You may be surprised to come across a book titled Divine Sex. The subtitle of the book reveals the purpose of the book: to give “A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age.”
The author, Jonathan Grant, writes as a pastor in London, England. Most who attend his church are young, single adults. “As we got to know their many different stories over a period of years,” he writes, “we felt a growing sense that addressing the area of relationships and sexuality was one of the biggest challenges we faced.” It’s an area that affects us all, and yet it’s an area that’s neglected by many churches.
Grant makes it clear what he believes: “The core conviction of this book is that we can only get to the heart of these most important issues and address them effectively by means of a Christian conscience that is freed from the limitations of the modern imagination.”
Grant spends some time examining our modern culture. His analysis is careful. His aim isn’t to condemn everything that’s modern, but rather to examine the cultural lenses we all use without being aware of them. He shows how these lenses affect every part of our lives, including our sex lives.
He then presents some ideas on how the church should respond. It’s not enough to identity cultural forces, or just to teach about a Christian view of sex. We must move beyond issuing commands — “Don’t do this!” — and cultivate a vision of Christian sexuality. Our desires need changing, not just our behaviors. We also need communities that help to shape us and support us.
It reminds me of what Trevin Wax writes in his book This Is Our Time. “The truth is, we’ve inherited a lot of society’s thought on sexuality without even realizing it.” The solution? “Let’s answer the longings of our society by offering an entirely different vision of sex and marriage. Let’s declare what God is for … To be faithful in this time, the church must be a haven of hope, a refuge in the midst of sexual chaos.”
If you’re looking for a practical book on a particular topic around Christianity and sex, this isn’t it. Instead, it’s a higher-level introduction to the topic. It’s a helpful look at why we think about sexuality the way we do, and how we can reshape our thinking so that it’s more Christian.
In other words, this is a great place to start. Before we deal with the details, it’s really helpful to begin by understanding culture and how we can respond.
Christian leaders should avoid defining “morality” narrowly in terms of what people should do—a list of rules or a moral code—without any appeal to a higher truth that gives those rules meaning or resonance. Instead, we need to focus our teaching on moral vision … When we give primary importance to our ultimate desire—knowing, following, and serving Christ—it reorders all our other desires.
The Christian vision of life is that we seek to live in tune with the rich musical score already playing in heaven.
Because people are being formed by the holistic practices of the modern social imaginary, Christian discipleship must focus on re-forming people’s imaginations, hearts, and minds through its own comprehensive formative practices.
Participation in the divine community progressively reshapes our natures to become what they are called to be—in the likeness of Christ.
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