The Sexual Lives of Others: Like Catnip to Everyone—Even Christians

Two days ago I posted What Would Jesus Do if Invited to a Gay Wedding?, a simple enough little piece in which I rather cursorily addressed the question of whether or not I should attend the wedding of some gay friends.

A preacher’s wife snorting coke during a televised Easter service wouldn’t generate as many comments as that blog post did. I wouldn’t have gotten any more responses if I’d written that I’d discovered absolute proof that Jesus was a schizophrenic Muslim magician. I guarantee you that in the time it’s taken me to write this, four more Christians have left comments on that post to the effect that Jesus hates sin, and would no sooner attend a gay wedding than he would assist Satan in trimming his hooves.

I just went and checked. I was wrong: five Christians just left me a message along those lines. And that number will double by the time I’m through here.

Before I was a Christian, I thought Christians were definitely more focused on sex than they were anything else. Now that I am a Christian, I still kind of think that.

But so what? That’s just people, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter who you are—Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew—it’s a sure bet that in the course of any given day, you spend more time thinking about what other people are doing—and why, and when, and how, and with whom—than you do anything else. And there’s nothing particularly wrong or malevolent about that. Saved or not, we’re all first and foremost Social Creatures.

I do think, though, that it wouldn’t kill we Christians, when condemning Today’s Offensively Secularized Culture as often as God knows we do, to remember that we, right along with everyone else, are constantly and everywhere proving that we’re fairly fixated on what others are doing with their time, energy, and (most of all) sexuality.

Non-Christians are irresistibly fascinated by the behaviors, imperatives, and core motivations of others. So are Christians. So is everyone else in the world.

God can forgive us for how readily we surrender to our desire to be involved in the personal business of others. But it’s clear that he’s in no particular rush to cure us of that desire.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Hey, I’m not too proud to admit it — I totally think about the honeymoon sex when I attend a wedding!

    Well, with that kind of incentive, I bet you RSVP a big ol' yes to just about every wedding to which you're invited! You go Girl!

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Morse, Oh man, you seriously thought JOHN didn't know what a pastie was?!

    If that's the case, I have a uncle living in Nigerian who willing to give 25% of a 10,000,000 dollar inheritance coming to him to anyone who would be willing to take the cash transfer and hold it for him until he can get to the States. I told him about you Morse and he was sooooo excited! Just send him your credit card number, expiration date, and security code and he'll deposit it to your account immediately.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    He's an innocent Christian. He's not supposed to know what goes on in our seedy secular underworld.

  • Dan Harrell

    We have beetles here who have a mating frenzy about this time of year. I think they come from Japan. There also on the list of things I try not to visualize mating.

    I don't spend a lot of time thinking about anything or anyone mating.

    But, I totally agree with your premise, John, because back in the day, I did have a facination with sex. Now I'm glad wrinkles don't hurt.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Cheers John. It frightens me how often you make sense. You really need to stop doing that. ;)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    You too. Pagan.

  • http://emphaticasterisk.com Lindsey

    I would totally attend a gay wedding. All of the weddings I’ve attended have been sinner wedding sinner, it’s just that usually that fact can be easily ignored when it’s not two guys holding hands.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    How dare you. How DARE you!

    I am an apostate, thank you very much.

  • Candace

    Being from the midwest, I thought a pastie was a meat and potato pastry kind of affair.

    Either that or they're selling those nipple-cover thingies at every little mom and pop general store for the entire length of the U.P.

    Come to think of it, the winters ARE kinda long and cold up there.

    They are probably worn under longies and snowmobile suits … just another layer.

    Hmmmm. Actually, this would work, whichever version of pastie you're talkign about, wouldn't it? Just one way you have lunch along, and the other way you'd have entertainment.

    I think I think too much.

  • Candace

    Anita! How'd you know??

    I have never missed a wedding I was invited to YET! ;-)

  • Leif Sr.

    John – I don't blush that easy.

    Morse – well stated, thank you very much.

    Doesn't everyone think about the honeymoon at a wedding?

  • Candace

    Well, that's what *I* woulda thought, Leif Sr.

    If not for Anita, and now you, I may have felt as though I had kept singin' when the music stopped ;-)

  • David Barach

    Think how much happier we would all be if instead of spending all our time and energy thinking about other people's sexuality, we focused instead on actually practicing more of our own.

    Now replace the word "sexuality" in the previous sentence with the word "religion".

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    John,

    Since it’s your blog it would seem necessary for you to read all the comments to the end and to that I say, more power to you fella. I on the other hand stopped reading sometime in the early three digits because the rhetoric was all too familiar and when the cutting, pasting and misapplication of Scripture kicks in then I know the end is near and the conversation has turned into closed discourse.

