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Ethics for the Sexually Perplexed
Ethics is like art: it requires knowing how and where to draw your lines.
Bad ethics, like bad art, should be critiqued. Good ethics, like good art, enhances community life and should be on public display. As artists will tell you, it’s also possible to learn how to be a better artist, but it takes practice to refine one’s skills. The same holds true for ethical artisans. Given the controversy that surrounds this topic, my wager is that if people gain greater confidence about doing sexual ethics from a Christian perspective, they will then have good reason to feel ready to address almost any other topic. Although practice may not make perfect, at the very least this exercise should help us live more mindfully and participate more thoughtfully in respectable moral debate.
When it comes to sex and sexual ethics, some people draw their lines all over the place. Others exhibit what Anthony Weston calls ‘premature clarity’, a seemingly unshakeable confidence that disputed matters can be readily settled by drawing a clear line in the sand or simply repeating conventional wisdom, though perhaps in an ever louder voice. Still others, confused about what an ethically principled sexual relationship looks like, remain silent so they won’t offend others in a postmodern, increasingly diverse church and culture.
Hear an excerpt.