I've been reading Karen Lebacqz and Ronald G. Barton's 1991 book Sex in the Parish. I ask you, who could resist such a title? Not to mention passages like this:
... sexuality is a gift from God intended to foster creative growth toward integration. At its best, sexuality fosters creativity, enables growth, and moves toward integration, wholeness and integrity in human life. At its best, it helps us to overcome our alienation from one another, it builds trust, it moves us toward an eagerness for the freeing growth of the other, and it supports work and vocation. When it exhibits these characteristics, then it can be said to participate in God and to bring God into human life. [p. 36]
Gorgeous. The authors seek to develop a theology of sexuality, not merely a compendium of acts or modes of sexual expression. The presenting premise is that sexuality is good, and it's part of who we are, and it's present everywhere, including our sanctuaries and fellowship halls. So, how do we deal with it and, frankly, how do we use it? "Use," not as in manipulation, but rather as in acting knowingly as our fullest sexual selves, something which generates energy and a sense of joy.
Of course, for the closeted pastor, this is a complex situation. To be my fully sexual self... well, we all know where that will/ may lead. To lots of discomfort for lots of people. But, I suppose Christ didn't give us the church for our comfort, but rather to challenge us to take the gospel everywhere imaginable (and some places unimaginable).
I am still pondering all this, still reading. Anyone out there read this book? Any thoughts on it?