In part one of this series of posts we reflected on missions as masturbation, then on missions as rape. What would missions look like when it is relating to a healthy sexuality? Without being prescriptive I would like to add a few thoughts on this kind of missions. First, sexuality is supposed to be fun – more specifically the act of sex is meant to be enjoyable. Our early church fathers, Augustine being the primary culprit, changed sex into something functional and utilitarian. Sex is not just meant for procreation (I know some teach this and I grant them freedom to do it, but me and my household …). Furthermore, the word mutuality comes to mind. Both parties want to have fun. This doesn’t happen automatically. Contrary to what Hollywood portrays, couples don’t just hook up for explosive sex (though I’m told that it sometimes happens). These mutual encounters presuppose communication, respect and a willingness to be in a healthy tension of give and receive.
Someone will initiate, but this initiation’s cues will be followed by the other party. Instead of a selfish desire to ‘get’ without involving someone else, or on the other hand a selfish desire to ‘get’ by de-personifying the other, this kind of mission will bring out the best in both parties. This is not something that comes easily; we have to get to know one another. Our ways of communicating and our particular likes and dislikes.
I believe that this sexual union has been designed for people who have covenanted to be with each other for life in holy matrimony. So how would this translate into this model? Would it be OK, spiritually, for someone to only have one ‘sexual missional’ experience all their lives? Also, is successful sexual missions defined by offspring? What if there is no conception, represented by the millions of infertile couples worldwide?
A lot of couples who battle with conceiving will tell you that the sexual act can become a dreaded activity. Another item on the ‘to do list’. This reminds me of some evangelism pep activities I’ve been part of.
I have a hunch that in missional discourse there is a definite need to collapse the divide between traditional distinct disciplines of evangelism and discipleship.
Now by this point you may be tired of the sexual metaphor in this essay. I want you to stay with it. Remember that God likens us to his bride. He is the excited bridegroom ready to consummate the marriage. Celebrating the union. What would missions look like that epitomizes the celebration of this union? What would ‘orgasmic missions’ look like? Would it always be celebrated in a conversion experience of ‘I accepted Jesus?”
Here is the continuum again:
We obviously want to move towards the middle-ground but everyone one of us has, by default, a natural inclination towards either masturbation or rape. I wonder what specific habits we can cultivate to move towards a healthier missional sexuality?