Fall and Embodied Sexuality

Love Sex Body Series GFX-05I continued our series, “Love-Sex-Body: Toward a Biblical Theology of Embodied Sexuality,” this past weekend at at Eastbrook Church by turning to the second chapter of God’s Good Story: the Fall from grace.

This message draws primarily from Genesis 3 and Romans 1, with a smattering of other verses throughout. This is, in my opinion, perhaps the most challenging of all the messages in this series for a few reasons. First, it addresses how sin leaves us with disordered love, sexuality, and bodies in very different ways. Second, it can in some ways be the most painful and apparently hopeless weeks of the series, leaving us in the Fall without the grace of redemption. However, I still believe that taking in this part of the series is vital for our healing. Like a good surgeon gives us an honest diagnosis, God provides a clear appraisal of our fallenness in Scripture. Recognizing it and believing it are the first steps toward healing.

You can watch my message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series here or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities to connect.

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Creation and Embodied Sexuality

Love Sex Body Series GFX-05I continued our series, “Love-Sex-Body: Toward a Biblical Theology of Embodied Sexuality,” this past weekend at at Eastbrook Church

This weekend, I turned our attention to the first chapter of God’s Good Story: Creation. The message draws upon many Scripture passages, but finds its footing in Genesis 1 and 2. My main point was basically that our bodies our good, our sexuality is good, and love is the good that holds that all together. In the midst of the message, I spent some time discussing the image of God in humanity, the nature of biological sex and gender, as well as some reflections on singleness and marriage.

You can watch my message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series here or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities to connect.

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Love-Sex-Body: An Introduction to Embodied Sexuality

Love Sex Body Series GFX-05This past weekend at at Eastbrook Church we began a new, five-week series, “Love-Sex-Body: Toward a Biblical Theology of Embodied Sexuality.” This first weekend in the series is an introduction to the themes of embodied sexuality, with attention to some ground rules for approaching this discussion and the framework for the series.

You can watch my message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series here or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities for involvement.

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Love–Sex–Body: Toward a Biblical Theology of Embodied Sexuality

This coming weekend at Eastbrook Church we begin a new preaching series entitled “Love-Sex-Body: Toward a Biblical Theology of Embodied Sexuality.” All around us, in our daily interactions with others and in the cultural conversation, we encounter ever-changing and vigorous debates about the nature of the human body, gender identity, and sexuality. In this series we will take steps toward developing a more-robust theology of the embodied sexuality within the contemporary church. Walking through the four-chapter gospel, we want to understand how our bodies, our sexuality, our relationships, yes, our very selves are affected by God’s creation, the fall into sin, Christ’s redeeming work, and the ultimate restoration of all things. Through this series we will strive to develop a clear yet nuanced approach to Scripture on God’s purposes for love, the human body, and sexuality from Genesis through Revelation, with attention to pertinent issues and questions.

October 26/27 – “Love-Sex-Body: Introduction to Embodied Sexuality”

November 2/3 – “Creation and Embodied Sexuality”

November 9/10 – “Fall and Embodied Sexuality”

November 16/17 – “Redemption and Embodied Sexuality”

November 23/24 – “Restoration and Embodied Sexuality”

Along with the weekend series there are a few other opportunities I want to highlight.

Discussion Groups and Classes
To encourage conversation within the church, this new series will include sermon discussion groups each weekend during the 11 AM hour every Sunday morning (October 27-November 24). Trained facilitators will help us talk deeply with one another around tables. Also, our NextGen and Adult Ministry teams are developing follow-up classes on related topics scheduled to begin in January 2020.

Leadership Community
On Monday, October 28, Dr. Preston Sprinkle will share with us on the topic: “The Jesus Way: Grace and Truth in Developing a Theology of Sexuality.” Dr. Sprinkle is the president of The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender, and is a biblical scholar, an international speaker, and a New York Times bestselling author who has written numerous books including People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue (Zondervan). To help us plan adequately for materials he will bring, please register if you plan to attend.

The Weekend Wanderer: 14 September 2019

The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like.

Jarrid Wilson“Pastor, author and mental health advocate Jarrid Wilson dies by suicide” – This was probably one of the toughest news articles for me to read this past week. This was too reminiscent of Pastor Andrew Stoecklein‘s death about a year ago. As a pastor for nearly two decades, I find the uptick in pastors taking their life through suicide very difficult to handle. At the most basic level, this is just plain sad for the individual, their family, their church, and those influenced by their ministry. At a personal level, I know the strain and pressure that pastors deal with in ministry, and the very real times where the pressure feels like something you can no longer handle. Ed Stetzer does a good job of responding to this at The Exchange (“A Pastor Dies By Suicide: Three Things We All Need to Know”). You could support Wilson’s family in a tangible way here. I tweeted on Wednesday: “Life is fragile.  People need God, but people also need other people. Love those around you. If you are struggling, reach out for help.  Don’t go it alone.  The journey of life is not easy.” If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please talk with someone you know about this or reach out for help to the suicide prevention lifeline (1-800-273-8255). As the people of God, we have to engage with even the darkest issues of mental health together. This is at least one aspect of what it means to ” Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

 

91774“Celebrate Sexual Ethics. Don’t Apologize for Them.” – Andrea Palpant Dilley: “Over the last five years, an increasing number of believers have changed their stance on sexual ethics and slipped from the grounded banks of orthodoxy into the current of the times. Several public figures, in particular, have come out as ‘affirming’ and brought thousands with them. Those of us with a historic, biblical view feel at times defensive or discouraged, and our posture—quite understandably—is one of ‘holding our ground’ against theological erosion. In the midst of this tumult, we risk losing sight of what the church has to offer: not just a critique of false teaching (although that’s needed) but an alternative model, a bold vision of how orthodoxy enables deep, well-ordered love. As we encourage others to ‘stay on the bank,’ we have the privilege of pointing them toward a picture that reveals God’s purpose for human sexuality.”

