Category: Sexuality


Unprotected Texts by Jennifer Wright Knust

Unprotected TextsUnprotected Texts by Jennifer Wright Knust seeks to make a biblical analysis of various topics related to sex. In general, it’s academically rigorous but very accessible and I would recommend it, although some sections definitely dragged on more for me than others. The topics themselves were definitely interesting. Some I had learned more about in my own studies, particularly the current cultural controversies. Others tackled questions I hadn’t even thought to ask. The chapters:

  1. The Bible and the Joy of Sex, texts like Song of Songs that view sex as a good thing
  2. Biblical Marriage, the complicated and varying definitions of marriage in the Bible
  3. The Evil Impulse, particularly Jesus and Paul’s call to celibacy
  4. Sexual Politics, the inconsistent rules against certain types of sex
  5. Strange Flesh, the one consistent sex rule: no sex with angels
  6. Bodily Parts, circumcision and genital emissions

Some people are probably squirming just reading that list since a small portion of the Western church (and culture in general) are actually willing to talk about sex. That makes this book extra important if only for its willingness to be honest and comprehensive about what the Bible actually says: a fair bit, but probably not what you think or as clearly as you think.

Holy Shift Tour Logo

Holy Shifts and Sexual Ethics

Today’s daily lectionary reading was Deuteronomy 22:13-30. I won’t copy the whole text here, but these are the key points:

  1. The onus is on a woman to prove her virginity. This is already problematic that her life is dependent on her virginity, but it becomes even more problematic when you consider that the test isn’t reliable; women don’t always bleed the first time she has sex. If she didn’t bleed on her wedding night, she is killed.
  2. If it turns out she has been falsely accused, the man is whipped and pays a fine to the bride’s father. In other words, slandering your wife in a way that risks putting her to death carries less of a punishment than maybe having had sex before the wedding night.
  3. If a man has sex with an engaged or married woman in the town and she is not screaming for help, they are both put to death. The assumption here is that if she isn’t willing, she would scream for help. What if she simply goes into shock and doesn’t know what to do? What if he’s strong enough to keep her mouth covered? Who determines whether she screamed loud enough to prove she didn’t want it?
Gender - Male and Female Gummy

Niqabs in Canada

Muslim woman in niqabRecently here in Canada, the Court struck down a move by our Conservative government that would require women to have their faces uncovered during citizenship ceremonies. Our Prime Minister referred to niqabs as un-Canadian. The Court disagreed and said she had the right to wear what she wanted under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, given there was no security risk or other argument against it. Now the government plans to appeal and it has become a bit of an election issue.

Islam and Niqabs

It is true that Islam as a whole does not require niqabs. I don’t think the Qu’ran requires any particular way of dress for women. It just says that both men and women should be modest. I haven’t read the Qu’ran, so I could be wrong on this, but I have seen Muslims saying the same thing. It is much more of a cultural thing for certain nations. Some of these were actually very open with how men and women dressed within the last generation or two. They were often very Westernized. Several wars later, understandably they wanted to distance themselves from Western culture. One way to do that was with clothing requirements for women.

Give Me Sex, Jesus – Now Available

I first heard about the documentary Give Me Sex, Jesus a while ago when pretty early in production. It has now been released to the public for free on Vimeo, embedded below. I’ve found it to be a bit of a scattered presentation with one story or idea not really flowing into the next one, but it still has a lot of great stories and ideas to wrestle with nonetheless.

Favourite line is a sentiment I’ve heard elsewhere, when a young woman expressed what she learned about sex at church (she’s my favourite interview):

Sex is terrible and bad and sinful, so save it for somebody you really care about!


Coming Soon: Interview on Men’s Spirituality

I’m happy to let my readers here know that I will be interviewing my pastor, Scott Brubaker-Zehr, about his doctoral thesis on men’s spirituality on behalf of MennoNerds. It should be a great opportunity to learn some more about how men in our churches (specifically, Mennonites in the Kitchener-Waterloo region) describe their experiences with God and how we can do better.

You can sign up on either Facebook or Google+ for updates and a reminder:



You can watch on:


The MennoNerds YouTube page (it should automatically publish there, but I may be wrong on this one)

Embedded in a post on the MennoNerds website


Root Questions of Same-Sex Marriage Debates

Same-sex marriage is often categorized as THE ISSUE for our generation of the Church (for more “liberal” churches, that was last generation). As much as we can spend hours answering 40 Questions lobbed at the other side mostly as attacks rather than real dialogue, I’m pretty convinced that this question is often the manifestation of a pile of other big theological questions. These kinds of questions are central for understanding the kind of shifts taking place in the North American Church, much more than simply asking “what do you think of same-sex relationships?” can demonstrate.

What Is God Like?

It’s amazing how many questions boil down to asking what God is like. Particularly in the Western tradition, we really like a legalistic God. We like a God who follows the rules and enforces the rules, up to and including torturing people who break the most important of those rules (which in North America is almost always sex while things like genocide and slavery are less of an issue).

Gender - Male and Female Gummy

Bare With Us

This past weekend in Waterloo (sister city of Kitchener where I live), a few hundred people gathered in a demonstration under the name Bare With Us. It was another story in a summer that has had a few high-profile stories about women being topless in public. This rally was prompted by three sisters being stopped by a police officer and told to cover up when they biked topless last weekend (an extremely hot weekend). When one of the sisters said it was legal for them to be topless and then pulled out her camera to record it, the officer claimed that he was just checking they had sufficient lights. The police department is investigating, but the sister’s greater concern was making sure other women were aware of their rights, so they organized this rally.

There was a similar story in the same week in British Columbia. She covered up even though she thought the officer was wrong, then looked it up later to find out she was right. And there was a story this week about a Walmart employee telling a woman not to breastfeed while she was waiting in line. And there was one in Guelph earlier this summer where a 6-year-old was told she had to cover up after she followed her brothers in taking off her shirt and getting in the splashpad on a hot day.

Rainbow Flag

40 Questions for Affirming Christians Part 5

32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant,it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 CEB)

And even more to the point, love looks like Jesus on the cross:

Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 10 This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. (1 John 4:7-10)

Rainbow Flag

40 Questions for Affirming Christians Part 4

21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?

If we’re talking about legal rights, I’m not sure there’s anything that would I say prevents two adults with fully informed consent getting married. The legal system probably can’t determine that other than some more clear-cut scenarios like father-daughter which can never really be fully informed consent (see previous answer about this).

Churches have always and should continue to exercise their discretion on whether they perform a wedding as a representative of God’s blessing on the union. If I was a pastor, I would do as many do, wanting to meet with the couple in pre-marital counselling first. If I saw signs of coercion or abuse or other signs that would make it less likely to work, I would talk to them about it and quite possibly not perform the marriage. But I’m not a pastor anyway.