I guessed well so far. Sunday was a good sermon on gluttony. My wonderful wife had a great time looking at a visitor who started off not interested and grew progressively more interested. Good work Dan. So back to the deadly sins for me.

While preparing last week for a Church History class I came across Zwingli’s 67 articles. Jim West has a copy here. One of the articles, number 49 amused me:

49- I know of no greater offence than to forbid priests to have wives, yet allow them to engage prostitutes.

For centuries the church has tried to figure out how to deal with society’s proclivity to sexual activity, especially outside publicly witnessed committed monogamous legally recognised heterosexual relationships. This is sometimes called marriage but some people I think consider marriage in a lesser form so I wanted to write the long fashioned sense in which I was thinking.

At the same time there has been an greater acceptance in the liberal end of the spectrum of church to accept relationships outside the above definition because we all suffer from lust and it is better to be committed than lusting. In Venice, I was told when my wonderful wife and I were there, they had set up brothels to decrease sodomy. Well I suppose that is one solution but not one I would recommend. Neither as we can see above is celibacy without marriage.

I do not want to consider why lust is a problem, we have enough examples above of the outcomes but what are some solutions. While marriage may seem to be an answer I think that is like saying a drainage system stops floods. Sure a drainage system takes away lots of rain but if the system is still overloaded a flood still happens. So it is with lust, a marriage may give a legitimate outlet to express sexual activity but it does not guarantee that attitudes and ideas have been dealt with.

So what is the response to lust? It is again not self-control but purity. This is a revelation to me as I have just written this and had not successfully thought before as to how I would answer this. Lust comes from what we observe and dwell on, to remain out of the control of lust means we have to make decisions to be pure, in what we see hear, listen, talk and think about. A great discussion of this can be found in the comments to Letting Porn Win. Yet in the end we have to decide which we let win, lust or purity, flesh or God.

So what is your purity like?