Foucault, Christians and Sex

Wow, I love that title,

…here are a couple of hairy, straight, suggestions for ways in which Foucault’s analysis benefits Christian thinking about sexuality.

First, Foucault has a lot to say about why and how our culture loves to speak about sex. On the one hand we are continually telling ourselves that sex is the subject of taboo: Help, Help, Sex is being Repressed!

Queer EyeYet the person who speaks about sex is seemingly free of these taboos. They have stepped over the boundary lines of polite speech. Someone who speaks about sex has apparently been freed from this repression – speaking about sex is a claim to have power. Foucault draws a fascinating line between the person who speaks about sex and denounces sexual repression and the Biblical prophet, The speaker about sex denounces the violence and oppression of society from outside its power structures, and announces a time when power and oppression will be done away with, when the innate sexuality of bodies will be freed. Does that sounds a bit like a sexual take on the end of the age, and the beginning of the resurrection?
Hey, that’s our sandwich board!

Second, Foucault has done us an immense favour by giving a good shake to the largely unquestioned connection between sexual behaviour and identity in our popular culture.
Foucault argues, for example, that the ‘Gay’ man, is a relatively recent invention, whose appearance and constitution in society are not entirely the products of his sexual behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with questions about the psychology and genetics of sexual orientation (other people will have plenty to say about that). It has everything to do with the growth of a tendency to ground our identities in our sexuality. I mean, what on earth is a ‘metrosexual’?
And how do we keep them away from densely populated areas?

There’s a lot more thinking to be done here. If you want to do it, let me know, we can go out for coffee and croissants, I’ll wear my favourite skivvy.

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3 thoughts on “Foucault, Christians and Sex

  1. I'll take you up, as long as I don't have to wear a skivvy.

    This is a fantastic point of contact between OT and culture. I challenge you to weave that into your next sermon on prophecy – it could really go down a treat (in the right circles). This is just the kind of cultural exegesis pastors and preachers need to do! Onya!

    By the way it also is a great encouragement for us to keep talking about sex and the liberation of our imprisoned sexuality from a Christian viewpoint, loudly and proudly, proclaiming freedom for prisoners, etc etc – as a way of saying, "look, we're free from this too, we're also outside this repressive regime" and so on.

    Anyway, aren't I meant to be studying? But love to catch up with you guys soon for said coffee and croissant.

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  2. Of course I didn't mean that our sexuality is liberated from the Christian viewpoint… I meant it is liberated, by Christ and that that Christian liberation can be proclaimed…!

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  3. I'm afraid you really have to wear a skivvy…

    ok, maybe not.

    But only 'cause I'd really like to catch up and I don't want yous not to come because of my weird conditions…

    thanks for the encouragement though. I wouldn't mind trying to put together an OT sermon on prophecy with this in the background.

    There's also something going on with 'idolatry of the Self' in modern thinking about sexuality.
    Christians have something prophetic to say about that to I reckon.

    d

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