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Mere Sexuality with Todd Wilson

Join Josh and Kit this week as they speak with Todd Wilson, the author of Mere Sexuality: Rediscovering the Christian Vision of Sexuality.

Highlights:

…explore the Christian vision of human sexuality…

…they needed help in engaging people who were same-sex attracted with grace and love and compassion and understanding…

…God has woven sexual difference, male and female, into the fabric of creation…

Guests:

Todd A Wilson

Mentions:

Mere Sexuality: Rediscovering the Christian Vision of Sexuality

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Josh 0:04
We are really, really glad to have with us Todd Wilson today. Todd is a PhD from Cambridge University. He has spent more than a decade in pastoral ministry and is currently the senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois. He’s the co founder chairman of the Center for pastoral theologians and ministry dedicated to resourcing pastors, and theologians. And he has authored several books including mere sexuality, rediscovering the Christian vision of sexuality, which is what we’re going to unpack with Todd today. And, Todd, I’m so happy that you’re with us. I picked up your book several months ago, and was just so grateful for it. It was just a breath of fresh air clarifying helpful, illuminating, and challenging. And so so we’re glad that you’re, you’re with us today.

Todd Wilson 1:17
Delighted to be with you all. Thanks so much for having me. And thanks for the encouraging word about the book.

Josh 1:22
Yeah. So just just a quick personal question. It says here you have seven kids ages, what are the ages?

Todd Wilson 1:29
I often say when people say that and have a gasp I say you can have a couple of them. They are 1917 to 14 year olds, an 11 year old and 210 year olds, so from freshmen and college down to twin fifth graders. Fantastic. So my wife and I think of ourselves as mayors of a small town. Like I assume that’s why you have me on the podcast today.

Josh 1:56
Mayor Todd Wilson is here with us

Todd Wilson 1:58
today. Because I’m a big fan of children.

Kit 2:04
We are too. So that’s good.

Todd Wilson 2:06
It’s a good advertise on the back of a book about sexuality.

Josh 2:11
to kids, people like what I don’t know. Okay. I’ve got I’ve taken it too far. Hey, so I want to read an excerpt from the introduction of your book, because the book really is framed up as a response. It seems like you never say this, but it seems like a response to kind of the pro gay theology that’s become more and more common around us. Yeah, say this about the book. It is really so much more than that. You say this about the book, you said this book provides an introduction to historic Christian vision of human sexuality. It does so in conversation with the centuries main challenges to that vision. meaning you’re, you’re not kind of just it’s not just a historic book, it really wraps it into the cultural milieu and the challenges the real life challenges that men and women are experiencing today. You say, if you want a book that focuses on what the Bible says about homosexuality, then you should grab hold of the many excellent resources to do just that. But if you want to explore the Christian vision of human sexuality, a vision that yes, speaks to homosexuality, but also to a host of equally vital issues. Keep reading. There’s something here for you. Yeah. What prompted you to write write this book? Where does this come from?

Todd Wilson 3:12
Yeah, great question. I will try to be succinct. If you want to ask follow up questions, of course, go for it. But what when I was called to Calvary Memorial Church back in 2008, I was in a near Western suburb of Oak Park is a near Western suburb of Chicago. And I was at about 30 mile 30 minutes to the west of Oak Park, where the churches and when they first contacted me, I didn’t I’d never heard of Calvin Memorial Church before. And I didn’t know where Oak Park was. So I googled it. And then I started Googling about the church. And what I quickly found was that it was known as they literally, quote unquote, through a quick Google search of the gay hating church in a park. Because a number of years earlier, they had taken some strong positions on homosexuality, and in particular, Oak Park is a very progressive community. And they were talking they’ve been talking about civil unions and apart for four years, what way before it became a national conversation. And our the congregation had taken some stance on that and drone drone effect like local media attention and and so on. So it developed that kind of reputation. I came in 2008. And and then as things started heating up with the discussion of civil unions becoming legalized in Illinois, you may recall I think it was in 2013 14. And then same sex marriage legalized in the in the whole country. I kept a pretty low profile on commenting on those issues. I didn’t speak to it directly because I was concerned that the congregation was it would have generated more heat than light to speak to the issue. Given the church’s history and and its reputation as a fairly conservative evangelical congregation. But as the country 2015 rolls around as the country is in a heated discussion about the legalization of same sex marriage with the obergefell case, what I found was and and what really then drove me to preach a set of sermons on this topic, and then putting them together in this book was that the older folks in our congregation, and I’m going to generalize a little bit here, but the older folks in our congregation, the folks that have been around for a while, they, they didn’t have any question about what the Bible taught about homosexuality, what they needed to know was, they needed help in engaging people who were same sex attracted with grace and love and compassion and understanding. But it was as the congregation was getting younger, and filling with millennials. And younger folks, what I found was that that that was not their challenge. Their challenge was understanding that the church had a theological position on these questions. And they were, they were, frankly, a little oblivious to it. And, and so I felt this sense of urgency to preach this set of sermons that came together, as in this book, to lay out a theological vision for the younger members of the congregation, the Gen Xers and the millennials, in my congregations, the congregation was getting younger during my tenure as a pastor. And helping them understand, first of all, that the church has had a historic position on this, right, it goes back literally centuries, and that there’s compelling theological rationale. And it might even say, kind of philosophical rationale for the Christian position. It doesn’t hang on just a set or a handful of proof texts from Scripture. There is a rich theological vision, it was lost on most of the people in my congregation that I spoke to about this issue. They just didn’t get it, they didn’t think and it through no fault of their own, they hadn’t been taught. They didn’t think through things like what is God’s design in in male and female, biological sex with us having biologically sex bodies, and so on? Those are the things we obviously will get into in this conversation. But that was the that was the, the, the origin of the sermon series. And I am sorry, I rambled just a little bit bear in laying some of the background out. But it was it was to speak to a younger generation of Christians for whom these issues were, were obscure. They didn’t really get the theological rationale. And, yeah, last thing I’ll say is, is that’s why I position it the way I do that, if you’re looking for a biblical defense, this is not your book. But if you’re looking for a theological articulation of the Christian vision, I think I think you’ll find something compelling in the book that I’ve written in your sexuality.

Josh 8:10
I walked away from your book, and one of the impressions I had at the end that was so refreshing was, I thought, you know, I’ve heard the defense of, you know, the, I don’t know ever any proof texts, yeah. That that express scriptures is against same sex, sexual unions. And I’ve heard, you know, defenses of both sides for that. But one of these that struck me was, like, you know, if, though if you lay those all aside, part of part of what still remains true, there’s enough in Scripture, there’s nothing in historical Christian theology to still uphold this beautiful vision for for traditional marriage and for sexuality. It does. It’s not like the the argument is not resting on those proof texts, resting somewhere else. And that’s exactly right, john. So one of the pieces that you that you mentioned in the book you talk about, and even bring this up in the in the introduction. You get into Jesus’s humanity, his physical humanity as a man. Yeah. Why is that important in this conversation? And that’s about homosexuality. Why is this important as we understand Christian sexual morality and Christian theology around sexuality?

Todd Wilson 9:20
Yeah, that’s a great question. Yeah. And it’s the second half of the introduction, the first chapter in the book, in terms of kind of the content argument of book is the sexuality of Jesus, which of course is interesting way to put it most people most of us, Christians, we don’t think of Jesus as having sexuality or, or being a, we don’t take his embodiment, all that seriously. And this has been a long standing challenge in the history of Christianity, not just relationship to sexuality, but just relationship, the Christology to the person of Jesus who Jesus is we tend to think of Jesus as Superman, right? He wears his humanity like Clark Kent. Whereas his humanity with his his coat and tie and his glasses, but he read, quote, unquote, he really is Superman. And that’s the way I think we, in the angelical tradition, we’re very concerned to defend the deity of Jesus. So we tend to think of him as you know, he’s God running around and human guys, which is not a kind of historic and, and frankly, orthodox way of thinking about Jesus. So, the the humanity of Jesus, and the Incarnation itself is profoundly important for Christian theology. But it’s profoundly important for Christian sexuality. Because what the Incarnation demonstrates crystal clearly is the goodness of embodiment. And the goodness of creation, the guy in its egg, when you stop it actually going to pause, I mean, we’re so used to it, if you’re in the Christian tradition, raises, we’re so used to God became took on human flesh, and we celebrated Christmas and so on, so forth. But you stop and pause, and think that God took on a X, Y chromosomes, and all that’s involved in being born of a woman and the fullness of humanity, embracing that it’s just stunning. And it’s God’s massive affirmation of the goodness of creation, and that embodiment matters. And then from that Christians have the view or that sexuality is good, that ultimately it is a way of affirming the goodness of our of our bodies. So that’s why I started with with Jesus’s humanity and His incarnation. Good, I really

