Intervarsity coordinator addresses God’s design for sexuality

By Katherine Pullen, Staff Writer

During the Heart of Sexuality event March 29, the keynote speaker encouraged attendees to recognize that sex is designed by God and is intended to be both pleasurable and beneficial, a preview of an ultimate union with Christ.

“He put this intensely powerful sexual drive into each of us so that we would be restless alone — that it would keep us from isolating ourselves from humanity,” said Sharon Gartland, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship national coordinator for Women in the Academy and Professions.

Gartland, who has been married 26 years and is the mother of four children, came from the University of Wisconsin at Madison to share about the biblical design of sexuality for women. Men and women were invited.

For the course of the evening, the half court in the Bowld Student Commons was transformed from traditional gym space to elegant speaking venue. Round tables veiled with white tablecloths and adorned with flickering candles sprouted from the gym floor.

Gartland said that sex, the ultimate earthly union with a spouse, is a glimpse of a future holy union with Christ and should serve to remind us of God’s goodness.

“Learn to recognize loneliness as a symptom of life on earth,” she said. “… Recognize it as a longing for heaven.”

Gartland described how Satan twists God’s design for sex and, outside the context of marriage, turns sex into something that can do much more harm than good. God designs sexual desires not so that we would be tempted to sin but so that we might be drawn closer to Christ, she said.

Melanie Taylor, junior sport ministry major and member of the planning committee for the event, said women don’t have to suppress the fact that they are sexual creatures, because God has made them that way.

We should not view sexual desire in itself as sin, she added, because “God has a plan to use that for his glory and for our benefit as well.”

From John Piper’s book, “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ,” Gartland read, “We were given the power to know each other sexually so that we might have some hint of what it will be like to know Christ supremely.”

She reminded those who attended that Christ remained single for the duration of his time on Earth yet lived a full human life.

“The joy set before Jesus was the same one all of us are invited into, (that is), the joy of seeing the world reconciled with God in a true consummation, one of which human sexual union is only a foretaste,” Gartland said.

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