CEP: Oh, here we go…

I was wondering when this was going to happen.

Verdict: mixed.

This response comes from a pastor whose church I had initially counted as Baptist, but while it does seem affiliated with Baptist tradition on some level (and acknowledges as much), upon closer inspection, their website actually refers to them as “ecumenical” (non-denominational).

This is also the first of the responses that uses the words “psychological” and “underlying trauma”, so make of that what you will.

Hi, thanks for sending your questions via our website. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond, I’ve been out of the office at conferences for a while now.

Your questions are regarding our church’s stance on the issue of asexuality, so I have to begin by mentioning that we’re a free church congregation, which means I have no authority to speak to the beliefs of individual members. However, I do believe I can speak to the general ethos of the church and I can certainly speak to my views personally as pastor.

Fair enough.

First, I’m no expert on human sexuality. I don’t know the psychology involved nor do I have extensive frame of reference for such questions. I have, though, been a part of several ongoing conversations regarding homosexuality in the church and as such have a accrued a novice level of understanding regarding sexuality in general.

As the wikipedia article defines asexuality as “non-behavioral” I must admit I don’t have, not should I have a perspective. If a person identifies as asexual I have no reason or purpose for doubting them or judging them. That’s their God-given identity.

Indeed.  This looks positive so far.

As such, I find no reason to stand against their living into their own sexuality, in this case, absence thereof. I would however, encourage folks to dig deeper into their sexuality as I think even asexuality would be a form of sexuality.

…Yes?  As in, it’s a sexual orientation, yes.  I’m not sure what motivated him to say this — could be that he was responding to the Wikipedia article (which admittedly is rife with poor and misleading sentence structure that always makes me do a double take), with its statements like “It may be considered the lack of a sexual orientation, or one of the four variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.”  Technically accurate, but I would have changed that sentence around a lot if it were up to me.

Deeper self-understanding is always healthy.

Um… yes, it is.  For many aces, identifying as asexual is itself a form of reaching deeper self-understanding.

I’m unfamiliar with celibate marriage, but again I would have no judgement.

I certainly do not believe that everyone is called to raise children. Nor do I believe in general that “all people are called to…” fill in the blank with virtually anything. It’s spurious to me to bottom line calling in such a way.

So far, so good.  And then:

It should be noted that none of what I’ve said takes the psychological into account. I would hope people who may not be asexual by nature, but merely feel that way because of some underlying trauma or reservation would be open to working through those issues toward a fuller life.

Death to that.  Death to the rejection of asexual survivors of trauma.  Death to this idea that asexuality should only be accepted if there’s no way of it being “worked through,” and the pervasive implication that having sex is part of a “fuller life”.

If you don’t accept the asexuality of survivors who identify as asexual, you are useless to us.  If you don’t accept the right of survivors to identify as asexual even if they didn’t identify as asexual prior to their trauma, you are useless to us.  If you don’t accept the right of survivors to self-determine how to identify, you are useless to us.  If you don’t accept the right of all people, including people who don’t identify as asexual, to refuse sex, you are useless to us.  If you only accept the asexuality of people who are “asexual by nature” but withhold the same acceptance from people who you suspect “merely” have “some underlying trauma” or “reservation” (???), you are useless to us.

Sex-repulsed survivors of trauma choosing to “work through those issues” is not something you should “hope for” as if it’s inherently better and the way things should be.

Death to the idea that survivors’ first priority should be achieving the ideal of a Normal Sex LifeTM.

The bottom line, I hope people all get to live into their full existence. Part of existence is sexuality. If that means asexual, then live that in the fullest sense possible.

What the heck are you on about?

I find Dave Jensen’s work on sexuality helpful if you’re looking for further reading.

I’m also available for further conversation if you’re interested.

[name & info redacted]

I looked up this Dave Jensen guy and found out he wrote a book called God, Desire, and a Theology of Human Sexuality.

I’m not optimistic.

The introduction of the book begins with the sentence “Sex is an expression of Christian faith.”

Maybe it can be, for some people, in the same way that wearing cross jewelry is an expression of Christian faith, but I remain unoptimistic.

From what I could find, the book appears to be an extremely liberal take on Christian sexual ethics, even going as far as questioning the gender binary, but I’m sorry.

I can’t put my trust in people like this.

Advertisements

3 responses to “CEP: Oh, here we go…

  • Hezekiah the (meta)pianycist

    Death to the rejection of asexual survivors of trauma. Death to this idea that asexuality should only be accepted if there’s no way of it being “worked through,” and the pervasive implication that having sex is part of a “fuller life”.If you don’t accept the asexuality of survivors who identify as asexual, you are useless to us. If you don’t accept the right of survivors to identify as asexual even if they didn’t identify as asexual prior to their trauma, you are useless to us. If you don’t accept the right of survivors to self-determine how to identify, you are useless to us. If you don’t accept the right of all people, including people who don’t identify as asexual, to refuse sex, you are useless to us. If you only accept the asexuality of people who are “asexual by nature” but withhold the same acceptance from people who you suspect “merely” have “some underlying trauma” or “reservation” (???), you are useless to us.ABSOLUTELY. I don’t need any religious leaders (or anyone else) in my life to be speculating about whether or not my asexuality is “true” or not.

  • Response to An Objection | The Ace Theist

    […] excerpt comes from this post of the church email project, at the point where I was reacting to the section of the pastor’s […]

WP account not required to comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: