Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Matters of the Heart: Episode II

Sam de Brito of The Age writes a blog in which he expounds upon the subject of what he considers to be the business of being a bloke. I'm not a regular reader of this blog; I just happened across it whilst catching up on news. In one column, he was discussing the issue of sexual promiscuity. While acknowledging the damage and heartache such conduct can cause, he also suggested that from a scientific perspective, monogamy may be a denial of natural, instinctual urges, bred into us through evolution.

As a Christian, my views on sexual ethics are somewhat unfashionable, at least among those in my age group. More broadly, they go against ths spirit of this morally relativistic, permissive age. For a start, the human race didn't evolve. Each human being was created by a loving God, who created us for fellowship with Him, and made us in His image. Because we're made in His image, we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by our fellow man or woman, as the case may be.

As I understand it, part of genuinely loving someone means wanting what's best for them. I don't see how using someone for your own gratification meets this definition. Some years ago, when I worked in the secular world, I had female work colleagues who have been wounded emotionally from being used in this way by the men in their life. I'm single, but I don't see how this should stop me from commenting on relationship issues. That doesn't mean that I know nothing about them. In his classic apologetic, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said the same thing, not that I'd dare compare myself to him.

How they lived their private lives was none of my business, and rather than talk about it openly, I would have preferred that they kept such information to themselves. Initially I felt disgust and revulsion, but over time, my attitude softened. Their stories actually saddened me. Had I been more upfront, I would have said that they shouldn't sell themselves short by allowing themselves to be used in this way, and that they deserved better. They deserved men who genuinely loved and appreciated them for who they were. As far as I could tell, in most cases none of these men genuinely loved them. They were just out for what they could get.

The writings of John Eldridge and Stuart Webber, to name but two, in their books Wild at Heart and Tender Warrior, put forward another model of masculinity, based on the timeless values of Scripture. The Epistles of Paul and Peter shows us how men should conduct themselves in their relationships with women, treating them with purity and respect (1 Timothy 5:1-3), and emulating the example of their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, loving them sacrificially (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:19, 1 Peter 3:7).
It seems to me that emotional wounds are the hardest ones of all to heal. How much of this wounding could be avoided if men understood their obligation to relate to women in a healthy, God-honouring way?


James Garth said...

Have you read Sam's blog today regarding "Junkies, Christians and the void"? It is as profound as it is sad. Through experience he's latched onto the feeling that I term 'the absurdity of life without God'. Now, if only he could recognize and acknowledge that 'divine spark' that drives us towards higher things, and find comfort in the promise of a life to come, not in a shallow "happy-clappy" way, but rather a deep-seated awareness that he was made for more than just this life...

Miss Eagle said...

Thank you for mentioning the sacrificial aspects of relationships. How seldom is this mentioned! How many sermons have I listened to about wives being submissive and hardly ever any mention of the sacrificial role required of husbands - even to death, as Christ gave himself. Now my guess is that most women would have no difficulty having a submissive attitude to their husbands (within reason of course) if there were more husbands with such an attitude. However - to the sacrificial on a broader scale. This seems to be something absent, at this time, in society at large and absent in the church as well. We want everything. Oh, yes, we are good-hearted we want the best for everyone. We want Aboriginal people to do well. We want to give aid to those mired in war and poverty. And yes we would encourage our Australian govt to increase its aid budget. But when the Prime Minister comes along with an offer of tax cuts - particulary when buying votes before an election - are we prepared as a church, as a nation, to stand up and say we can do without? Do we say that we will sacrifice a tax cut so that you. Prime Minister, can spend the money more effectively, more equitably?

Ross said...

James, I did read that blog from Mr. de Brito. How sad it is that so many people out there long for something greater than themselves, but don't know how to find it. It's like being in a tunnel, only there's no light at the end. I guess it's up to us as Christians to meet these people at their point of need and show them the way.

Ross said...

Miss Eagle,

Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment.

I'd happily go without a tax cut, which I probably don't really need, if it meant the government would put more dollars into foreign aid or helping the underprivileged in this country. If the money went to me, I'd probably only end up spending it to buy something I don't really need.