    I’m going to argue with the title of this post John. I’d modify “The Sexual Lives of Others: Like Catnip to Everyone—Even Christians” to Especially Christians.” It’s interesting how little the church, historically and currently, has talked about sex and sexuality, sexual ethics, sexual responsibility, and simply being sexual beings as it applies to everyone, and yet there’s no limit to how much the church will talk about, obsess about, misrepresent, over prioritize, and falsely stereotype the sexual lives of gay people. I’ve heard more about supposedgay sex acts in hideously graphic detail from evangelical Christians than any where else. The idea of gay sex is so repulsive, disgusting, and perverse to some people and yet these are the very people who spend such an inordinate amount of time, energy and interest in Christian circles discussing it, dissecting it, and tisk-tisking it. The truth is, if I spent as much time having or thinking about sex as some conservative Christians spend thinking about me having sex, I’d never get the laundry done.

    When I attend a straight Christian wedding I’m not looking at the couple before me and visualizing what kind of sex they’re going to have on their honeymoon. Truthfully, I don’t think “sex” is even a passing thought in those moments. What has my attention is their love for one another, that they’re willing to take such an incredible step in making the most incredible commitment of their lives, of rejoicing in the bringing together of their two lives into one.

    In the EXACT same way I married my beloved because I love her and because she is a gift to my life, a gift from God. I didn’t marry her to get some. I married her to promise to God and her, and to say to the world that my heart, fidelity and devotion is committed to this one and to no other, and with God’s help, I’ll do all I can, however flawed my attempts might be at times, to honor her, care for her, and pray for her every day for as long as I live.

    Now, I fully realize all I say about my life will be denied by those committed to homosexuality being sin. Those who have never met me, have never witnessed the healthy, giving, and joyful relationship between my love and I, have never experienced the blessing and witness of our union to the lives of both gay and straight, Christian and non-Christian friends, and who are not privy to my personal relationship and commitment to Christ, will toss out a Bible passage or two that define me as an abomination, an idolater and a hater of God. So be it. None of it changes the reality of my life, the purity of my love for my beloved, and the sweetness of my love for God and God’s for me.

    Sex. Yes, the church would do well taking more about sex, but maybe it would be more beneficial to talk about the integrity and purity of their sex lives than to obsess about the presumedsex lives of others.

    Okay, that’s it. I have a load of whites to put in the washing machine.

  • Candace

    Actually, now that John has me thinking about sex (DARN you, John), I realize that since I have been a Christian, I have been even more thoughtful about sex than ever.

    Nothing like the whole "Gift from God perspective to liven up the topic.

    I love the whole notion of waiting for the wedding night, now, too. If I ever get married again, it's gonna be to someone who agrees to do that. What could be hotter? Seriously??

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    I love the whole notion of waiting for the wedding night, now, too. If I ever get married again, it’s gonna be to someone who agrees to do that. What could be hotter? Seriously??

    One word. Whipped cream and strawberries.

    Oh wait. That's four words.

    Nevermind.

  • FreetoBe

    Catnip? Nah, I am so not interested in the sex life of ANYONE. But I think God totally wants us to be busy-bodies. How else can we fulfill the 2d great commandment?

    LUV YA!

    We haven’t enough food this week — “here’s a food voucher and an invitation to church…”

    LUV YA!

    My teenage son is acting up — “here’s what’s worked for me….”

    LUV YA!

    I think my husband is unfaithful — “here’s my shoulder, my compassion, and here’s what God says…“

    LUV YA!

    What will my life be? — “let’s pray….”

    LUV YA!

    This is what Jesus means to me. I don’t always let Him work through me this way. But I know, John, that He uses you to open the hearts and minds of people like me who think they have ALL the answers to our great and wonderful Savior. I am reminded every day of His grace and mercy through numerous people and writings, yours included. Thanks.

    Seriously, do you really think people are mainly interested in the sexual antics of other people? Seems like a waste of time to me. There’s so much more to do than worry about who’s on what. My

    2 cents, hope it buys something.

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Okay, that was way too long for a comment. Erase. Start again.

    Hey John, nice post. It gave me a lot to think about. Keep up the good work. Anita

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com Skerrib

    OH man…I totally do that; get obsessed with other people's sexuality. Like if I don't know if someone is gay or not, it drives me nuts and I'm thinking "well is (s)he or isn't (s)he??" It took me a long time to finally ask myself the questions "Um, what if (s)he is, then what?" and I realized I didn't have much of an answer.

    Leif Sr–dude, that was the big joke at my Christian college. We'd lean over to each other and whisper "I wonder what they're going to be doing tonight???" and double over with giggles.

    I know what you're thinking–so smart, so cultured. Thank you.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com Skerrib

    (This was at friends' weddings where we'd lean over to each other and whisper those things. Just wanted to clairfy.)

  • Candace Ware

    Hey, I’m not too proud to admit it — I totally think about the honeymoon sex when I attend a wedding!

    And I am curios as heck about the sex lives of my species.

    So?

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    John,

    I LOVE the pic. And to support your point, I do believe the most used comment on the way out of a worship service is, “I wish so-n-so were here today. THEY need to hear that sermon!” We are always trying to fix someone else. And, that is people. We are all in need of much grace. Thank God there is no shortage of that.

