ep. 28 | A Foundation for Understanding Sexuality with Chris Legg
On this episode of the Journeywomen podcast, Chris Legg, a pastor and professional counselor, lays out a foundation for understanding human sexuality. We discuss everything from metaphysics (don’t worry I didn’t know what that meant either) to helping our children understand their sexuality from a Biblical perspective. As mentioned, Chris is a professional counselor and the lead pastor of South Spring Baptist Church in Tyler, TX. Fundamentally, Chris is a minister and shepherd of people, of which I am one and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to discuss such an important topic with someone as thoughtful, experienced, and wise as Chris Legg.
There’s no denying that human sexuality is a sensitive topic. Chris says, “The problem we’re dealing with is an identity question. Let’s get back to the question of, ‘How do you know who you are? How do you know what makes life good? How do you know what makes life valuable? How do you know that you aren’t trash? How do you know that you aren’t meaningless and that your life matters?’ We intuitively know that there is more to life than being sophisticated, eating and pooping machines. In a godless existence that’s all man is… and none of what we do will matter. Something tells us at a deep level that’s really not true.”
On a personal level, I found my conversation with Chris incredibly helpful, yet challenging. It’s difficult to openly discuss something as closely tethered to our identity as our sexuality. This conversation was between two followers of Jesus - me seeking to understand how to navigate such a difficult topic in our society, and Chris teaching me as a pastor, mentor, and friend. My hope is - whether you agree or disagree with the Biblical foundation Chris establishes - that you will find his insight on engaging in grace-filled, educated dialogue very helpful. I hope we can all put into practice his encouragement to seek common ground and to avoid being unnecessarily offensive.
Gender is such a controversial topic that's becoming more and more confusing within Christianity. I want to address it gracefully knowing that it’s closely tethered to people’s identity, but as we do with all of the topics we address on the Journeywomen podcast, I want to look at it through the lens of what the Bible says. What does Scripture say about males and females?
Have there been other periods in history where this has been so confusing as it is today?
Is there a difference between gender and sexuality according to the Bible? How is this different from the way our culture defines gender and sexuality?
Why is it important for us to develop an accurate, Biblical understanding of our God-given sexuality?
What makes you a man? What makes me a woman?
What is it that makes this topic so heated and personal?
How do you engage with someone on this topic, in a Gospel-centered way, especially when their views differ from yours?
What's appropriate regarding expressing our sexuality/gender? Can that look different than the traditional, "Leave It To Beaver" type roles?
How can we address/teach our children/disciples about sexuality?
3 Questions I Ask Every Guest
- What are 3 resources you'd recommend for someone who wants to develop their foundation for understanding these topics?
- What are your 3 simple joys?
- Who has had the greatest impact on your journey with Jesus?
Note Worthy Quotes
Premodern Metaphysic — One aspect of the many is that there are external sources for everything. Even from just a statement of truth, like what makes something true, that comes from outside of mankind. What makes a chair a chair. That’s outside of mankind. Your opinion and my opinion don’t matter. What matters is there is an absolute right answer. Truth, value, purpose, significance, identity, fate, God, gods — these are all things external. They all come from an external source.
Somewhere in the reformation, Renaissance/Enlightenment period the world began to shift over to a modern metaphysic.
Modern Metaphysic — There are external sources for things and internal sources for other things. It is an interesting mixture of man is not just a creation, he is a created creator. The universe is not just his or her home, it’s also the material with which he builds his home. America was founded as a modern nation.
Then, somewhere around 1950 you start seeing what we call the postmodern metaphysic.
Postmodern Metaphysic — There are no external sources for anything. Especially when we start applying that to truth, identity, or value.
“The questions we’re dealing with right now with gender and sexuality are an expression of the overall issue which is if nobody or nothing from the outside can tell us who or what we are, then who can? The only person left is ourselves. That is deeply problematic because the human race is deeply flawed. What we’re dealing with is who gets to decide to say anything about me? So who, from the outside can say anything about me? Obviously, in the postmodern metaphysic, God has no rights. Most postmoderns have been raised thinking that no one can tell them anything about themselves from the outside.”
