Thoughts on this recent TED Talk?

(Kathleen) #24

Ah, gotcha. Thanks for clarifying! I suppose that goes back to the question of what is marriage for? Is it just another means by which we find personal fulfilment? Is it for companionship or raising a family? Or is it to reflect and declare some other reality?

Leading up to the Oberfell v. Hodges decision in 2015, I remember there being a lot of discussion in Christian certain circles not necessarily about gay marriage but about the Christian capitulation on ‘no-fault divorce’ several decades previously. The thrust of the argument was that if marriage is merely a social contract based on an ambiguous feeling of love that could be subject to change (or however marriage was defined when ‘no-fault divorce’ was legalised), then any consenting pair of adults could enter into that. Whether they are male or female doesn’t matter.

Like you said, we gather from Scripture that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman for life… but for what? That’s where we, as Christians, need a more robust definition of marriage. @DavidACBennett has done a lot of thinking about this, and he answers it rather briefly here…

And I would assume that by contending that the Bible is ‘contextual’, they would argue that it was written to a certain kind of society, and, therefore, those guidelines do not necessarily apply to us today. That is, it was written in a context different from ours. If this is what they meant, then a good recent thread to have a look at is this one:

(Tabitha Gallman) #25

Thanks @KMac for your time with this topic as I am still trying to prepare an answer to anyone that may approach me with questions about sexuality, whether it’s someone I know or don’t know. I don’t necessarily believe that the fruit in the garden represents anything sexual (although I have heard that somewhere in the past, but that has never been my view), but my question was more about the desire, i.e. is it wrong to categorize desires as good or bad? To me, I don’t feel like Eve did anything wrong before eating the apple in Genesis ch. 3 v. 6. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”

I didn’t think this question through before asking it, as I am now having to think this through because I don’t think our desires are bad or good unless it leads us into thoughts that are disobedient to God and/or against what the Holy Spirit is ‘saying’ to us the way Jesus describes in Matthew 5:27-28. Wow, honestly, I was not thinking of Romans 7:5, but that is (I think) what I am trying to describe. I agree with you @KMac here:

I’m thinking that a desire is not the sin, but it’s what comes after the desire that is key to our relationship to Christ.

Thanks @KMac!

(Kathleen) #26

I agree. To desire wisdom is not a sin. It’s where the desire leads that often lands us in trouble. For Eve, it led her to choose to listen to the voice of the serpent over the voice of God.

Also, this Tim Keller quote just sprang to mind…

Often what seem to be our deepest desires are really just our loudest desires.

(Anthony Costello ) #27

Hi all,

I just felt like I should qualify some of my posts in this thread a little more, since this is a very sensitive topic, and by no means do I wish to offend. At the same time, by no means do I wish to obscure what is likely God’s truth, as given to us in Scripture, and has been taught throughout church history.

On that note, I just finished the chapter on Homosexuality in Richard Hays’ seminal (and I mean, seriously seminal) work on New Testament ethics, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, where Hays, by no means a super conservative Evangelical, albeit an absolute giant of NT scholarship, not only holds the line on the biblical view of sexual ethics, but also demonstrates very clearly how in holding that line, the church is doing the loving thing for homosexuals. The hard thing, but the loving thing. After opening this chapter about a story of his friend, Gary, who remained a celibate homosexual, ultimately dying of AIDS, Hays closes with this profoundly compassionate, yet profoundly biblical conclusion:

“We live, then, as a community that embraces sinners as Jesus did, without waiving God’s righteousness. We live confessing that God’s grace claims us out of confusion and alienation and sets about making us whole. We live knowing that wholeness remains a hope rather than an attainment in this life. The homosexual Christians in our midst may teach us something about “our true condition as people living between the cross and the final redemption of our bodies.

In the midst of a culture that worships self-gratification, and in a church that often preaches a false Jesus who panders to our desires, those who seek the narrow way of obedience have a powerful word to speak. As Paul saw in pagan homosexuality a vivid symbol of human fallenness, so I saw conversely in Gary, as I have seen in other homosexual friends and colleagues, a symbol of God’s power made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Gary knew through experience the bitter power of sin in a twisted world, and he trusted in God’s love anyway. Thus he embodied the “sufferings of this present time” of which Paul speaks in Romans 8: living in the joyful freedom of the “first fruits of the Spirit,” even while groaning along with a creation in bondage to decay.”

Those are profound words: profoundly biblical, and profoundly loving. In short, there are some of us, nay, all of us, who will have to suffer with a very particular effect of sin in this world, and literally wait until the afterlife to see that suffering effect fully and completely redeemed. That just is what Christianity teaches, and it may be same-sex attraction, or it may be anger, or it may be a mental handicap, or it may be the horror of experiencing war. But, somethings will not “go away” in this life. That doesn’t mean they have to destroy our purpose in this life.

That said, however, what this woman unfortunately has not grasped is that to feel like one has to choose between someone else’s sinful choices and the church, is to set oneself and the other person up for spiritual struggle and ultimately for more pain. Because to think that indulging in our sinful habits, no matter how “natural,” is that which will bring us ultimate joy is exactly what Christ has shown us is false.

Finally, I would have to say, even as a father of three beautiful boys, that if one were to grow up a hardcore atheist, or the other convert to Islam or some other religion, or freely persist in some moral behavior that is just antithetical to the Truth of God’s Word, that yes, I would actually choose the Church over them in some sense. But the church is not just something we go to, it IS the Body of Christ, the community of saints, the fellowship of all men, all women, everywhere and through every space and time who have dedicated themselves to Christ. Ultimately, that is my family, far more so than even my biological one. So, I would choose the Church (that means you all here) over even my own children, were the choice foisted upon me.

"And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothersare outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”