Godliness & Sexuality

Here's a VERY interesting quote I came across in my recent reading. Rebecca Jones, in "Does Christianity Squash Women? (A Christian Looks at Womanhood)", writes:

"My husband and I (who still have a lot to learn about marriage) have hit on a formula for Christian marital success: 'A woman must realize that it is godly to be sexy, and a man must realize that it is sexy to be godly.' "

What say YOU? Thoughts, comments, questions are all welcome in the comments section!

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be anonymous but I haven't got a blog to identify myself.

I guess I don't understand why Christian women wouldn't think it's godly to be sexy...sex is a great gift from God.

That quote makes it sound like Christian women only have sex because it's godly and men only follow the word of God to have sex. Or that it's the way to decent sexual relationships in a marriage.

I think the quote is way off mark. Properly raised and educated about sex, women will enjoy it, with some work with the relationship to make the sexual experience wonderful.

Gina said...

I guess I cringe a little bit at the word "sexy" because the world has so perverted what our God intended to be pure, and good and a gift from Him, to married people! I don't think that the word "sexy" can be found in scripture anywhere....but that doesn't mean a christian woman can't enjoy the gift that God gave them, if they are married. I just think the word is more associated with what the world has turned it into, rather than what God ever intended it to be.

*~Tamara~* said...

I can see her point.

As for it being "sexy to be godly" I can see where some might be a bit put off by the terminology, but I can tell you that my husband is never more attractive to me in day to day life than when he is obviously living out his calling as a Christian husband and father.

Tracy said...

What a great quote! I totally agree. Of course, the woman has to reamin attractive, yet modest UNTIL the couple are in private!

Kim said...

I absolutely agree. I think that guys don't realize how attractive they are to a woman when they are really living out God's word and being faithful to him.

Rebecca said...

While it may not be the entire picture, my initial response to the quote is, "AMEN".

But do Christian women really have such a problem with sex that we need to be talking about it all the time like the world does?

Anonymous said...

Love the quote...very true!

Cathy

Mrs. L said...

I, personally, love it.

Yes, of course the 'sexy' must be for the spouse only.

Another commenter asked if it needs to be discussed so much. I can't answer that - but it did bring a thought to mind.

As Christian women we are taught to be modest, to not draw attention to ourselves. The world screams 'SEXY' in the wrong way. We have to find that hallowed ground - not being 'sexy' as the world would have it, but being PURELY sexy, as the Lord would have it. Perhaps a less worldly word would be 'appealing'?

Either way - I'm all for it!

Kim said...

I think perhaps the author means more that Christian women need to realize it is OKAY to want and to desire sex and to "ask for it," if you will, with being sexy for their husbands. Not that it is godly to be sexy in a worldly way.

Maybe?

dcrmom said...

I disagree with Kim. I think the author is assuming that Christian women are taught modesty to the point that they are afraid to be sexy for their husbands. I think she is saying we need to learn that it's okay to be sexy for our husbands (if we have been inhibited in that way). And then, as someone else said, that men often don't realize how sexy it is when they take a godly role as husband, protector, provider, etc.

I like the quote, although I can see why the word "sexy" would be a turnoff for some.

Brenda said...

I thought of this quote differently than others. The part that says, "a man must realize it's sexy to be godly" made me think that our husbands need to realize that godly wives are what is to be desired. Not that celebrities are sexy and then there's my modest wife. Ho hum. I didn't think it was talking about our husband's being sexy when they are living for God. That's just how I read it.

Jaime said...

my initial reaction is also to agree with her.

i think that the term 'sexy' has been so incredibly distorted that her meaning can be completely misunderstood, but for the most part, she's trying to find a balance, which isn't a bad thing.

MInTheGap said...

I think that there's definitely a preconceived notion in some Christian women that sex is dirty as an effort to stay pure. And on the man's side, godliness seems to be the opposite of sexiness.

I think that the whole concept of a fulfilling, intimate relationship has been hijacked by the culture such as to make Christians not like these terms.

As such, I think the author has a good line there.

Anonymous said...

Laurie B here:

I can't remember the name of the book, but in college I read something about how for centuries in Christian Europe it was women who were assumed to be more "carnal" and men who were assumed to be more "spiritual."

The stereotypes about good Christian women not being interested in sex only started emerging in the 18th and especially the 19th century.

H. said...

I think if to substitude the word "s..." with charming and appealing, it would be better.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think it's an apt little quote. I did not take it to mean "sexy" the way the world sees that word. Maybe I'd be prone to insert the words "attractive & interesting". And for me, yes, I find my husband particularly appealing when he's playing with the kids, working on the financial stuff, unloading firewood from the truck, etc. Then I can enjoy showing him what a godly woman I am...

Brenda

Gina said...

Maybe there is some confusion as to what the word "sexy" really means. I know that the word is thrown around quite a bit more loosely by the "younger" generation, and I'm sure they aren't really thinking about what they are saying.

With that in mind, it came to my mind last night to look up the word "sexy" in the dictionary. This is what I found:
"sexy - (slang) Arousing or intending to arouse sexual desire or interest. " It is a slang word, and associated with lust, more than love. It also does not appear in scripture.

Then it came to my mind to look at what scripture says about the husband/wife relationship:
Eph. 5:25 - Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER...let the wife see that she respects her husband...

I Cor. 13 is a description of love, that we are called to. If you reflect on it, it never draws attention to self, and always focuses on others and their needs.

I John 2:15-17 clarifies that fulfilling the lust of the flesh is not equal to love that should characterize believers.

How does Christ love the church? Sacrifice. Serving. Others focused. This is a pure love. Love and devotion....not lust. The slang word "sexy" is used by the world and is one that is associated with lust.

My husband is a very godly leader, serves me, and is a wonderful father. That causes me to love and respect him more. To appreciate him. To be grateful and feel blessed. I am drawn to him because of it, and feel closer to him. It does not cause me to lust after him.


The physical relationship is created by God, is a gift, and a beautiful thing....but is not for the purpose of self satisfaction, but for the purpose of meeting the needs of our spouse. "Sexy" stirs up the lustful desires of another towards myself. So it is not love.

It is easy to be influenced by our culture and what it portrays as "love", more than what the scriptures tell us love should be, and who our model of love should be...Jesus. I have fallen into to that myself.

I do not mean this as argumentative, or cutting in any way. It has caused me to again go to the Scriptures and find out, again, what they say on the subject. These are just my "finds". I'm sure the author is well meaning. I'm just not so sure her terminology is the best. Doesn't it make you want to be so careful about what we say, but to be in the Word more so that we don't buy in to things that aren't based solely on Scripture?

Thinking through this quote has been a good exercise. Thanks for sharing it!

LisaM said...

I tried to write this out by substituting the different understandings of the different terms used. What do you think? :
'A woman must realize that it is [showing reverence for God] to [cause one to desire sex], and a man must realize that it [causes one to desire sex] to be [showing reverence for God].'
I think it's definitely the terms used that make this one difficult to grasp fully. What about a paraphrase? :
'A woman must realize that it is [acceptable to God] to [enjoy sex with her husband], and a man must realize that it [causes physical attraction from your wife] to be [what God made man to be].'

Shamgar said...

Gina,

I believe you're making a fundamental error in your application. You are attempting to take what Paul is saying about one aspect of marriage and apply it to another.

First, on an incidental note, my dictionary doesn't say anything about it being slang - not that that necessarily makes it bad. Not all slang is vulgar. It's just an adjective that indicates something that arouses sexual desire or interest.

Second, just because the bible doesn't use a word, doesn't mean it isn't useful in discussing such matters. The bible doesn't use homoousios either, or "trinity" for that matter. Doesn't make them any less important.

Third, Paul is not talking about this aspect of marriage in the passages you note. I'll take them one by one.

Eph 5:25 - This passage is speaking about the structure of the family (as it goes on to speak of Children as well) and how we ought to behave towards one another generally. In terms of how I ought to love my wife you are absolutely correct. My loving her in that manner does not preclude my being aroused by her. Nor does her respect for me preclude it. All can be, and generally are, accomplished. In fact, a wife caring about how she presents herself - particularly to her husband - is frequently a way she shows her respect for him.

Now, that doesn't mean I expect my wife to wear a dress and heels every day to greet me at the door when I come home. It does mean that she cares for herself generally, and that when the occasion calls for it, she does more, and she does it out of love for me, respect, and because it meets a need that I have.

1 Cor 13: Very similar. I don't see anything here that contradicts a wife's desire being for her husband and vice versa. Or contradicts her encouraging that desire to be for her. Is it showing love and respect for your husband and his needs to not be sexy for him? Perhaps it is - I don't know him. Maybe that's what he wants, in which case you'd be doing the right thing. It's pretty rare though, and you should be sure. The feminization of men - particularly Christian men - has left a lot of men feeling like they can't tell even their wives who they really are - who God made them to be.

