June 10th, 2004

mepublicenemy

Jeus and Sex

Over at Diana Hsieh's comments section, I got involved in a little discussion of Jesus's pronouncement to the effect that if I look at a woman with lust in my heart, I have committed adultery.

Thank God that's not my wife's definition!

The topic turned to "what is lust," or rather, what did Jesus mean by the Greek word we translate as lust. Or, going further I suppose, what did he mean by the original Aramaic word he used, that got written down in Greek and translated into English.

The simple truth is that Jesus said only a few things that seem to touch on issues of sexual desire or behavior. They run to the severe and restricted side. But they are open to interpretation.

Nowadays some people think Jesus was happily married to Mary Magdalene. Some people think Jesus was gay. These are still minority opinions, of course.

Saint Paul, who wrote all those epistles, also seems a bit negative on sexual desire. "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."

But my favorite early Christian on this topic is Saint Augustine, who reports praying: "Oh Lord, give me chastity and continence, but not yet!"

See the original discussion at:
http://dianahsieh.com/cgi-bin/blog/comments/all.pl

Rhyme of the day:

The metaphor of fire
For desire
Suggests that passion is hell.
But sometimes it works out swell!