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Friday, July 22, 2005

Body Theology

A year ago I got some friends together to drink wine and talk about politics, God, and sex. I had come across some bodice-ripper Christian romance novels in Dallas, and I bought them back. We scoured the internet trying to find evidence of fundamentalist discussions of right sex (beyond, don't do it, ever), and we found nothing.

A year later, all that has changed.

Online counseling for the place of God in married sex

The Yahoo Christian Domestic Discipline discussion group is but one of a flourishing stream of sites dedicated to "Domestic Discipline," or pseudo-Christian sadomasichism, which seeks to employ Biblical texts to more specifically address issues of sexuality in modern culture.

Fundamentalists have heard historians claiming that Christianity privileges body over soul, and they want to argue that they aren't guilty. Look:

On hippies (the book was written in 1973):

“This attitude is very much like that of the modern hippy, who despises the flesh and shows contempt for the body and its dress. The hippy, in his sexuality, expresses contempt for the body, either by treating sexual acts as of no account in casual promiscuity, or by a bored denial of sex. There is far more abstention from sex among hippies than is generally recognized. Either in abstention or in casual, unemotional promiscuity, it is a contempt of the flesh which is manifested. Dirty bodies and dirty clothing are other means of manifesting the same faith.” (p. 5)

Rather, fundamentalists have begun to encourage each other to parcipate eagerly in sex within marriage:

B. Pleasure (or Recreation)
This might surprise you, but the Bible speaks a great deal about marital sex as a great pleasure. In fact, Paul even commands married couples not to refrain from sexual activity, because their bodies belong to their partner (1 Cor 7:3-5). I have known of couples—Christian couples—who didn’t touch each other for months at a time. This is hardly the biblical view of sex.

Link: Desiring God, the ministry of John Piper, proclaims, "The sexual life of the single person is of great concern to God." No doubt. Piper thinks that God wants to make sure through virginity (and by warning us with STD's) that we belong to Him, as if to a grim proprietal husband of the 19th century.

[I hasten to add that Piper's views, and the views above in general, run counter to those of Augustine, whose educator-God initiated followers into a world of diverse people. Sin, and sin boldly. Origin and the rest of the early self-castrators were, of course, haters of the body.]

Whether Christ himself would agree with Andy Warhol that every person is beautiful and therefore deserving of (free) love, yet remains a topic waiting to be probed.


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