Let's Not Talk About That (Adultery)! Reflections on Exodus 20:1-17

So many still think that, I imagine. However, one thing the debate we are currently having about the possibility of marriage for LGBT people indicates is that people still seem to want to be with one person and to devote themselves to that one person only. This is one reason for me that the church should be thrilled that gay people want to marry and thus to carry out the idea of covenant and single-focused relationships that the church has long affirmed and commanded. One can only hope that when the Supreme Court makes gay marriage possible in every state that our LGBT friends will not copy us heterosexual types too closely in terms of covenant devotion to one person only. Our track record is none too good in this matter, as we all know to our shame.

But I have still not answered my question, have I? It has been said that we need a far more rich and comprehensive theology of marriage if we are ever to tackle effectively the epidemic of adultery. I agree, but is there still place for a sermon on adultery? We, I hope, have addressed any number of controversial topics from our pulpits: racial injustice, poverty, income inequality, warmongering, peacemaking, and … you fill in the blank. Where might adultery stand in this list? Any human activity that shatters lives, profoundly affects relationships within and among families, and distorts the divine offering of loving sexuality, is surely subject for a sermon.

Here is my advice, given as much to myself as to you. First, do your homework. Adultery in the Bible is not quite adultery in our modern world. In previous centuries, men were exempt from the charge if they had a fling with an unmarried, unbetrothed woman, even if the man was married. At least that was true in some biblical texts. In our world, the cry against adultery is no respecter of gender. What are the latest statistics? Get your facts straight. Do not merely, shout, "Just don't do it!" That is quite ludicrous and finally hopeless. What is marriage for, may be a question to ask? What does covenant and promise mean in the sight of God? Lent may be the perfect time, as we examine our personal lives, to take this hot potato on. I think if I had my own pulpit again, I just might do that. How about you?

3/3/2015 5:00:00 AM