"Sex! Sex! Sex! Is that all church leaders talk about?" huffed the title of USA Today religion blogger Cathy Lynn Grossman's March 23 post.
The "Faith & Reason" blogger lamented that "[s]ummer meeting season looms for many of the nation's leading Protestant denominations and that means the culture warriors are manning the battle stations on sexuality issues." Of course there are two sides to the culture war on sexual ethics in American Protestant Christianity, but Grossman's conclusion made clear her complaint was mostly, if not entirely, with conservatives, who stand on the defensive end of assaults by liberal Christians:
How would it affect your life, your spirituality, if the gay couple next door were married by a pastor, priest or rabbi? If your church were served by gay and straight people? Can you share a pew with someone who sees these issues differently?
And that's where Grossman is off the mark. These fights over gay, lesbian, and transgendered clergy are not by and large about the laity praying in the pews but about the higher moral standards on sex expected for the clergy.
Grossman also latched on to a religious historian to bolster her feigned prudishness about church councils debating sexual ethics.
Gone are the good old days when church synods and conventions met to "talk about, shock, God," Grossman complained, before quoting the "Rev. Martin Marty, the nation's leading historian of religion" who pined for the "good old days, when church leaders debated doctrines of the Trinity, Christology, and not just sex-sex-sex."
Once again, Grossman errs because she knows not, or conveniently ignores, the Scripture. Marriage is frequently used in the Old Testament as a picture of God's covenant with Israel. The New Testament uses similar language to show marriage as a picture of the covenant between Christ (the groom) and the church (the bride) and to compare a wife's submission to her husband in marriage to Jesus Christ's submission to God the Father.
Far from being icky doctrinal squabbles over just "sex-sex-sex," a church's view of marriage is closely entwined with its view of the Trinity and the person and work of Christ.
Photo of Grossman via USA Today.