According to Jeff Mallinson, we’ve lost the art of being sexy. Sure, we’ve got plenty of casual sex, porn, and sexual liberation to go around, but none of that ultimately satisfies. All that stuff, he says, lacks the joy of transcendence, flirtation, dancing, and genuine intimacy.
On this edition of White Horse Inn, Michael Horton talks with Jeff about the rationale behind his new book, Sexy: The Quest for Erotic Virtue in Perplexing Times. Due to the nature of the subject matter, this program may not be suitable for young children.
“That unconditional love that God has, specifically Christ has for the church, is the model for the nature of that kind of family life and love. In that, if you have that abundant thing, it’s not something to hoard that love. It’s not a scarcity. Marriage is a foretaste of this kind of relationship to come for everybody. Now, we can’t have this [unconditional love] for everybody in the world, but it’s really nice when mom and dad can start to show that towards each other and then to their children and to their grandchildren. This enacts the kingdom. And so, you really need the language of the kingdom. You really need the language of the gospel for any of this to make sense.
“If you’re only going to be worm food in a few years, you only have one chance to get your pleasure, and that’s why, of course, you—if this marriage you’re in right now is the only opportunity for fulfillment and love, then rotate it out. Get a new model. But I think if you understand this language of the gospel, all of a sudden, everything else starts to make sense. We’re not trying to shackle you to a bad partner. We’re trying to say that we’re the kind of people in Christ that don’t give up on each other. We’re the kind of people that don’t leave stragglers behind. We’re the kind of people that don’t think about relationships in terms of transaction, where I’m just going to find a new vendor.”
Term to Learn
Greek “love.” Agape is the self-giving love seen supremely in God’s love for the world (John 3:16) and is the mark of the Christian life (1 Cor. 13). It embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance. In the New Testament, it specifically refers to the covenant love of God for humans and our reciprocal love for God. The term also encompasses the love of one’s fellow man. Agape is highest level of love (i.e. charity): a selfless love that is passionately committed to the well-being and good of others.
(Adapted from Liddell; Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon; Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, s.v. “Agape.”)