All around campus these past few weeks, you might have seen large, dark blue posters that asked questions that are a bit too deep to be dealt with when you’re rushing to your Monday morning class. Things like, “But What if I Don’t Need God?” and “Has Science made Religion Redundant?” But perhaps the most eye catching of these is one that asks, “Why does God care about what I do in the bedroom?”


It’s a good question. Even kind of invasive in its power, signalling the arrival of the guilt train. It’s a great hook for one of the many events that are all a part of the Relevant series, brought to you by the U of T chapter of Power to Change, a Christian group on campus dedicated to “helping students discover Jesus.” The series is an exercise in raising awareness of how “maybe God is more relevant to your life than you first thought.”

 

Last Friday at noon, Leonard Hall at Wycliffe College was filled to the brim with students eager to hear some of God’s pillow talk. Underneath the sparkling red and white stained glass windows, Dan MacDonald opened his arms wide and spoke with a soft, deep voice. According to his bio, he is a lawyer who is now a pastor in downtown Toronto, and notably “dreamed of playing professional sports until he looked in the mirror.”


He was assisted in answering questions by fellow panelists Dr. Scott Masson, an Associate Professor of English Literature from Tyndale University, and Nathan Betts, a speaker with the co-sponsoring organization Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.


MacDonald delivered a pretty straightforward talk, and being a lawyer, was adept at deconstructing the broad issue into smaller, more digestible parts to slowly convince people why God cared what sex anyone had.


He started out by saying it was too simplistic to think God doesn’t care—of course he does. Then quoting Pierre Trudeau for saying, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” he argues that there really is a place for such a source of authority as the state, or in this case God as well. In fact, he could prove it with one easy question: “Do you think raping a seven year old girl should be a criminal act? Yes. Unless you’re a monster, you know. We should care. We do.” I looked around to see what everyone else thought about this point of argument, and I don’t think I was the only one somewhere between confused and incredulous.


MacDonald’s second argument was about why God cares. He says it’s because God wants us to flourish, especially since sex is integral to our identities. He went on about how humans are made in his divine image, so we need to uphold that responsibility with dignity.


His third and final point was about how God cares. He said he personally wholly believed in the historical, Gospel position on sex being correct, that “sex should be in the marriage bed of a man and woman.” He went on to rhapsodize about how God has given us sex in marriage as a gift of relational pleasure, made for, as per Genesis, the creation of a beautiful unity.


But, of course, he went on his share of tangents. The speech devolved into a diatribe on how the current cultural climate is not one that is conducive to “flourishing.” Instead, now is a time of objectification, thanks to porn, which drives sex slavery.


In response to the Gospel view on sex, the panel was asked about whether homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so or whether such people should be accepted. Dr. Masson replied, and I quote, that that’s not the case, since “it’s wrong because it’s wrong.”


But Dr. Masson wasn’t the only one full of charming sound bytes. Dan MacDonald made a subtle snub at Islam that I can’t recall the context for, but went, “God spoke… [and] manifested himself…. He didn’t mediate through some prophet who may have gotten it wrong.”


Meanwhile, Betts rounded out the panel with answers that gave a glimmer of something more moderate, championing the spiritual fulfillment one can gain through a relationship with God when sex is absent from one’s life. That’s the sort of Christianity that more reasonably resonated with everyone in the room, I think, despite everything that came before, and I think what the real essence of the Relevant series was all about.


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