 

Education“Rotten STEM: How Technology Corrupts Education” – Analyzing the role of technology is a hot topic, but here is a thoughtful, if not harsh, reading of technology and education in the US from Jared Woodard. “The U.S. education system spent more than $26 billion on tech­nology in 2018. That’s larger than the entire Israeli military budget. By one estimate, annual global spending on technology in schools will soon total $252 billion. To hear presidents and prime ministers tell it, this spending is laudable and even necessary to reduce inequality and prepare a workforce ready to compete in the global economy. But the technology pushed into schools today is a threat to child development and an unredeemable waste. In the first place, technology exacerbates the greatest problem of all in schools: confusion about their purpose. Education is the cultivation of a person, not the manufacture of a worker. But in many public school districts we have already traded our collective birthright, the promise of human flourishing, for a mess of utilitarian pottage called ‘job skills.’ The more recent, panicked, money-lobbing fetish for STEM is a late realization that even those dim promises will go unmet.”

 

6667“Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound” – On a related point, here is Maryanne Wolf reflecting on technology’s effect on reading and attention: “Look around on your next plane trip. The iPad is the new pacifier for babies and toddlers. Younger school-aged children read stories on smartphones; older boys don’t read at all, but hunch over video games. Parents and other passengers read on Kindles or skim a flotilla of email and news feeds. Unbeknownst to most of us, an invisible, game-changing transformation links everyone in this picture: the neuronal circuit that underlies the brain’s ability to read is subtly, rapidly changing – a change with implications for everyone from the pre-reading toddler to the expert adult.”

 

92032“What 1619 Means for Christian History” – A few weeks ago The New York Times released their monumental effort “The 1619 Project.” Regardless of whether one agrees with the goal of the project, this important cannot – and should not – be ignored. In Christianity Today‘s “Quick to Listen” podcast, Michael A. G. Haykin joins Morgan Lee and Mark Galli “to discuss the genesis of the church’s views on slavery, how the missions movement affected the slave trade, and the role of the Quakers in pricking the Protestant conscience on this atrocity.”

 

Jerry Falwell Politico“‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence” – There is probably no religious leader as tightly connected to Donald Trump as Jerry Falwell, Jr., who serves as the president and chancellor at Liberty University. This piece gets inside the feelings around Falwell in at least some areas of the school. “At Liberty University, all anyone can talk about is Jerry Falwell Jr. Just not in public. ‘When he does stupid stuff, people will mention it to others they consider confidants and not keep it totally secret,’ a trusted adviser to Falwell, the school’s president and chancellor, told me. ‘But they won’t rat him out.’ That’s beginning to change.”

 

Petrusich-WendellBerry-2“Going Home with Wendell Berry: The writer and farmer on local knowledge, embracing limits, and the exploitation of rural America” – Wendell Berry is one of the finest writers of our era, bringing a combination of artistry, love, and prophetic zeal to his poetry, fiction, and essays. If you’ve never read his work, let me commend Jayber Crow or What Are People For? as good starting points. In this article in The New Yorker, Amanda Petrusich interviews Berry about his writing, his decision to return to Kentucky, human freedom and limits, agriculture, and much more.

 

Music: Jóhann Jóhannsson, “A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder,” from Orphée.

[I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.]

Sexuality and Marriage (discussion questions)

HS 4Here are the discussion questions that accompany the message that Kelly and I delivered this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, “Sexuality and Marriage.” This was the fourth and final part of our series, “Holy Sexuality.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What was your view of marriage growing up?
  2. This week we conclude our series, “Holy Sexuality,” with a focus on sexuality and marriage. We will look at various passages in this study. Before you begin, take some time to pray, asking God to speak to you and transform you through this study.
  3. Whether you are studying alone or with a group, read Genesis 2:20-25 aloud. What level of commitment do you see in these verses about the marriage relationship before God?
  4. How is this similar to or different from the view of marriage in our world today?
  5. Now read Song of Songs 8:4-14 aloud. This passage is a richly poetic and almost surprising expression of the joys of love in marriage. What are the different aspects of love that you see in these verses?
  6. How does the community celebrate and guard love in this passage?
  7. What are one or two ways in which the example of the lovers in Song of Songs is helpful to you right now?
  8. Next we want to look at the challenges to married sexuality from Proverbs 5:1-23. Read that passage aloud and identify a few of the main challenges to holy sexuality in marriage.
  9. What antidotes to these challenges are presented in these verses?
  10. After looking at the challenges, it is clear that we cannot live this out from our own resources. What are some of the keys to committed sexuality in marriage from Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-33?
  11. What is the “profound mystery” that Paul connects to the marriage relationship in Ephesians 5:31-33? Why is this important?
  12. What is one major takeaway you have from this week’s study? If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone this week. If you are in a group, take time to pray for one another about these things.

Sexuality and Marriage

HS 4My wife, Kelly, and I concluded the “Holy Sexuality” series this past weekend at Eastbrook Church by talking about sexuality and marriage. I was so glad to have Kelly join me for preparation and delivery of the message. She is such a gifted pastor and woman of God, and working together on this made the message so much better.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can also listen to the message via our audio podcast here.

As always, I’d like to invite you to connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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