“Myths are a way we try to explain the unknowns around us and the reason there are so many myths about sex & the body is because we do not talk about them” Elena Lee says. “Conversation is where growth starts and myths end,” Lee explains at the Women in Leadership meeting where individuals got together to debrief last Thursday’s NGAGE topic. NGAGE is an optional, monthly meeting that offers two Christian Formation credits for attending and that focuses on issues that matter, like this year’s theme: “Ideas in Conversation: Sex and the Body.”
On Thursday, Sep. 14, Dr. Branson Parler, a professor, pastor, and author, was the guest speaker and talked about his book, “Every Body’s Story: Six myths about Sex and the Gospel Truth about Marriage and Singleness.” Parler focused on explaining the six myths of sex and the body: three from culture and three from the church. This culture tells people that 1) “You do you,” 2) “Your body is just matter in motion” and 3) that “Romance” will “complete us,” Parker says. He goes on to explain how the church tells people that 1) “You need to behave yourself” (legalism), 2) “You are not your body” (evil bodies), and 3) the sexual prosperity gospel, meaning that there is a pressure to get married so that one can have “your best sex life now,” Parker implies. Dr. Parler left individuals with the encouragement to “bring this conversation into the church” and to “believe there is something deeper and richer out there.”
Conversation is happening and one conversation took place in the Ramaker basement as the Women in Leadership leaders led an open discussion on the matter. “I do not agree with any of it,” One individual shared and later commented on the “misogynist” nature of the Bible. Others came to the consensus that people need other people, a community, and friends. Individuals at this meeting discussed the question, “Is the verse from Genesis, ‘It is not good for man to be alone,’ referring to marriage or can it be applied to people in general”? Others commented on the significance of women being made from the center of men and what each one’s role is. People questioned whether an unmarried individual is incomplete, and what “disordered goods” mean. Others talked about the danger of “purity culture” and the story of a man attending a sermon where the preacher passed around a rose until it was “touched by everyone” and “beaten up” and asked the “repulsive” question, “Who would want this rose?”
and how this story reflects the myths in the church versus the Gospel.
Conversation is happening. Questions are being asked. Julie Elliot has more relevant NGAGE topics planned for Northwestern students, such as: Theological and Pastoral Perspectives on Same-Sex Relationships, a Student Q & A, and even a Marriage Panel. Next month’s NGAGE topic is about Bodies & Belonging to God. It is planned for October 3rd and students are encouraged to be in attendance, but, even more than that, NW students are encouraged to “eNGAGE” in conversation about topics, like sex, that are important and needed to happen.