BreakPoint: Rethinking “Relations”

A Return to Virtue in the Wake of Scandal?

Given the headlines today, lots of secular folks are starting to wonder if they ought to rethink sex. Wow—ya think?

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few weeks, you’ve heard about the plethora of #MeToo reports of sexual harassment and abuse perpetrated by politicians, actors, and the news media. The accused run the gamut from liberal to conservative, Christian to skeptic. While the stories are different in detail and gravity, there’s a common thread—people in positions of power, mostly men, taking advantage of less powerful people, mostly females, to satiate their sexual whims.

Many secularists and cheerleaders of the sexual revolution are now shocked that so many people are giving free rein to what one writer calls the “brutality of the male libido.”

In surveying the wreckage, it’s hard to miss the bitter irony here. I’m reminded of C. S. Lewis in “The Abolition of Man” in which he writes, “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function.  We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

But I’m glad that growing numbers are finally beginning to wake up to the ugly results of their secular worldview. A great example is an opinion piece called “Let’s Rethink Sex” by Christine Emba in The Washington Post. Emba, an opinion writer and editor there, correctly notes that the culture got off track in matters sexual by making the dual assumption that we all deserve a certain amount of sex, and that nothing should get in the way of us satisfying our desires—“even,” she says, “when reciprocity is unclear.”

“It’s not that sex in and of itself is the problem,” Emba writes. “But the idea that pursuing one’s sexual imperatives should take precedence over workplace rules, lines of power or even just appropriate social behavior is what allows predators to justify sexual harassment and assault.”

Amazingly, she says that we ought to return to some of the old virtues—including “prudence, temperance, respect and even love.” Well, imagine that! So far, so good.

But Emba, who has started down the path of wisdom, is hesitant to go too far, saying, “It’s unlikely that we’ll return to a society in which sexual encounters outside of marriage are disallowed or even discouraged—that sex train has already left the fornication station, if it was ever properly there to begin with.”

Okay, but why not return? As Lewis also wrote, “We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road.”

So if we’re to rethink sex as Emba and others are beginning to advocate, it makes perfect sense to look to the One who gave us sex in the first place, God Himself, and see what He says about it—and it’s certainly not about satisfying our selfish desires.

Way back in the book of Genesis, we see the two main functions of sex identified by theologians across the spectrum of Christianity—the unitive and the procreative—and they are inseparably linked with marriage.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” That’s the unitive aspect of sex, bringing husband and wife together for mutual benefit.

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain”—that is the procreative aspect, which far too often in our culture has been completely divorced from the sex act—with disastrous results.

So come to and I’ll link you to Emba’s article. What a great discussion starter to engage our secular friends and acquaintances—but only under appropriate circumstances, of course.

Let the re-thinking begin.


Rethinking “Relations”: A Return to Virtue in the Wake of Scandal?

As Eric has pointed out, the consequences of the secular worldview on sexuality are now coming to light. As Christians, we can use this moment to encourage those in our spheres of influence to “rethink sex” in terms of human flourishing—and to point them to the One who gave us this gift in the first place.



Let’s rethink sex
  • Christine Emba | Washington Post | November 26, 2017
The Abolition of Man
  • C. S. Lewis

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  • Phoenix1977

    “But I’m glad that growing numbers are finally beginning to wake up to the ugly results of their secular worldview.”
    The #metoo movement is losing momentum already. The general public is losing interest and where in the beginning of the scandal people were quickly to crucify the culprits the voice of reason is taking over now, demanding fair trial before the sentencing in the court of public opinion. More than one media outlet has issued statements they will no longer publish these stories without either credible evidence and/or criminal charges filed.
    Also, several of the allegations have been called into question to begin with. Actors Ed Westwick and Johnny Depp were accused but had fans, collaegues, friends and family supporting them, exonerating them in the court of public opinion. Same can be said from Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, who simply chose to ignore the accusations completely. Especially in case of Johnny Depp, who has been at war with the ex-girlfriend making the accusations, it clearly shows the chance in momentum. Where Kevin Spacey was sacrificed almost immediately by Netflix and Ridley Scott Warner Brothers (owner of the rights to the Harry Potter franchise, including “Fantastic Beasts and Where to FInd Them”, in which Depp plays villain Gellert Grindelwald) and the Walt Disney Company (owner of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) sided almost immediately with Johnny Depp, stating they expected proof of the accusations made before taking action. In France there was a very short lived movement calling for the removal of Depp’s image from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland Paris, as well as his prominent place in the closing show at night Disney Illuminations but that lasted no longer than 2 weeks before they realized Disney was not dropping one of it’s A-stars.

    “Okay, but why not return?”
    That one is easy and should be clear to any conservative. Returning to the ways things were is conservatism. And in most countries in the world (especially in Western society) conservatism is an ugly word, associated with decline and decay.
    In the Netherlands and Belgium conservatism is often related with Brussels sprouts: a classic decent vegetable which is strong and sturdy, but also outdated and hardly likable while refusing to go extinct. Whenever a conservative (Christian) faction launches a plan to reintroduce traditional values it is commonly mentioned people can already smell the Brussels sprouts. And with that comment the plan is already DOA before it has even reached the political arena.

    So in a few weeks we will enter 2018 and the entire #metoo discussion will become soooo 2017 by then. The movement’s momentum came and went and was lost before people could truly make use of it.

  • Shawn

    In the late 1980’s a counselor recommended to me the book, Sex in the Forbidden Zone, by Peter Rutter, M.D. My eyes were opened. Only then I understood I was a victim. I was finally able to get angry enough to get myself OUT of an 8-year relationship. Back then women who spoke out did not fair well. The exposure cost me my career and friendships, but I regained my life, identity, self-respect and integrity.

    Over the next several years, I was challenged with anger and the desire for revenge, and with guilt for having those feelings as a believer and not doing enough to prevent the whole sordid chapter of my life in the first place. I found healing in Chris mentoring other women of faith who also had found themselves trapped in the vortex of powerful men.

    The lesson for me was hard and painful. In a very common way I sinned, but I was reminded that even in this I was forgiven and washed clean by my Savior… and, so could he be.

    • Stan Guthrie

      Thank you for sharing this, and may our Lord continue to bless, heal, and use you.