Religion and Gender
Essay title: Religion and Gender
Final Exam: Religion and Gender
St. Augustine was a very interesting man. I think, because he was such a sexual maniac in his earlier days before his conversion that he just totally stays away (and tells others to do the same) from everything sexual. He takes this to the extreme by basically saying that sexual intercourse (and intercourse ONLY) should only be done for the procreation of man. This means that any other “perversions” (i.e. oral sex, etc.) are sins because the sex is used only for pleasure. A verse that Augustine bases this quote from is I Corinthians 7:9 which says, “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
However, in order to believe what Augustine said about taking the pleasure (or fun) out of sex, you must completely look over other parts of Scripture such as the Song of Solomon. In this romantic book of the Old Testament, sex is not only talked about, but celebrated when in the context of marriage. Because Christians believe that sex is the uniting of two people (see Genesis 2:24), it symbolizes God’s oneness with his children and should be kept only for marriage (see I Corinthians 6:15-20). Therefore, I think that it is the purity which God is concerned with instead of the pleasures of sex. However, because this isolates homosexuals as well as any other sexually active, unmarried couples, many would completely disagree. In fact, there are a few Christians, such as Carter Heyward (WV), who are trying to “revolutionize” the word “love”
Carter Heyward is a “lesbian feminist Christian priest (Episcopalian) and teacher” on route to rediscover what true love really is. In her article “Sexuality, Love and Justice” she tries to explode the idea that love and justice are separated, but, rather, that you cannot have one without the other. And, being a lesbian, she feels that love has not only been put into a cultural box, but that it needs to be redefined altogether. This is why she claims, because she is almost shunned by culture’s definition of romantic love, to have been force to “plunge the depths of what it really means to love.” She then goes on to say that the separation between sexuality (and the erotic) and friendship should not occur. Instead, the erotic should be an expression of true love for the lover. And, until that happens, people will not understand the liberation of love in this world that God made.
This seems to be more of the consensus of many liberal theologians today. It all goes back to love, or what they deem to be love. Nevertheless, I believe that to claim these as the will or purpose of God is not Biblical. The message of the Bible does not seem oppressing to me (as it does to some) about love, but liberating. The majority of Christians believe homosexuality is unbiblical and the gay/lesbian community feels hindered by this, which is why, I assume, Heyward wrote the article. Instead, I think Christianity points back to finding joy and love and justice in God Himself and not in a sexual relationship (gay or straight). It is this love in God that overflows from your life into the lives of your friends, colleagues, and lover.
Seth Mirsky (MB) brings up an excellent point when dealing with an androcentric society. He claims that any men’s movement(s) that does not recognize the dominating male presence in the world, masculinity should not even be mentioned. In addition to this recognition, men should also redefine what a man (and, therefore, masculinity) is and his role in