Sex and the Kitchen Sink (Jan-Feb 2003)

By Matt Dabbs

by Greg Taylor
January – February, 2003

Indecent Proposal was a 1993 movie parable about a problem the history of which dates back to ancient civilizations. (You might say my references to movies are ancient.) Robert Redford plays a high stakes gambler who learns about the financial woes of David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana (Demi Moore) and offers them one million dollars to spend a night with Diana.

David and Diana find that no amount of money could change one fact: it’s not just sex. The age-old problem is not sex in the city but sex that is separated from the city of God, a divinely sanctioned relationship between man and woman. British director Adrian Lyne directed Fatal Attraction as well as Indecent Proposal. At least one message of both films is clear: it’s not just sex.

The lie that Satan tells the world is that we can watch sex on movies, flirt with a colleague on a business trip, explore online fantasies, and it’s just physical attraction and nothing more. Dualist philosophies dating before New Testament times rendered only the spiritual realm as counting toward purity. Do whatever you want with your body, said the going logic, what matters is the realm above this earth!

It’s an old heresy but Satan plants it anew every day around us. Look and enjoy—it’s only sex. I believe Scripture to teach the norm for human sexual life is heterosexual married union, but being married does not exempt us from this epic problem of separation of sex and relationship. In most cases the “pre-divorce” of dropping the connection between sex and true relationship happens before legal divorce is ever mentioned. A friend of mine said his wife served him divorce papers last year. He pointed to a time before the divorce when they stopped praying together as the beginning of the end of their marriage.

Imagine a man who lavishes his wife with gifts. What she really wants is for him to lavish attention on her and spend time with her. And while she loves the jewelry and perfume, he believes gifts show love. He gives presents but is not present. Instead, he is aloof and preoccupied. He, on the other hand, wants words of kindness and respect for what he is doing to bring home the bacon and provide the house of her dreams. They both enjoy sex, but she can’t continue to genuinely make love to him when these are the only minutes of their week they spend so close to one another. He doesn’t understand why she is acting so cold. He gets propositioned for sex 10 times a day on email subject lines, and one day in anger and frustration, he opens one junk email and hits the link for relationship-less sexual simulation online. She, meanwhile, spends her waking hours seeking intimacy and friendship—male or female—outside their home. They live in the same house but the divorce of sex and relationship has already happened.

I remember early in my marriage hearing, “sex begins long before bedtime.” For a newlywed, this could mean, among other things, “start hinting early.” When, however, I learned the “Five Love Languages” (made popular by Gary Chapman), the phrase, “sex begins before bedtime” took on new meaning: “wash the dishes.” I learned that my wife’s Love Language is “acts of service” and “quality time.” Chapman names three other love languages: “words of kindness,” “physical touch,” and “receiving gifts.” When I realized that washing dishes and talking to my wife means more to her than buying her flowers—no really, it’s true—our marriage was transformed. Don’t worry, ladies—Jill read this before going to press and agreed. Jill also learned that my Love Languages are “words of kindness” and “physical touch.” The concept flipped our marriage on its feet again. I’m thankful for these 14 years of marriage to Jill.

The church has a great responsibility to teach sexual purity and a healthy, biblical view of sexuality. In this issue we have affirmed a biblical view of heterosexual marriage and condemned sex outside of marriage as sin against God, the church, and family. Yet we have not neglected to point out that loving and accepting homosexuals or adulterers in our midst takes more than the rhetoric, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” While we affirm that Scripture teaches that homosexual sex is sinful in much the same way that heterosexual sex outside marriage is sinful, this common phrase does not communicate to a homosexual. Instead of hearing “love the sinner,” a homosexual may hear, “patronize the sinner and grit your teeth.” Instead of hearing the completion of the phrase, “hate the sin,” a homosexual may hear, “despise the sin and never open up the conversation unless you have the upper hand and arm yourself with scriptures to condemn the behavior.”

Godly views of the same sex and opposite sex—teaching about sexuality and homosexuality—begin before bedtime, before our children’s testosterone and estrogen start flowing, before an email or out-of-town proposition is made either online or by a high stakes gambler. It’s not just sex that we teach. We teach that human relationships must image the very relationship out of which we were created: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

That’s Sex in the City of God.New Wineskins

Greg Taylor

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1581 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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