So I knew that there needed to be much more precision to get rid of all the ambiguity because honestly, we are swimming in a sea of ambiguity today. You noticed the cover of my book; I intentionally made it black and white because we live in a world that has infinite shades of gray (not just 50, but infinite!), and I want to be really clear that God’s vision of sexual morality is not only beautiful, it’s black and white, it’s clear, and it’s for our own good.
So I was frustrated with that paradigm. I thought, okay, well if that’s not it, then what is it? I went back to God’s Word and began looking. From Genesis to Revelation, I recognized that there are only two paths that God has allowed us to live in reference to our sexuality. One, if you are unmarried, which would be you and me, we need to be faithful to God. How do we do that? We are faithful by being sexually abstinent. However, if we get married and are no longer single, then we are faithful to God by being faithful to our spouse of the opposite sex in marriage. This is how I can find a holy sexuality: Chastity in singleness or faithfulness in marriage. It’s quite simple.
Unfortunately, there was no phrase or terminology that would express or mean those two things, so I felt like I had to create a term, so I coined it as ‘holy sexuality’ to juxtapose against the old secular framework of ‘homosexual/heterosexual.’ I think that is the most accurate way to describe what God is calling us to.
One thing I also wrote down is that there’s no other sin that people tend to say ‘this is who I am,’ rather than ‘this is what I do,’ like homosexuality. You don’t steal a candy bar and say, ‘now the core of my identity is a thief.’ You don’t tell a lie and then say, ‘I am a liar!’ I think that one of your goals is to shift that paradigm so that people with same- and opposite-sex attractions can both come to see that my sexuality is not WHO I am, regardless of who I’m attracted to. God’s vision for humanity is much bigger than that. Is that right?
It’s exactly right. I know of no other sin issue where we have completely conflated the sin struggle or desire with who we are. I think we need to separate it. Not to say that sin can’t have ramifications on who we are, and of course, it does taint and affect that, but it’s not the core of who we are. That’s what’s really important to distinguish.
How much of that is a response to a culture which is so saturated in sex? It’s everywhere and we see it all over the place. It’s inescapable. The church initially reacted by bucking against the culture with things like the Purity Movement in the 90s, which I caught the tail end of. It seemed to do a lot of damage to a lot of people I know by sort of shaming them for even having a sexual thought. There hasn’t been much in-between, but now the pendulum may be swinging the other way where churches are beginning to embrace all forms of sexuality and call them ‘good.’ You seem to be fighting for a balance where you’re saying that God made sex to be a good thing within the proper boundaries, however, it’s not the be-all, end-all of our existence.
That’s right. I became a Christian in 2001, around the tail end of the Purity Movement, and of course, people meant well, saying we should not date as the world dates. I totally agree with that. But they swung the pendulum too far and I think one of the biggest mistakes that was made was elevating marriage so high. It’s like the carrot that you hold out in front of the horse. You hold marriage out — but it’s not just marriage that you hold out, but it’s also holding out great sex in marriage as a carrot. And that will not only put too much pressure on marriage and give you an unrealistic vision of sex and marriage, but really distort what marriage is for. When we do that, we still make sex and marriage out to be all about ME.
When you look at 1 Corinthians 7, what Paul talks about is that your body is not your own, your body is your wife’s, and same for the wife. We [the Church] are all one body. Paul isn’t saying that you should be some kind of slave or anything like that, but in the sense that we have to stop thinking about sex as enjoyment for ME; sex is for the other. You should think, ‘I love my wife so much that I want to do this for her,’ and vice versa. That’s a key concept that I think is much more helpful.
However, I also feel like the implication of something like True Love Waits is that they are suggesting: …waits for what? I mean, what if it’s God’s will for a young man or lady to be single for their whole life? Or for a big part of it? If that whole time is spent ‘waiting,’ well then, what are they waiting for? It implies that they’re not yet complete because they’re waiting for something. I believe you can be whole in Christ right now as a single person or a married person. That gives it a much more biblical, holistic understanding of homosexuality.