I used to say things like the following, "Our problem is Christians have caved into culture when it comes to Biblical standards." And "We just need to get back to a Biblical ethic of sexuality." Okay, I'm not sure I ever said those sentences verbatim, but I certainly didn't disagree with those kinds of sentiments.
But the more I attempted to define a "standard" or a "Biblical ethic of sexuality" the more I grew frustrated. What constitutes a standard? What's transferable from an ancient civilization to a contemporary civilization? And even if we could define a Biblical ethic of sexuality, should be we emphasizing ethics or emphasizing compassion? (Those kinds of questions turned into more. Three became a dozen. Then a hundred. Since then I've lost count. Some of them are better than others, but I list all of them in the forthcoming book, Questions about Sexuality that Got Me Uninvited from My Denomination.)
The questions opened doors. And eventually, I became suspicious of what motivated me to express those kinds of thoughts in the first place. I concluded, after walking through lots of doors, that I was operating more from a sense of insecurity or fear than a sense of love. (In an attempt to preempt angry emails, I'm not saying this must be true of you or everyone, I'm simply saying I concluded this was true for me.) And whatever else was true, I decided that Jesus was more about love than anything else.
Love is the standard.
Ha, well, I have good news and bad news. My questions didn't clear up; however, what I found in love... gave me the intellectual honesty to carry my questions more peacefully. (Peacefully: to be full of peace.)
And then I just employed good ol' pragmatism... I said to my self, "Self, you can either have questions, be all worked up by the energy of discontent, anxiety and insecurity or you can have questions and live in peace." And without getting all Robert Frost, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood" on you, I chose the latter, and that has made all the difference.
What I would wish for all humans (though I'm thinking particularly of Christian humans in this post) is for us to lean into love. Finally. Love helps us carry our anxieties. Without love, our anxieties carry us.