One mission we have at CBMW is to help Christians think through secular and ecclesial trends on gender and sexuality. Through this work, we pore over a lot of news reports and articles as we attempt to wade through the ceaseless flow of information on the web. In our weekly Gender and Sexuality News Roundups, we aim to distill some of the more pertinent information for you.
The articles below are from a wide variety of sectors and publications, organized generally into three categories. They are presented in aggregate, not necessarily endorsed.
If you see an article that you think should be featured in future CBMW News Roundups, you can send it to [email protected] with the subject “News Roundup.”
Polyamory “Holy” “Beautiful,” says Progressive Christian Minister, Juicy Ecumenism (Chelsen Vicari)
“Here is what Robertson had to say: ‘For those who are in an open or polyamorous relationship here this morning who might be squirming because this is an uncomfortable question to hear in church sometimes. I want you to hear me loud and clear as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your relationships are holy. They are beautiful and they are welcomed and celebrated in this space.'”
A Statement on I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Joshharris.com (Josh Harris)
“In an effort to set a high standard, the book emphasized practices (not dating, not kissing before marriage) and concepts (giving your heart away) that are not in the Bible. In trying to warn people of the potential pitfalls of dating, it instilled fear for some—fear of making mistakes or having their heart broken. The book also gave some the impression that a certain methodology of relationships would deliver a happy ever-after ending—a great marriage, a great sex life—even though this is not promised by scripture. To those who read my book and were misdirected or unhelpfully influenced by it, I am sincerely sorry. I never intended to hurt you. I know this apology doesn’t change anything for you and it’s coming too late, but I want you to hear that I regret any way that my ideas restricted you, hurt you, or gave you a less-than-biblical view of yourself, your sexuality, your relationships, and God.”
The Justice Department’s Investigation of Clergy Sexual Abuse Will Test the Catholic Hierarchy, The Atlantic (Emma Green)
“The latest round of the clergy sexual-abuse crisis is ultimately a test of how far the bishops are willing to go to reclaim their moral authority in the face of massive outrage over these crimes. Clergy misconduct has long been known, and reforms have ostensibly been in place for many years. But the bishops’ commitment to transparency—and their openness to being investigated by potentially aggressive prosecutors—is being pushed in a new way. Along with this federal investigation, a number of state prosecutors are opening new inquiries into Church abuses, which will potentially produce more reports like the one in Pennsylvania. It is possible that these inquiries will uncover new facts about abuse. But they will also reveal whether the bishops are truly ready to cede their full power to secular authorities who are eager to see justice served.”
Synod groups on sexuality: Church welcomes all, calls all to conversion, National Catholic Reporter (Cindy Wooden)
“Most of the 14 working groups called for further local and national dialogue with young people on what they need from the Catholic Church and what they can offer the church. Most also called for a greater involvement of women in the life of the church, including in the training of priests, and many acknowledged how the sexual abuse scandal undermines the church’s credibility. None of the synod groups in any language used the term ‘LGBT,’ but many of them did refer to a need to help young people who struggle with church teaching on sexuality or, more explicitly, those who experience ‘same-sex attraction.'”
‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration, The New York Times (Erica L. Green, Katie Benner, and Robert Pear)
“Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times. The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.”
The Trump Administration Isn’t ‘Dehumanizing’ Transgender Americans, National Review (David French)
“In reality, the claim that you ‘dehumanize’ a person if you hold contrary beliefs about sex and gender is a common, inflammatory rhetorical tactic that creates a false choice. Either you recognize a transgender person on their own terms, or you “deny their humanity.” You ‘deny their existence.’ Wrong. I believe that each and every single human being is created in the image of God. We are of equal worth and value in His eyes. I also recognize that some percentage of those human beings have gender dysphoria, but that condition does not transform a man into a woman or a woman into a man. To hold to the belief that men cannot get pregnant and women do not have penises is not to deny any person’s humanity. It’s to reject an argument about identity.”
