Saturday, December 22, 2007

(More) Sex, Christmas and Virginity.

I have a traffic monitor on this blog. And I have noticed a surge in visits to this site.... all of them to something I wrote a year ago. I suspect that the title has been picked up by people doing a Google search. And that the person is probably disappointed when it does not yield a naked virgin, or a sexy Christmas fairy. But I thought it worth republishing the blog anyway: So here goes:

Christians have inherited a fear of sex from our church fathers (always the men!) who repented of their sexually profligate lives and chose celibacy. Augustine of Hippo formulated this into a theology that equated the absence of sex with goodness. He suggested that those who abstain from sexual activity are pure, and are therefore closer to God.

Which is why Mary the young women was transformed by the church into Mary the Virgin. Because, the theory says, the mother of God could not possibly have engaged in the defilement of sexual activity. Some even suggest that she never ever knew what sex was, and went to heaven in this “pure” state.

Which is fine as a quaint and interesting notion.
However, this becomes the foundation for far graver implications.
1. From this we live with the idea that for priests of God to be pure they need to be celibate. And this suppression of a natural God given human function has led to the distortion of sexual expression with choir boys and other vulnerable people.
2. The idea that abstinence from sex equates with purity has left many young people feeling defiled and guilty for their early sexual awakenings. No matter how hard they pray – they still think of sex, and therefore are defiled.

So please, this Christmas, let’s decide to ignore the dirty old men of our Christian history, and cease to call Mary a virgin. Surely a greater miracle would be for God to take the seed in her womb and create Jesus from it. This certainly gives me hope for the power of God to transform my life into something good.

Oh yes - lets celebrate sex as a good gift from God


Anonymous said...

If you say Mary was not a virgin:
what the Bible has to say about it is negated:
The prophesy saying that the Messiah would be born of a virgin would therefore be false - and Jesus would not fulfil the prophesy of being the Messiah - who is He then?
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel
Mt 1:23, Lu 1:27

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

Isaiah Chapter 7 is the prophet speaking to Ahaz, the King of Judah. Isaiah reassures Ahaz that he is not to be afraid, because his Kingdom will not be invaded by the alliance of Israel and Syria. And as a sign, a baby will be born who will become king - and history has shown this baby to be King Hezekiah. The writer of Matthew lifts this out of context to "prove" that the birth of Jesus was a part of the tradition of God's provision for God's people.

And the original Hebrew here does not say "Virgin". It says young woman. The idea of Virgin was added when the Bible was first translated into English from the original languages.

Anonymous said...

Ah, there you go stirring up trouble on the internet, Pete!

I love it!

I hope you have a blessed Christmas with your family!

Anonymous said...

If you do not accept the prophecies of the Bible, with Jesus fulfilling them as Messiah, but merely view Biblical writings as people's human view points, without any inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus to you? If one part of the Bible is false then who says that Jesus even rose again from the dead?

Paddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

I understand the Bible to be the record of people's experiences of the Spirit of God in their lives. My belief in the resurrection of Jesus is not as the result of a Book telling me so: I believe because I have encountered the living Christ in my life. My relationship with Jesus has fundamentally shaped me... ie "It works, therefore I believe".

Unknown said...

"Oh yes - lets celebrate sex as a good gift from God"

I'm with you, bro.

Aila said...

That was a weird cartoon. try sending it to a naughty magazine or news paper. i'm sure they would love to have it.

Anonymous said...

To say Mary was not a virgin is taking the "deity-hood" away from Christ. You are also forgetting Jewish Customs and god himself telling Joseph that mary is his son, and don't forget Jesus had a half-brother. That was Mary's true first time. God made our bodies and he put all the "pleasure centers" in the right places to be enjoyed. To deny natural desires can drive a person mad, but to have many partners is both stupid and dangerous I suggest that one special sweetheart to promise yourself to, besides it's less work that way.