"In the beginning.
In the first chapter of Genesis, when God creates the first people, He blesses them. This is significant. God’s blessing is the peace of God resting on people. The story begins with humans in right relationship, in healthy, life-giving connection, with their Maker. All of their other relationships flow from the health of this one central relationship, people and God. They’re connected with the earth, with each other. They’re naked and feel no shame.
And then everything goes south.
They choose another way.
And they become disconnected.
God goes looking for them in the garden, asking, “where are you?” The first humans make coverings of fig leaves, and then they’re banished from the garden.
Disconnected from each other.
Disconnected from the earth.
The woman is told that there is going to be conflict between her and the man. The man is told that there is going to be conflict between him and the soil.
And this is where you and I come in. We were born into a world, into a condition, of disconnection. Things were created to be a certain way, and they’re not that way, and we feel it in every fiber of our being.
Is this why the first thing newborns do is cry?
We’re severed and cut off and disconnected in a thousand ways, and we know it, we feel it, we’re aware of it every day. It’s an ache in our bones that won’t go away.
And so from an early age we have this awareness of the state of disconnection we were born into, and we have a longing to reconnect.
Scholars believe that the word sex is related to the Latin word secare, which means “to sever, to amputate, or to disconnect from the whole.” This is where we get words like sect, section, dissect, bisect.
Our sexuality, then, has two dimensions. First, our sexuality is our awareness of how profoundly we’re severed and cut off and disconnected. Second, our sexuality is all the ways we go about trying to reconnect.
Last year I was swimming in the ocean with one of my boys on my back in the midst of a pod of dolphins. They were swimming around us and under us and making their noises, which are incredibly loud and piercing, when one of them shot up into the air above us and did a flip. Right over our heads.
When we describe moments like these, the words we use are rarely about distance. The words are about nearness and connection, sometimes even intimacy.
Your friends just got back from hiking, and they say, “We felt like we could just reach out and touch the mountain.”
I just spent an afternoon with a doctor who donates significant amounts of time working with people who have AIDS and can’t afford proper treatment. He loves it. He talked with great passion about they joy it brings him. He’s a successful, educated, wealthy man who loves to spend his time with the poor, uneducated people who are from a totally different world than he is. He was telling me how his work brings him a sense of connection, an awareness of the simple truth that we aren’t all that different from each other.
These moments move us because they have a sexual dimension. They help us become reconnected. They go against our fallen nature, which is to be cut off.
That’s why music is so powerful. Have you ever noticed that when you ask people why a particular song or concert moved them so much, they often resort to ambiguous explanations?
You get words like emotion and passion and energy and relationship and connection. Music is powerful because it is sexual. It connects us. We generally don’t think of it in those terms but it’s true. The experience of a great concert, with everybody singing together, waving their hands in the air, and a feeling of oneness permeating the room, has a significant sexual dimension to it. We don't know each other, we come from vastly different backgrounds, we disagree on hundreds of issues, but for an evening, we gather around this artist and these songs and we get along. The experience moves us so deeply because it taps into how things were meant to be, and we have so few places where we can experience what God intended on such a large scale.
Whether it's a concert or a church service or a rally for a just cause, certain communal events draw us into something bigger than the event itself. We feel connected with the people we're having the experience with, and not just connected but aware of something bigger than us all that we're brushing up against in the process.
What we’re experiencing in these moments of connection is what God created us to experience all of the time. It’s our natural state. It’s how things are supposed to be."
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