Sex and the Bible | Letters | Chicago Reader

Sex and the Bible 

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Dear Reader,

In fact, Christians like a good romp now and then.

In "Swingers: A Love Story" (October 18), Dan Savage seems to have missed the mark in summing up the early Christian view of sex. For early church fathers, Savage writes, "the remedy for lust, marital or casual, was chastity." Saint Paul--surely a church father if there ever was one--disagrees.

In a passage Savage quotes without context a few sentences later, Paul calls it "better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:9). His solution for the problem of lust is not chastity--it's marriage. Later the apostle warns that those who abstain from sex in order to fast and pray should "not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time....Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you" (1 Corinthians 8:5). The warning's not against too much sex, but too little.

I think I see the problem. While Savage has given ample space to the viewpoints of swingers, demonstrators, "church fathers," author William Bennett, an English professor, and a guy from a TV prayer line, he hasn't spent much ink chasing the views of the Creator himself.

A good starting point might be the book that claims God's authorship. There we find, as the TV Baptist in Savage's story seems to know, that all of us are thoroughly and uniformly screwed. There's really just one question: shall we take the antidote proposed by that same book--free grace in the form of God's "lynched son"--or shall we divine our own solutions and, for sake of argument, keep God's opinions out of our discussions (and our articles)? It's something for Savage--and all us adulterers and fornicators--to consider.

Benjie Hughes



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