CEP: The First Disappointment

This afternoon, the third response arrived, this time from the pastor of one of the Lutheran churches.  He seems to have mistaken asexuality for being agender and/or celibate (???), despite the information I gave him — and his adamant pro-procreation attitude has me hoping that the other Lutheran churches will do something to redeem themselves.

Verdict: negative.

–S,

I wasn’t sure at first what asexual was but you defined it.  I can’t say I have heard much about this phenomenon.  I would say that it isn’t a common thing.

Well, he’s correct so far.

Finally the Bible does say that God created them, “male and female” he created them.  You couldn’t say that Adam was asexual…nor Eve.  It was upon their sexual attraction for each other that the world would be populated.  God told them, “Be fruitful and increase in number.”  That was to take place in marriage.  That too is an established order of God and his first gift to human beings.

I keep thinking “So what?” repeatedly throughout this paragraph — which doesn’t end here, by the way; I’m just interrupting to let you know that he rambles on like this for a while.

He gave marriage to us as his premiere gift to us in this life (I am characterizing it this way).   Marriage is the way God gives us for dealing with our maleness or femaleness without sinning…and in fact to his glory.

Okay, from this, you’d think that asexual people are off the hook, since they don’t need marriage in order to avoid temptation, right?  Well, apparently not.  Sit tight.

Sin wasn’t in the mix when God gave marriage to us.  It is through the marriages of his people and their being male and female in the marriage that the genealogy of Jesus is traced.  Mary and Joseph weren’t asexual either.

They also weren’t White, for that matter.  What’s your point?

It talks about that (sexual union) not being there…and then (we believe) being there because of brothers Jesus would have who would even show up later and try and give him advice about his ministry and also not believe in him…until later.

“Sexual union not being there” and then “being there”.  What an awkward way to say that.

Peter was married.  He had a wife.  We don’t know of any children.  The sixth commandment implies male and female and it talks about adultery and a chaste single state.  You can look up the passages that talk about this.  (Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 are the commandments.)

I have literally no idea what the Ten Commandments have to do with asexuality.

In the New Testament in Matthew Jesus tells about this in Matthew 5 when he speaks about adultery and divorce.  That has to be predicated by maleness and femaleness too.

While I would argue with his interpretation, this is where I get the impression that he thinks asexual = agender.  Dude, I gave you links.  There’s no excuse for this.

1 Corinthians 7 is perhaps the best place to look to find answers to a number of your questions.  There the Apostle speaks that it is good—to avoid sinning—that each man and woman marry so they aren’t consumed by desire.  It says there not to deprive themselves sexually except by mutual consent for a time of prayer and then to come back together again.  It doesn’t speak about this being the ongoing circumstance.

I don’t know how you can read the words “does not experience sexual attraction to any gender” (my exact words) and interpret that as “experiences sexual attraction and chooses not to act on it”.  Asexuality has nothing to do with people “depriving themselves”.

Verse 8 does say to the unmarried and the widows that they be like the Apostle Paul.  Paul began the chapter by saying, “It is good for a man not to marry.”  Paul speaks in verse 7 about his celibacy as being a special gift from God.  He makes it understood that not many have this special gift which enables them to spend their whole lives in devoted service to Jesus.  (I would think that this would be a necessary ingredient for those who are thinking about living as an asexual person.  Are they then going to devote themselves to full time service of God or is this just a lifestyle they choose to spend their time undisturbed on themselves?)

“Living as an asexual person”.  God.  Look at this mess.

Okay, look, I’m going to show y’all the passage he’s talking about here so that you can have the full context.  1 Corinthians 7 is a letter written by Paul (not Jesus, not one of the twelve), and in the NIV, it goes like this:

Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Now obviously there’s a lot of crap in there, so I’m not touting this as a model to live by, but the point is: Paul is explicitly saying that it’s good for unmarried people to remain unmarried, unless they’re super tempted to have sex.  That’s it.  That’s what he’s saying.  Keep that in mind as we return to the pastor’s email.

Honestly, I am unable to tell if he meant “this would be a necessary ingredient” to refer to the “gift” of celibacy (the special talent of easily not having sex, apparently) or the gift “which enables them to spend their whole lives in devoted service”, whatever that means.  If it’s the former… um, sir, that’s pretty much what asexuality is.  You know, that thing I was actually asking you about?  Agh, this whole thing is a wreck.

And, as much as can be inferred, I’m getting the sense that he thinks being asexual (as in, actually being asexual, not whatever he mistook it for) is somehow tied to being more pious/having more “free time” to devote to God, which… is not something we need to hear more of.

Anyway, proceeding on.

One of the things that disturbs me personally today is to see so many who do not wish to take upon themselves  the responsibilities their sexuality brings.  I’m talking about the sexual responsibility Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 7 to their marriage partner.

…Well that didn’t go where I expected it would.

And I am also talking about raising children.

What?  Really?

That becomes a selfless exercise for sure to those who fulfill the duties God demands for fathers and mothers.  Raising children is a great sacrifice of self.  It is expensive.  It is time consuming.  It is (often) career threatening or career exclusive.  To have children is not the only reason for our sexuality, but it is a big reason.  And it is a Godly reason.

Um.