1 John 2:15-17 is probably the worst of the bunch in the way it was abused here.
The Lust of the flesh refers not to healthy marital desire for your wife, but the sinful lust of adultery, rape, incest, sodomy or excess and glutonny in food, drink, or other sensual pleasures.

The lust of the eyes would be the same sort of desire for things which are not yours to have. This would include Christ's admonition against even looking at a woman lustfully - for then you have committed adultery with her in your heart. (How exactly does one commit adultery with ones wife?) It would also include general sins of covetousness, the riches and possessions of others and our dissatisfaction with the providence of God.

None of these things apply to the question of how a wife behaves towards her husband. Yet Paul does speak elsewhere about the need of a couple to not abstain from each other, making only one exception and that only for short periods. This is a recognition of each side having needs, and the importance for each side to meet the other's needs.

You say that this cannot be about our own needs, but only about meeting another's needs. But how do we know if those needs aren't shared? As Christians in the body of Christ we are commanded to share one another's burdens - how much more so should we share and meet one another's needs within God's institution of marriage!

If you have other verses, which you believe specifically prohibit a wife sexually arousing her husband then I'm all ears. But the arguments you presented here just don't hold up to a contextual reading of the Scriptures you have presented.

:..Rebekah..: said...

Jess,

I'm always encouraged by your blog and enjoy visiting here. I was wondering if I could put a link on my blog to yours. I'm new at the blog thing and am not sure about how everything works. I thought that maybe I should ask you, but I wasn't sure. Anyway, My blog is called "Beautiful Days" at http://bekahw4.blogspot.com/ if you would like to visit.

Thanks and God bless you!
Rebekah

Anonymous said...

Gina wrote:

"The physical relationship is created by God, is a gift, and a beautiful thing....but is not for the purpose of self satisfaction, but for the purpose of meeting the needs of our spouse."

Not for the purpose of self satisfaction? Do I understand you to mean that women should consent to sex to "meet the needs" of their husbands but should not enjoy it themselves?

I don't think my husband would enjoy it much if he got the impression that I were just "meeting his needs" without being satisfied myself.

Laurie B

Anonymous said...

Off-topic to Shamgar because he is active on this thread, and I'm not sure anyone is still reading the KJV thread:

You wrote, "The original was Greek (for the NT other than a few short sentences in aramaic)."

I referred to the original New Testament in Greek as a "translation" in the sense that Jesus and his disciples did not speak to each other in Greek, and he did not deliver his sermons or say prayers in Greek.

Somewhere along the way, the apostles (or more likely students of the apostles) wrote down the Gospels in Greek.

No doubt they were giving their best approximation of what Jesus actually said, but even the original New Testament is a translation from Jesus's teachings as he delivered them in Aramaic.

Laurie B

Anonymous said...

Off-topic to Jess, because I know how much you like Huckabee stories!

http://commoniowan.blogspot.com/2007/08/huckabee-gets-it_09.html

The stuff Huckabee says that I agree with is the stuff that kills him with the corporate wing of the GOP, which tends to drive the policy agenda of Republicans in Washington (tax cuts for the rich above all else).

Laurie B

Shamgar said...

No doubt they were giving their best approximation of what Jesus actually said, but even the original New Testament is a translation from Jesus's teachings as he delivered them in Aramaic.

A common misconception, but still a misconception. It's been popularized by those who frankly love any opportunity to subvert the Scriptures. (I'm not saying *you're* trying to do that, just that you've been taken in by them.)

Greek was the common language of the day. Historical evidence demonstrates that Greek was used for business transactions, and in common day to day language. The LXX (The greek translation of the old testament done by the Jews) had been in existence long before Jesus was born. Many of the people he spoke to were not of Jewish origin (the Roman Centurion, etc) and it's simply not likely that everyone in the multitudes who followed him spoke Aramaic.

I'm sure there were times he spoke in Aramaic, and even in Hebrew, (particularly to his disciples) but it wasn't the norm.

Shamgar said...

Re: Huckabee

I'm quite shocked by that statement. While I agree that there is undue corporate influence in washington, the solution is not more government interference. The whole reason we have that problem is that government interference creates power structures and a desire or need for corporations to influence them. If the federal government kept to its constitutional mandates then there wouldn't be a temptation to spend all that money there, cause it wouldn't buy them anything.

The government simply doesn't do anything well. More government is never the right answer to a problem, only a path to more problems.

