Male Intimacy, The Bible, and a Hypersexualized Culture

Read the New Testament and it becomes readily apparent that the “Kingdom” lifestyle is about relationships. Not just our “vertical” relationship with the godhead, but our relationships with those around us. Jesus’ teachings and the apostolic letters all encourage us to engage with those around us and to develop intimate relationships. This includes relationships between men. If you compare today’s male relationships with Biblical examples, we may be falling a little short. Yes, of course, cultures change and expressions of intimacy look different but that isn’t always a good thing. The hypersexual nature of our current culture has led us to divide into homophobic or homosexual positions, and that’s a fundamental problem.

Look at the intimacy shared by men in Bible. The apostle John is written to have laid his head on Jesus’ breast (Jn. 13:23). I get the sense this was not unusual for the culture of the time. Can you imagine? I have a good friend. What would happen if I were to cozy up next to him on the couch and lay my head on his chest for a while? There would be a lot of psychological angst for those that know us as they try and decipher what they’re seeing, and anyone that didn’t know us would likely assume we had a homosexual relationship. I don’t want to send an inaccurate message, so from a homophobic position I would never behave the way Jesus and John did.

In 2 Corinthians 13:12 Paul exhorts the Corinthians to “greet each other with a holy kiss.” Read the rest of Paul and you know he encourages intimacy. We are to pray for one another, confess our sins to each other, exhort one another etc.

The ultimate example is David and Jonathan. Jonathan loved David “as much as he loved himself” (1 Sam. 18:1). Upon Jonathan’s death, David laments, “Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women” (2 Sam 2:26). I do not believe this means that they had a sexual relationship as the prohibition against homosexual relations was crystal clear in the Mosaic law under which they lived, and David had a clear orientation toward women, hence much of his trouble. So deep was the love and intimacy these two shared that they entered into a covenant together (1 Sam. 18).  This covenant was not uncommon and represented a deep, unbreakable bond between two people which provides for the sharing of all they possess. It is a non-sexual marriage (more “covenant” posts will come some day).

Take this God-given drive toward love and intimacy that inhabits the male soul, no matter how deeply buried, and overlay it with today’s hypersexualized culture and the result is the confusing state of affairs that is modern homosexuality. We can no longer separate intimacy and sex. For that matter, we can hardly separate sex from anything, even our cars ( A man responding to the draw in his heart toward intimacy and deep friendship with another man is quickly confronted with the homophobic/homosexual dichotomy. It is either redirected into modern male bonding rituals which are specifically intended to avoid homosexual implications, or it begins to stir sexual desire. I believe God would have it be real, Kingdom style intimacy.

When I hear a Biblical defense of homosexuality it is usually centered around Biblical views of loving relationships and commitment. Why would God oppose that? I agree. Why indeed? I think he does not oppose it but imparts a desire for it and requires it from those of us that would represent His Kingdom. Unfortunately, in our hypersexualized culture, responding to that draw will have sexual implications. Many of those that respond to that drive and provide us with outstanding examples of what intimacy, commitment and love should look like, spill into a sexual relationship because it only seems natural in this darkened culture. We must seek fundamental truths rooted in the person and desires of our creator with a conscious effort to question and reduce cultural influence on our pursuit.


Regular Sins and Dealbreaker Sins?

In a brilliant article on Huffington Post, Micah J. Murray speaks eloquently about the tendency of Christians to view homosexuality as a “special” sin. He refuses to “love the sinner, hate the sin” anymore because he feels it singles out homosexuals, keeps them in the “sinner” identity, and ignores their redemption in Christ. Greg Boyd, taking a similar view often speaks of a Christian’s tendency to see his/her own sins as “regular” sins but others, usually gay, as having “deal-breaker” sins.

I do embrace as a Biblical doctrine (see About Me) that two people of the same sex having sex together is sin (a later post will detail why I think that). But the Bible more clearly and more prominently speaks of many other things much more rampant in the world and even in the church. I embrace my fellow sinners as we struggle together to mature. I resist my spiritual laziness, greed, and avarice, while my friend may be fighting lust for his neighbor’s wife. We walk together in the maturing process because we both acknowledge our behavior/thoughts as sin.

But there is a difference with homosexuality. Gay Christians  do not believe it to be sin for them to have sex together. I understand this because from their perspective the very real love they feel for their partners seems wholesome, even holy. And I actually believe that it may be just that (more on that in another post). Therefore the complete relationship including sex can’t be wrong. I get that. But to me scripture is clear on this matter, so my relationship with a gay Christian is different than with a fellow sinner.

In this area, we are not brothers struggling together to mature; we have a more fundamental disagreement. We need to be brothers seeking God’s own truth. One of us (and perhaps both) is not walking fully in harmony with God. If walking in faith is our primary goal, as opposed to “being right” or any ridiculous political agenda or fulfilling personal desire, then we both need to lay our beliefs at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to show us what is right. Neither of us can be entrenched in his position. Above all, a relationship with the Lord demands humility, and that humility demands that we seek and embrace His truth, whatever it is. For Christians, our life is NEVER about our wants and desires, opinions and interpretations; it is about committing ourselves to our savior and lord and serving him with gladness, to walk with him and fulfill his calling on our lives. Doing that requires that we know and walk according to truth.