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Love Birds: Sex and Church Discipline


The story is all too common, and I’ve felt this feeling before.

We sat in silence hearing about the dreadful sin that had taken place weeks before. God forbid anything in the dark come to light, how awful a deed to hear of two beautiful unwedded humans enjoying the pleasures of touch. Whispers and disgrace stirred a wind, but the two were not flying.

I took a seat in the back. Behind the tears of mothers and stone faces of fathers, beneath the blanket of shame being pulled over the lovers’ eyes. Well, they didn’t love each other in the holistic sense of guarding spirit and mind. But they did discover heart.

Accusations of selfishness rang into the room like fat bass lines resonating off of flat walls. A certain smell arose that I could not pinpoint. It brought back memories of when I used to have an attitude problem in middle school. It recollected corrected anger from high school days by men and women who had trouble holding fiery tongues themselves. The smell, though faint at first, rose from the thin carpet the two birds sat on.

They sang a song together in the night months before, not knowing their melody would turn into a communal chorus with too much harmony and not enough balance. The choir sat on stilts, egging each other on with theatrical fan waves and seat shifts.

I checked to see if the tea was ready. Silence. Then weeping. Then silence again. I took to the only thing warm and inviting. We sat in a large room with family leaders, and community say so’s and say so’o’s. The chorus was picked up again, and lines of noted insolence danced in the air. Treble mixed with smell, and I could finally name the stench.

Hypocrisy. Trash. Dirty, pointed fingers.

My anger shot quickly. First from my quieted toes, then back towards the bend of my shoulders. The very people pushing consonants and vowels into the air, believing themselves to be singers of perfect pitch, spewed pieces of factual feces. Words disguised by eloquent phrases fell on honest ears as clashes of brass and worn cymbals. Sadness overtook me as technicality ruled the composition. What was being said in that moment was technically “holy.”

It was kind of like watching a talent show award a winner based on back door connection instead of actual talent. How rich it was to hear their shallow sounds. Apparently, married folk may forget how it was for them to be single. Apparently, older ones may only remember their yesterday and not their last year. Apprently, sex before marriage is much more offensive than gossip, slander, thievery even.

Hypocrisy. Trash. Dirty, pointed fingers.

Sex is beautiful in the context of marriage. Yes. Singleness makes opportunity for unique growth. Yes. Singleness makes room for energy and time towards accomplishing amazing goals. Yes. Sex, within freeing parameters of marriage, leads to sanctification. Yes.

And amen. The lyrics sung were agreeable, easily protected by legality. But something about the tone, lying between the breaths of each phrase, reeked so much of familiar two-faced fragrance that I started to question what the singers themselves did after sundown.

I hated my front row seat staring at the back of their skewed heads.

Suddenly, I became protective of the two sitting under a fog of forgetfulness. Before these birds danced the deed, there were signs: signs of infatuation and attraction, attempts to express longing for physical attention, questions of possibilities. But there was no room for that type of song to be sung. No one willing to coach and swoon alongside their inquiry. Space for conversation about sex and love squandered by “just be content, its not worth time to ponder” bridges that led to absolutely no where. So they took to the night in hopes of finding flight.

This story is all too common, and I’ve felt these feelings before.

Unless someone teaches one how to fly—birds will figure wingspan independently. Someone turn off that damning noise, adjust the pitch, and sing a love song.

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