We have now seen that when teaching sexuality we should ensure that our answers walk the line between declaring it’s goodness and also it’s holiness. The third principle looks at the how we communicate these truths.
The first problem we have is that in our culture we have absorbed what is called the Platonic divide. That is that there is the important spiritual realm and the separate and less important physical realm.
However it also created the so-called sacred/secular divide in our worldview. Sacred stuff such as meditation, prayer and going to church are important but everyday stuff such as paying bills and shopping is not.
We can therefore see church on Sunday as important and the rest of the week as mundane.
We can have our family “devotion” time and then the rest of our time is unspiritual.
Similarly we can end up having “the talk” about sex from a Christian point of view separate from everyday life.
However, this is not the Hebrew godly view of the world that has no divide (or if you prefer posh words it is holistic or theocentric). This view is that God is intimately involved in everything. He didn’t create the world, wind it up and then stand back to watch (except for the occasional special event). For example:
It is not God’s involvement that can be limited, but only our awareness of it*.
For example, it was only when Moses was just tending sheep but when he met God there it became holy ground that he had to take his sandals off (Ex 3:1-5).
When Jacob ran away and feel asleep exhausted on a rock he encountered God through a dream and awoke saying “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He renamed the place bethel which means “house of God” and anointed the rock with oil (Gen 28:10-18).
Similarly any place or an event has the opportunity of becoming “holy” when we encounter God in it. For us, one such moment was on the day we discovered that one of our babies had died. This was the second of our babies to die and we were distraught. More so, because the hospital was so uncompassionate. My wife and I had decided to name our baby James and we drove in a darkened daze to a garden centre to buy a tree to plant in our garden so we could remember him. We were directed by one of the staff to the apple trees to discover they only had one type of tree in stock. Its name? James Grieve. The love and compassion of God crashed into our grief torn hearts and made it a holy moment that remains with us now 7 years later.
How does this relate to teaching our children? Recall the passage in Deuteronomy where it says:
“Listen, Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You must love the LORD your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength. These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbols on your forehead. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates.” Dt 6:4-9
If we read this with a dualistic mindset we will think this means “teach our children the bible” wherever we go. But if we understand that God is everywhere, that everything was made for Jesus (Col 1:16) and the “heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps 19) then this will mean that everywhere we go the glory of God is there ready to be discovered and shared with our children. Not as a lecture but as a beautiful celebration of the glory of God.
For example we might see a flower opening we could share with our children how that reminds us that we need to open ourselves up to the Son who shines His love on us and warms our hearts.
Specifically because we’re made in His image our sexuality reflects the glory of our Three-in-One God there is nothing else that can tell us so much about God!
So we won’t have “the talk” but lots of “talks” in the messiness of everyday life as it comes up. Each time celebrating the glory of our God that is revealed. Nothing heavy but just a conversation simply delighting in the way God made it good and holy.
More to come in the next post….
*I’m sure I got this phrase from a book – but I can’t remember which of the many books I’ve read! If you know then please tell me via the comments and I’ll properly credit the author. Thanks!