  • Leif Sr.

    John,

    You have the most humorous blog and the most intriguing collection of posters (or is that posterites, or posties – no not pasties, John stop thinking about sex!). People being people, go figure.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Anita: Your comment #5 here is brilliant. (And your #7 just cracked me up.)

    Lindsey: Well said!

    Free: Thank you.

    Ric: Exactly right.

    Leif: What’s a pastie?

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    John, a pastie is a small piece of cloth, fabric or plastic with adhesive that an exotic dancer attaches to cover her nipples in the strange towns that seem to have decided that the nipple is the offensive part of the breast.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Morse: Oh, shoot. I wanted to make Leif (whom I know to be an especially devout Christian) tell me what a pastie is. Oh, well. Your “…that seem to have decided that the nipple is the offensive part of the breast” makes me glad you answered anyway.

    Did you actually think I didn’t KNOW?

    I mean, I didn’t. Thanks!

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Okay Morse. Let me try to understand this.

    John.

    Innocent.

    Same sentence.

    Nnnnnnnnnnn-no. I tried to say it with a straight face Morse, I really did, but it’s just not possible.

    And John, don’t bother making a pun on me unable to make a “straight face.” It would just be too predictable and you’d only embarrass yourself.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    I only think about sex when I am awake.

    Oh, and for some reason while reading John's blog.

    But that's it. I think it is important to set limits.

  • furnituremaker

    The song "What If I Stumble" by DC Talk says it best….

    "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today

    Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips

    Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.

    That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

    Jesus would have attended a gay wedding and changed water into wine..oh no I just opened another can of worms :)

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    What was this post about? I was trying to read it, but I kept thinking about something else …

  • http://acureforallills.freewebsites.com happy4life

    I agree and disagree with what you wrote. I agree with it in that people pretend that sex is some secret rite, when, (let's face it) if you are married everyone knows you are doing it. If two people are unmarried and believe in premarital sex EVERYONE knows they are doing it because the parties can never keep it quiet.

    A jewish wedding (old tradition) has the couples get engaged, throw a huge party in which the guests are in a large room ajoining the honeymoon suite as newly weds 'consummate' their marrige while the grooms best friend stands outside the door until the act is done! How's that for attraction to other people's business?

    On the other hand, I discarded my fixation with sex when I realized I could be doing something else! In other words, I've found something else to fulfill my personal (non-sexual) desires.

    Thumbs up for a good piece!

  • arlywn

    maybe we should forget the bible and just practise this cool sentence : Mind your own business

    it works really well- unless your one of those gossipy kinda folk

  • arlywn

    it would, now that I think about it!!!

    Darn, what a problem. If we minded our own business, then I wouldnt have ever come to this blog and told ya'll that nifty little idea. Wow. there sure are a whole lotta gossipy kinda folk here. lol

  • Candace

    Arlywn — that’s so funny :-) Mind our own business! ROFLMAO ;-0

    Wouldn’t that mean a lot fewer comments on John’s bog?

  • whos_your_dolly

    Get over your holier than thou selves would ya? NONE of us is without sin, and if we say we have not sin we decieve ourselves… but of course not GOD. Personally I simply don't understand how men can lust after men nor women after women, but men lusting after women and women lusting after men is still the same sin. Lust. And so many LUST after other things and think nothing of it….money, possessions, power, fame… to name a few. Far too much time being spent worrying about everyone elses walk with God— work out your OWN salvation in fear and trembling. Stop with the who's the biggest sinner. NONE of us will get to heaven without JESUS. Let HIM do the saving. Was David less a sinner than a gay man? Adulterer, lustful, murderer, liar, and still beloved by God. Hard one to figure, but its all right there in His Word. Get on with what God wants you to do in this life, how He wants YOU to serve Him. And JOHN seems to be alive and caustic in MANY forums and blogs. What's up with that?

  • whos_your_dolly

    OHH my could there be MORE than ONE John in here? LOL

  • Deacon

    Usher: Hey Deak, this reminds me of something I ran into the other day – a non-believing friend of mine mentioned the very distasteful sexual behaviors of a certain person (with his wife and friends – whom I know attends the bible study of my very best friend)

    Deacon:And……

    Usher: Well he told me he couldn't do business with someone like that and that even though the guy in question had a business proposal, the fact that has seen videos of the unseemly behavioir was enough to keep him from ever doing business with this man.

    Deacon: So what did you do?

    Usher: Nothing. Even though I struggled with the knowledge of the whole thing because I know all of the parties mentioned.

    Deacon: Isn't it your responsibility to tell your friend that leads the bible study?

    Usher: Says who? Is that not simply more gossip to fuel the flame? None of my business. I did something like that once when I was a very young buzzrd and it got me thrown out of my nest and into a lot of hot water. Sometimes God tells you things you just have to keep to yourself. That's why stones are part of your craw – so you can digest it without it comin' back up:)

  • Dianne

    Yes, I have a problem with men being gay. It offends me as a single woman. Especiall the really fun, cute ones.


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