Kit 11:53
like the fact that you’re, you’re saying that what’s true, which is that we become numb, to this really stunning reality, and that we’ve kind of truncated the story in a way that and then we retell it in this kind of, in a box way. And what you’re doing is just really expounding on what’s true in Scripture, to give a bigger picture, a bigger story that all of us really need to hear, or, or none of this will, will be able to make sense. So I really appreciate that. Yeah.

Todd Wilson 12:26
Thank you. Thank You

Josh 12:27
you. And it’s really I think, it’s not about winning an argument. I think we even talk about, you know, the debates around civil unions or about gay marriage, right? It beyond winning an argument for argument’s sake, there’s so much of that, I think part of what what we want to get after it. And the reality of what Christ has done in his embodiment is in fleshman, is that is that we he is, he is affirming the goodness of each individual human being, and to be a human being includes being an embodied spirit, you’re this, the body is not just a tool that you wear for a little while. It’s something that that is an intrinsic part of a person’s identity. And Jesus Himself in this incarnation is affirming that if it wasn’t ever affirmed before him, it is a firm now that our bodies matter. And so, so the Christian, the Christian vision, and this doesn’t resolve all conflict, and it doesn’t make everyone living at peace, but part of it. Part of learning to express this is at least trying to offer an olive branch of understanding to say, we are we’re really not trying to be bigoted, in our perspective. Yeah, we want to honor the goodness of your body in the fullness of what that means. Can you respond to that a little bit?

Todd Wilson 13:37
I think that’s exactly right. And it’s not just in sexuality discussions, but in diet and body, image, culture, and all of that there is I think, if you if you look beneath the surface, there is a lot of body idolization in our culture, on the one hand, and on the other hand, body loving in our culture. And that is deeply contrary to the Christian perspective, which is back to Genesis one, the goodness of creation and the goodness, very good. When God said in his image, he creates male and female, that’s very good. There’s a lot of, you know, that’s creation, then of course, you have the fall, and the messiness of everything that unfolds in light of that, but then you have the incarnation, as you know, a few chapters later, as it were in the storyline of Scripture, which is a a reaffirmation of what God was up to in Genesis chapter one, the incarnation as a way of saying, very good, this is very good. The goal of the story is not for human beings to escape creation, escape their embodiment, leave their bodies behind and float off into an ethereal and disembodied heaven where they can, we can get rid of these bodies that that drag us down and hinder us and so on and so forth. So Yeah, I just affirm that entirely. And and I think the implication of this for for sexuality is, is I think huge and obvious. But I think for lots of other things in our culture where we are a, a world denying in many ways and creating a kind of overly critical of creation, as a culture.

