Last week after reading yet more news item about Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his alledged sexcapades and yet more updates about ongoing sexual abuse and episcopal coverups in the Church, I began to reflect on Jesus of Nazareth and Gospel teaching about sex.
From the Gospels it seems clear to me that sex becomes a problem when power becomes a problem.
The Gospels deal very little with sexual concerns. The Gospels are much more concerned with power issues.
In the Church — practice and teaching — sex becomes a central theme when authority and power escalate in importance.
Clearly Jesus of Nazareth resisted power as a defining characteristic of his life.
Unlike the Church that evolved after him, sex was not of utmost significance in the preaching of Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus rejected power for himself in the religious and secular categories of his day.
Jesus did not want to be king.
He did not take up the sword to defend himself.
Jesus told Pontius Pilate he had no interest in the political power of this world.
Jesus, as a faith-filled Jewish man, kept a distance from priesthood, wealth, and institutional religious power.
If the Reign of God is deep within us, institutional and ecclesiastical power are not needed. When love is the sign of discipleship, hierarchy slips to marginal importance. And if we are judged by how we treat one another, compassion becomes our lifestyle not dominance.
Jesus understood this in the matter of divorce. In his day, Jewish law and custom defined a married woman as property. Divorce, in Jesus’ day, was an exclusively male prerogative of power over a woman who was juridically the man’s possession.
Matthew and Paul understood the main point Jesus was making. They wrote exceptions into the earlier absolute prohibition of divorce found in Mark.
Adultery in Jesus’ perspective was less a sexual and more a property and power issue.
Today’s Church sees divorce — and marriage! –as an essentially sexual issue. Marriage is not permanent until the couple have sexual relations. A second marriage after divorce is permitted provided there is no rexual relationship in the second marrage!
Perhaps our Church will never come to grips with its ongoing
SEX problem until it confronts its
It is not surprising that the papacy — modeled on the Roman emperor model — tends to use power absolutely and narrowly….and therefore it gives the Church such enept sexual teaching. And bishops — modeled on little papal emperors — are so inept at dealing with sexual issues.
Maybe we need our own WALL Street type demonstrators…………