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SEX in the Chapel

April 1, 2011

Friday, April 1 – SEX.

In American society it’s something we talk about, think about and do a lot.  I guess, depending on who you are, the extent to which you do sexual things varies across a spectrum from casual to terrified, and whether or not it’s a good thing is a different consideration altogether.  Sometimes it seems like we take one of two viewpoints:  go for it or don’t even think about it.  This really isn’t fair, though.  I mean what about those of us with natural attractions to another person AND the desire to live a moral life?  Why is it that something so important for the continuation of the human race, the health of romantic relationships, and the satisfaction of human drives must be so confusing?  Why does it have to be the topic of immature conversation and taboo in so many other situations? And why do I have to see it every time I go to the movie theater?  Has society’s view of sex always been this divided?

Professor Chia-Feng Chang, this year’s Lund-Gill Chair and professor of the class Healing Arts and Society, has offered a really interesting viewpoint of sex.  Her class is all about medicine in pre-modern China and has turned my Western-minded thought processes upside down.  In pre-modern China health wasn’t measured in pounds or inches, but rather on the strength of an individual’s qi (pronounced “chee”) or “vital energy.”  Almost like a soul (but not quite) this qi was strengthened and weakened by one’s surroundings and internal factors, resulting in various states of emotional, physical, and mental wellness.  According to what I’ve learned in class, medical professionals in pre-modern China thought of sex as something which two people did to nourish and strengthen the qi.  There was even a development of the “chamber arts” in order to “do it right.”  On the other hand, too much sex, and in particular drunk sex (an interesting lecture, no doubt…I had to chuckle immaturely at least once) could cause disease.  These diseases weren’t just STDs either, but could have been practically any debilitating condition.  So I guess, in a sense, the divided viewpoint of sex existed even in pre-modern China.  The confusion is nothing new.

So how can we nourish our qi without getting sick?  How do we satisfy physical desires without crossing a moral boundary?  What exactly is chastity and who does it apply to?  And where in the world do I find the answers to all of these ridiculous questions?

Duh-duh-daaa! ß (Triumphant music).  Announcing Terry Nelson-Johnson and his presentation SEX:  What does it mean to be sexually active?  This event will take place on Monday, April 4 at 7:00pm in Rosary Chapel (yes, we are talking about sex in the chapel).  So your question now is probably “what does God have to do with any of this?”  Well, according to the fliers so colorfully posted around campus, he will be offering “a refreshing look at the topics of sex and sexuality.  Learn about the gift and mystery of our sexuality through an evening of laughter, learning, and meaningful conversation.”  Who ever thought they would be laughing about sex in the chapel?

Check it out!  The event is sponsored by University Ministry, the Wellness Center, Theology Department, DASH, and Theology Club.  While you won’t be smacked on the hand or chastised for any of your past actions or personal beliefs, you might be challenged to rethink them.  If you have any questions about sex, bring them with you.  You might just find some answers and have a little fun in the process.

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