Josh 15:20
Yeah, one of the things you write in the book, which chapter I’m in here, but you say, in the very first chapter of the Bible, we read that male and female, God created them. And that’s from Genesis 127. Immediately and we are confronted with both the Canon Canon sorry, canon optical canon nickel, canonical, canonical, thank you, thank you. And theological priority of sexual difference and Christian thinking. Yeah, and this is this is the point one point out, it is essential to who we are not accidental, or peripheral, flexible or negotiable. Sexual difference is a part of our nature as creatures, it is not something we create, like iPhones, or automobiles, God has woven sexual difference, male and female into the fabric of creation. And then and then you say this, as a result, we can’t ignore or minimize the fact of our being either male or female without undermining our ability to flourish and find fulfillment, fulfillment. I think that’s part of what we want to be after as Christians navigating this world is how do we continue to communicate these things and express these things in a way? What we’re really after is not stifling somebody, we’re not excluding somebody, we’re not taking somebody out of our congregation, but we’re really after is human flourishing in the full sense of the word,

Todd Wilson 16:34
including bodily? No, that’s exactly right. And, and flourishing happens when we live in accordance with our nature, that we will not flourish if we if we have ideas or actions that go could run contrary to the grain of our of our human nature, our creative nature. And so this is a way of just reaffirming the the, the sensuality of embodiment and our sex bodies. Think about it. It is an amazing thing that in Genesis chapter one, I mean, it’s an amazing thing. Let us make man in our image of humankind in our image, Genesis 127, male and female he created them. So God is here ready to prepare to create a creature in his image. And then we get this remarkable thing that he creates this by morphic, you know, it kind of pair, right not not one creature, but but a complimentary creatures that are sexually and bodily complimentary to one another. That’s at the core of what it means to be created in the image of God. That’s an amazing thing. I mean, that’s an amazing thing. That at the end, when we talk about being in God’s image, our maleness and femaleness is right at the core of that. And so we’re gonna flourish, we need to embrace that and come to terms with that, and, and, and live out our calling in light of that.

Kit 18:01
And so what’s interesting is that the only time we really talk about these things in churches when there’s some kind of a controversy, yeah. And so we we appear like we’re coming against something, instead of, and I’ve just would love to hear your thoughts on how is this woven in to, you know, the way we talk about life and the way we talk about our faith? versus it just being a reaction to a problem? Great question.

Todd Wilson 18:27
Yeah, that is a that is a great question. I think a couple of things is just is is thinking more theologically about the Christian faith in the story of the Bible, not to make it too simplistic, but to recover the goodness of creation. And as we celebrate the goodness of creation, and all of its varieties from our beauty and nature and art, and I don’t mean idolize creation, I mean, celebrate the goodness of creation of creation. That is an implicit affirmation of the kind of sexuality the Bible is, is advocating for, right? It’s when you have a negative view of creation, and that you will have a negative view of embodiment, and you will step away from the Orthodox historic Christian view of sexuality. So it’s a I mean, it’s. So it’s as simple as talking about the goodness of creation and enjoying and reveling in the beauty of creation is also talking about the humanity of Jesus and really rich, even gritty ways. I remember what I articulate in the book, but I certainly remember preaching this and talking about to my congregation, Hey, y’all think about it. Jesus took on God. That’s the second person that Trinity took on human flesh in the person of Jesus, but not for 33 years for all eternity. And the resurrection is the demonstration of that. Jesus was raised bodily Jesus didn’t sort of leave the body behind at the resurrection and become God again shorn of humanity. Right. God the second person is A human being and will be forever. That is so mind boggling, and you linger on. So when we see Jesus and the new creation, we are we see God we will see the person of Jesus, the human being Jesus. And I say all that just now start appreciate y’all. Forgive me. It’s just a way of saying, as you revel in the goodness of creation, as you revel in the beauty of the incarnation, that is a way of affirming our sexuality, Jesus, humanity, and embodiment is a way of affirming our humanity and body. And then the third thing I’ll say, just by way of living off of his vision is, is developing robust friendships that are same sex and opposite sex. Men learn what it means to be men by being in deep and meaningful relationships with women and women learn what it’s like to be women by being a meaningful and deep relationships with with men. Of course, we learned that from our same sex as well. But we certainly learn it from from interacting with the sexual component to who we are male, the female females with male, and so the body of Christ, the church, local church, and just the regular weekly interaction that we can enjoy with one another opposite sex and same sex in the body of Christ, that teaches us so much about the goodness of what it means to be male and female, and all of our diversity and uniqueness.