Does Sexual History Affect Marital Happiness?, Institue for Family Studies (Nicholas Wolfinger)
“This figure makes clear that the difference between having one and more than one, lifetime sex partner is most consequential in predicting marital quality. For men, there aren’t statistically significant differences in marital quality between men who have two partners and more than two… Contrary to conventional wisdom, when it comes to sex, less experience is better, at least for the marriage”
Fewer Sex Partners Means a Happier Marriage, The Atlantic (Olga Khazan)
“Americans who have only ever slept with their spouses are most likely to report being in a ‘very happy’ marriage. Meanwhile, the lowest odds of marital happiness—about 13 percentage points lower than the one-partner women—belong to women who have had six to 10 sexual partners in their lives. For men, there’s still a dip in marital satisfaction after one partner, but it’s never as low as it gets for women, as Wolfinger’s graph shows.”
9 maps show how different LGBTQ rights are around the world, Business Insider (Shayanne Gal and Ashley Collman)
“Religion is an un-ignorable factor in the maps. While the majority of the world has legalized homosexuality, the countries where it is still outlawed are concentrated in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa — areas with majority-Muslim nations.
Forty percent of U.S. births happen outside marriage, signaling cultural shift, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Riley Griffin Bloomberg)
“Forty percent of all births in the U.S. now occur outside of wedlock, up from 10 percent in 1970, according to an annual report released on Wednesday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the largest international provider of sexual and reproductive health services. That number is even higher in the European Union, where 60 percent of births occur outside of marriage.”
Women in Combat? Secretary Mattis Steps Into a Minefield, American Conservative (Edward D. Chang)
“During a September visit to the military school, Mattis offered his thoughts on women serving in combat infantry jobs, later interpreted by the Associated Press as a “dim view” of their prospects. The comments were further panned by those advocating the integration of women into combat, who characterized Mattis as “poisoning the well” and “sabotaging” efforts to integrate women. Other reactions, some from veterans, were even less flattering.”
Transgender bathroom policy leads to sexual assault of 5-year old girl, Dennyburk.com (Denny Burk)
“City Schools of Decatur parent Pascha Thomas claims her daughter, known by the initials N.T. in public documents, was sexually assaulted last year by a male classmate in an Oakhurst Elementary School girls’ restroom… At a meeting in December, the school informed Thomas the boy identified as ‘gender fluid’ and was allowed to use the girls’ restroom per a districtwide policy opening restrooms and locker rooms to students based on their gender identity.”
Good Lovemaking Is About God, Desiring God (Garrett Kell)
“God ordains lovemaking for couples when we are richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, when life is better or worse — until death do us part — because it reflects his enduring love for us. We discover a depth of pleasure when we laugh and cry and pray and trust and weep and mourn and hope together. Lovemaking is more than just erotic pleasure; it is a soul-knitting intimacy that deepens with time. God designed this soul-level intimacy to reflect the deep, intimate, committed, faithful, servant-hearted commitment between Jesus and his bride, the church.”
My Girlfriend Is Pregnant — What Do I Do Next? Desiring God (John Piper)
“First, you, William, are a man. That means that you bear a peculiar and primary responsibility for leadership in this relationship. That means that your sexual sin is aggravated by your failure to steward this leadership. I’m not at all denying that your girlfriend bears responsibility and complicity in the sin. She should’ve said no and kicked you out. But I am saying that the man — you — bears a greater responsibility and is charged by God to protect and care for and lead her. Even if she did in some way lure you into this, that’s irrelevant when it comes to your unique, God-given responsibility as the man in this relationship. Now that you have misused that calling as a man, you have failed to steward that special responsibility. You have a chance in this terrible situation to redeem at least your role as a courageous, initiative-taking, humble leader in doing what is right, which will be very difficult.”
3 Reasons You Should Preach through The Song of Solomon, 9Marks (Aaron Menikoff)
But the Song of Songs is also a precious remedy for those with a distorted view of the church. It’s tempting for church leaders to reduce ministry to the proverbial “nickels and noses.” But any true church will have a love for Christ that can’t be measured by seating capacity—a love captured artfully in the Song of Songs.
How to Stay Married When You’re Stuck Between Needy Teens and Aging Parents, Christianity Today (Dorothy Littell Greco)
“Caring for family on both ends of the spectrum—growing kids and aging parents—can compromise even the healthiest marriage. For the many mid-lifers who find themselves pulled in two directions, it’s imperative for us to discern how to protect and nurture our marriages as we serve our families. Here’s what I’ve learned from my own experience.”
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