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Sex in the Resurrection

Recently, on a Reformed email list, some pastors were trying to get around Jesus’s words that in the Resurrection, we will be like the angels, neither marrying nor being given in marriage. Some were questioning whether this was a “good” thing. Others wondered if His words meant that we will be like the angels in their lack of genitalia. Never one to really talk on email lists, I held my thoughts, and I thought I’d just log them here. The following relies heavily on Hank Hanegraff’s book “Resurrection.”

First off, we have to realize that sex isn’t something we do. We like to think of sex as an action. We like to think sex is the intermingling of genitals. We are like lost puzzle pieces until we get married and two bodies fit together. Finally! We are complete!

I think this way of thinking does a real disservice to single people. They just roam around the world as that puzzle piece that just doesn’t fit with another piece, family, or church. This really has to stop.

As much as I love marriage, it’s helped me appreciate singleness. As much as I love sex, it’s helped me realize I can live without it. Before I was married, I thought sex was this thing I had to do. Now I realize that I was believing a lie.

Sex isn’t something you do. It’s who you are. Peter Kreeft says it better than I can.

Suppose you saw a book with the title “The Sexual Life of a Nun.” You would probably assume it was a scurrilous, gossipy sort of story about tunnels connecting convents and monasteries, clandestine rendezvous behind the high altar, and masking a pregnancy as a tumor. but it is a perfectly proper title: all nuns have a sexual life. They are women, not men…In everything she does her essence plays a part, and her sex is as much a part of her essence as her age, her race, and her sense of humor.

As Hanegraff says, commenting on this passage, “A nun has sex because she is female, not because she had a fling.” We trivialize sex when we think of it as something we do instead of who we are.

Will there be sex in the Resurrection? Without a doubt, yes. However, it will be beyond our mere physical senses. It will be metaphysical. As wonderful as psychosomatic union is, it will be greater thing that we have in the Resurrection. It is but a pale shadow of what we have ahead. C.S. Lewis explains it wonderfully,

I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer “No,” he might regard the absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain you wouldexplain the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing that excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it.

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Vacation so far

A week from this past Friday, we left Monroe for Tulsa, Oklahoma. After staying the night with my family, we went into Owasso to see my grandparents. That’s always hard for me. They’re old, and their bodies are declining. Their windows are dim. It sobers me. It reminds me of Jacques’ speech in As You Like It. The slippered pantaloon…the second childishness…mere oblivion. It’s not something I have to be reminded of. It’s something I think about every day as it is, but it’s hard to see it played out in front of my eyes. It’s the weakest part of my faith; the part where I am attacked hardest. When it comes to the subject, I feel much like the Luther character Joseph Fiennes plays, except for the fact that I don’t think Satan is attacking me; it’s probably much more my own foolishness and doubt than an otherwordly attack (my confirmed name is Thomas, you know). I would much rather struggle with lust, or have an intense battle with pride. No, my biggest struggle with the faith is…well, faith. Lord, I believe; heal my unbelief.

I think I got sidetracked. Saturday afternoon, we got on a plane and headed up to Spokane. We were a bit exhausted, so we talked for a bit and konked out. On Sunday, we headed over to Salem for an always-rejuvenating worship service. I can’t describe what a blessing Salem has been in our lives. There’s really been nowhere else like it.

After church, we went to mommy and daddy’s, where we celebrated the one year anniversary of our marriage. Weird, huh? A year. A kid on the way. Odd. Very odd. Ryan and Taneisha (with Victoria and Isabella), Forrest and Rebekah (with Timothy and David), and Toby and Jenny (with River) joined us for dinner and dessert. After a couple grueling matches of Taboo (where my team rose victorious—I must admit, I am a “gaming” expert…or at least I am fierce and don’t give up…you may not come out alive), we headed to Diamond Lake to stay at the Inn at the Lake (courtesy of the Tuckers and Eyres). It was a bit rainy, so we opted out of paddling on the lake and settled for going to bed early and catching up on sleep. It was cozy.

I can’t say I remember Monday, but on Tuesday, Lynne and Youssef came over. This was the first time I had met Youssef, and he was really cool. It was here that I learned the glories of Catan…The Settlers of Catan. I lost twice. It bugged me. So as I went to bed, I began strategizing. And I strategized all night. In the morning, I challenged the previous night’s two winners. The battle was fierce. I built the longest road, running out of the road that the game included. I built my megalopolis, and won the game handily. I could finally be at ease (okay, I take games way too seriously…they’re not about fun; they’re about victory). That night, we had an early celebration for Forrest birthday. Ryan played drums on a pot. I tried. Ryan and Rachel said I wasn’t trying. It hurt my feelings.

Thursday was rather forgettable. The only thing I remember is I met a guy from Moscow that’s dating Tracy Nelson. Sadly, I forgot his name, but not before I got a recommendation on some great Pho in Spokane.

