for pro-life Christians. There are a lot of ways that the pro-life movement views abortion. The folks at Feminists for Life view it as a women’s issue. The folks at Secular Pro-Life view it as a secular civil rights issue. The common thread for all pro-life groups, including religious ones, however, is the issue of life. Not sex.
 
Read here
 
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From Father to Son — J.R.R. Tolkien on Sex

March 13th, 2014 Jill Posted in Children/Family, sex Comments Off

By Albert Mohler

The astounding popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien and his writings–magnified many times over by the success of the “Lord of the Rings” films–has ensured that Tolkien’s fantasy world of moral meaning stands as one of the great literary achievements of our times.

In some sense, Tolkien was a man born out of time. A philologist at heart, Tolkien was most at home in the world of ancient ages, even as he witnessed the barbarism and horrors of the 20th century. Celebrated as a popular author, he was an eloquent witness to permanent truths. His popularity on university campuses, extending from his own day right up to the present, is a powerful indication of the fact that Tolkien’s writings reach the hearts of the young, and those looking for answers.
 
Even as Tolkien is celebrated as an author and literary figure, some of his most important messages were communicated by means of letters, and some of the most important letters were written to his sons.
 
Read here
 
 
 
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‘Catholic schools have no right to promote Catholic sexual morality’

March 8th, 2014 Jill Posted in Morality, sex Comments Off

by Ben Conroy, Iona Institute

Catholic schools are not entitled to promote Catholic views on sexuality, Dr Jacky Jones, formerly of the HSE, announced in The Irish Times on Monday.
 
She made this interesting statement in reaction to the coverage of Pure in Heart in the media – Pure in Heart being a Catholic organisation that goes into schools around the country to promote chastity.
 
Dr Jones is not, to put it mildly, a fan. She writes:
'Unbelievably, talks on sexual abstinence are still delivered to post-primary school students by external agencies. A spokeswoman for an organisation called Pure in Heart was interviewed last week on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke.
 
“Her message was it’s good to be pure and abstaining from sexual activity until marriage is the best option. Listeners, who texted in their views, were largely in favour of chastity education, thought teaching about purity was 'refreshing', and Catholic schools were entitled to promote Catholic views on sexuality. They are not.”
No need to beat around the bush, Dr Jones, tell us what you really think.

Catholic schools are simply not entitled to teach the Catholic view of sexuality? One would think that such an extraordinary claim might require some justification, and Dr Jones duly takes us through the guidelines around the Relationship and Sexual Health Curriculum, and in the process manages to make the single most irritating sex education argument in the book. She quotes the guidelines:

Read here
 
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I am more than my desire

March 4th, 2014 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off

By Karee Santos, MercatorNet

[...]  And although sexual desire exerts a powerful emotional pull, it is not the most important aspect of anyone's life. At the most basic level, we humans need to ensure our own survival, which means obtaining food, shelter, and clothing. We want to stay safe from danger, which means protecting our health, our property, and those we love. We need to educate ourselves in order to be gainfully employed. We can do all of these things without sex entering into the picture at all.

Moreover, sexual preference is a slippery thing. It is not set in stone, the way some people would have us believe. Particularly for adolescents who are still seeking a sense of themselves, sexual preference is astonishingly fluid. In fact, some scientific research reports that same sex attraction in adolescents is more likely to change than to remain fixed.
 
One study followed approximately 10,800 adolescents between the ages of 16 and 22 years old. Of the 16 year-old males who had exclusively SSA, 61% had opposite-sex attraction at age 17. For same-sex attracted females, 81% changed to opposite attraction in just one year.
 
The study also compared sexual attraction at ages 17 and 22, with similar results. For example, 75% of adolescent males with SSA at age 17 had opposite-sex attraction at age 22.
 
In contrast, the same study found that 98 percent of adolescents experiencing heterosexual attraction retained that orientation into adulthood, as reported by Michelle Cretella, M.D., vice-president of the American College of Pediatricians.
 
Sexual desire is a powerful passion, but it is always a mistake to let our passions confine and define us.
 
