The denomination I'm part of passed (what I think is) an amazing social statement last August that looks at human sexuality. (A small group in) The congregation I'm part of has taken some time to look at every page of that document. Because there has been a whole lot of conversation, at times contentious, about the ministry policy changes dealing with partnered gay and lesbian clergy, our look at the social statement was pretty close and thorough. We went through every section, every sub-section, considering whether we agreed or disagreed, whether there was too much or not enough written there.
What caught my eye yesterday as we made our way to the end of the document was the strong condemnations we saw there. For one, the document speaks out strongly against the sexualization of society, particularly (as I read it) popular media. It's harmful enough for adults to be constantly bombarded by airbrushed celebrities, but this document makes a strong statement against body image as portrayed in the media because of the impact it has on children and teens. A young person may be perfectly healthy (beautifully and wonderfully made), but when the image in the mirror doesn't match the (computer-enhanced) magazine models, the danger of negative self-image leading to destructive behavior in only increased. We all know that eating disorders have been a problem for young women for years, but recently the male quest for the perfect six-pack abs has led to a much higher rate of anorexia in young men as well.
The other part that caught my eye was the strong condemnation of inappropriate sexual behavior by church leaders. There is no room in this document for secrecy and cover-ups and other nonsense that (seems to be) practiced by the roman catholic church. If a church leader abuses his or her position of leadership for sexual gratification, the church needs to speak loudly and definitively ~ and the roman church has not done this. Of course, we need to model and practice grace toward, and even rehabilitation for, the perpetrator; but first, before anything else, we need to model and practice grace and provide for healing for the victims. This is where the roman church has fallen short. It seems that the leadership is taking care of the leaders first, or perhaps exclusively. To re-gain any sort of moral high ground in this area, the bishops and cardinals and vatican must begin by acknowledging past wrongs, both by the perpetrators and by the hierarchy. Then, the church must care for (or provide for care for) the victims of abuse ~ which may or may not include punishment of the perpetrators. Finally, and only when these things have been done well, the roman church will have the opportunity to take care of its priests.
All things considered, I think the sexuality social statement approved by my denomination is an excellent document ~ I just hope that we follow it ... well, that we follow Jesus Christ who is alive in the world and made known to us in the scriptures first; then, the sexuality social statement.
Probably pretty rambling and disconnected post, but still, it's my