Shamgar said...

Somewhere along the way, the apostles (or more likely students of the apostles) wrote down the Gospels in Greek.

Wow, the first time through I didn't catch the students of the apostles line. I'm not even sure what to say to that but - No. They were written by the apostles.

Dollymama said...

Here's what I don't get: All the messages that Christian women like sex less than other women.

I have been in many settings with non-Christian women who made comments about not wanting sex at all, and only being willing to have sex with their husband once a month or as little as possible. I get the same type of info around the internet among non Christian women. Frankly, I think that most women just aren't as into sex as men are, particularly when they are in the childbearing stage of life. The hormones are not so friendly to a high libido in those days.

So, I guess I get kind of tired of seeing Christian women singled out for the crime of having a low sex drive. Yes, you can choose your behavior, but you can't do much about the physiological design of your body.

*~Tamara~* said...

Gina:

The physical relationship is created by God, is a gift, and a beautiful thing....but is not for the purpose of self satisfaction [snip]

I'm a little...flummoxed by this. Sex is, in fact, designed to be satisfactory. We have sex because we desire it, else why would Paul admonish us not to deprive each other so we would not be tempted? If we would be tempted to sin if we weren't enjoying sex in our marriage, then it seems to me we should have sex in our marriage because it is enjoyable to us. Why would we be tempted to do something we don't feel like doing in the first place?

Respectfully, I think your approach in using Ephesians 5 is misguided. This is a description of the proper order of the Christian home. It doesn't address the sexual intimacy of the marriage relationship. While my husband is a "godly leader, serves me, and is a wonderful father" as yours is, he is also a sexual being. He is multi-dimensional, and one scripture verse does not encompass his entire being.

There is nothing wrong with desiring (lusting after?) your own spouse. Song of Solomon paints a very vivid and rather adult-themed picture of an intimate relationship. 1 John 2:15-17 addresses loving the things of the world..what the world can offer me and what I can accomplish for myself in the world. Again, it does not address the sexual relationship of a man and wife. In fact, in Scripture we are encouraged to turn to our spouse for sexual fulfillment rather than turning away from them as yet another "lust of the flesh."

It is easy to be influenced by our culture and what it portrays as "love", more than what the scriptures tell us love should be, and who our model of love should be...Jesus.

The trouble I have with this assessment is that I don't see how this quote, or any of the further comments, is influenced by "culture and what it portrays as love." This quote is about sexuality. We can't really look to Jesus' personal approach on this, since he was not married and did not have a sexual relationship. So while yes, He is our best model for Christian sacrificial love, I am not sure how we go from that to sexuality and marital love. A person can (and in fact is designed to) have Christ's love and still be an intensely sexual person.

"Sexy" is not a four letter word. Well, it is, but you know what I mean. It's just a word. Whether it's considered slang or not, or whether it's in the Bible or not, is really immaterial to its proper use in language. I can see where some people might be offended by the term, based on their own sensitivities or notions, but it really is just an adjective.

I have been sitting here for an hour, rereading your post with my chin in my hands, trying to make sure I understand what you're saying. So I hope I've understood, and that my own response has come across the right way.

But do Christian women really have such a problem with sex that we need to be talking about it all the time like the world does?

I think after having generations of Christian women virtually ignore the topic and even now having (typically older) women only want to speak of it in hushed tones, we now have a generation of women who are a)confused about the role sex should play in their lives b)uncertain of how much of their sexuality should be public and how much they should keep private or even hide, and c)cannot have an open dialogue even with their husbands because the subject has been taboo for so long. I know women who can't even talk to their doctors without using "jargon" instead of actual terminology. This cannot be healthy. I for one am glad that at least some people like Jess are willing to open up a forum for conversation on topics that, whether many want to admit it or not, are simply crucial to a healthy and godly marriage.

Now, that doesn't mean I expect my wife to wear a dress and heels every day to greet me at the door when I come home.

Probably a darn good thing. :-P

*~Tamara~* said...

And...eek. I've watched the Huckabee video three times and I'm really surprised that he is actually recommending government interference into private business. Not what I would ever have expected him to say!

Anonymous said...

"Greek was the common language of the day. Historical evidence demonstrates that Greek was used for business transactions, and in common day to day language. The LXX (The greek translation of the old testament done by the Jews) had been in existence long before Jesus was born. Many of the people he spoke to were not of Jewish origin (the Roman Centurion, etc) and it's simply not likely that everyone in the multitudes who followed him spoke Aramaic."

