Pride of Pan Pt. 1

In the latest news, Union “Theological” can no longer tell the difference between a person and a petunia. Observe:

I’m honestly not sure where to begin. The personalizing of the created order? The divinizing of the created order? The thousand inconsistencies created by this tableau? The hypocrisy of men and women who glory in their shameful unbelief, sexual perversity, and role reversal confessing sin, not to God, but to a fern?

Perhaps I’ll just say this. When Adam was created (and given dominion over the earth, Union, by the way), one of his jobs was to name the creatures that the Lord God had made. This required him to be able to sort things into categories, to discern properties, to make distinctions. That’s why he didn’t end up buggering some animal before Eve came alongā€”he knew the difference between a walrus and a woman. There was no process in the garden of partnering with plants, either. And later in the Old Testament, when creational stewardship laws were given (e.g. Deuteronomy 22.6), it was love to people that was at stake, not love to animals or plants themselves.

Of course, I don’t think this is ignorance. What we’re witnessing is straight-up rebellion. “No one would have blinked if our chapel featured students apologizing to each other,” Union says in defense of their Romans 1:23 workshop. Maybe not; but what if you asked your gay students to apologize to their childhood tormentors for the hate they harbor? What if you asked your students to apologize to their conservative parents for their disrespect and mockery? Apologizing to a plant has the advantage of being totally cost-free. No humility required, no heart-change, no restitution, no real vulnerability.

The unwillingness to make these distinctions does not bode well. Distinction is a priestly task, which is to say, a human task. Not knowing the difference between a plant and person, or a man and a woman, is a rejection of human capacities and therefore of human calling, of humanity in its fullest expression. This apologizing to plants only looks human from the waist up. Pan must be so proud.

Sex Talk

Words are powerful. As the vehicle of thought, language can be used to challenge the perspective of an entire culture. Who controls the language, controls the people. We can see cultural battles over ideas and values happening in language today, such as with the debate over abortionā€”are we pro-life and they pro-abortion, or are they pro-choice and we anti-choice? The distinction matters.

Words can be like tiny doses of arsenic; they are swallowed unnoticed, appear to have no effect, and then after a little time the toxic reaction sets in after all.

Victor Klemperer, The Language of the Third Reich

For every battle of words, and therefore ideas, that Christians have been fighting, I think that we have been blind to some subversive wordplay which has been damaging to a Christian concept of marriage and sexuality.

If a person has normative sexual desires for members of the opposite sex, what do we call that person? Straight, heterosexual, cissexual (that last term is just about as subtle an attack on Christian views of sexuality as a rodeo clown at a mime convention). And if a person experiences (non-normative) sexual desires for members of their own sex? Gay, homosexual. Why?

From a secular viewpoint, the language of orientation can only be beneficial, normalizing. Orientation establishes identity in a way that behavior doesn’t. It’s a lot easier to condemn the action of sodomy than it is to condemn a person for being gay. The first is an attack on a certain moral standard, or lack thereof; the second is a personal attack. As a side-note, this is also why gay characters in your favorite TV shows are fairly non-sexual (think Oscar from The Office)ā€”the important thing to remember, the screen tells us, is who this person is, not what they do.

And so the Church has, by and large, adopted the language of orientation, because how else can we join the conversation? We’ve allowed the world to be divided into gay and straight, and then sought to convince those on the gay side to come over and join our team, or at least sit on our sidelines.

But the language of orientation can never reinforce God-honoring and biblical norms of sexuality. When the world is divided this way in our language, our emphasis becomes a certain kind of attractionā€”that’s what we want our sons and daughters to have.

The Bible doesn’t deal with sexual attraction very much, and doesn’t even recognize sexual orientation, let alone sexual identity. What the Bible is concerned with is sexual behavior, and what it authoritatively proclaims as normative is sexual behavior within a loving marriage covenant that can only exist between one man and one woman. So there is no “at least he’s not gay” for the young man sleeping his way around his college campus, or for the husband with an addiction to porn. The Adam who treats his wife as a substitute for his hand rather than as a woman to be loved and served and protected and pleasured ought not to look down his nose at the Adam at work because he goes home to Steve every night.

Sexual orientation is a smoke-screen, and it produces an inappropriate way of thinking. Married men shouldn’t declaim their straightness as though they still consider attraction to Lucy at work a legitimate object of sexual desire. In terms of orientation, the married man should be oriented toward his wife. Any sexual desire or expression outside of that covenant relationship is non-normative. Single men, obviously, exist in a state of sexual potential with more than one woman, but even so, the reality is that sexual normativity, sexuality that pleases God, is sexuality that only reaches its fulfillment with one woman. This is true for the single man who experiences attraction toward women, and it’s true for the single man who experiences attraction toward men. To claim that because a person has a so-called homosexual orientation, they cannot find sexual fulfillment in a biblical marriage covenant is a lack of creativity and love, and shows a failure to understand sex as a gift within marriage.

Sex is a gift of love and self from husband to wife, and vice-versa. A wife can give herself to her husband even if he is a poor example of virile masculinity. A husband can give himself to his wife even if he finds himself, because of the reality of sin, in possession of desires he knows to be non-normative.

Sex is a gift from God; if anyone is to be the authority on gifts, their reception and use, it is not unbelievers. After all, God created marriage “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3).

“Two roads diverged in a wood…”

Walking out of the theater after seeingĀ The Greatest Showman, Kara asked me what I thought. I told her I’d like to see it about a half-dozen more times, and then write a mixed review. Of course, I didn’t need toĀ seeĀ the movie to know that. We had already listened to the soundtrack more times than I can count, and had watched a few interviews and videos of the actors workshopping their songs. I knew I would love the film, and I knew I would be troubled by elements of it. Continue reading ““Two roads diverged in a wood…””

Physician, Heal Thyself

“You’ve got a little something there… watch it! OK, now you’ve got a speck AND some blunt-force trauma…”

Once there was a nation that may or may not have been built on Christian values, but certainly contained a lot of Christians. In fact, even the unbelievers in this society were non-Christians, not non-Buddhists or non-Muslims. Their values were ChristianĀ (or at least Christian-esque),Ā and their culture took on a certain flavor which was decidedly influenced by aspects of Christianity.

This state of affairs continued for some time, until one day it didn’t. The Old Guard had gotten too old, and the New Guard decided that they had had enough of a mildly Christian-themed America. So they took down the old decor, changed a few slogans, and generally redecorated the place. They threw out the old stodgy puritan morals and came up with beautiful new ones, like Tolerate Everyone and Love Without Discrimination and Don’t You Dare Tell Me I’m Wrong. It was a shining city on a hill, this new utopia. And they all lived happily ever after.

Except they haven’t. Continue reading “Physician, Heal Thyself”

If you’re bigoted and you know it…

When is bigotry bigotry? According to the new moral majority, only when conservatives are expressing an opinion. The left is apparently incapable of transgressing its new moral imperatives, which is quite convenient when you think about it. It’s a level of blindness and hypocrisy which far exceeds that of their hated enemy, that old-time religion. Continue reading “If you’re bigoted and you know it…”