Community Forum: Sexuality and Relationships, Keeping it RealI got there a little before 7:30 and the 6pm worship service was still wrapping up, so I hung out in the foyer waiting for them to finish. Chris came and got me, though.
When: Thu, February 12, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Where: St. Paul's Cathedral, 138 Tremont St, Boston, MA (map)
Description: Using a format that includes panel discussions and small groups, we'll create space for stories, questions and an honest exploration of how we integrate the gift of our sexuality with the gift of our faith.
Jeff was there, so I hung out with him (yeah, I am not great at just going up to random people I don't know and striking up conversation) and Marci and Alicia. Then we transitioned downstairs for soup.
I think it was around 8pm that the speakers started. Penny (mtf straight woman) is kind of awesome, and I would have loved to get to chat with her.
The main theme of the speakers was basically, "yeah, sex is kind of a big deal," and "honesty and communication in relationships is important."
We did small group discussions at our tables, and there was a handout in case you wanted more starting points for discussion.
I ended up talking about obligation to partnership vs. obligation to self 'cause gee, what has been on my mind recently?
Sex, Relationships, and Keeping It Real
Week 2: Models and Hopes
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his intention toward me was love.
--Song of Songs 2:4
Most people know that [sexual intimacy] is quite simply the place where they begin to be taught whatever maturity they have.
--Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, "The Body's Grace"
Questions for discussion:
- Do you have particular models in the areas of sexuality and relationships? These may be clear or not---which are they for you? Are there particular examples you try to live your life by, or definitely try not to live by?
- What are your hopes surrounding sexuality and relationships? What are your fears?
- Has someone you know made a choice around sexuality and relationships that you particularly admire? Is there a time in your life when you made a decision around sexuality and relationships about which you feel strongly?
Near the end, I did raise the issue of how do we balance secular sexual ethics with our faith -- said I'm wicked libertarian, so part of me is very "so long as all parties are meaningfully consenting, do whatever you want" but I also feel like as Christians we are called to a higher standard.
Jeff brought up the fact that David and Solomon, for example, had many wives and concubines, and also said that Jesus talks about lust and adultery but that there isn't anything about sex before/outside of marriage being inherently bad.
I had lunch with Chris (one of the organizers) the next day, and he said that the panel speakers spoke less about their faith than the ones the previous session did. I said that I'd been hoping for/expecting more of a focus on sexual ethics in a faith context -- 'cause I can talk about relationships (and even sexual ethics) in a secular context. He said that he thought it was important to even just get people comfortable talking about sex at church, which I agree with.