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SEX: TO ENCOUNTER THE SACRED

Posted on February 18, 2010

For the man whose first sexual experience (which includes most American men) was a visual of a beautiful woman, a vivid imagination, and his hand: this blog may seem beyond possibility?  The reason is that our first sexual encounter was distorted from the get-go, regarding God's original intent of sexual fulfillment and ecstasy.

The lengthier and deeper the acts of distortion, the further away from God's intent that a man finds himself.  God's intent is for not only for our sexual fulfillment, but also, our involvement in an act of worship.

What???  An act of worship?  It also hit me as a pretty bizarre thought, the first time I thought about it.

But Pope John Paul II put it this way:  "The language of the body allows us to encounter the sacred."  The sacred is a way of encountering God.  So, sexual love in marriage is an act of worship - an act of human creativity.

Although our culture imagines that the body and soul can be separated, we know, instinctively, within the inner fabric of our being, that this is a lie.  There is something mysteriously unifying about body and soul.  They cannot be disconnected, although we can surely pretend they can.

We can think that sex is sex and that love is love, and that the two aren't connected.  But I can tell you from the years of my own teen years what irreparable emotional damage such behavior has caused me.  Today such activities are all too often the norm.  But, because of it, the destruction to the family that continues to increasingly unravel.

You already know that sex is big, but do you know it actually is bigger than we even know?  It is transcendent.  Supernatural.  From above.  It was built into the human existence from the get-go.  God intended for the husband and wife to fully and freely give themselves to each other.  He intended the full expression of desire, not the denial of desire that comes with restraint due to guilt or shame.

Guilt and shame entered as a result of fear.  Fear of being used as an object of desire for someone else's self-serving purposes.  That is why we hear the terms between women and men, "You used me", and "You tricked me".

Rather than an act of genuine self-giving that is motivated by love, sin entered as a corruption.  When restraints from guilt and shame are experienced, love decays into lust, and mere lust shatters communion and trust.  And then there is the lingering, underlying, uncertainty of whether the world may even be fit for living.  So, the cultural norm is "let's grab what pleasure we can, even if it is unholy and impure".

But there is a force of love that liberates sex and releases the full expression of desire.  It is a deep personal relationship with Christ - the fullness of the Holy Spirit - that comes from turning from sin and following Christ.

Here I must tell you though, that I personally haven't known a man with a promiscuous history (sometimes initially triggered by child molestion) who's been completely transformed into God's original intent.  I, as well as some others with a background of promiscuity, have caught brief glimpses of His original purpose and we continue to be in hope for all that God intends.

But just because it is not the experience of anyone I know, I perhaps should confess here my own lack of faith.  I suppose I am like the man who told Jesus, "I believe, help me overcome my doubt" (Mark 9:24). 

After all, the same God-Man who said this also told us, "With God, all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26).  This can include sexual love in a happy, fulfilled marriage despite wounds from the past.
(From recent blogs, some of you know I'm in my third battle with lymphoma.  I'm having an MRI on 2/22/10 to show how effective my present chemotherapy is.  I'd be grateful for your praying for an all-clear report and for a complete cure.)


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