Sex and the City...of God

Mark Buchanan is no Carrie Bradshaw. He doesn’t live in New York City but in British Columbia. And I highly doubt he sports any pair of Mahnolo Blahniks. That would be a different article all together. But he does write about sex. Rather than NYC, he uses the backdrop of the church.

Buchanan offers two illustrations in his discourse of sexuality and the church. We have this polarity in the Christian culture. One prefers condemnation; the other, ambivalence. So what should God’s people do in the midst of today’s culture? “What if God’s larger desire is to invite people, all people, into the wideness of his mercy?”

Jonah was a bigot. He was a close-minded, judgmental, compassionless, self-righteous bigot. Yeah, we know those people. We know that kind of church. I guess you can say it’s the Amanda. Hard and smug about where others fall short but still promiscuous with other sins.

These are the people who are bloodthirsty for the persecution of those who don’t fit in their culture of Christianity. These “Young Goodman Browns” are quick to point their fingers and will not settle for anything but divine judgment, even at the risk of losing their “Faith.” To them, the church is only big enough for those with acceptable lifestyles, political affiliations, socio-economic backgrounds, and appearance.

What is disturbing about this kind of church is their lack of kindness. After all, it’s “God’s kindness that leads to repentance.” It is depressing that this kindness is hardly visible in this church. This church is not interested in repentance. What they want is vengeance. They want those sinners to suffer. They want judgment, not mercy.

Then there’s Esther, who just went with the flow. She drenched herself in the pagan pool and came out smelling pretty rosy. She didn’t want to be a troublemaker. She didn’t want to get anyone upset, even to the defilement of everything she believed. So our Samantha likes to go with the flow. Hey, after all, when in Persia, do as the Persians do, right?

So this is the compromised church. This is the church that has been boiling in the pot of sin for so long that it doesn’t know it’s close to death. It is caught in the miserable movement of aligning itself with sin, the “times.” The concept of standing up for what is right is unfathomable. So this church endorses the culture’s sinful nature. This is the church that turns its back and keeps its mouth shut when its pastor is engaged in an adulterous affair or other improper activities. It closes its eyes when pregnant teenage girls line the pews, and it closes its ears when it hears that women are having abortions. It passes the wine to Sunday sobers and the bread to whoremongers.

So what should the church do? How should the church be? Well, then there’s Daniel. Daniel lived, studied, worked, and flourished in a pagan culture. While he never pointed fingers or embraced the sinful existence of his world, he kept himself separated. He kept himself unblemished, pure. Perhaps this is where the church as a whole has failed, because the church has existed for morality rather than for purity.

So what’s the difference? Well, morality is the motivation and concern with doing what is right or wrong. Purity is being free from sin or moral wrong. When one strives for purity, it isn’t so much determining which course of action will get you off the hook or send you to the pit of self-loathing.

This is where Charlotte fits in. She is the pursuer of the Pollyanna ideal of marriage and family. This is the one who is most concerned about morals. Should she do this or that? But she’s no Pollyanna. She certainly isn’t pure.

Purity is the desire to be unblemished, so when the spotlight of God’s holiness shines on you, there will be no dark spots of sin. You see, morality can be subjective. Anyone can shift their morality to suit their needs or wants. But purity is absolute. It’s set. You are either pure or impure. There is no middle.

As for Mr. Big, well, isn’t it obvious? He represents the sinful culture itself. He is desirable, seductive, rich, illusive, yet available. He is the one who leaves you with a broken heart and a stripped spirit. But to the Daniel church, he is that huge statue that everyone else worships. For the Daniel church, he is irrelevant to a life of purity. To the Daniel church, Mr. Big is, well, Mr. Small.