Many nations in the world are in a negative birth rate situation.  That means that they are dying off.  It is true for every European nation today with perhaps the exception of Ireland.  Japan is in a negative birth rate.  To just maintain the nation every woman has to have (statistically) 2.(something) children.  She has to replace herself and her mate…husband.  That will just keep the nation at its current population.  The anglo part of the United States is in a negative birth rate.  That means that white people are going away.

Why do you say that like it’s a bad thing?

Remember, Joseph and Mary weren’t White.

People who study this say there is no hope for this trend to be reversed in the European countries.  This isn’t a Christian thing to say.  It’s a statistical certainty.  You aren’t asking me to explain this but it is at the heart of the question of asexuality.

No it isn’t.

Someone has to have children otherwise humans will forever go away.

I am sincerely unconcerned about the possibility of all of humanity dying off.

History tells us that when this becomes evident in a particular race or nation, that group is not long for the world.  They are dying off.  Low birth rate signifies an implosion of the race. Often the interest is in perverted sex or in no sex.

I’m assuming he means “perverted sex” to mean sex that isn’t PIV, so mark this down as one of the deliberately LGBT-unfriendly churches.  Also… he seems to be implying that queerness is more common among White people and the Japanese?  Dude, you need to stop.

In Japan these days there is a class of men known as hikikomori.  There are thousands and thousands of these men who stay single, stay at their parents homes, play video games, have no desire to have a family, are just about themselves.

*frowns even more and glances at Queenie*

So, I have given you more than you asked for perhaps.

In a sense, yes.  In another sense, you still haven’t told me much about what you think of asexuality itself, but I can guess.

Some of it is my outlook.  The Bible does speak about it.  It even speaks about it as a positive thing if it is done for the reason Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7.  I surely haven’t said everything there is to say…or maybe even everything that needs to be said.

No kidding.

Jesus bless and keep you.  Keep looking in the Word for the answers to questions you have.  It is the only absolute Truth there is.

[name redacted]

Surprisingly little of that was actually about asexuality.  He seems to be fine with it if asexuals (especially or only devout religious asexuals?) decide to remain celibate, but he’s got a lot of negative bias against allosexual people who choose the same path, which makes me wary.

Presumably, someone might argue that I shouldn’t count this as a negative response since he didn’t outright condemn asexuality — just “depriving yourself”.  However, when somebody looks straight at the definition of asexuality and still interprets it as celibate allosexuality, what that tells me is that this person’s worldview is arranged in such a way that they can’t even fathom, even for a second, that actual asexual people could be what I was talking about.  That’s a red flag for me. When someone is this biased against people not having sex/raising kids, I don’t trust them to believe anyone who comes out to them.  I don’t feel like the implied “oh, but it’s okay if you’re asexual, of course” disclaimer is enough.  Because what that turns into is “But are you sure you’re really asexual?” and “You’re just lying so that you have an excuse to be selfish.”

And regardless, I think that celibate people of all orientations have a right to be respected.

I am suspicious of how he associates celibacy with selfishness, and this rubs up much too close against the tendency of bigoted allos to say that asexual people are a “waste”.

I sure hope not all Lutherans are like this.

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15 responses to “CEP: The First Disappointment

  • luvtheheaven

    “That has to be predicated by maleness and femaleness too.” and your commentary: “…this is where I get the impression that he thinks asexual = agender. *Dude, I gave you links.* There’s no excuse for this.”

    Honestly you did warn us at the beginning, “He seems to have mistaken asexuality for being agender and/or celibate (???)” so I got that impression much earlier, when he said: “the Bible does say that God created them, “male and female” he created them. You couldn’t say that Adam was asexual…nor Eve.”

    Lol. I’m not even sure where else to begin with my reply. This was fascinating to read. I’m glad the people who feel this way actually take the time to reply rather than just ignoring you. But yeah. This is unfortunate. Oh well.

  • doubleinvert

    WOW, there was a lot of poorly thought out “answers” and a very strange interpretation of scripture in this pastor’s reply. Well, at least the score appears to be 2 to 1 in favor, so far.

    -Connie

  • embodiedinlanguage

    I…really don’t know what to make of this. Except maybe to laugh at the ridiculousness of some of those tangents. Funny what happens when people are so focused on their answers they don’t pay attention to the questions they’re responding to.

  • Shokubutsujin

    I can’t really understand how they managed to fit hikikomori in there. Their (a)sexuality really has nothing to do with the fact that they are or not hikikomori and it is possible that they may want to start a family someday (also, not all hikikomori are men).

  • Calum P Cameron

    “White people are going away!”

    Clattering H. Mulciber. If you don’t think too hard about the implications, this guy is comedy gold.

    I was wondering when someone would throw out the Adam and Eve, Go Forth And Multiply shtick. That was my mother’s favourite argument.

  • locoluna77

    Out of curiosity, was the church an ELCA member? I was raised a Lutheran and I know that the ELCA tends to be much more tolerant of LGBTetc issues than the other two big Lutheran organizations, LC-MS and WELS. I realize that acceptance of “mainstream” nonhetero orientations does not equal acceptance of asexuality, but I know it’s a start.

  • TheOneWhoNose

    “White people are dying out!” Is an extremely strange thing to say to someone over the Internet who you don’t know the skin color of….

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