Since starting seminary I've had the opportunity to read
through the Old Testament with a thoroughness I haven't used since my
evangelical youth group days. While building biblical literacy is something
evangelicals do very well, reading the Old Testament now reminds me how my context
shaped how I read the Bible. And it all had to do with sex.
Bishop Mark S. Hanson, the outgoing president of the Lutheran World Federation, appealed to delegates at the LWF gathering in Germany to hold together and avoid splits in the face of differences over issues of sexuality.
A certain casualness often overtakes modern conversation about addiction. Here in Oprah nation we’re proud of our semantic acumen, batting around words like withdrawal and detox and always at the ready with “Hi, my name is Bill” jokes.
When I was a student at St. Olaf College in the 1990s, sex was not the center of my educational experience. Of course, it had its place. But I was busy with a lot of other things too. I was concerned about my future.
To read the papers or watch the news, one would think that sex and gender are the only issues facing Christians today. Christian thought about war and injustice, or about how to believe in God in this postmodern age, almost never makes the headlines.
Expect to see banners with “Song of Solomon 2:6” or “Genesis 2:25” unfurled in sports stadiums along with the customary “John 3:16” signs. Expect these, that is, if the annual multimillion-dollar sale of evangelical sex manuals continues to grow apace. Those two scriptures are cited in such texts, many of them written by Tim and Beverly LaHaye.
Like any Catholic college, mine boasts an ethic of sexual abstinence for students, does not allow any form of birth control to be distributed on campus, and has same-sex residence halls that post visiting hours for members of the opposite sex. Yet most students will tell you, if asked in the right setting, that there is a gap between the ideal and the reality when it comes to sex.
Tom Wolfe may deny that his novel is about Duke, but having spent 20 years there I know a few things about the school. Wolfe’s “Dupont University” has the same number of undergrads as Duke, the same fraternity-sorority dominance of the social scene, the same veneration of basketball, and a dozen other similarities.