Friday we drove to Seattle. We had supper at Duke’s Chowderhouse. Fish that melts in your mouth. Cucumber cilantro salad. Cucumber mojito. Oh, I miss it already. On Saturday, we got up and went to the Pike Place Market. After that, we went to…you guessed it: Duke’s Chowderhouse. With the exception of some saltwater taffy, I think all the money we spent in Seattle was there. After lunch, we went to the Seattle Space Needle. After we got there, we realized that we didn’t want to pay the money to go up, so we wandered over to the sound of drums. I joined in on an African ritual dance that I learned long ago. I coveted their drums, and walked away with a renewed certainty that I must get my own (a certainty I came to about a year ago when I watched the evil priest from County Clare play in the Magdalene Sisters—that’s not a recommendation).

We headed up to Vancouver, BC, but mommy and daddy spent the another night in Seattle. Right after we left, mommy’s billfold with her ID was stolen in Seattle…along with their camcorder and Matthew’s mp3 player (or as Esther called it, his “3D player”).

We spent the night at Matt and Evie’s and, in the morning, we traveled to St. Simon’s ACiC (The ACiC is the Canadian branch of the AMiA. We go to Holy Trinity AMiA in Jackson, MS, on Sunday nights.). On the way, our car stopped moving. It ended up that we were out of transmission fluid, so Forrest walked a billion miles to a gas station and got some more. We ended up being about 15 minutes late (I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been later for a Sunday morning service). We missed the beginning of the liturgy and came in at some sort of extended song time (the ACiC seems much less liturgical than the AMiA). The pastor preached a sermon with a couple of insightful comments about raising hands in worship. We went back to Matt and Evie’s, and pretty soon it was time for evening worship. We went to Immanuel Westside ACiC on the UBC campus, just west of a nude beach (appropriately named “Wreck Beach”). Immanuel Westside was slightly more liturgical. I really liked the pastor there, Rev. Paul Carter.

After worship, I had a good discussion with Rev. Ken Bell, who was recently ordained and about to start pastoring St. Timothy’s. As a recent Regent College (a seminary I’ve been interested in attending for several years now) graduate, he gave me some insights on the program there.

Monday came and went, and all I really remember is initiating Forrest into the world of Kill Bill. Wait, I remember something else now. Ikea. Hours and hours at Ikea. We ended up buying some spice racks, and I saw some great ideas concerning cubes. I really loved this wardrobe there.

On Tuesday, Forrest and I went over to Regent College, and as Forrest said, it’s really what made the trip to Vancouver worth it. I spent too much money at the Regent bookstore (shh, don’t tell Rachel…I used Canadian money). The prices were great because of the exchange rate. We ended up talking about the New Perspectives on Paul with Bob Derrenbacker for about 45 minutes. He was shocked to hear Rachel was excommunicated for baptismal regeneration and later accused of neo-legalism (By the way, mommy and daddy went to Rob Rayburn’s church on Sunday—they thoroughly enjoyed, but they found out that instead of issuing a public apology, the session has appealed the presbytery’s decision to overturn Rachel’s excommunication…so it looks like it’s going to the general assembly level—SJC, whatever).

Dr. Derrenbacker’s office happened to be across the hall from JI Packer’s. JI Packer is an interesting character. On his office window, he has a postcard for lipstick with a forwarding address that says, “JI Packard, Region College.”

Also while at Regent, I picked up a copy of Mosaic, and who was on the front? Gideon Strauss. So that was cool.

Anyway, we went home after that, and yesterday, we watched Revenge of the Sith. Overall, it explained a lot. It filled in a lot of gaps for we nonreaders of the series. I was struck with the combination of Buddhism (something that becomes clearer in this episode) and the probably unintentional (maybe intentional, but I say probably unintentional because Star Wars has been around longer than W) comparison of the Republic to the American Empire. As Princess Amidala says, “So this is how liberty dies.”

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Eyes caked over

So I got to bed really late last night, and I’m exhausted. Two more hours here at school, and then we have a seven hour drive to Tulsa. Then tomorrow, we’ll go to Spokane. I can’t wait.

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Desperately Needs Content

I’ve always wondered why some things end up in the blog, and others don’t. Like the night before Palm Sunday, we had a sleepover at Brad and Adrienne’s. Totally blogworthy. Or last month, we had Mark Horne over, and we at wine and ice cream. There were plenty of blogworthy moments in our conversation. And yet, I didn’t blog about those times. But here I am blogging about not blogging about them.

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Congratulations are in order

For those of you that know these people:

Jeph and Heidi Guinan (was Heidi Burton) had a baby boy last night. His name is Grant Nicholas Guinan.

Tara Branson (Heidi’s sister) had a baby girl last Tuesday: Dresden Faith Branson. Personally, I love that name.

So, if you do know them, send them your congratulations!

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