Lolo Jones – You’re a What?
A few days ago I was watching a clip on a morning news show – you know the sort of news and talk show/entertainment shows. The 2012 Olympics are coming soon and the news coverage will begin focusing on that event to draw us into watching them. Well, a young lady was interviewed. What struck me about the interview was not about how she is a world class sprinter – she is – but about her faith stance. Lori “Lolo” Jones confessed (somehow that is the sense I got that she was confessing to something odd in this world) that she is a 29 year old virgin! She is a beautiful young woman – model type (and that is a thought that needs to be examined some as well but maybe down the road a bit) – that is saving herself for marriage.
Now that is something we don’t see very often. This monk is working in a community where sexual expression is more the norm rather than something to be thinking about (I know – here we go again, an old guy pushing the Bible and purity again) but maybe just maybe if we go around in public and are able to say the name Jesus easily and claim the label Christian, then this may be something we need to be reflecting on some more.
A common response, sometimes rather impolitely (see this blog) is that sexual expression is just part of our growing relationship, and marriage has nothing to do with that. As well, often people – even some who profess to be Christians – urge sexual expression for the purpose of determining compatibility (see the responses to this blog posting). Both of those thoughts strike me as a little selfish if not narcissistic when you unpack them.
Sexual expression is a tricky thing – I’ve heard it said, that sex is like a fire. In the fireplace it provides warmth, calm, and such things. Jumping to the drapes it is a disaster. Maybe Lolo has it right. Looking for integrity and a real relationship are a little more important. Maybe, as Lolo said in the interview, living life as she has chosen it is the hardest thing she has ever done – that includes training and focus on being an Olympic hopeful and a recognized world class sprinter – which makes you think about what is really important in life.
Finding out if you all are compatible? . Maybe a little blunt, but my question has been what is your standard of compatibility? Will this “test” really tell you anything other than your partner has sufficient “skills” to make you happy? Or is this test something that will tell you what happens when life gets a little hard and you need someone to have your back. And if your concern is being made to feel happy, then I’m sorry, a relationship has not been established, rather, all you found is a play partner for a time.
Maybe we can read some stories. Have you read about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 and 2? We can talk about the background a little bit to understand that in the Israelite society of that time, barrenness (not having children) was a cause of great shame and distress. Indeed barrenness appears to have a recognized ground for divorce in the Israelite culture. We can hear and imagine the torment Hannah endured at the hands of Peninnah – the other wife; we read she was tormented until she wept. Yet Elkanah, her husband, remained devoted to Hannah and favored over his other wife who gave him many children (the question of polygamy is not germane to this point and is a topic for another day). Reading this story can lead us to question the strength of the relationship and compatibility. Will the devotion and care be there during the hard times of the marriage?
Then read about King David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11. Now of course many people would say stop because that was a case of lust. Yes it was, but it is a story as well as to the blindness that arises when sexual desires move up the chain of attention. Bringing the story forward, questions that I am thinking about include: wasn’t the motivation really about satisfying a desire, and as such wasn’t it clearly selfish, and didn’t it turn the entire sexual encounter into a commodity – a type of consumer good? Obviously David saw something he wanted, and he made a choice. But in making that choice he blinded himself to all other concerns. So if we ask these types of questions for our situation, can we still say like the other poster, we need this final test, when we are in a state of emotional, intellectual and spiritual blindness, to make our decision about our future compatibility?
My concern is not so much that we are in obedience or disobedience to the Word – as important as that is. Rather, the Scriptures talk about chastity and such things until marriage for the purpose of giving us the wisdom to walk forward with our eyes clear – well, as clear as possible in light of whom we are and where we are at for this moment. Paul talks about seeing dimly, and that isn’t only about grasping Scripture and such things. By talking about Hannah and Elkanah, and David and Bathsheba, maybe we can come to a place where we begin to grasp that our sexuality is a part of us, an important part, but that it rightly does not have claim to the top spot of the lenses of our minds and souls. We value Scripture not simply or solely because it tells us how to live, but the Word gives us a story that once joined begins to shape us for living truthfully in right relationship with God and with our neighbors. While, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:12, we will do it less than perfectly due to our inability to see clearly, we have the ability to get it right some of the times, and maybe with a little effort and being in a faith community, we can get it right more than we used to.