I sat there watching him speak about things one should never speak of in church. Attraction, sensuality, sexuality, passion, love of both the agape and eros kind. I clenched my nonexistent pearls with every word, hoping that he would stop soon. I was in the middle of “Killing Me Softly”, feeling “all flushed with fever and embarrassed by the crowd.” I scanned the room to see if anyone felt as uncomfortable as I did. Was anyone else squirming in their chair or in the pews that ascended to the top of the room? Was anyone wondering whether his words about attraction of all kinds were appropriate to speak in the same space that where we worship God? Who green lit this poem that allowed a man to speak of his feelings toward a woman in any other way but a holy way? I was at odds with myself, wanting to fully embrace his language of love and attraction in this sacred space but also being acutely aware of the fact that this space was sacred. But then I thought: What better place is there for one to deal with all of their natures, both the spiritual and the carnal, but in a sacred space? What safer space is there to take refuge in than in this space? What purer space could there be to talk about these things and not enter into judgment? It is supposed to be in the sanctuary that we can lay our burdens down, right?
There’s a song from the son of a prominent pastor that says, “Why can’t we talk about love?” This was his sentiment after dealing with critiques on why he made a career of singing about “secular” love instead of sacred love–translation R&B over gospel music. Here at “Sex and the Sanctuary” I am going to riff off his question and ask, “Why can’t we talk about sex?” Why can’t we, as the body of Christ, talk about sex?
Let us now talk about sex and…the sanctuary. All are welcome.