iDigress

Musings of an antipodean contrarian

Archive for the category “sexuality”

On the demise of Exodus International

I heard overnight of the decision by Exodus International to wind up its operations and cease ministering to people wishing to be rid of same sex attraction (see, for example, here and here).  The spiritual and pastoral needs of the LGBTI community have never been greater.  People of same sex attraction are often misunderstood and at times unjustly treated by Christians, and they deserve better.  Those who take a hard line on a complex and controversial issue, especially one relating to human sexuality, without careful consideration of developments in science and psychology, as well as the clinical and pastoral implications for individuals and groups, can expect trouble sooner or later.

On the other hand, the demise of Exodus International should have no direct impact on the good work done by similar organisations here, such as Living Waters, and by countless pastors, ministers and priests who deal with these issues in the course of their professional duties.  The church needs such organisations, and such specialised ministry, in order to fully manifest the grace of Christ and to ensure the effective discipleship and mentoring of people who experience same sex attraction and desire sexual purity.

Exodus International President Alan Chambers claims he was part of a “system of ignorance.”  Such sentiments should not be transferred to others who seek to reach out in genuine Christian love and compassion to same sex attracted women and men while remaining fully convinced of the authoritative biblical teaching on sexual purity, marriage and family.  Further, news of the demise of Exodus International should not be used by Christians who support gay rights to shame or ridicule their more conservative brothers and sisters seeking to do gospel ministry with people battling sexual addictions, spiritual oppression and other issues relating to sexuality.

Big fat lies about sex

A new book with a provocative title caught my attention this week.  Big Porn Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry, edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray, reveals the ugly side of a powerful global industry that trades in violence, crime, degradation, and the wellbeing of millions of men, women and children.

At the official launch in Sydney on Thursday, Julie Gale, activist and founder of Kids Free 2B Kids, said Big Porn Inc was “a brilliant exposé on how the porn industry has sold us big fat lies about sex and sexuality.  No previous generation has had to navigate such a flood of porn-inspired imagery and concepts.  Essential reading for everyone, especially the deluded defenders who remain wilfully blind to the harmful impacts.”

We can blush, we can try to ignore it, but the relentless objectification of women, and the increasing sexualisation of our children, demands a courageous moral response from consumers and from government. 

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 23 October 2011.

Turning baby girls into boys in India

We’ve all heard how there’s an unusually high ratio of boys to girls in India and China – due largely to a preference for boys which leads many parents to abort girl babies, a national tragedy in both countries.

Now some Indian parents have gone a step further, and baby girls are being “converted” into boys, by the hundreds every year, through a surgical process known as masculinising genitoplasty. Doctors say strict procedures are followed to determine the sex of the newborn, and if it is a girl, male hormones are introduced, and male external organs are crafted from female tissue.

There are huge problems with this development. The surgery may have profound longterm psychological effects on the patient; the patient will be infertile and the surgery irreversible; there is no system to monitor the claims of unscrupulous surgeons; and newborn babies cannot give their consent to this life-changing operation.

The Indian government must adequately regulate the practice of gender reassignment, and the medical community must act in the interests of patients.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, Sunday 10 July 2011.

Christian homosexuals

By Rod Benson

Freelance writer Eve Tushnet is an amazing person.  The daughter of a liberal Harvard law professor and a former civil rights activist, Tushnet “came out” as a lesbian as a young teenager.

She went off to Yale University, where she attended a meeting of a conservative student group, intending to laugh and ridicule.  Instead, their thinking impressed her, and the degree to which they lived out what they believed, even when it required sacrifice, left a deep impact.

Many of those in the group were Christians, and within a year Tushnet was baptized and welcomed into the church.  Her sexuality has not changed, but she has embraced celibacy, and works to convince gay and lesbian people to take seriously the moral teaching of the church.

Life is far from easy for people like Eve Tushnet.  It’s my prayer that God, who is rich in mercy and grace, will richly bless her, and all who live with same-sex attraction, aware that the Bible does not condone homosexual practice. 

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 8 August 2010.

Image: http://www.seedsofshalom.com/2008_08_01_archive.html

David Campbell comes undone

By Rod Benson

The news that the NSW Roads and Transport Minister David Campbell was forced to resign from his ministerial role on Thursday over allegations that he used a taxpayer-funded car to visit a sex spa in the Premier’s electorate came as a shock to many.  Mr Campbell was not in breach of the rules in using his ministerial car for this purpose.  The question is: what was he doing at a gay sex club?

Civil libertarians will say that a person’s sexuality is a private matter, but this is not the sort of behaviour one expects from a married man with children.  It’s not the sort of thing one expects from politicians.  Or it shouldn’t be.

Far better to say no to temptation when it first arises than to live a lie and hope no one gets hurt.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the minister’s wife and family as they come to terms with the terrible news. 

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 23 May 2010.

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