Josh 21:31
Been at so many things come to mind. For me, I want to go back to the Jesus becoming human, a human being for all eternity, that was just sinking into me this past Christmas, I remember, on the crisp at the Christmas service, just being so overwhelmed with that reality. All I could pray, and I was just like, what have you done? What have you. I mean, it’s like, I felt almost like, like, You are crazy, like, exactly,

absolutely nuts to do this for exactly, but I was so overwhelmed with just this, like gratitude for this extreme move that he made for, for us because he loves so much. And then and then the the male female differences in the complementarity and the necessity of that, in a, in a culture that is so confused, and gives such mixed messages about male and female and gender, I think I think it’s a it’s a mistake for the church to kind of turn down the volume on male female differences, I think we do well to be attentive to and learn from mistakes of previous generations that that elevated one sex over the other and maybe made some errors, and that maybe made some errors and how we treated the differences. And those go back not just previous generations going back to the Garden of Eden after the fall. But I think what we want to do is really begin to learn how to better honor our sexual differences as men and women and hold each other up in deference, and in mutual submission ways that, that really clarify and give us a way to celebrate the goodness of God and the goodness of his image in us in our bodies as male or female. But you’re talking about same sex friendships, and I want to I want to shift gears a little bit, because let’s get practical for a minute, not just on, on kind of how we teach these things in church. Let’s talk religion. relationally, because, you know, all well and good about theology, but man, you know, I walk with men and women who are same sex attracted, they’re looking at a future and wondering, what is my life gonna look like, if I can’t get married, which is a whole question of itself. But But one of the things that you talk about in the book is you talk about the companionate view of marriage, versus the unitive view of marriage. And that’s, and I’d like you to just kind of share what that means. And then if you could spin from there pivot from there to talk about where do we go in, in light of that, to relationships for those who don’t marry? And what, what is the church’s calling and role and kind of how we live this stuff out? Practically? Yeah, sure.

Todd Wilson 23:59
Sure. I’ll try to be brief on that. So as it relates to marriage, you know, the point I tried to make the book is that there are two different conceptions of marriage, and then your view of sex flows from your conception of marriage. But the two different conceptions of marriage that talk about the book are one is the, the companion where marriage is understood primarily as like the sole amaizing or the formalizing of your friendship with your, your favorite person you want to spend the rest of your life with this is this is the I married my best friend view of marriage, or this is the I found my soulmate view of marriage. And in this sense, there’s nothing wrong with marrying your best friend or finding your soulmate. Right? I I would talk that way about my wife, but that doesn’t go all the way to where Christians want to go with their view of marriage. That’s, that’s the cultural view of marriage. Right and Joshua,

Josh 24:53
no, no, it is the it is the predominant view both inside and outside the church right now. This is what marriage is about. Do

