Friday, 20 June 2008

Ironies of the Contemporary Church Part 2

For whatever reasons, the West (not just the church) has for at least a couple of millennia seen sex as either the great point of salvation or the great threat. Obsessively so. Most of us would agree that sex is a powerful force in human society and the individual. Of course. But the West has obsessed over sex’s potential to destroy or bring fulfillment to the extent where sex becomes the panacea for all ills or invariably the point of destruction (eternal or otherwise). For example, the alleged bourgeois repression of sex in nineteenth century Europe was nothing of the sort. People, or should I say men, obsessed over sex. Whether it was the sexuality of women or children masturbating, sexuality was seen as the great source of corruption of the family and society as a whole.

This leads me to the second great irony of the contemporary church. Many Christians, and most churches, have capitulated to this cultural norm. The church is obsessed with sex. On one end of the spectrum we have those who think sex is the panacea of all ills. This takes many forms: a spiritual director whose standard approach is to enquire about the directee’s sex life; or the priest who ignores his own self-indulgent sexual habits because they are irrelevant (allegedly) to ministerial integrity. On the other end of the spectrum the self-appointed guardians of sexual propriety within church and society, consigning gays, fornicators, etc., to hell, and while that destiny is cooking, at least kicking them out of the church after a satisfying witch hunt.

The irony deepens for those on the witch hunt end of the spectrum. Those on this end of the spectrum lambast those of loose sexual morals in the church as capitulating to the culture. That might be true, but what is certainly true is that they themselves, in obsessing over sex, have capitulated to one of the great cultural norms of Western society. Now that’s a bit funny.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is very true when the diocese of Adelaide passed the code of conduct the only questions raised about it were about "Sex". No about how Clergy manage their finances or about Clergy becoming Bankrupt. It was about how we viewed Sex.

    Maybe it is just because we agree about the other stuff????