Crucifying the Flesh

I was a minister for several years when another woman and I fell in love. I was totally in shock, as was she. I quit the ministry eventually because I felt so condemned. After a couple of years of living together, she decided we needed to “crucify the flesh” (stop all sexual activity); and I went back to the bottle after being free of it for ten years… We are still together, endeavoring to remain celibate. Basically, we see that God condemns homosexual behavior (having sex); but do not believe homosexual orientation (desire or preference) is discussed.

Dear Gentle Folks,

This is part of a letter that was sent to Rev. Buddy Truluck and copied to us. I think it is important that we use it to discuss the issue of marriage.

I guess I want to raise the question: who is doing the condemning here. After all it is an all knowing God who called you to ministry … a God who already knew that you were Gay and called you anyway.

“Crucify the flesh”? Then you went back to the bottle after ten years of sobriety. My dear child of God, what is it that you think that God wants from you? To be alive and bringing honor and glory to God or dead and useless to the creation? If you were in recovery for 10 years you know your recovery didn’t happen without God. Were you not gay then? Further, you are in love and you won’t (or can’t) express it through sexual intimacy? Please stay with me, now, as I want to share from a person who knows far more than I about this subject.

Rev. Dr. Donald K. Johnson on April 28, 1998 wrote an article entitled “Sexuality, Marriage, Morality and the Bible”. He wrote this article concerning the “Marriage in Hawaii Project”.

I. The following five values are basic for the sexuality of all people in any culture, any context, any age. They are biblical values imbedded in marriage customs. Appropriate moral and marital boundaries will protect and encourage these five values for all people.

1. God created us sexual beings. Our sexuality draws us to one another and makes us whole. All people need to be whole and complete. At creation Adam is lonely and incomplete until God nurtures his wholeness with a companion so that ‘two people become one flesh with each other,’ (Genesis 2:15-25). While this is a heterosexual text, the truth is the same for homosexual people. God loves all equally.

2. Our sexuality binds us together in stable relationships. We seek to live out our sexuality in committed and faithful relationships that mirror the commitment and fidelity God has for us. Our conventional fidelity is expressed through compassion, forgiveness, and mercy in responsible, long-term, loving relationships. Love holds our commitment in place for better or for worse (I Corinthians 13).

3. Our sexuality is for human delight. The biblical book, ‘Song of Solomon’ says that plainly. All cultures know that this is true.

4. Our sexuality perpetuates human life. ‘Go and fill the earth’ (Genesis 1:28). We have done this to a fault so that now it is appropriate to lift up the other four values as equals. St. Paul emphasizes values for sexuality other than procreation in I Corinthians 7, though his position is slanted by his expectation that the end of the world is imminent.

5. Our sexuality, appropriated unfolded, provides for the well-being of a community. Therefore, the community establishes moral rules and boundaries to govern sexual relationships that build up the community.

Rules governing sexual conduct may be different for different ages, and cultural settings, but for each setting, principles for moral sexual relations are designed to enhance the five biblical values described above. Those five values are the foundation for the well being of any community. They are consistent with the revelation of God that we know in Jesus the Christ.

Understand, my dear sister in Christ, our present day culture is radically different from biblical culture and to try to live today as they did then is impossible and frankly not moral. God calls us to grow, progress and learn. We are not called to regress, or stay the same. To do so is to stagnate the faith.

“I guess, bottom line is this: temptation (NOT sin) vs. choosing to behave in a manner contrary to God’s word (sin).”

As, I hope you can see from Rev. Dr. Johnson’s piece this is not about temptation or even sin. This is about two people being together in love with God as the author of that love.

“Both the Old and New Testament have many rules for sexual morality appropriate to their specific time and place. Sometimes those rules are not appropriate for a different context. Even Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, revised some biblical rules to make them appropriate to his context. Forming the community as one flesh, in supportive mutual relationships, is basic to Paul’s language of being members of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:3-5)”, says Rev. Dr. Johnson.

The bottom line is this: you are “crucifying” yourselves based on old scholarship and some humans fear of sexuality. God has given you the gift of love (you and your partner) to share and honor, not hide and destroy.

God bless,
Pastor Paul