It’s my body, and I’ll do what I want to – the myth of private sexual ethics

"We're two consenting adults.  What we do behind a closed door is nobody's business."  There, in those two sentences, you find the prevailing, public, sexual ethic of western civilization.  By "Public Ethic" I mean to say that this is what, collectively, we believe.  There are sexual ethics to the left of this that we reject as a culture (pedophilia, rape, abuse) and to the right ("sexual practice should be confined to expression between a man and woman who are married"), but both sides are out … [Read more...]

The Abortion Debate – learning from 40 years of non-dialogue.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision enacted by the supreme court.  Since that time, the rhetoric, misinformation, strategic "messaging", and political posturing surrounding this issue has continued by both sides.  These 40 years reveal that Americans are good at talking within self-referential communities, but not good at talking to people whose view is different than their own. As a result, Roe v Wade became a catalytic force for the religious right to e … [Read more...]

Keeping Sexual Issues in Proportion: This isn’t baseball – it’s faith!

Baseball was in the news last week and the lesson it offers us has everything to do with how the church and many within it view sexuality.  We desperately need to learn that being the people of God is a higher calling than being a sportswriter.  Unfortunately, it seems that much of the evangelical world doesn't yet know that, and as a result, there are lots of Christ followers on the bench, or worse, on the streets because they've been judged guilty of high crimes along the lines of John 8, with … [Read more...]

Starting Assumptions for Sexual Ethics

This winter I'll be teaching about sexual ethics and intimacy in the church I lead in Seattle.  The sermons and study questions will be available the church website here.  It's an important series for our time and place because cultural factors, both in and outside the church, have conspired to create a sense of what might best be described as sexual and relational anarchy.Churches that offer a clear ethic for sexuality are often more gnostic than Christian, with the result that young people … [Read more...]

Are we there yet? How to live outside of sexual (or any other) Nirvana

Because I'm going to be preaching and teaching on the subject of sexual ethics and relationships this winter, I'm reading and talking about sex a lot these days.  I've recently read this, received this in the mail from someone, and just finished this on a recent flight.  This last book was terribly powerful; well written, transparent, as he shared his joy in what I call "shalom moments" while swimming in a sea of unfulfilled desires. His struggle is profound and near the surface because Wesley s … [Read more...]

Sex, Shame, and the Gospel… resources for conversation

We Christians, especially in America, are terrible at having healthy conversations about sexuality and sexual ethics.  The landscape of these conversations are ripe with charges, counter-charges, fear, and sweeping judgements, so much so that when I write about sexuality, I need to read all the comments carefully so as to remove the hateful words that inevitably show up, offered in the name of "staying true to the faith" or "holiness" or some other such nonsense, in much the same way that the … [Read more...]

Colossians: An antidote to cynicism and despair

I've been living in the book of Colossians a fair bit recently, diving in some mornings after coffee with God, and at other odd times during the week.  Over and over again, I've found myself saying, 'this is the truth that we need right now - at this anxious, polarized time in history, when it appears that so much all around us is either collapsing (think Egypt, Syria, Greece, the Eurozone), or built on untruths (think every campaign ad about to baptize your sensibilities).  From the moment we w … [Read more...]

“The Demise of Guys” – a book review that’s going places”

Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan have written a marvelous little book called "The Demise of Guys".  In reality it's little more than an expanded version of this TED talk, and is far more diagnostic than prescriptive.  Still, the first step in fixing anything is determining the extent to which it's broken, and what some of the causes of that brokenness might be.  If exposing dysfunction and it's underlying causes is important, these two shine bright, relentless sunshine on the state of men, and w … [Read more...]


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