“About half of our country is primarily modern and the other half is primarily postmodern.”
“Masculine and feminine are a cultural phenomenon, not a chromosomal or genetic phenomenon. This is completely cultural… For example, if you’re in a Scottish culture, wearing a kilt is not feminine. Now, if (in our culture) a man wore a different skirt under any other context people would say he’s dressing in a feminine way. Another example, in the Middle East men wear long, flowing robes that are essentially dresses all the time, but in their culture that is considered masculine.”
“Masculine is what it means to be male… Masculine is the presentation, it is a cultural definition of male or female. It is, ‘This is how our culture knows that you are male or female.’ By the way you act, dress, talk, and every culture is different.”
“When someone says homosexuality, a lot of times they just mean attraction. Attraction is not sin… The sin would be to engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with that person… Lusting after that thing, being jealous of that thing, yes, those are mental exercises that are sin. But just finding a person interesting, intriguing, or attractive is not sin. That’s just humanity.”
“Isn’t it a fundamental Christian doctrine that we are born fallen?”
“One of the mistakes vocal Christians make is saying, “We have a special message for homosexuals out there and that is, ‘You need a Savior,’ versus saying ‘Hey we have a special message for the entire race of humanity and that is, ‘You need a Savior. And once you have him, you need him every day and every moment and when you mess up you need him, and when you’re doing great you really, really need him.” That to me is part of the mistake that we’ve made, in that somehow, the sins that we personally find less tasteful, we somehow think are less tasteful to God. You want to find one that’s less tasteful to God, divisiveness in God’s people is listed probably a dozen times more often than any sexual sin, but we don’t seem to have a problem with that one in our churches. Or pride? Pride is always listed number one, and yet we don’t find someone marching around with signs about pride.”
“When you’re talking with most people today, if they disagree with you on one of these topics, it’s because their metaphysic is different than yours. They believe that their role in the universe is to be the ultimate authority in their own life. In fact, the only authority in their own life. They’re the only one who gets to say what is right and wrong, what is valuable and not, what is precious and what is not precious, what is treasure and what is common. You’re not going to have a rational conversation that isn’t going to be offensive with them, no matter how hard you try. What you want to avoid is to be unnecessarily offensive.”
“Jesus is described as the scandal on the stone that makes men stumble. Jesus is scandalous enough without us adding ourselves into the mix too much.”
“The problem we’re dealing with is an identity question. Let’s get back to the question of, ‘How do you know who you are? How do you know what makes life good? How do you know what makes life valuable? How do you know that you aren’t trash? How do you know that you aren’t meaningless and that your life matters?’ We intuitively know that there is more to life than being sophisticated, eating and pooping machines. In a godless existence that’s all man is… and none of what we do will matter. Something tells us at a deep level that’s really not true.”
“Understanding that male and female is a sex difference. Gender is the sociocultural description of masculine or feminine.”
“You have to work your way to where you agree for any good discussion.”
“A very healthy question, especially for someone who claims to be a Christian is: what is God a source for? Is God a source for truth? Is God a source for morality? What do you think about that? And then the next one is, is God a superior source to you or me? And if he is, how do we know God’s opinion for something?”
“The relationship that Christianity seeks with God is man trying to know what God wants, not what we want for God.”
“From a therapy perspective, we are raising a generation of anchorless people and we have no idea what that is going to cost us. In the next generation, what will that cost us? The truth is, most of the time when a culture gets here, at least since Jesus Christ was on the earth, you have an awakening.”
“Parents have been the leading predictor of what children believe as they get older…Parents are still the number one influence in their child’s life."
“Don’t try to correct the sinful behavior of lost people. Behavior modification is not what Christianity is about. Jesus didn’t come to prune us, as C.S. Lewis said, he came to tear us up by the roots and start over.”
“One of the ways we fight depression is that we have little joys every day, slightly bigger joys every week, bigger ones every month, and bigger ones every year. By the word ‘simple joy’ I mean the things we look forward to.”
Chris's Simple Joys
Reading aloud to his wife Ginger every night
Watching movies with his kids
Meaningless time with meaningful people
Connect with Chris
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