Sex with Kyle Miller.
It’s all in the grammar. Good man Kyle Miller, intrepid professional counselor, has been a force of nature in our pre-marital counseling.
He kept threatening us back in early summer with sex talk. He would say it with a slight cackle. We laughed nervously, "ha ha, that’s funny, Kyle." In his mind, yes, it was funny too, just a little more painfully so. So at last, in early December, we reached the sex talks. And I tell you what: sex is far more interesting than movies make it out to be.
“You mean you have to learn how to have a great sex life?” (I hope this is ok for me to write.) I thought it just happened magically—with a great soundtrack.
No. Alas. It’s not as easy or silly or tediously melodramatic or tediously animalistic as movies make it out to be. It’s much better. And it’s so much better when you have local saints like Kyle and Geno & PJ and Cliff and Christine (and from my end my parents) shepherding our hearts and minds and expectations and visions for married life. I’m profoundly grateful for all the help we’re getting. It’s that village thing again.
This morning we had our last session with Kyle. We talked sex. We also laughed a lot. I really wished we pastors preached more sermons about humor. Since when did it get left off the preaching docket? I don't think God imagines we'll make it through life without one. And that's a funny double negative sentence to write.
But I wonder if God laughed really hard when He thought up sex, because it is kinda funny, especially if you've never had it.
Anyhoo, Phaedra and I used the English language this morning in ways we're not accustomed to using with each other. We also laughed at things that might seem stupid or boring to your average sophisticated American but which for the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve is a good cause for blushing. My feeling of innocence remains a terrifying thing, and sometimes embarrassing, though I know I shouldn't feel embarrassed about feeling innocent.
We try not to use euphemisms. Kyle said that was a no no. No wee wees and no boobies, he exhorted us. He said euphemisms keep you from dealing with truth. They're appropriate in certain settings--for kids perhaps, or at a dinner party with the Queen of England, or maybe in good Victorian novels--but not when you're dealing with person-to-person, human-to-human, heart-to-heart, healthy, holy, whole relationships.
A name is a name for a reason and some names weigh more than others, and rightly so. Your gluteous maximus is not a cedar chest (as the mother of a lady in my church called it).
We've met with Kyle around, say, ten times? Lots of identity in Christ stuff. Lots of mortification of the flesh and family patterns, father-image, mother-image, God-image stuff. Family patterns are like the force: it's everywhere. You can feel it, you can navigate around it, you can redirect it or run with it but you can't escape it. That's the sucky part. The non-sucky part is that the force is not with you. Jesus is. With Jesus family patterns can get redeemed; some can even get torched like a tantalizing mound of gun powder.
But mostly it's complicated, and slow-going. I think that's why we met with him ten times and then another seven with our other older friends, Geno and Phyllis Jane. They're not that old. They're in their fifties. Geno said he was at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago and a guy--a young guy--started talking to him telling him about this great ministry they had, called "The Simeons and Annas" which was for old people; yeah, he said, for people over 50! Geno smiled politely. But inside he was thinking, this kid is on crack. 50? 50 is the new 21.
I told Phaedra while we were drinking coffee and tea at Wholefoods following our session that our experience with Kyle was an honest-to-God experience of submitting ourselves to authority. It certainly isn't the easy thing to do, and it's not like it's the latest craze, but it sure feels good in the soul. Thank God for spiritual older brothers and surrogate moms and village elders. I keep thinking I have my act together. They kindly remind me that A) I don't and B) it's ok that I don't all the time, in all matters.
And you know what? Rugged individualism is for the birds.