Shameless: A Sexual Reformation by Nadia Bolz-Weber releases on January 29, 2019.
I never learned about healthy sexuality.
My sex education as a kid consisted of my mom throwing a stack of library books on the dining room table and telling me to teach myself. And in 5th grade, I watched a cheesy film strip when they separated the boys and girls and taught us how our bodies would be changing soon. There were no questions. In 9th grade, during the required coed health class taught by the football coach, there were no questions either.
I didn’t become a Christian until my mid-twenties. I grew up in marginally Christian culture home. I prayed a little rhyme before meals and at bedtime. I knew right from wrong but I had no real foundation why. My parents were and are racist and sexist, which I’ve always assumed was because of their upbringing and the times in which they lived. As an only child born to them later in life, I couldn’t relate much to my peers whose parents were younger and seemed more accepting. My parents will be 76 this spring, living in a huge brick house about 45 minutes south of Atlanta. They seem to hate everything and everyone. They are bitter old white people who complain about the success of others they deem less deserving than they.
When I was 18, my dad found condoms in my purse. Why he was snooping in my purse I will never know or understand. He stormed into my bathroom to confront me. I was just getting out of the bath and I stood there, dripping and trying to wrap myself in a towel, while he berated me about my boyfriend. I was forbidden to see him anymore. I was 18 but treated like a little child. It was easier for me to break up than deal with the family strife.
Fast forward to age 20, when I attempted suicide before Christmas. My father told me I didn’t mean anything to my older by 6 years boyfriend. He was just using me. This time, instead of conceding to my father’s “protection,” I eloped.
My marriages were pretty disastrous. Counselors, both Christian and secular, told me to just allow my husband all the sex he wanted, whenever and however he wanted it – and all would be better. Trite tips on how to parrot his requests to improve communication. I was always the aggressor, refusing to back down in my admonition that communication and sex weren’t the real problems. My first husband was addicted to pornography. My second was mentally ill. But somehow, they were victims.
I researched and did all the self-help – secular and churchy. I dove down that evangelical rabbit hole. I’ve been divorced (gasp!) and church members just wanted to pray for reconciliation (no!). I thought purity culture might be the answer. (It’s not.)
I tried to be the perfect Christian wife. I am not a quiet meek little mouse. I was ostracized, criticized, alienated for being myself. A cis straight white woman – homemaker and homeschooler. I can’t even imagine what others face who are more on the fringes of what church culture deems appropriate.
I’m just really, really, really tired of it all.
Something has to change.
I have three daughters and a son. What narrative about sexuality do I want them to learn? From whom do I want them to learn about it? It’s important to do more than have The Talk. How do I help my kids make sense of it all? I want them to have healthy relationships. It has to be an ongoing conversation and I have to learn alongside my kids and have no fear.
Sex sells. Sex permeates our society. Sex affects all our relationships – with coworkers, acquaintances, authority figures. People who see everything in black and white say just always avoid being alone with someone of the opposite sex, as if that protects everyone from abuse, assault, accusation.
In light of #MeToo and #ChurchToo and abuse, scandals, hatefulness, we need to step up and lead a way into light for those who are lost. We love Jesus, but not the church.
Christians are obsessed with sex. But not in a good way. For generations countless people have suffered pain, guilt, and judgment as a result of this toxic fixation on sex, the human body.
Raw, intimate, and timely, Nadia Bolz-Weber’s latest book offers a full-blown overhaul of our harmful and antiquated ideas about sex, gender, and our bodies.
I love this book because the author addresses sexuality in our society and in our churches and what it could and should be. She relates her own personal experiences – mistakes, shameless choices, and the broken rocky road that we all travel. Her imagery is unique and beautiful. I love her writing and I’ve read all her books.
We need a sexual reformation in the church.
Order now! Shameless: A Sexual Reformation by Nadia Bolz-Weber.
I preordered the book and received a galley copy from the publisher, Convergent/Penguin Random House.