What were you thinking? I have posed this question many times: when my 5 year old daughter decided to run up on the stage and stood next to the pastor giving his message because she couldn’t find her way back to our seat in the congregation, when my son decided as a young adult that it’s a great idea to practice front flips off of a beachside bluff, or when my husband decided to teach the cat to drink water from a glass on the kitchen counter. We all have those moments when we step back and wonder incredulously what was going on the in the mind of another when….!
We’ve been on a journey with Theology of the Body and THE conversation Workshop. In the beginning, God created us in His image and invited us to a life of flourishing in communion with Himself. In God’s original design, we were created as embodied persons. Contrary to commonly accepted opinion, our bodies are good and are the only way that we can be known and engage with others. Our bodies and our persons cannot be separated without hurting ourselves or others. Neither are our bodies an accessory that adds to or takes away from our ultimate value as persons. So having grasped all of this, we may stop and wonder, “Then why O God, did you make us humans with male and female parts? What were you thinking?”
Answers posed have included:
• To add a little excitement to life!
• For the enjoyment of sexual relationships.
• To propagate the human race.
• To establish families.
• To build character from the conflict that ensues.
Let’s go back once again to Genesis 1 to discern God’s purposes. In Genesis 2:22 we find Adam’s response to this new "Eve" person who had arrived on the scene, “Here is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” He realizes that he is now joined in creation by another embodied person. Before this moment, he had encountered a multiplicity of other creatures; but none made in the image of God expressed in flesh. Together male and female reflect God’s image more perfectly as persons who may enter into union and communion with one another as well as with their Trinitarian Creator. Theology of the Body says, “Man becomes the image of God, not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion.”
Notice that Adam’s excited exclamation is a response to his discovery of another embodied person. As a young person, listening in rapt attention to a much anticipated sex and dating talk in youth group, there seemed to be a consensus that Adam was MOST enthusiastic about the appearance of a gorgeous body with whom he could now have sex! But this is lust and lust had not yet entered this pre-Fall picture. Adam only wanted to love Eve as another person expressed through her body with the love of God he had experienced thus far. Together Adam and Eve image God and the exchange of love between the three persons of the Trinity.
Beyond this possibility of communion, we also take note of the biological differences in the creation of male and female. These biological designs enable male and female to join in the most intimate union and communion possible for two embodied persons. The result of this union, experienced consistently with God’s design, is life-giving love; a reflection of the love of the Trinity that resulted in the abundance of life in creation. The anatomies of male and female bodies reveal that we are made for union, communion and generative love.
Awareness of the design of male and female anatomy should lead us not to the conclusions that we were all made to have sex; that we were all made to generate babies, or even that we were all made for human marriage. Our bodies are a visible sign of life-giving love so that “Every man is called in some way to be both a husband (self-gift) and a father (fruitfulness). Every woman is called in some way to be both a wife (self-gift) and a mother (fruitfulness).” (TOB p69) A beautiful picture of this vision can be found in CS Lewis, The Great Divorce in the story of the Woman of Great Love. The narrator of this story travels to heaven and accompanied by a Spirit guide explores the deep truths that become apparent in this place. The narrator refers to the Woman, “But I have forgotten. And only partly do I remember the unbearable beauty of her face.” He inquires as to the identity of this woman and this is what he learns, “Her name was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green………Every young man or boy that met her became her son -- even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter…… Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.”
THIS is what God was thinking when He created male and female in those first days of The Beginning. This picture of male and female imaging God’s invitation to life-giving love and communion is so beautiful and inclusive and yet stands in stark contrast of all that most of us have learned. How could we possibly find a way to teach our own children God’s design for our creation as male and female?
The mission of our workshops is to help you to do just that! Here’s what one mom shared with us after attending our workshop: “I came today as a mother of 2 sons (2.5 years and 11 months). This workshop provided a practical life-giving applicable big vision story of love - God’s vision for how we relate to our bodies, ourselves, teaching our children and connecting the dots between relationship with God, others, our bodies, sex, marriage and so much more. I walked away with specific talking points to open discussion in these areas with my kids (in ALL stages/ages of their lives) from 3 to adult. I’m very excited to implement this curriculum.” You can read more testimonials here.
During our workshop we can help you to transform the typical parental pre- adolescent talk regarding puberty and sex to one that reflects the beauty of God’s vision for our creation as male and female. We’d love to bring a workshop to you! You can find out more here.
You can also purchase our I Am A Gift curriculum for fun activities that reinforce these ideas for kids ages 3 through 6th grade. Find it here.