Yesterday I posed a question: What are some examples of broken or fallen sexuality you see in our culture today? (Read: how is sexuality misused or has fallen away from God’s design since the fall?)
This is a question I’ve been pondering lately because of two things: a news article about a child sex offender and the testimony of a gay Christian man.
I read this article two days ago: “John Burbine, 50, was arrested in September 2012, and faces 100 criminal counts related to sexual assault of children, ranging in age from 8 days to 3-1/2 years, to whom he gained access through his wife’s unlicensed day-care business” (MSN). To be sure, this is disturbing by itself, but I was most unsettled by this comment from his lawyer: “His inability to conform his desires, or his behavior, is all oriented towards sex, and so what we said is: ‘What about treatment?’ We would put forth a bilateral orchiectomy.” That’s right, this man cannot change his desires, which in turn affect his behavior, and so his lawyer has proposed castration in order to lessen his prison time. I was disgusted by this man’s excuse that he simply can’t rewire his desires, his refusal to take responsibility for his own actions. What kind of pervert desires children sexually?
But what I think produced the most turmoil within me was the fact that I use this argument frequently when speaking on behalf of gay people, particularly those gay people within the church: they cannot help what they are attracted to. And I use this argument because I know I cannot help what I am attracted to (speaking on a purely physical level here). I don’t remember a time when I sat down and had a conversation with myself where I said, “Okay, Lydia, you are attracted to men, and not just any men, but men who exhibit these physical qualities.” Some girls look at what physically attracts me, and they raise their eyebrows, because it’s not the same as what attracts them.
For a separate research project, later that evening I began to do some research on testimonies of Christians who struggle or have struggled with same sex attraction, and I came across Matthew Vines’ testimony and exegesis on Bible passages concerning homosexuality. Although I disagree greatly with his interpretation of the New Testament passages, I greatly sympathize with his struggle as a gay man in the Church. Well, I say I sympathize, but I’m reasonably certain I can’t even begin to imagine, although I’m trying to – I really am.
In his argument, he brings up the term “broken sexuality,” and by it I believe he refers to what evangelical Christians see as anything outside of God’s design before sin entered the world; that is, anything outside of the one-man-one-woman sexual design. Even the most sympathetic evangelical Christian sees homosexuality as broken or fallen sexuality – sexuality directly related to the entrance of sin into the world, a fact that causes Mr. Vines and other gay brothers and sisters in Christ a great deal of pain. Understandably so: none of us like to acknowledge the brokenness and fallenness in ourselves.
I would agree with the prevailing evangelical Christian view that homosexuality is one example of broken or fallen sexuality, but it is not the only example of broken or fallen sexuality, nor would I say it is the most broken or most fallen example. I think that to some degree or another, all of us have something broken in our sexuality, and none of us are 100% living out God’s intended design.
So what are some other examples of broken or fallen sexuality? And you know what, yesterday I asked about our culture, but I’m going to narrow it down to the Church.
- Sexual abuse of children. Something is broken or fallen in a person who sexually abuses a child.
- Rape. Something is broken or fallen in a person who sexually forces themselves on another.
- Adultery. Something is broken or fallen in people who fulfill their sexual desires outside of their covenant relationship with their spouses and God.
- Feminism and the Manosphere. Something is broken or fallen in people who think it is their role to dominate in a relationship.
It’s not exclusive to gay people: brokenness and fallenness exist in all of us.
So what is the answer? Stick with me and you’ll find out!