There were Greek Jews such as Philo, who lived in Egypt during the same period as Jesus. But I have never seen evidence that Jews who lived where Jesus lived at the time he lived used Greek in their daily interactions.

Greek translations of the Hebrew scriptures were probably used by Jews for proselytizing among Greeks. Remember that Jews continued to read scripture in Hebrew for centuries after Hebrew ceased to be their vernacular.

I am not saying that Jesus was not conversant in Greek. He may well have known Greek and used Greek when speaking with people who probably did not speak Aramaic (e.g. Pontius Pilate, Roman centurion). The scholarly consensus does seem to be that Aramaic was his first language, though.

Many important events described in the New Testament would almost certainly not have taken place in Greek. For instance, I can't believe that Jesus, a Jew presiding over the Last Supper (a Passover seder) with a bunch of fellow Jews, would have been speaking to them in Greek.

I am not aware of any evidence that the Sermon on the Mount or Sermon on the Plain (which may or may not be the same sermon) were delivered in Greek.

My goal is not to subvert scripture. But certain inconsistencies in the gospels (even the canonical gospels, to say nothing of the gnostic gospels) are easily explained when you consider that 1) the gospels were written down some time after Jesus died, and 2) the gospels were written in a different language from the primary language in which Jesus communicated.

Laurie B

Shamgar said...

The scholarly consensus does seem to be that Aramaic was his first language, though.

Sadly, the "scholarly consensus" is usually not scholarly at all. It generally reflects the truth about as much as Cameron's "Lost Tomb" book or the Davinci Code does.

The scholarly consensus among those people who see the bible as just another book, and who do not hold God as the one true God, Maker of heaven and earth, Sovereign ruling king over all, who has spoken and revealed himself through his word do probably take that view. Along with such theories as the Q document, and other such nonsense. I don't doubt that among such people the "consensus" is as as you say. But among people who actually trust in Christ, and believe God's word is true, and who have studied this honestly w/out an agenda that is most certainly not the consensus.

I can't believe that Jesus, a Jew presiding over the Last Supper (a Passover seder) with a bunch of fellow Jews, would have been speaking to them in Greek.

Possible, I wasn't there of course, and I am not included in those who have personally done the research. However, remember that at least two of those were Gallileans who probably spoke Greek primarily - hard to say though without taking some time to dig into all the evidence.

I am not aware of any evidence that the Sermon on the Mount or Sermon on the Plain (which may or may not be the same sermon) were delivered in Greek.

Except for the large and varied number of people present, and the likelihood that many of them likely didn't speak Aramaic or Hebrew.

My goal is not to subvert scripture. But certain inconsistencies in the gospels

I'll stop you there. There are no inconsistencies in the gospels. And that is not a reckless fundamentalist fingers in the ears response. I mean that there are none. There are places where people's lack of knowledge of the time period, the purpose of the writers, their audience, and the languages can cause them to think they see inconsistencies, but they are not.

(even the canonical gospels, to say nothing of the gnostic gospels)

Heh. Of course the gnostic gospels are full of inconsistencies. They're garbage, and only reflect the truth in that their existence confirms the errors the apostles and other early Christians wrote against.

are easily explained when you consider that 1) the gospels were written down some time after Jesus died

Er...yes...it does take time to write when you don't have a computer, or even a typewriter. Don't even have a ball-point pen and real paper - just papyri if they were lucky vellum.

Surly you don't mean to say that people forgot the most important event in history, let alone their lives? Particularly in a culture that was so well trained in oral traditions?

, and 2) the gospels were written in a different language from the primary language in which Jesus communicated.

Again, I disagree with this assertion. The best evidence suggests that the primary language by that time was Greek. Nearly everything we find from that period was in Greek. Yes, the Jews continued to use Hebrew ceremonially, and yes, Aramaic continued to be used as well, but it simply wasn't the primary language.

Even if it were, it would not explain what you think it does. This is not like someone in america who learned spanish from a set of tapes and is now struggling to do some translation. These people would've been fluent in the languages they spoke, and used to doing translations between languages. There simply is no explanation there - not that there really needs to be.

And I'll close with a great rule of thumb for these sorts of things. "For every problem, there's an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." Yes, it's easy to explain away things we don't understand by claiming errors in the text or translational problems or pretending that somehow the apostles wrote the gospels years later...sometimes even after the earliest documents we have available according to some claims.

That's just a copout though. The answer is there in the Scriptures for those with the diligence and the desire to seek it out.