Shaped by a life of service to Christ’s Church, Fr. Christopher has dedicated himself to using all the tools God has placed at his disposal to spread the light of Orthodoxy across America. As Founding Father and host of the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) and the “Come Receive The Light” national Orthodox Christian radio program, he shepherds a dynamic and rapidly expanding ministry bringing joy, hope, and salvation in Jesus Christ to millions of listeners on Internet and land-based radio around the world in more than 130 countries. Fr. Christopher lives in Brookline, MA and is the President of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
So, let’s talk about sex!
Yes, you read correctly, my dear friends. No, this is not going to be a month of Dr. Ruth lectures. What we are going to do is speak to people who can relate the proper and truthful understanding of sex in our lives, according to the teaching of our faith and how God would want us to interpret it. Contrary to what you have seen and read about in the media, our sexual identity has a purpose and a special and sacred meaning.
“Sex is not evil; it is a gift from our God. But it can become a hindrance to someone who desires to devote all his strength to a life of prayer…Concerning sex, we must strive for self-control. St. Paul tells us to seek peace and sanctification, without which it is impossible to see the Lord. Let us pursue holiness, then, in order to attain the Kingdom of Heaven.” -St. John Chrysostom The way you read about and see stories today in the media, on television, and in the movies, you would think that sex is paramount to our very existence. Even the great father of our faith John Chrysostom knew it was important, but not to the point of making everything else in our lives obsolete. Sex has its place.
We live in a society in which “anything goes” and “I have my rights to do what I want with my body.” We live in a society that believes sex outside of marriage is just fine. We even have shows and movies that insist we can have “friends with benefits.” I will not go into the kind of “benefits,” as I believe you catch my drift. Even St. Paul wrote about this struggle a long time ago when he wrote to the Corinthians: “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.” Corinthians 6:12.
I believe that the teachings of the faith are very clear when it comes to the place of sexual intimacy between a man and a woman. First of all, the man and woman should be married ,and second of all, the sexual union is to fulfill and enhance the love they have for each other. Couples are encouraged to have children from the day of their marriage service. This is no secret, and the prayers are plentiful in the service, but the sexual union is not just for the sake of self gratification. It is for the fulfillment of the love the couple share for each other.
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4
The teachings of the church are the goal we should all have when it comes to living our lives toward our salvation. This does not mean that we will not be tempted to enter into such activity. On the contrary. Sexual temptations are many and sometimes come on very strong. Our key is to stay focused on God and use the tools given to us so that we are masters of our own bodies and feelings, and not the reverse. You know why having the right attitudes about sex is important…because our kids are listening and watching, and they model our activity.
I hope you will join us this month for some interesting conversation and send us your thoughts. We cannot put our heads in the sand anymore and act as if this is not an issue in our society. Sex is everywhere, and the use of the flashing of the flesh to sell everything from refrigerators to cars is incredible. How are we to respond to it? What are we to do? Tune in to find out.
For everyone at OCN,