sexuality

Beyond Bathrooms

So, this whole transgender bathroom issue is the big issue in sexuality and society these days. Please forgive me for not giving too much thought to this.  Usually when I go to a public toilet, I could care less what the other guy is doing.  I am there to do my business, wash my hands, and leave.  If a transgender male feels uncomfortable standing at a urinal, I doubt if anyone is going to harass him for sitting in a stall.  I don’t even know of any lesbian who would want to stand at a urinal.  As far as pervert rapist fronting to be Trans to go in women’s restrooms to attack women and girls, there are children of either sex being raped in public restrooms even without this new transgender bathroom thing.

Actually, there is a far bigger issue of sexuality in America that no one wants to talk about because we are all, in some way or another, guilty of it. Jesus put it down like this:  “Whoever looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28).  Lust is the exploitation of another person for one’s own gratification with or without the consent of the person being lusted after.  It is a mental form of sexual abuse.  When the abuse goes from the mental to the physical, we call it sexual assault or rape.  If the objectified person does consent to the act, she becomes nothing but a plaything for the abuser as he is seeking his own pleasure only regardless of her experience.  Even in marriage, if the husband and wife aren’t approaching each other for the sake of expressing their love and loyalty for each other but solely for their own gratification in spite of the experience of the partner, that is not lovemaking.

We are a nation of mental rapist with a society which encourages us to objectify the opposite sex for our own gratification. This is quite obvious in pornography where young women are persuaded (if not forced) to surrender their bodies to very degrading sex acts.  It is said that male performers also feel cheapened by the things they get paid to do and both frequently abuse drugs in an attempt to ease their consciences.  In some reports, the porn industry generates more money in this nation than all of the major sports leagues combined.

But, Satan needs not to drag us all into the world of hardcore pornography to turn us into mental rapist. Our society is so saturated with sexual images that we barely blink an eye at them.  There was a time when the Sports Illustrated “swimsuit” issue was nothing more than a couple of pages of a young woman somewhere in-between an article about Mean Joe Green and baseball’s spring training.  Now it is its own separate issue with the model photographed so suggestively that it magazine has to be covered on the news stand.  Nearly every sit-com has sexual jokes and situations.  Victoria’s Secrets has well-advertised television specials.  And women are encouraged to dress and feel “sexy.”  Men are also objectified as bare chested and muscular visions for the female appetite.

While we are outraged by men who rape and women who seduce young boys to have sex with them, we think little or nothing about the way we objectify one another. Yet this mental sexual abuse is a core reason of why so many of us fail to establish and maintain platonic friendships with the opposite sex and keep marriages from falling into divorce.  We are not considering that man or woman as a being made in the image of God.  We are only thinking about how we want them to please our desires.  While we Christians are good at declaring the surface level standard of the male-female marriage, we make way too many excuses too often for our lusting of one another.  Not only are we silent against a business like “Hooters,” we accept their money for our churches and will patronize them because, “they have really good hot wings.”  It is no wonder then that the homosexuals feel that they can establish and maintain relationships just as good (or poorly) as we do.  It is no wonder that impressionable teens and pre-teens are confused about how they want to be known sexually.  Fighting against transgender restrooms, worthy as the fight may be is a mere surface solution to a surface problem.  Unless we Christians get serious about repenting of our own mental raping of one another, the transgender and other challenges to the heterosexual standard will not disappear.  Indeed, more destructive ones will arise.

So, yeah, Pres. Obama and the LGBT have gone too far with this bathroom thing. Yeah, there are conservative Christians who have pulled some silly stunts to protest against it.  This issue is a symptom of our society’s sickness of mental rape.  And rape is the use of another person’s body for the sake of our own gratification regardless of the will of the other.  There is no quick fix for this deeper sickness.  We all will have to be repentant and transform our desires from selfish lust to selfless compassion.  Instead of hiding behind the cross, let’s try carrying it for the sake of healing what is really wrong with us.

Over-sexuality: How Orthodoxy Can Better Address the Real Problem

I think the Orthodox Church is making an awful mistake in its approach to abortion and same-sex marriages.  Of course, the ancient faith correctly stands against these sins based on the holy scriptures and the writings of the early fathers.  But, I have heard and seen several clerics and podcasters overlook the root cause of these evils and not promote the church’s best tools to fight against it. 

America is an over-sexual nation.  Boys start looking at porn as young as 8 years old.  In some cities, eleven year old girls have their first sexual encounters.  Even in our prime-time TV shows and other non-pornographic media, we are fed a diet of pursuing erotic gratification by any means necessary and legal.  We are taught that making love is the pinnacle of the human experience.  With such propaganda being such a part of our lives, unwanted pregnancies are going to happen.  Those attracted to the same-sex will seek social acceptability and flaunt their activity. 

The way to kill a weed is to kill the root.  Not the leaves nor flowers which can regenerate.  But, when the root is killed, the weed is killed.  When the root is weakened, the weed loses its vigor.  Thus to weaken and eliminate abortion and the gay marriage push,  Christianity must promote the fact that the pinnacle of human experience is union with God.  All other achievements and experiences are secondary and temporal.  In order for us to be eternal, we must seek the experience that is eternal.  When Americans understand and accept this truth, couples will reconsider how frequently they have intercourse.  Hetero as well as homosexuals will rethink their activity and better strive to put their will in God’s.

Anyone who fast according to Orthodox tradition gives up sexual activity as well as meat and dairy.  Thus, a married Orthodox couple permits themselves to make love only half a year.  Combine this with a woman’s regular cycle and time and energy spent in prayer disciplines and  other pursuits, married sex (as pleasurable as it is) does not mean quite as much as popular media promotes it.  Also, Orthodoxy offers the option of giving up one’s self to the monastic lifestyle.  People are free to devote themselves to celibacy and prayer.  This is a truly rebellious existance against the world of Sports Illustrated models and “pride” parades.  Orthodoxy has the tools of fasting and monasticism to attack the very root of abortion, gay marriage, and nearly every other toxic leaf and flower of our over sexed society.

But, too often, Orthodoxy clergy and laity settle for attacking leaves and flowers rather than the root.  There is nothing wrong with bishops marching for life.  But, why not have a march for celibacy as well?  There are atheist and secular voices who feel that too many people are thoughtlessly entering into sexual relationships and would like to see an option.  With over 2,000 years worth of holy men and women, I am certain that the clergy can find some common ground with these people as well as Catholics and Protestants.  Of course we should speak out against gay marriage.  But, the protection of our children from unnecessary sexual imagery and contact ought to be of greater concern.  I would dare say that most homosexual organizations are against the exploitation of children and would rather have gay teens pursuing academics, arts, and athletics rather than sexual activity.  Why not talk with the more sober-minded among this community?  As long as Orthodox leaders speak the same language as Catholics and Evangelical Protestants, the ancient faith will be seen as just another denomination of “hateful Christians.”   But if the Church has dialogue with the “pro-life” and “pro-equality” movements and offers God’s alternative, some of them may be led to Orthodoxy.  They will, at least, have more respect for your perspective. 

So to you bishops, priest,  scholars, and other Orthodox personalities (hello Ancient Faith Radio and OCN podcasters); use the tools of the great church you belong to.  It is because of your deep resources that some Protestants became attracted to Orthodoxy.