Let’s Get Intimate

When people hear the word intimacy they imagine immediate pleasure – two young people meet in a club seduce each other with their looks run off to a small apartment tear off their clothes and land drunk in love all-night. This is a nice and neat story. It is great for a quick sound bite, but this is not intimacy.

Let’s face it sex sells. Sex is everywhere. It is used to promote cars, clothes and household cleaning items. We live in a post sexual revolution culture where there is unprecedented freedom in private sexual relationships.

Intimacy doesn’t receive the same attention that sex does. In fact, many people confuse the two. People are having heterosexual, homosexual and other kinds of consensual sex, but are missing out on intimacy.

People don’t enter serious relationships just to have sex, but the real goal of any serious relationship is genuine friendship. Intimacy is the basis for true affection. Intimacy promotes tenderness, fidelity, camaraderie, companionship and friendship – all the things we don’t talk about and don’t know how to secure, but crave.

We have a tendency to name ourselves by how we have sex. We should distrust this tendency. Sometimes we name ourselves because of what we want – there is a better way to choose a name. We should be careful to separate intimacy from want and sexual acts. Intimacy is not sex. It is not the same thing as want. It is a tool for building strong durable relationships. We want closeness and confidence in others. Intimacy fuels the work we must do to become real friends.

Intimacy helps us do the hard work of building strong relationships. Friendships must be built. Intimacy leads to a friendship that includes deep confidence and attachment to our friend. While sex is based on physical attraction, intimacy requires a personal experience that builds trust. It requires moments of vulnerability and communication. It demands innovative and open exchanges that build mutual appreciation. Intimacy is a basic building block of positive and genuine human relationships.

Intimacy helps us figure out how to live together, to share our time, our meals, our space, our leisure, our grief, our knowledge, and our confidences together. Consumer models of worship and the American Christian addiction to mega churches, radio format music and an individual inspirational word have stripped our religious lives and our church communities of a deep appreciation for intimate fellowship and real friendship.

When people confuse intimacy with sex, intimacy has no place in the sanctuary. But, a church without intimacy is a church without friendship and liberating worship. It is a church where individuals are isolated and have no confidence in the fellowship. It is a church full of private and lonely people where social media post replace deep and real human interaction.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25

For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, and my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.
Psalm 55: 12-14

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