Monday, January 29, 2007

Sexuality in Communion

So here's the issue: How do we give wise and sensitive pastoral leadership concerning many areas of sexuality in an age of new openness to gayness and other aspects of human sexuality in general and being careful not to prescribe to people how to live, but have them discover from their own faith in Christ how to live. (Knowing that people don't really learn from our prescriptions but by Christ working within them).

So just reading these few paragraphs below from the description of a workshop at a faith conference inspired the idea, that just as we have better biblical interpretation by “reading in communion” (don't even link to this unless you want to read a long post about my ideas of reading in communion as inspired by Stephen Fowl), so we learn how to live sexually as faithful followers of Christ by learning, “sexuality in communion”.

The idea is that the pastor talks openly about sexuality and encourages other leaders to do so, and generally inspires an atmosphere of trust within the community so that people feel if they have questions or struggles that they can go to others, not necessarily "pastoral counseling" only, and that others will specifically be able to share their experiences and wisdom, along with the group overall kind of “vibing a way of life sexually”…The idea is that not only do you have a healthy way to learn how to live in the future and address wounds from dysfunctional sexual experiences of the past, but just the fact that you have a healthy communion in your midst where people are finding love, itself just answers so many inner heart issues that lead to sexual longing that is often acted upon dysfunctionally, because people that are experiencing love, are not going to go, “looking for love in all the wrong places”.

Here's the description of a workshop I saw that inspired me:

All faith-based communities are called to address the sexuality needs of their congregants. Every clergy person counsels parishioners who are struggling with sexual issues. Every faith community knows that the sacred gift of sexuality can be abused or exploited: congregants experience domestic violence, adolescent pregnancy, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, homophobia, sexism, and other ways that people's sexuality has been broken. Many denominations have recognized the importance of sexuality education for teenagers and some have made a commitment to lifelong sexuality education, from kindergarten through the elderly years.

A "sexually healthy faith community" is committed to fostering spiritual, sexual, and emotional health among the congregation and providing a safe environment where sexuality issues are addressed with respect, mutuality, and openness. A sexually healthy faith community promotes the integration of sexuality and spirituality in worship, preaching, pastoral care, youth and adult religious education, and social action programs in the community. It makes a commitment to a sexual ethic that is not based on a double standard and understands that dealing with sexuality is an issue of spiritual wholeness. By addressing sexuality openly and holistically within the faith community, it models that sexuality and spirituality are inextricably connected. This workshop will help participants assess themselves as a sexually healthy religious professional, assess their faith community, and develop concrete strategies for improving the sexual health of their congregation.

(I chose not to credit it for my own reasons, I will upon request).

No comments: