We’ve lived so long in a hyper-sexualized culture that we no longer recognize its hyper-ness. What was once shocking and offense has become “entertainment” and mainstream. One sad consequence is an accompanying loss of beauty in sexual things. With loss of beauty comes also a loss of worship. Not the worship of the thing itself (sex); there’s plenty of sacrifice and prostration at the altar of raw, pagan intercourse. No, there’s the loss of the worship of God who created sex and gives it its ultimate meaning. Losing worship also means losing inspiration. So few truly great ballads are written anymore. Lovers rarely write poetry anymore. When’s the last time a suitor painted a portrait of his beloved? The inordinate exaltation of the act robs the actor of the noble faculties of imagination, creativity, spiritual perception and worship.
Sex is meant to beget artistry, not just children.
When it comes to sex Christians can be among the most act-centered and least worshipful. We can fall into docetic notions of the body’s corruption and fail to recognize the solidity and artistry God himself has given to the body–and to sex. I’m reminded of all this by a brief aside Francis Schaeffer makes when commenting on the Song of Solomon. He writes:
How often do Christians think of sexual matters as something second-rate. Never, never, never should we do so according to the Word of God. The whole man is made to love God; each aspect of man’s nature is to be given its proper place. That includes the sexual relationship, that tremendous relationship of one man to one woman. At the very beginning God brought Eve to man. A love poem can thus be beautiful. So if you are a young man or a young woman and you love a girl or you love a boy, you may indeed write beautiful love poetry. Don’t be afraid. That too can be praise to God. And when the two people are Christians it can be a conscious doxology (Art and the Bible).
“When the two people are Christians it can be a conscious doxology.” If all of life is worship, we ought not box up our romantic lives and sit them in the garage. That part of our lives belongs to the realm of praise, too. “The whole man is made to love God”–including the sexual man. The whole man is made to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ–including the sexual man. That means Christ not only rules our sexual lives but that we also offer up our sexual lives as beautiful artistry, as worship.
One sad irony of our times (of all times really) is that the artist class has taken all the art out of human sexuality. I’m thinking here mainly of cinematic arts and music, but it’s probably as true in other areas. Not since the pottery scene of “Ghost” or the poetry of “Love Jones” has art even been associated with romance. The link is mostly severed. So, here’s another place where the Christian life takes on redemptive meaning and promise. For if we presented a sanctified imagination in sexual matters, the world might be touched in the most intimate human act with the beauty of holiness in the worship of God.