The Rev. William Lamar, managing director of leadership education at the Duke University Divinity School wonders why Christians talks so much about sexual issues without paying closer attention to the rich, varied and challenging Biblical texts dealing with sex and sexual violence. Writing at the Huffington Post he says:
The current debate over same-sex marriage in many churches gives me a feeling of déjà vu. We are running to third instead of first. How can we talk about same-sex marriage or homosexuality for that matter without talking about sex and sexuality first? In my humble opinion we are running in the wrong direction. Christians are a people of the book, and that book, the Holy Bible, never shies away from talking about sex. The language about a husband and wife becoming one flesh found in Genesis is a euphemism for sex. Ruth uncovering Boaz’s feet is a euphemism for sex. No euphemism is needed for the voracious sexual appetite of King Solomon or the tragic sexual appetite of King David. Prostitution, concubinage, rape, and incest permeate the scriptures. Speaking of rape and incest, when was the last time you heard a teaching or a sermon on the rape of Tamar and her cries for justice after experiencing the unspeakable? How might congregants be healed by an excellent exegesis of that passage amidst all of the hurt and pain that molestation and rape have caused in our communities? And this is not just a Hebrew Bible affair. Christians at Corinth were not known for their Victorian sexual mores.
The church shies away from frank discussions about sex while claiming to be Bible-based and scripture centered. You cannot be those things and not talk about God’s good gift of sex and how it is to be used to God’s glory. How is being fixated on homosexuality helping young men and women facing puberty deal faithfully and healthfully with their newly discovered urges? How is it helping the chaste singles and the sexually active singles in the pews? How is talk about same sex marriage helping widows and widowers who cannot re-marry because it would upset their incomes but who are sexually active in their later years because they still crave human intimacy (after all they ain’t dead yet)? Why aren’t we talking about these sexual issues alongside issues of homosexuality?
It is an essay full of questions. Do you have any answers?