Manhood is responsibility...

Dr. Harry Schaumburg is right. Internet pornography is false intimacy. It's sex with a phantom who has no moles, wrinkles, or bad breath; a woman who makes no emotional demands and bears no children. But God's law limits sex to those men willing to bear responsibility. God says you must vow lifelong fidelity to a woman and you must propagate a godly seed. Sex without intimacy is sex that repudiates responsibility. But, guess what? Sex without responsibility isn't sexy.

I remember waking up in bed with my wife the morning after our wedding day and thinking, "This is the rest of my life!" I was happy. I loved Mary Lee and love her even more today. Still, there was some bit of terror that morning as I realized the irrevocable step I had taken. There was no return. From this day on I was responsible for this dear woman and all the children she would present to me. Somewhere Chesterton says the two most romantic things in the world are getting married and mailing a letter because you can't take either back. You see, permanence and responsibility are romantic. Commitment is romantic. Vows are romantic.

We have young men and women getting married all the time in our congregation, and often they ask...

the older men and women whether we think they should marry a particular woman or man? We tell them it's not our decision. God gave them that responsibility. They can ask our counsel but there's no way to escape the weight of the decision.

Sometimes in the middle of these discussions the man or woman will tell us that their intended doesn't light a fire in their breast. Sure, they like him well enough, but the romance is paltry. Our response is to quote Bonhoeffer saying love doesn't make the marriage but marriage makes the love.

Commitment. Responsibility. Bearing lifelong weight. Vows. Promises. Saying "no" to all other women (including your dear mother) so you can say an unqualified "Yes!" to one woman, your wife and the mother of your children.

Truth is, sex that rejects responsibility is a violation of God's Law, whether that rejection takes the form of homosexuality, pornography, abortion, fornication, or marital contraception.

God did not create sex for the narcissist. He gave it as a precious gift to men who know that bearing responsibility is the heart of their calling and who give themselves to responsibility with a holy joy.

Such men, and such men alone, are sexy.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

Really great post!

Thanks!

"Saying "no" to all other women (including your dear mother) so you can say an unqualified "Yes!" to one woman, your wife and the mother of your children."

From long memory, after disagreements about financial priorities/practices, the most common problem in troubled marriages to cross my desk involve husbands who do not say "no" to their mothers and wives who do not say "no" to their fathers.

Tim,
Pardon me if I am misreading you here, but how is "marital contraception"--and here I would understand you to include methods of contraception which are not abortifacients--on a moral par with "homosexuality, pornography, abortion, fornication" and, which was left out of your list, adultery? Perhaps I am mistaken in my understanding of the semantic breadth of porneia. Would you care to clarify?
Love,
Dave Queener
Knoxville, TN

Dear Dave,

You're right to point to adultery, also.

Concerning marriage beds that are by intention sterile, this is just one more method of the avoidance of responsibility that God designed and placed at the heart of sex. All marital sex that is faithful to His creative purpose is open to fruitfulness. It is open to the growth of responsibility.

There are times when the use of contraception is the faithful outworking of Christian responsibility, but such times are about as rare as a blue moon. A history of suicidal post-partum depression would be an example.

Otherwise, lovemaking between man and wife should be open to God's blessing. Historically, until about 1950 or so, all followers of Jesus Christ condemned the use of contraception.

I regret the years I spent rebelling against God's design in this matter.

Love,

The Anglicans led the way on contraception abandoning the Christian position in the 1930s. The Anglicans seem often to lead the way in such matters.

Is rejection of responsibility a pathology of homosexuality? If so, would assumption of responsibility be part or whole of the cure?

>>Is rejection of responsibility a pathology of homosexuality? If so, would assumption of responsibility be part or whole of the cure?

Yes, and absolutely. In fact, that was the theme I set out to write about with this post, but stopped short.

Concerning those seduced by same-sex intimacy, we focus too much on sexual desire and identity politics and not enough on the bearing of responsibility. Other than murder or suicide, male homosexual practice may be the most solipsistic act known to man. To refuse to embrace a woman in all her otherness, all her fertitlity and all the responsibility it entails, is the essence of homosexuality. Every male homosexual is a narcissist and the taking on of responsibility for others is the best antidote. (But beware: those others should not be fatherless girly-boys! Better a small group filled with ugly men.)

Sadly, many married heterosexual men are also narcissists.

Love,

Well, don't stop short.

what about lesbians? What about bisexuals?

Hey, what about people who practice vivisection on their own bodies?

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