Read here
 
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Chastity and the goodness of God: the case for premarital sexual abstinence (1)

February 20th, 2014 Jill Posted in News, sex Comments Off

By Steven Tracy, PhD, Themelios

I still identify myself as a religious woman, but I feel that the Lord has a big world out there to take care of, and I take care of my sexuality. I feel that some of the proclaimed [sexual] rules that the churches have were made and interpreted by men, and they have no right to try to control my body.[2]

 Surely one of Satan’s most wide-spread, persistent lies is that one must go outside of God’s commandments to find welbeing because God’s interests and our best interests don’t always intersect. This misconception lay behind the very first recorded sin in Genesis three. In fifteen years of pastoral ministry working with adolescents and university students, over and over again I heard young adults express the misconception that if they scrupulously followed biblical sexual guidelines, they would have a diminished life. They assumed they were infinitely more concerned about their emotional and sexual well being than God was. Thus, I want to frame this essay around the concept of sex as a divine gift—not to promote an anthropocentric, feel good theology (“trust Jesus and you will be healthy, wealthy, and have better orgasms”). Rather, I want to exalt the goodness of God in an area of life where his character is most frequently maligned because his commandments are so frequently misconstrued.

The creation account in Genesis 1-2 makes it very clear that God is the gracious creator of everything in the universe, including humans and sexuality. God made humans sexual beings, not as a begrudging afterthought, but as a deliberate way to manifest his own character. We see this in Gen 1:26-27: "then God said, 'let us make man in our image, according to our likeness'…and God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created him." [3] Since God does not have gender, the obvious question here is "how does creating humans as sexual beings (male and female) reflect the image of God? The answer is suggested in the very grammar of the passage, for plural pronouns are used of God ("us," "our"), suggesting that God is not a solitary being, but rather that God is in intimate relationship with himself.[4]  Further biblical revelation fleshes this out, for Scripture teaches that the divine being has three equal persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are in perfect intimate union with each other (John 17:21). Thus, human sexuality is central to humans being made in the image of God, for our sexuality gives us the longing and the capacity for intimate relationships.[5] For this reason, some have said that our sexuality is the most God like part of who we are as humans.
 
But if the creation account affirms that God designed our gender, does it follow that the sex act itself is a gift from God?
 
Read the rest of this entry »
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The economics of sex

February 19th, 2014 Jill Posted in Sex education, sex Comments Off

Hat Tip: Fr Ed Tomlinson

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A brief outline of the case for treating the defence of Christian sexual ethics as a major priority for the church

February 14th, 2014 Jill Posted in Theology, sex Comments Off

(Reposted in the light of the forthcoming 'facilitated conversations')

By Professor John Nolland

Christians are still trying to live down the unfortunately negative attitude to sex of parts of our Christian history. This, and the British tendency to be embarrassed easily about conversation in this area, make us reluctant to talk much about sex.

In Christendom the church could connect people with the love and judgement of God and work to motivate a heart-based fulfilment of a generally accepted ethic. Not so any longer, but we have inherited and continue to some extent with patterns that assume the values of Christendom.

Bible

Despite attempts to dispute this, sex ethics are high priority for the OT (defining the place of sex in faithful marriage, over against Caananite fertility religion), Jesus (he mentions sexual matters more often than either love or use of money and attitude to the poor) and Paul (sexual sins are among those that exclude one from the kingdom of God).

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Dr. Mark Regnerus: What Sexual Behavior Patterns Reveal about the mating market and Catholic thought

February 13th, 2014 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off

Dr. Mark Regnerus, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, delivers his talk entitled "What Contemporary Sexual Behavior Patterns Reveal about the Mating Market and Catholic Thought". Dr. Regnerus's talk was part of the Science and Faith series at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

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Revolutionary Sex

February 1st, 2014 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off

From St Helen's Bishopsgate

session.

Click here to view / hear the series of talks

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Chastity for charity

January 8th, 2014 Jill Posted in Charity, sex Comments Off

by Tamara Rajakariar, MercatorNet

Over the last week, you might have heard of a guy called Pete Lynagh. His story? On New Year’s Day 2013, the party-boy gave up sex for a year, all because his housemate bet that he couldn’t do it. And while he abstained, he used that lifestyle change to raise money for a charity that works against child sex slavery in Cambodia.
 
