What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity? ("Can I Ask That?" Video Series)

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Can I Ask That? Series


What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?

“Can I Ask That?” Video Series: Session 5 of 7

What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?
Human identity and sexuality are very deeply intertwined subjects. In many ways, both our personhood and sexuality are enigmas—deeply mysterious subjects, and not nearly as simplistic as they are made to seem in culture and society.
Our identity is the core of our individualism and our personality. Our identity is the amalgamation of who God made us, who we think we are, and even who others think we are. From these, we form a self-concept, and from that springs our personality, image, reputation, and character.
The Bible says that God made us, mind, body, and spirit. And together, these form who we are. Then, as we figure out our identity, because we weren’t created to live alone in isolation, we soon migrate toward intimacy.
Intimacy has to do with knowing others and being known by others. It’s about sharing our own self-discovery, who we are, with others. And a possibility of this sharing is that, as intimacy grows, human sexuality enters into the picture.
Human sexuality is unique. It isn’t like evolutionists would have us believe—just another version of the biological propagation of an animal species. Unlike animals, human beings were created in the image of God. And as such, we aren’t only composed of chemicals and physical bodies (like mere plants and animals), we are created to reflect God’s glory through our bodies and our inner essence. That inner essence, our spiritual reality, and our minds, means we were endowed with capacities not found in any other life forms.
Human sexuality was created to involve not only our bodies and our senses—but also our souls… meaning our minds, our thoughts, our motivations, our emotions, our feelings, and even our imaginations. And human sexuality also involves our spirits—the deepest inward parts of us, our very essence, and our very lives—in other words, sexuality involves every part of us.
As people, identity, intimacy, and sexuality are related. Each affects the other. So understanding what God says about these three powerful concepts will help us become more healthy and happy—and misunderstanding them will make us less happy, healthy, whole, and holy. So it’s important to get them right by learning and doing what God says.



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"Can I Ask That?" Mini-Video Series Introduction

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Can I Ask That? Series

“Can I Ask That?”

Recently I was posed a handful of questions by a current Saddleback Pastor, Brandon Bathauer of Saddleback Church’s Irvine South and Great Park Campuses. He asked if I could give a one-minute response on 7 different questions about faith.
Here are the 7 questions in this series:
1. Is It OK to Ask Hard Questions About Faith?
2. Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
3. Is God Republican or Democrat?
4. Why Do Christians Believe in Such an Old Book?
5. What Does God Say About Sexuality and Identity?
6. Is God Really Violent?
7. Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

Follow Along Each Week for Another Installment of This 7 Part Video Series!


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Click to Learn More About Joining a Live Study by Pastor Brandon Bathauer on Wednesdays, 6:30pm PST from April 26-June 7, 2017 at Saddleback Church (Irvine South Campus) 18842 Teller Avenue, Irvine, Calif

Understand Yourself Like a Clinical Psychologist: Power and Persona

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Power and Persona
Image by Ryan McGuire, courtesy Gratisography

 

How Well Do You Know Yourself?

It’s time to get your “shrink” on.

Shrink is a common, sometimes pejorative term, for psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors.  The term shrink comes from “head shrinker” which apparently developed in Hollywood, California (about 40 miles from where I’m sitting) sometime in the 1940s. 

A “head shrinker” was someone who helped you eliminate feelings of personal grandeur and greatness by telling you EXACTLY what is wrong with you.  Later shortened to simply “shrink” the term stuck… and many people now call counselors by that term.

So shrinks are counselors, in a manner of speaking. 

Counselors are typically equipped in the fields of either psychology or psychiatry. Psychiatry is more deeply based in the medical field (meaning psychiatrists can prescribe medications) while psychology is more based in the social or behavioral sciences.


Psychology is the ‘Science’ of Behavior

Psychologists and Psychiatrists seek to understand you and your motivations, and how motivations affect your behavior.  If successful, people can have more self-awareness and begin to move toward wholeness.  And that all begins with “knowing thyself” as the ancient philosopher Plato said.
PLATO Know Thyself
 
 

Knowing ourselves has to do with our sense of identity. 

The cultivation of a person’s identity, cumulatively~ over time, results in the formation of one’s persona. This persona is the fundamental basis from which someone thinks, feels, and acts (lives).

For this reason, an impaired personality (viz., a dysfunctional person) remains necessarily and existentially ‘lost.’ And until that person can find himself, he/she remains incapable of being truly happy, healthy, whole, and holy.

 

People Who Haven’t Found Themselves are “Lost” Emotionally and In Their Own Identity.  People Who Haven’t Been Found by God are “Lost” Spiritually.

Lost
This leads to the pitiful phenomena of a person being estranged within his own existence. This possibility may sound strange but is, I believe, a common reality for a portion of our society, Christian or not.


The Haunted Self

But the one who has plumbed the depths of his haunted self, when guided into the light of selfhood by the truth of God’s Word & Spirit (Rom 12:3), ultimately finds himself.
 
Finding oneself is progressive– it can’t happen all at once.  

That’s because our human nature is like an onion, wrapped or encased in layers upon layers of thoughts, ideas, reflections, self-evaluations, motives, feelings, and the like.

But if and when a person does the hard work of sorting through his or her soul, they ultimately gain the grace of finding themselves. 
This liberating reality infuses such a person with a profound sense of identity. It is this (and only this) transformed individual who is able to shrug off the insecurities and limitations of the empty self to finally begin to become all that God has made him to be.


Becoming a Person of Power and Presence

Show me a person like this, and I will show you a man or woman of profound power and personal presence.

This is where God wants to transport all believers, but most are seemingly too fearful of their haunted and misunderstood humanity or are too in love with the illusion of godless liberation to ever be truly liberated.
Don’t let that be said of you.  Do the work of seeking and finding who you are by discovering who God made you to be.  Then you’ll be free… liberated!
“For where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” 2 Corinthians 3:17


 

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