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“Homeless Penis” Equals Vacant Theology

Once more a pastor has shown the drastic need for comprehensive sex education in both public schools and seminaries. The latest gaff of an evangelical pastor reveals he received neither. After establishing the dubious idea that God owns a man’s genitals, the pastor continues:

“Knowing that His penis would need a home, God created a woman to be your wife and when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home…though you may believe your hand is shaped like a home, it is not. And, though women other than your wife may look like a home, to rest there would be breaking into another man’s home.”

Thank you, evangelical pastor, Mark Driscoll for that ridiculous and, ultimately, harmful metaphor that is demeaning to women and singularly unhelpful to anyone who wants a mutually satisfying intimate relationship.

First, it reduces sex to an act rather than an encounter and instead of intimacy focuses on two kinds of body parts -- homeless ones and those apparently always ready to be moved into! To his credit he is trying to teach men sexual ethics, although his obvious heterosexism apparently means gay men’s penises are either already home or doomed to remain homeless. But Driscoll is oblivious to the destructive lesson for women that their job is only to accommodate. This theology of marital sexual inequality fails to teach that sex is always a mutually negotiated experience with sacred possibilities. A marriage license should never be a guaranteed parking place for a lonely, homeless penis.

Many evangelicals do not consider themselves against pleasure or free expressions of sexuality (as long as it is in the context of committed relationships,) yet the underlying order of superior husband and accommodating wife does not bode well for creating a sacred experience based on a mutual exchange that glorifies God. While this theology guarantees that women begin to feel objectified and coerced  -- and therefore resentful -- marriage license notwithstanding, there is no support from Jesus’ life or his teachings that would support it. Jesus did not have the view that women are here to accommodate men -- married or not, sexual or not.

Further, Driscoll is attempting to teach sexual ethics by suggesting that self-pleasure is somehow a violation of God’s plan. But this overlooks the sensual exuberance of the Song of Songs and contradicts the celebratory lifestyle of a feasting, drinking, touching, healing, party-going Jesus.

When Christian pastors in the West can only explain sexuality as PIV (penis in vagina) then it shows not only  have they failed to plumb the theological depths of sex, “to know” as the Hebrew word is translated,  but it reveals a paltry grasp of the heights of sacred pleasure that so much Eastern religion understands. The metaphor of the wandering, homeless penis however does accurately reflect the body/spirit split throughout most of Christian history. In a religion that teaches incarnation, God-in-the-flesh, we are still searching for the connection.  

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