And a year later as 2014 begins, the 33-year old feels that he is a much better man for it – despite how corny that may sound.
 
To most, this would seem like a lovely feel-good story; a little bit of inspiration to kick-start the New Year. To me though, I feel like it sums up one of the “elephants in the room” of our society – the ramifications of casual sex. It gives a personal example of how sex, used outside of a loving relationship for meaningless entertainment, really has a way of taking over life, obscuring the things that are important and preventing us from being our best.
 
For one, Pete was using sex to deal with other emotional issues. He says it himself in a Sydney Morning Herald article: “'I felt empty inside. I didn't like myself. I felt good whenever I was feeling wanted…It's not a good place. It's a pathetic, sad place really, looking back. It was all ego-driven. How many players out there are doing the same thing because they feel empty?” By swearing off sex for a year, he was able to actually face the fact that he was empty and unhappy, and proceed to do something about it.
 
Read here
 
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Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal

December 5th, 2013 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off

by Ian Sample, Guardian

Scientists have drawn on nearly 1,000 brain scans to confirm what many had surely concluded long ago: that stark differences exist in the wiring of male and female brains.

Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women's brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men's brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions.

Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men's brains apparently wired more for perception and co-ordinated actions, and women's for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking.

"If you look at functional studies, the left of the brain is more for logical thinking, the right of the brain is for more intuitive thinking. So if there's a task that involves doing both of those things, it would seem that women are hardwired to do those better," Verma said. "Women are better at intuitive thinking. Women are better at remembering things. When you talk, women are more emotionally involved – they will listen more."

She added: "I was surprised that it matched a lot of the stereotypes that we think we have in our heads. If I wanted to go to a chef or a hairstylist, they are mainly men."

Read here


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Sex and the Public Order

October 26th, 2013 Jill Posted in Marriage, sex Comments Off

by James Kalb, Catholic World Report

The age of liberation from sexual roles and standards has also been an age of ever greater inequality

Sex and the institutions, customs, and restraints related to it are basic to social order. That claim shouldn’t be controversial, and it’s odd that it has become so.

Older political philosophers such as Aristotle, who viewed man as naturally social, found it self-evident to start their analysis of society with the union of man and woman in marriage and build from there. Such a view has many virtues. For one, the natural authority of the family, and the need to supplement and complete it, explain the authority of government, and why it is necessary to social order but not its basis. The approach makes political life naturally multileveled and limited, and so makes it easy, without the aid of shaky inventions like the liberal theory of human rights, to avoid the extremes of anarchy and tyranny that seem at home in political thought today.
 
The older view has been eclipsed, for reasons that include individualism and the increasing role of bureaucratic and industrial forms of organization. The current tendency is to begin political thought with the atomic individual, and then construct the state as the protector of his well-being. The family then becomes a legal contrivance or a private contract among individuals rather than a fundamental institution in its own right. That is the view that recently led the Supreme Court to treat restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples as an expression of intent to harm same-sex couples. After all, if marriage is an invention of government, and it’s what particular individuals want that matters, why should government facilitate the desires of some more than others?
 
Read here
 
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Sexual Ethics in the 21st Century – Canon Dr Chris Sugden

October 13th, 2013 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off

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Body Logic – Sexual Morality: marriage is the correct environment for sexual activity

October 8th, 2013 Jill Posted in Marriage, Morality, sex Comments Off

from gentlemind

[...]  By virtue of the existence of sexual difference, sexual intercourse is an action that men and women can choose to perform. By virtue of the nature of the human body, conception is not an action that men and women can choose to perform. Instead, it is an effect that is caused by the chosen action of sexual intercourse.

A re-action is also able to be an action. So too, an effect is also able to give rise to an effect – an effect can be a cause. The action of sexual intercourse, by virtue of its nature, causes the effect of conception. The effect of conception causes the effect of parenthood. Between action and re-action lies time. Between cause and effect lies time. Between the action of sexual intercourse and the re-action of conception, there lies time. But between the cause of conception and the effect of parenthood, there lies no time.

