In Response to the Above
Hi Peter - I'm a high school teacher (Moral & Religious Ed., Moral Ed., Ethics and Religious Cultures) and frequently am required to address sexuality issues in the classroom.
I see my views reflected in two elements of your approach: first, your efforts to bring the religious focus back to knowledge of Jesus, and second, the unpretentious way you use the word 'sin', trying to negate certain attitudes or behaviours without condemning those who 'indulge'.
I have been repeatedly warned by my school administration not to say anything which the 'gay' community might find offensive, yet continue to speak frankly and as insightfully as possible to my students. Here are two perceptions which may be relevant to your questions.
To me the search for 'sexual identity' is more related to dysfunction in family relationships and gender stereotypes than we think. The OT saying "the sins of the father ..." describes an inter-generational short circuit more than God's "visiting" retribution on children of sinful parents.
'Sensitive" boys are still considered unmanly - and therefore 'protected' more by mothers and alienated more by fathers (this manly/macho male stereotype certainly helps to understand why "Father" isn't necessarily an 'inviting' metaphor for God). At elementary school the ridicule or rejection of 'delicate' males continues and is reinforced in High School, especially in sports. Many boys question their 'maleness' because male role models are almost always macho, independent and unemotionally expressive.
Some females who are not successful in finding 'sensitivity' among the male population revert to other females, while 'macho' females (also considered somewhat socially 'undesirable' ) fill the leadership bill in such relationships, complicating the picture.
To me this stigmatizing of sensitive males is the greatest 'sin'. It blinds us to the compassion of our heavenly Father, while forcing kind, compassionately made males to deny their true nature. Because we are a publicly 'sexualized' culture this dynamic also causes the problem to be viewed and expressed sexually as early in adolescence as possible.
This brings me to my second point. Boys or girls who become alienated from their siblings and parents (many reasons), and who need and seek normal affection, often try to replace this lack with "genital excitement". Pornography and premature sexual encounters become addictive, continuing to isolate these people from healthy affectionate relationships, and many persist into adulthood seeking increased levels of sexual 'comfort' as a substitute for real love (it's easier).
This is the second great sin: alienated not only from God and now those who could love us we search for 'hetero' or 'homo' sexual gratification as comfort and gravitate towards situations and people who make such available. Here, I'm afraid, is where religious 'celibacy' becomes potentially sinful.
Biblically speaking, celibacy is a spiritual gift only to be enjoined by someone whose spiritual identity and sexuality are clearly understood and embraced. Someone who knows, and trusts, himself or herself can be successful if called to celibacy by God. Sadly, socially dysfunctional people have too often entered 'ministry' as an alternate avenue to healthy human interactions - here they get theological training, but not healing.
Sincere dedication to ministry and celibacy 'seem' like a remedy for social/sexual identity deficits since they promise (falsely) a deeper and more rewarding spirituality. Church organizations continue to capitalize upon the situation, covering up or paying for 'sins', since they need recruits to ministry.
Sin number three is taking advantage of such socially disabled people under a cloak of "ministry to a needy world". I am pleased to see your dedication to bringing healing, and basic spirituality (loving relationship with Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit), back into the church. It is the church, and our families, which need this healing so desperately. I pray that pastors and bishops will speak out - addressing these issues boldly and compassionately.
We need dads and moms who can express honest emotions to reflect the love of a Father whose image reflects and creates both maleness and femaleness. They need to be reassured that marriage is as high a calling as celibacy - and that God determines who is gifted in this way (the Church has an enormous problem here - still flogging celibacy as a requirement of ministry or a 'higher', more committed spirituality).
People need to relearn that sexual expression is only one aspect of intimacy in relationships, and that without spirit-healing of 'intimacy' issues, no type of sexual relationship can be healthy. Along with healing people need to again be taught that the male/female combo is the genuine deal, blessed by God, the full and wholesome reflection of his nature and emotions.
Lastly, the co-creation and nurture of humans as 'little' reflections of God needs to be seen as a divine calling so that the combined mom/dad picture is also a genuine reflection of our Father's compassionate (feminine stereotype) as well as 'solid' (masculine stereotype) nature.
I apologize for the length of these remarks Peter, but they are alive and passionate issues for me. So many children live in personal and sexual confusion - an inherited, built-in, programmed psychological confusion which is seldom addressed in a healthy way. We continue to speak of surface sexual issues which seldom touch the real sickness of lost insight and 'feeling' about what it means to be female and male.
May God strengthen and sustain your work, and keep you totally happy in relationships - with Himself and with those who love you. I do already, just from reading two short blurbs from your web site! Blessings!!!!