Okay, I’ve called out two elephants and have five to go; i.e., elephants we seldom if ever talk about “in church” sanctuaries or safe places for fear of, well, safety.
My previous elephant of mental illness and addiction (that which we pray about but never preach or teach about in church) led me to the question of whether you think church can and should do more to help heal the wounds of our human minds today, even as Jesus went about healing many people from the neck up during his own day?
Not a bad question for today’s elephant as well. Why not? Because many Christian believers today are hurting, often very deeply, from issues of sexuality and adultery. Many of these are sitting quietly in our pews on Sunday mornings, loathe to speak about their pain for fear of safety. Many, many more are not sitting in our pews on Sunday mornings for the same reason.
When I speak of sexual pain, I have only one particular sexual organ in mind. In fact, it is the mind. The brain: the largest of the body’s sexual organs where size and blood flow is of greatest importance.
Just as diseases of the brain such as mental illness and addiction are elephants we dare not discuss in polite company, so the brain’s normal vs. abnormal functions in relation to sexuality are considered taboo subjects. Though we know the Temporal lobe at the bottom of our brains, along with the Occipital lobe at the back of our brains, produces virtually all of our sexual pleasure and makes our most childish or immature of decisions, such as lust and adultery, God has given humans an equally large portion of brain-power called the Frontal lobe. Its size is roughly equal to that of the Temporal and Occipital lobes. It is post-adolescent in development and tends to mature in our late 20’s and early 30’s as a rule. Yet, it contains our power to make logical choices rather than emotional, based on anticipation of future consequences rather than on present gratification. In other words, it’s the part of our sexual anatomy that helps us avoid and resolve the pains of sexuality and adultery. It’s even large enough to provide us with understanding and forgiveness, as needed. It is the source of our compassion, while the Temporal and Occipital lobes are our source of passion alone.
Here is where I may lose you, if I haven’t already. As a Pastor who believes science is a gift of our creator, be it Geology and Archeology in the study of earth’s creation story, or Neurology and Psychology in the study of sin’s story, I believe our Frontal lobe’s God-given ability is meant to be accepted, opened, and used. Instead, such science is locked away with the elephant and widely ignored.
I’ve been favorably impressed by medical doctors who consider prayer so essential in the healing process as to suggest malpractice if a physician withholds its proven application. To some doctors, withholding of prayer is akin to the withholding of anti-biotic treatment for an infection. There is simply too much empirical evidence out there to validate prayer’s use in healing.
You know what? I’m equally impressed by churches who consider science as so essential in the healing process as to suggest malpractice — that’s right, malpractice! — if any pastor withholds its proven application. If we really do care about healing people as Christ cared about healing them, then we will include medical science’s empirical evidence of validity instead of withholding it. This includes science’s proven ability to help with human sexuality issues.
All that said, here’s my own attempt to heal the horrible wounds and afflictions of the LGBT community that has been “lovingly condemned” (today’s #1 oxymoron) in their churches. It comes from the Neuro-scientific study of homosexuality. It is worthy to include, in my own humble opinion, in any worship sermon as illustration re. the issue of homosexuality. It comes to us from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, which found that scans of gay people’s brains most closely resembled — in structure and composition — those of heterosexual people of the opposite sex. Essentially, the 2008 study posited that a lesbian’s brain closely mirrored the structure of a straight man’s brain, while a gay man’s brain was most similar in structure to a straight woman.
Here the issue has nothing at all to do with the brain’s four lobes but rather our two hemispheres, which further explain the brain’s sexual organicity. You see, we are born with our hemispheric orientation. It’s congenital. We have no choice in the matter. Which is why this may indeed help heal the most painful of our brain’s misunderstandings about sexuality.
There is indeed a lot to the sexual elephant in our room today. I could go on and on here in this space. It’s a very large elephant. For me, the bottom line “good news” to leave you with today is this: regardless of our brain hemispheres, the brain lobes will present all of us with a large organ of desire and emotion for our sexual passion. Yet, the brain’s Frontal lobe is equally large when it comes to making logical and moral and consequential decisions powerful enough to prevent lust and adultery, yet also powerful enough to offer understanding and forgiveness. The key is blood flow between our brain lobes to facilitate our neuro-pathways and communication. And the best way to stimulate this heightened blood flow is…………drum roll, please……….to inform and educate people about this elephant in the room.