Sexual difference is the hand that allows us to push the first domino – sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse pushes the second (final) domino – conception. Since there is a second domino, there is a domino for the first domino to miss (not conceive) – sexual intercourse SOMETIMES pushes over the domino of conception. Since there is a final domino (conception), there is no domino for the second domino to miss. The falling of the domino of conception gives rise to one last re-action – parenthood. Conception ALWAYS causes parenthood. When a woman falls pregnant, a man and a woman fall into parenthood.

The act of sexual intercourse is divisible from its purposed effect – conception. But the act of conception is indivisible from an end effect – parenthood. As a relationship, parenthood is physically real. As such, it can only ever be defined correctly in one way: parenthood is a permanent, exclusive sexual union between one man and one woman, which exists in relation to the body of their child (conception). Parenthood exists in relation to conception, and conception exists in relation to sexual intercourse. This means that sexual intercourse itself is an action that, by its very nature, is able to bring about an outcome of permanence and exclusivity. The name given to the relationship that exists in relationship to sexual intercourse is Marriage. Since conception exists in relation to sexual intercourse, parenthood exists in relation to marriage. And since parenthood is sexual, permanent, heterosexual and exclusive, the relationship that exists in relation to sexual intercourse (Marriage) is simultaneously and unavoidably sexual, permanent, heterosexual and exclusive.

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A brief outline of the case for treating the defence of Christian sexual ethics as a major priority for the church

September 30th, 2013 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off

By Professor John Nolland

Christians are still trying to live down the unfortunately negative attitude to sex of parts of our Christian history. This, and the British tendency to be embarrassed easily about conversation in this area, make us reluctant to talk much about sex.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Is it the church or the media who’s obsessed with sex?

August 29th, 2013 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Media, sex Comments Off

By Danny Webster

Yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury came to work for the official opening of our new building. He spoke with wisdom and grace, he spoke of the need for unity in the church – especially poignant exactly 50 years on from when Martin Luther King declared he had a dream.
 
He challenged the church to begin with repentance, to recognise the scars that still hurt, and to follow Martin Luther King’s example and set a vision for what society should look like, and how the Church can bring that into being.
 
He spoke of the contribution churches bring to communities, the places they bring hope to communities in need. He spoke of the power of the gospel to transform people, and through transformed people change society.
 
If you see anything in the press about his visit, and a few papers have covered it, this is not the message you will have read.
Which is slightly ironic given the first question in an impromptu press conference held after the event, coming from the Telegraph, was:
 
“Is there an extent that Christians sometimes come across as a little bit obsessed with sex, in the best possible way, and that can be a problem?”
 
To which the Archbishop responded: “I think it’s a bit of a collaborative effort between the media and the church. I think your obsession is as severe as ours. Because whenever one answers questions, does a Q & A, someone in the first four questions asks about sex. Even if I’m quite clear that I don’t want to talk about it.
 
“I don’t think the church is obsessed with it. I think there is a danger that we at a national level, that this becomes the most interesting thing we ever talk about. Now, I’m not overly worried because recently we’ve been talking about lots of other things.”
 
And then a couple of hours later the Telegraph splashed with: “Archbishop urges Christians to ‘repent’ over ‘wicked’ attitude to homosexuality”. When you have to quote two single words in separate quotation marks to make a sensational headline I think the Archbishop was probably a bit too kind on the media’s culpability.
 
Read here
 
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The Legal Fiction of “Transsexual Rights” in Relation to the Legal Fiction of “Sexless Marriage”

August 4th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gender, sex Comments Off

From gentlemind

[...]  This is the nature of mistakes: when we make one mistake, any decision made in relation to that mistake will itself be a mistake – even if the decision is true in relation to the mistake. The exception, of course, is the decision to correct the mistake – but we can only be free to make that decision if we are aware that there exists a mistake to correct.

