Faith Column: Abstaining from sex talk prolonging problems
Yet another Christian group has been accused of sexual abuse.
News of alleged sexual abuse recently surfaced in southern Alberta. The small town of Three Hills has been rocked by claims that abuse occurred over 60 years at a local Bible college.
Unfortunately, the accusations aren’t anything new or surprising. The same day news broke in Alberta, a Christian teacher was arrested for having sex with a 15-year-old boy in Colorado. A week later, a pastor and professor in Pittsburgh was accused of trading sex for grades with one of his students. The prominence of sexual abuse within church walls points towards a strange truth: Christians are deathly afraid of talking about sexuality. President Mark Maxwell had the right idea when he wrote the school’s going to deal with it “in an open and accessible manner.”
It certainly can’t be proven sexual abuse correlates with a lack of discussion about the subject in churches. Though, I believe there’s no doubt it plays a large role. The Bible is crammed full of wonderfully interesting sexual language, ranging from the infamous book of Song of Songs to Ezekiel 23:20 which states, “She lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emissions were like that of horses.”
In spite of that, most churches are strangely silent about anything to do with vaginas, abortion, masturbation, pornography, diaphragms, ejaculation, STIs or oral sex — outside of the odd newly married youth pastor who can’t shut up about how awesome sex is.
Considering Christianity is important to many Canadians (73 per cent of the population adheres to the faith according to the 2001 federal census — the last year religion was counted) this reality is devastating. Millions wander through life following unspoken instructions that sexuality shouldn’t be discussed, enjoyed or debated.
It’s no wonder weird and illegal stuff starts happening.
Like the alleged abusers at Prairie Bible Institute, Christians get strange ideas about sexuality. These thoughts aren’t corrected when people are too afraid to voice their feelings.
All of this can be traced back to a fourth-century African bishop named Augustine whose writings have influenced much of Christian theology. The mostly brilliant bishop had an unfortunately extremely negative view of the body, and believed it was entirely distinct from the spirit.
He wrote that sex was a sin, and that celibacy and abstinence were to be pursued.
When a church body operates under that logic, there’s prob-ably little chance sexual urges will be discussed in Bible study.
Sex needs to be discussed, or abusive situations will continue plaguing our churches. It’s the only way for us to unlearn Augustine’s claims and those following in his footsteps who tell us sex is something to be ashamed of. Sexuality is a beautiful gift from God that should be celebrated and discussed at length within our churches. When churches begin doing this then the reasons abuse happens at such a staggering rate might be exposed. Perhaps it’s to do with notions of celibacy, or a lack of satisfaction in marriage, or homosexual desires, or misunderstandings of Scriptures. But it won’t be uncovered until we start talking about it.