Your stately form is like the palm,
Your breast are like clusters.
I say: Let me climb the palm,
Let me take hold of its branches;
Let your breasts be like clusters of grapes,
Your breath like the fragrance of apples,
And your mouth like the choicest wine.
'Let it flow to my beloved as new wine
Gliding over the lips of sleepers.'
The Song of Songs 7:8-10 (TANAKH)
Some say that we live in a sexualized society. Sex is used to sell everything from auto parts to cleaning products. Movies make it or break it on scenes that leave little to the imagination. Stars make headlines with the dresses they wear, politicians for the pictures they take of themselves.
I don't think we live in a sexualized society I think we live in a objectified one. We "use" sexuality," better yet a dis-ordered type of sexuality that becomes a tool not of relationship but another commodity to be exploited. This expression of sexuality really gives sex a bad name.
There is nothing wrong with sexuality. It is part of what makes us human, the ability to share our bodies with another, to connect, bond, and make love incarnate, is really a gift. We were made this way, our bodies are wired to desire connection, touch, and intimacy. Unlike animals whose sexuality is strictly reproductive, humanity's sexual expression is primarily about bonding, connecting, to another.
Christianity has a difficult track record with this part of being human. From Paul, who basically said engage in it if you must (although he rather you not) to today where many of the culture wars center around issues of sexuality, we struggle with what to say about it. Most of the time we try to control it as if it was some kind of created flaw in us.
I long for a Christian ethic that celebrates our sexuality and helps people of faith live into its fullness. After all we know that sexuality is powerful, its bonding hard to break, its consequences (positive or negative) can last a lifetime. We also that know that it can easily be abused, objectified, and misdirected.
We cannot remain silent or ignore it. We must find ways to dialogue as God's people about what it means to be embodied beings, sensual, and communal. We must speak about what it means to live our sexual lives in ways that honor our being made in God's image. In ways that honor God's call for our continued growth in Christ-likeness.
This article originally appeared on February 18, 2011 at spiritstirrer.org. There you will find the rest of the Bible in 90 Series.