Todd Wilson 25:00
Yeah, no, that’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. The companion view, and where where what is happening in marriage is we are coming together to unite our hearts. Our spirits, if you’re a person of faith are our souls, our minds, our emotions, that’s what’s happening in marriages where we’re really connecting at a deep, emotional personal level. And the marriage is to formalize that. That’s, as you suggest us, that’s a widespread view, both outside and inside the church. But I’ll say it very bluntly, that’s not a Christian. That’s actually not the Christian. The Christian view is what been known as a conjugal view or a comprehensive view of marriage, which includes the uniting of heart and mind and spirit, of course, but it also includes body, the Christian view of marriage, you can’t have a Christian view of marriage if you don’t think about what’s uniting what’s being united in the act of marriage, including the body. And that’s what you call it a comprehensive view. So the Bible’s when talking about this, and traditional Christian ways of praying about his marriage is about a one flesh union, which is quite literally, our flesh, our embodiment, our bodies uniting and how does that happen, all that happens with sexual complementarity. This is why Christians have always held until, you know, relatively recently, the last 30 or 40 years have always held that marriage, its very essence and definition is between a man and a woman, because marriage is a uniting of two bodies. And for two bodies to unite, they need to be sexually complimentary, not the same. And so in Christian tradition, and even in our legal tradition, you know, down through the centuries, we talked about the consummation of marriage. So you get married in a church service, and then you, you know, you go, you go from the church service to quote, unquote, consummate the marriage that is to fulfill the marriage and the essence of the marriage, because that’s where the bodily union happens in sexual intercourse. So that that’s, that’s the Christian is our Christian view of marriage, which which invests the body in the very definition of marriage itself, which we’d lost as a culture. And that’s, and that’s why both the culture at large outside the church, and then even Christians within the church, sometimes do struggle with the historic Christian teaching on marriage, that, you know, if you don’t have bodily Union as part of your definition of marriage, it will be hard for you to understand why it is the Christians teach that to sames. Same sex people can’t be married. Yeah, right. That’ll be very hard to understand, like, Well, wait a minute. Why? I mean, you know, you’re talking to other Christians. And they say, well, the Bible teaches that, that to be able to same sex shouldn’t be married, and use kind of your structure and say, Well, why is that? Say? Well, you know, because the Bible says so. But there’s no logic to it. There’s no deep theological logic to it without talking about the union of two bodies that are complimentary. So a lot of things flow from from this one flesh union of marriage, which I think desperately needs to be recovered. Now, to pivot from that, to your question about friendship is a fascinating thing. When marriage in a culture is understood as the formalization of your most intense friendship, right, when that happens in a culture, one of the casualties of that, of that, that move in a culture is friendship. Right as same sex friendship. Because what happens is marriage and, and and romantic relationships. I don’t know what the right word would be consumed or absorbed into it. All the same sex friendships that we enjoy. So I’ve been getting a little cluttered here in the way I’m explaining this, but what do we call two guys that have a wonderful, strong, vibrant friendship? Now we call that we say they have a bromance. Right? We subsume as maybe the word I was looking for we subsume same sex, you know, sexually chaste, right, I mean, but friendships, whether men or women, we use this sort of romantic language not to describe them because everything in our culture is pivots around and it’s understood in light of the marital relationship. And so the casualty has been friendship, same sex friendship, as is on the decline in the United States. I think it’s directly tied to this re configuring and understanding of marriage in our culture.

Josh 29:57
If I could, if I could jump in here. I think that was One of the things that that we we see is this kind of view of the marriage is the all sufficient relationship, and you don’t need other relationships, once you’re married, you’re good. Which is in direct contrast to Paul’s words, the church in Corinth, when he says, one part of the body can’t say to the other parts of the body, I have no need of you. But I think in a, in a, in a, in our present culture, that’s exactly what we’re doing. When we kind of set up the nuclear family, as this is where you get your needs met, and everything else is just bonus. And, and when it comes to those that who are not married, either because they’re, for whatever reason, including those who have same sex attraction and, and, and don’t don’t marry out of a desire to be devoted to Christ, then they’re left with an incomplete the idea that their life isn’t complete, that they can never be fulfilled, that their sub human in some way and eventually outside of the church, that’s when that is so destructive and so unhelpful for all of us.

Todd Wilson 31:03
That’s exactly, that’s exactly right. And just to put this in historical context, you know, in the Catholic tradition, through the Middle Ages, with the development of the teaching of celibacy for priests, and the, the honoring of the priesthood, and so on and so forth as the sort of the highest calling and yeah, the ordinary Christians who lived ordinary lives in the head, the priests and, and this was the thing to be and you know, to aspire to in a sensor emulator, admire it prioritized singleness and celibacy. Then the Reformation comes along, and Martin Luther, God bless him. He, he shifts the balance of that, and talks about the goodness of marriage and procreation and we’re the beneficiaries of, of Luther and the reformations teaching about the goodness of marriage and, and children. But we have, perhaps, swung the pendulum too far in that direction, where now it is, you might say we, you know, we live in a focus on the family culture. And I don’t mean any any disservice to the Ministry of focus in the family. But but it is a, a marriage and family centric culture, the church culture is in North America and it and it does inadvertently, marginalize single people. And I know that as a pastor, I mean, we, this was a regular discussion, which is, so much of the programming and the orientation of suburban of angelical churches in the United States is family centered, family centric, and families need support, family needs, needs ministry and love and encouragement and all the rest of us. It’s difficult to be married in our culture today, and certainly to raise a family. At the same time. We, I think it’s created blind spots for the single people in the body of Christ. So we need to kind of correct the balance there, I