Man-Made Law Makes a Mistake:

Imagine a king who rules over a small, imaginary country. All of his subjects are gathered before him – men, women, boys and girls. The king holds aloft an unsigned piece of paper. He proclaims, “By this decree, I make every subject in this land equal in a way that our forefathers could never have imagined. I hereby declare that we are all no longer physically related to other people!” And with a flourish of the royal pen…nothing happens.

The subjects might not say things such as: “Wife, I am no longer the father of your children”; “Husband, I am no longer their mother”; “Dad, my body is no longer made from yours”; “Sister, I am no longer your brother”. But the subjects might say things such as: “If we are no longer related to other people, then who are we?”; “If we are no longer related to other people, then where did we come from?”; “If we are no longer related to other people, then how are we going to have children?”

The mistake of the decree is the stuff of nightmares, yet more than a dozen countries have now legally declared there to be no such thing as a physical relative. This decreed mistake is commonly named “Equal Marriage”.

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Two Views of Human Sexuality

July 5th, 2013 Jill Posted in Marriage, sex Comments Off

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Called to Celibacy Unchosen

June 13th, 2013 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off

By Aaron Taylor, First Things

The crisis in family life which has convulsed the West since the 1960s has meant that a good portion of the Church’s teaching mission over recent years has been dedicated to outlining a coherent and compelling vision of Christian marriage, and rightly so. But this should not lead Christians to downplay the nobility of the celibate life, which Christian tradition has always held in the highest regard. This is particularly important to bear in mind as the Church struggles with how best to help homosexual persons to holiness.

Aside from the obvious example of Jesus himself, St. Paul was the first to promote celibacy as a form of “undivided devotion to the Lord.” St. Paul wrote at a time before the existence of monasteries, and addresses himself to both sexes. He was not talking about priestly celibacy, or about the consecrated life. He was talking about the value of a celibate vocation lived out in the midst of the world.

The idea that homosexuals are “called” to celibacy sounds odd to many Christians today. We tend to associate celibacy with a conscious choice to forgo marriage. In other words, one can only really have a celibate vocation if one is first attracted to marriage, and later decides to renounce it as a possibility. Pope Benedict XVI expressed thoughts along these lines in Light of the World:

Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don't want to get married anyway.

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The New Birds and the Bees

May 23rd, 2013 Jill Posted in Children/Family, sex Comments Off

By Mark Regnerus, Public Discourse

For all of their intelligence, sophistication, and cosmopolitan ways, Westerners are increasingly uncomfortable with where babies come from.
 
I realize it’s a humorous and ironic claim to suggest that moderns—who dwell in an over-sexed, over-sensualized world—might actually be uncomfortable with the subject matter of sex. But I’m serious. They’re growing increasingly uncomfortable with where babies come from.
 
Confused?
 
While over 98 percent of babies are still generated by vaginal sexual intercourse—the clinical term I use so that everyone understands what I’m saying—it’s become increasingly commonplace to disassociate sex from babies in the mind.
 
Birth control is widely practiced, and almost an assumption. Surrogacy is surging. Artificial reproductive technology (ART) is too, and not just due to rising reliance on in vitro fertilization. Additionally, alternative forms of heterosexual sex—in which ejaculation occurs outside the vagina—are increasingly common in accounts of sexual relationship behavior (and in porn are normative). In step, reported use of “withdrawal” as a contraceptive method has actually increased over time—from 41 percent in 1995 to 59 percent in 2008. Homosexual sex doesn’t involve ejaculation at all—in the case of women—or, with men, is not poised to fertilize anything.
 
Thus “sex” is an inclusive word. In that sense it’s a bit like “hooking up,” a catch-all term that leaves to the imagination the details of what did or did not happen between a couple. Unless, however, such sex is “unprotected.” We know what that means.
In other words, what we mean when we think of sex has shifted—and expanded—rather dramatically. Some celebrate this, concurring with Huxley’s Brave New World character that “fertility is merely a nuisance.” Some lament it. Others struggle to have it both ways, echoing the words my wife and I heard one physician’s assistant utter: “Isn’t it strange how we spend our twenties trying our best to avoid pregnancy, only to spend our thirties doing the opposite?”
 
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