02 November 2010

Jesus and Sex and Justice - Part 3

"Corner Boys" from "The Wire"
 A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.  Proverbs 29:3

“OK,” some of you may be discussing with me, “sexual ethics and justice are related. But, you can’t honestly lecture someone who has an empty stomach about who their sexual partners are. Ultimately, who cares who they are having sex with when they are starving to death.”

On its face, this reads like a sound argument. We are indeed to love kindness by giving generously to those in need. We are to feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless. However, in our attempt to do these things for the billions around the world with such needs, it is fine to give a person a fish that lasts a day but it is much better to teach a person how to get their own fish so they are fed for a lifetime.

Do not misunderstand. I’m not saying don’t feed a person in desperate need. If they need to eat today, feed them today. If they need a home today, share one with them today. But, if we do not provide ways for as many people as possible to feed themselves, then the number of people in need increases while depending on fewer people who can meet that need for them until the day comes when that need cannot possibly be met. As one looks around the Western World, seeing the increased government debt from unsustainable social programmes, the truth of this becomes self-evident. Besides, the path to justice and peace is not paved with the subtle and not-so-subtle messages that those people will never be capable, will always need us, will never be as good as us.

How do people learn how to get their own fish? It starts with learning about what God requires of us. We must be a people who values justice in our dealings with each other, who loves to show kindness to one another, while being inspired by our Father in Heaven who does the same with us. In other words, how we care for one another is not dependant on what we have, but on how we relate to one another. How people learn how to relate well to one another is by embracing all of what the Father has given to people to help all people love and serve each other well. This starts with the basic sexual relationship given by God to those who bear His image, His institution of marriage.

The leaders of the sexual revolution saw marriage and its family as archaic, hypocritical and demeaning to women. The leaders of the sexual revolution sought to destroy the family. And, for the most part, they succeeded. But, when the family weakened, so did strong men. We have few men who have strength of character enough to stand strong for their families, communities and neighbourhoods. If we want to give all communities of this world fruit that will last, we must teach husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave His life up for her. We desperately need husbands, who Jesus gives the strength to earn, trust and respect.

The Marriage Gap
 As Kay Hymowitz writes in her book, “Marriage and Caste in America”, “If you want to discuss why childhood poverty numbers have remained stubbornly high through the years when the nation was aggressively trying to lower them (America’s War on Poverty in the 1960s), begin with the Marriage Gap.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2006-2008, 26.8% of poor families were headed by married parents. This means that the vast majority of poor families, 71.2% (almost three of four) were headed by single, divorced or de facto parents.

The Fruit of the Sexual Revolution
 There are several reasons for this, but in the interest of brevity, here’s one reason. In several studies conducted during the 1990s, they separately concluded that married men earn more money than do single men with similar education and job histories. According to the booklet, “21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters”, “Why do married men earn more? The causes are not entirely understood, but married men appear to have greater work commitment, lower quit rates, and healthier and more stable personal routines (including sleep, diet and alcohol consumption). Husbands also benefit from both the work effort and emotional support they receive from their wives.” In other words, learning to use his strength to serve others helps a man become a better person who is motivated to catch fish and teach others how to catch fish for themselves.

So, yes, in order to lift up all of our Father’s children to be all of whom God has created them to be, we must include Jesus’ teachings about sexual ethics. Otherwise, we are merely putting a band-aid over the melanoma instead of putting in the hard, skilled work of removing the tumour.

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