Josh 32:51
think. So Todd, if you were as a as a pastor, let’s just assume that you’re, and I don’t know what your relationship is with your congregation. But go with me here. Let’s assume that you’re having a pastoral moment, a shepherding moment with your congregation? What would you prescribe for a typical American congregation? When it comes to family life? And, and how we prioritize our are our church community and including married singles, young, old, etc, etc? Like, what would you if you could if you could prescribe something that would that would fit the bill? Where do we need to go as a culture to reclaim what’s been lost in this regard? Because we’ve kind of deified the nuclear family and marriage? Yeah,

Todd Wilson 33:40
great, great question. And I can speak from what I do what I did when I preached this sermon series, Josh was I I preached the whole sermon in the series, that was calling the congregation to strengthening the friendship culture in our congregation. And, and, and finding ways to do that. And you know, there’s all kinds of practical ways to do that. But North America has a weak friendship culture, for reasons we were just talking about. And the church has a weak friendship, culture, I think, by and large, and this the weak friendship culture in our churches, makes it very difficult for singles and then especially for consistently same sex attracted single people who want to live faithfully in following Jesus to find a meaningful place in the body of Christ. They just, they’re kind of in in no man’s land so often, and why many, at least my experience has been many find it very difficult to be kind of integrated in a rich way in the life of local churches because local churches are not tend to not The oriented toward and, and, and, and, and makes it make really good affirming space for singles in the body of Christ. So strengthening the friendship culture is the way that I have talked about it with our congregation. And that’s tied to strengthening the marriage culture. For the reasons we were just talking about a misunderstanding of marriage means you will misconstrue friendship and ultimately, friendship will decline. To recover a historic Christian version of marriage will help affirm the goodness of marriage. But it will leave space as it were, for healthy, same sex relationships that we call friendships that are not sexualized and not romanticize, but are healthy and vibrant and and I’ll even use the language of intimate their relationship. And we shouldn’t shy away from that. Yeah, Josh, I think we shy away, we get that we get a little we blush it that right. And when we call that a bromance, when you see two men that are our intimate as dear close friends with one another that is to say, like, like warm hugs, you know, I think about going to other parts of the world where, where they have very strong marriage culture. And so what that frees up the men and the culture to do is have intimate expressions of friendship. So I think of going to Ethiopia and seeing two grown men walking down the street, arm and arm or arms around each other’s shoulders, you wouldn’t see that the United States or if we did, we would draw implications about sexuality. But in Ethiopia, that was just no big deal. That was two men who were just good friends. That kind of vision that needs to be recovered. Right? And

Josh 36:51
yeah, yeah. So. So let me close with this I, if this is of casting a little vision for the, for those in the church listening, like, what if we in the church when it came to sexual morality questions? What if we instead, instead of just focusing on how do we answer those culturally, what if we were to really be working diligently in our churches, on making the communities that are deep committed friendships, including, you know, so you know, I’m a single man in my 50s. And I walk into this church and I see men walking arm in arm or embracing each other. And, you know, for example, let me close with this, this, this from this quote from your book, you said, we have to reimagine what it means to be single. This starts with the realization that singles aren’t single in the body of Christ. Those who are not married should remain chaste sexually, and some may be called to a life of celibacy. But in a very real sense, single Christians are never single. They’re united to Christ. And because of this union, they are united inextricably to every other person in the body of Christ. And let’s live that out. You know, that’s. So Todd, thank you so much for this book. And I just want to say out loud to our, to our listeners, do yourself a favor and get a get a copy of your sexuality by Todd Wilson, you will not regret it. Todd, thanks so much for for your hard work in the book and for speaking with us today. And we’d love to have you back on the podcast and their time.

Todd Wilson 38:17
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It was great to be with you all.

Josh 38:20
God bless you.

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