I had the privilege of contributing an essay in my dear friend Todd Wilson's book Mere Sexuality: Rediscovering The Christian Vision of Sexuality releasing October 3rd.
I thank Todd for his trust. I want to thank him for his openness to hearing from the silent voices of the sexually bent in our midst.
I happened to just be at the service at Calvary Memorial, where he's senior pastor, the morning the sermon series began. Our family lives less than an hour from Calvary. Occasionally we will drop in unannounced to see our dear friends the Wilsons.
While I greatly appreciated Todd's compelling biblical and rhetorically rich sermon - chapter one of the book - I felt it lacked something profound. I was left feeling a deep grief. For all of Todd's passionate, winsome and positive description of the beauty of a historic Christian vision of sexuality - a vision of sexuality I share on the whole, I was left despairing. His conclusion meant to offer blessing and hope, left me with contempt. I know Todd. I know that was not at all what he had intended. In fact, as I reflect on it now, I am sure he thought he was offering hope and blessing; but it was received by me as a curse.
I knew he was unaware of the unintended consequences of such a strong, compelling and perhaps even true Christian vision human sexuality. Immediately after the service I broke the first rule of preacher collegiality. The first rule: Never critique the preacher immediately after he preaches.
I broke the rule, because it was life or death to me. To Todd's credit - and we're really good friends - he heard me. He listened to my heart that such a vision for a good number of us in his audience is a curse to bear because our sexuality is bent. On the spot, Todd asked if I'd be willing to come and preach a sermon in the series on just that point. Without thinking I said yes; absolutely.
So several weeks later I was back giving a sermon called "Bent Sexuality." The following Wednesday night I gave an additional one and a half-hour seminar on the topic. The sermon is now Appendix 2 in the book.
At the time of the sermon and still today with the soon release of the book, I applaud Todd's intention to move away from commonplace and ineffective Evangelical approaches which attempt cultural critique and demolition of presumed human identity [You can't be gay; I can't use your self-preferred personal pronoun] to convince people of the truth - e.g. Nashville Statement.
Ironically, as I'm writing this paragraph an analogy comes to mind. The common culture war methodology commonly exercised by Evangelicals seems along the lines of socialism. Todd's more capitalisic approach takes it starts with the assumption that what he is offering is far superior to anything else that is on offer in the market of sexuality today. So rather than feel threatened and defensive, Todd presents a superior competitor in the free market of human sexuality today. He says to readers, consider for yourself. Even risk trying it out to know the truth. Todd's fresh approach lacks no confidence, does not come off as preachy and allows the consumer to decide for themselves. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
I so deeply appreciate that my friend Todd heard me and trusted me. I feel blessed by his open heart to allow a qualifying and, perhaps at times a sympathetically dissenting, voice to be heard amidst a robust argument for the beauty of a historic Christian sexuality.
I commend the book with my essay alongside.
I also hope you will read and interact with my recent post Listen, Attend, Invite Lament.