Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's About Everything But Especially Sex

Peter Kreeft wrote an article on Education and Sex. He ends this way:
If you want to restore liberal education, restore sexual morality. And if you want to restore sexual morality, restore liberal education. The same virtues of honor, self-control, innocence, purity, respect, patience, courage, and honesty are cultivated in both places. They reinforce each other.
And so do their absences. Just as injustices provoke wars and wars provoke injustices, dishonesty with truth provokes dishonesty with sex and dishonesty with sex provokes dishonesty with truth. You can't be a totally honest thinker if you are living a lie. Your lived sexual lie will make everything in your life a little lie-like. There will be a vague shuffling, a hiding, an escapist politeness that will come to settle on everything you say or do like a fog. You will not dare to speak out clearly lest you offend someone. You will begin to sound more like a bishop than a saint. You will be nice instead of being holy. And so you will miss the meaning of liberal education and of sex.
 I can see his point but the similarities go deeper. It reminds me of the simplicity of God. That God's love is His mercy is His justice is His truth .... God is irreducible. We cannot subdivide Him. He is either in our life everywhere or He is not. You can't say you want His mercy and you don't want His truth because they are not separable.

It is a bit like Thomas Howard's book Chance or Dance. Life is either a matter of chance where nothing means anything or life is a dance with our creator where everything means everything. If we mess up some steps of the dance we mess up the dance.

So everything is related to God and therefore everything is related to everything else. We see how true that is when we profoundly change our thinking about God. I saw it big time when I became a Christian and again when I became a Catholic. It changes areas of your life you would have never predicted.The same can happen when you fall into mortal sin. You think it is only one area of life but every aspect of your relationship with God is impacted

But why sex? If everything is related to everything then why did Kreeft point out the relation of education to sex? The importance of education is the point I think he was making. Now one might suppose he compared it to sex so more people would read the article. People are interested in sex you know. But why are they interested in sex? Sure we have hormones but reading an article like this does not get us excited. There is something deeper to our interest in all things sexual.

The truth is all things are connected to God but sex is more connected with God than almost anything. It is a deep and profound connection - almost sacramental. Sacraments connect us with Christ's body. Sex is the way we move our bodies spiritually and either move with the rhythm of God's dance or we trip over our feet and fall on our butt. It is either very beautiful or very ugly.

So it is no accident that sexual imagery is very common and very effective. It is the place where "everything means everything"  makes the most sense and where "nothing means anything" makes the least sense to us. But it is also the area where we have the strongest impulses to act in a manner that is not a Right Response to Reality. So the central battle for many souls is around sex at least when secularism is the main alternative to Christianity.

So I don't think it is quite accurate to frame education and sex as connected in a balanced sort of way. Sex is the main event and education is very much an aftershock. They both flow from God and are either ordered or disordered based on where we are at with God. But the connection with sexual morality is way stronger and closer.

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