God's Word for today

Monday, 7 September 2009

Sexuality - where do heterosexuals fit in?

For many Christians, discussions around sexuality is one of those "untouchable" topics - race, money, politics, and how to raise your kids make up the rest of the "Famous Five" of "no-go areas". I do of course have my own views on matters sexual, and they tend to be rather conservative. I still believe strongly that the gift of sexual expression is something that God has created exclusively for the marriage bed.

However, it seems that the majority of people in society - including a fair number of ministers - disagree with this view.

Given that I am currently stationed in a context where pregnancies outside of wedlock is a major issue, not to mention the ever-present threat of HIV / AIDS, I raised a question on our ministers' closed group on Yahoo concerning the issue of sexuality, so that I could understand the various views from a reasoned theological perspective.

I had also specifically requested that the discussion be confined to sexuality among heterosexuals. While I'm by no means trying to sweep the issue of same-sex relationships under the rug, I don't want to go that broadly into the discussion in this particular case. One or two of my colleagues have however disagreed with me on this, insisting that I do not exclude same-sex relationships from the topic of discussion.

Here is my dilemma, and the best way I can explain it is in the form of an analogy. Suppose I wanted to research the causes of car accidents. My immediate area of focus would naturally be those who drive cars. I accept that bikes and trucks are also a legitimate part of road transportation, and there ARE accidents that involve both cars and these other forms of transport, but my immediate focus would be on cars (i.e one car crashing into another car). My wanting to talk about cars surely would not imply that I'm ignoring or discriminating against bikes and trucks?

I had a similar dilemma at Phase One college some months ago. The topic of discussion was meant to be on sexuality in general (or so I thought), but after four sessions dealing exclusively with homosexuality, I raised the question: "I hear what has been said, and I understand the need to engage in debate around the whole same-sex issue. But where do those of us who are heterosexual fit in?"

As a minister, I will probably have to deal with issues requiring pastoral care of those of same-sex orientation. But I will ALSO have to provide pastoral care when people in heterosexual relationships (the majority of us) have problems. When marriages are breaking up because of sexual infidelity, when unmarried couples are living together in a sexual relationship, and when people are having babies out of wedlock, these are issues that demand a Christian response. And right now, with just about all the focus being devoted to same-sex relationships (5-10% of the population, depending on which statistics one reads), I'm finding myself without access to the appropriate tools to handle problems that the 90-95% need to deal with.

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