Recently, at a clergy gathering, a female friend of mine boldly exclaimed: “Why doesn’t the church ever talk about sexuality?” I was amazed and inspired by her courage to speak up because I have often felt this way about the church too. After leaving that meeting, I prayed to God, asking for the chance to preach on Eros love and I’m enthusiastically grateful to say that the time has come.
As an ordained minister, it is an honor and privilege when asked to preside over someone’s wedding. Prior to the ceremony, I require counseling in which one of the fundamental topics that is discussed is Eros love. Historically speaking, there are three words used to describe the three-headed horseman that destroys Eros love. These words are a generalization but certainly have truth to them in my experience. They are: money, religion and sex. Having a serious discussion before entering the covenant of marriage regarding these topics is vital.
Richard Rohr is an American Franciscan friar and one of my beloved teachers. This week, I received one of his daily reflections that speaks directly to how important it is to create a space for all of us to talk about this type of love.
The title of his reflection is, Universal Dignity:
“Paul restored human dignity at a time when perhaps four out of five people were slaves, women were considered the property of men, prostitution was a form of temple worship, and oppression and injustice toward the poor and the outsider were the norm. Against all of this, Paul proclaims, ‘One and the same Spirit was given to us all to drink!’ (1 Corinthians 12:13). ‘You, all of you, are sons and daughters of God, now clothed in Christ, where there is no distinction between male or female, Greek or Jew, slave or free, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:26-28).
No longer was the human body a cheap thing, degraded by slavery and abuse. Paul says in many formulations, ‘You are the very temple of God.’ Paul’s teaching on sexuality (1 Corinthians 6:12-20) wasn’t a moralistic purity code, as most of us hear it now. Paul was saying that the human body has dignity, so you have a right to demand and give respect to it. Because of this understanding, a woman could claim her own dignity and refuse to give her body away to every man who wanted it. (This probably explains the early admiration of virginity in Christian circles.)
A man was told to respect and take responsibility for his own body-temple, which is surely a good thing. But many read Paul’s words as a guilt-laden prohibition on which our very salvation rests. It was surely meant to be a positive and dignifying message, not a finger-shaking, moralistic one. Some boundaries are almost always needed to create an ego structure with healthy self-esteem.”
Friends, dignity, respect and grace are the cornerstones of Eros love. May we always be a church that stays relevant speaking the truth in love!
I look forward to worshipping together this Sunday and continuing our sermon series on love. This weekend, it’s Eros love. God bless you and stay passionate!