Think Tank 2012 Live-Blog: Two-ism and Sexuality (Dannah Gresh)
Speaker: Dannah Gresh (founder, Grace Prep)
Session: Two-ism and Sexuality
I am concerned with our view of sexuality in the church.
Let’s begin with women. Marilyn Monroe rose to the status of sex symbol at the age of 30, and she could not afford the worship ascribed to her. It destroyed her. In Monroe’s day, her sex symbol influence was popular among 20-year-old women. Today, we have the tween demographic. For this group, we have sex symbols like Miley Cyrus. There are even clothing manufacturers making padded bathing suits geared toward giving 7-year-old girls sex appeal. American Psychological Association says that young girls now practice “seduce the boy” – a new game that current sex appeal of toy dolls promotes.
Where are our boys in all of this? The further that young boys go into One-ist mentality, it feeds narcissistic tendencies. Little boys now enter the “adultescent” stage, in which their adolescent mentality stretches into their 20s. For young boys, the average age for pornography is 11. This is fruit of emasculating young boys and taking away their sense of Biblical distinction.
We need to stop focusing on these counterfeits and look at the original design. To do so, we must look at God’s design of sexuality in the book of Genesis.
Genesis 4 says, “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth…” When I read this verse, I suspected he did more than just “lay” so I looked up the word in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word is “yada”. It means “to know, be known, to be deeply respected.” It moves past the physical and speaks of something spiritual. It combines the two greatest needs of a male and female. Women desire to be “known”; men desire to be “respected”. Unfortunately, as women, we are better at nagging than respecting.
In contrast, the Hebrew word “sakab” (Genesis 19:33) means “to exchange body fluids”, and it is merely physical. This is what the world sells us on.
The word “yada” and Two-ism: This word gives the world a foundation for sexuality. It declares a distinction. It declares an unknown-ness, but it also draws us together in order to be known.
Another place the word “yada” is used: “Be still and know (yada) that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). God uses the same word in describing the closeness He desires with us as He does for the closeness that He desires for husbands and wives. JohnPiper: “The ultimate reason we are sexual is to make God more deeply knowable.” Peter Jones: “If Christians do not find the courage to address the biblical teaching on sex, they will wake up one day and find themselves and the gospel completely marginalized.”
The issues today
I now want to discuss a few questions…
What’s wrong with having friends with benefits?
Yada suggests that knowing does not merely come through physical senses. In its fullest meaning, yada is emotional. Friends with benefits seek to have a sexual relationship without this emotional attachment. It turns out that the head’s “limbic system” is where our emotions are found. Dopamine is produced there and gives us a sense of peace and pleasure that drives us back to the source of pleasure. It is the biological chemical that makes people crave exercise, crack cocaine, sex with their spouse, sex with friends. When you play the “friends with benefits” game for a while and stop, your body can go into withdrawal.
Why does sexual sin hurt so much?
Oxytocin is another biological chemical, and it is released when sexual climax is achieved. It is also released when mothers breastfeed. The purpose of this chemical: bonding. “… the two will become one flesh…” (Ephesians 5:31). Note, also, 1 Corinthians 6:16: “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘the two will become one flesh.’” When you sleep with someone, your body makes a promise (chemically) whether you do or not (mentally).
Is homosexuality a sin?
To answer this, I believe it more helpful to turn to Genesis (as the source and foundation of sexuality). I knew a girl who had same-sex attractions, and it was fun to watch her begin to have crushes on boys. What changed this girl is the account in Genesis – that truth that she was created in the image of God. From that truth, she found freedom.
What’s so wrong with porn?
Yada is not possible with pornography. You cannot know or be known by the pixels on a computer screen. Pornography is even growing in popularity among women.
If the world is hungry for sexual satisfaction, we (the church) should be talking about it, showing people the true purpose of sexuality.
In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen. Those who were entrusted to watch over it saw that it was missing, but they did nothing. When they saw the four empty pegs on the wall they just assumed that it was in another room being photographed for media purposes. The possibility that it could have been stolen did not even cross their minds. The Mona Lisa is largely considered the greatest picture in the world, and when it was missing, the people entrusted with it did nothing. The greatest picture of the gospel in the world is marriage, and we (the church) have been entrusted with it. How many of these “pictures” have been stolen from the body of Christ? And what are we doing about it?
My call to you: Just do something where you are. What’s happening in your home? What are you telling your children? Your grandchildren?
Find those subverting the Biblical image (of sexuality) in your church and love them with truth and grace. Our young girls do not need to worship the celebrities; they need to worship God. Our young boys need to turn off Call of Duty and answer the call of duty to be distinct men in our world.