A Song Not Spoken Of

13 Jun

The Song of Songs is a beautiful book in the bible celebrating sexuality within marriage that is seldom really talked about in any depth. The book also carries a warning: Do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready!

The latter is important advice that kind of falls on deaf ears for we live in a society of immediate gratification where love is often stirred up way before it is ready. Silly shows like “The Bachelor” leave naive viewers thinking they can find true love on National t.v., sex is marketed to us with just about every product imaginable from cars to beers to hamburgers and kids are being sexualized at younger and younger ages. So just how do we prevent stirring up love until it is ready and what happens when sexuality is awakened not only prematurely but sometimes disastrously, as in the case of sexual violation and abuse? The bible may warn its daughters not to stir up love until it is time but what of Tamar or Dinah or the women in Judges? Well, that is not love but nonetheless sexuality is awakened. And these women’s stories are seldom discussed…

In an era where sex is spoken about so explicitly, it seems no one really talks about it with the authenticity it warrants whether that be within the church or the secular world. Theology of the Body is an excellent start and C.S. Lewis’ thoughts on the subject ring of sharp intelligence but there is so much more that can be explored and spoken about. In the church, we typically put sex into a category for married folks leaving single people wondering what they are to do with their bodies and the need for human touch; in the secular world, we joke about it, parade it around the internet and often dive into it way too soon. And at the movies, gratuitous sex gets a “R” rating where more erotic, love-centered sex often gets slapped an NC-17 rating. It makes no sense.

I love the Song of Songs which is ironic because I am a single woman and really should be meditating on “The Song of Being Single” instead. But to voice that tune it can be helpful to hold it up against this other melody of stark contrast.

What does it mean to be single in today’s world (church or secular) and what does it mean to be married? Are we more alone single or is there also an inherent loneliness in marriage at times as well? And which path leads to a more spiritual one? Who presses into God more when in despair, lonely or feeling lost? On this I’ve heard so many mixed messages it makes me batty. One school of thought holds marriage up as the ultimate test of refining a Christ like love; another school says that only being alone liberates one from the idolatry of human love and allows the necessary focus for a devout life.

And if being single is so held up and honored as a spiritual path why then did God create Eve for Adam even though he was living in paradise?

I have no answers for these questions but thoughts are welcome.

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