Glen loves nothing more than handing me a book to read. I love reading. I am passionate about reading. Problem is, I never get enough time to read. Usually its 10pm and lights out. Go figure. This one was handed to me with a wink and he said, ’I think you will like this’
I think I knew I would.
I finished it a while back but I had work through some stuff before I was able to put ‘pen to paper’. This is not a book review or a plug for the book but I felt it needed something written about it.
The book in question is called Redeeming Sex by Debra Hirsch, and it’s been a game changer for me. It’s changed how I looked at myself and others. How spirituality and sexuality are intricately linked, and being prepared to embrace and think about this very important area in our lives. Things that I had known and yet not known, it wasn’t a book on finding out information about sex or marriage but a book that righted years of wrong thinking. It was about marriage and friendship, love and sex, it was all in there. How my spirituality fits with my sexuality and without shame. It was like Debra put a voice to many of my already figuring this stuff out.
I loved how she called out shamelessly our desire to be known and to know each other. How our marriages never complete us and being single should never ever be thought of as a second class way to live. I understand more now about my friendships and how they are so needed, both male and female.
She calls out ‘the mindset that feeds into what has been dubbed the romantic myth which elevates marriage or genital connection as superior to all other forms of relationship’ It helped me understand the loss or change of any friendship both with males and females. It was a grief that I hadn’t give myself permission to feel especially if it involved a male.
How we are called to have these healthy friendships where sexual attraction isn’t the driver. How arrogant of us to think it is. She says so beautifully ‘What would our marriages, our friendships, our churches and our communities look like if men and women were not afraid of connecting with each other in deep ways. What if men and women could really know each other without sex getting in the way. What if we did not have to be so afraid of our own and other bodies that we cannot trust ourselves with them’
This is what I want for our kids. I would hate them to grow up in a gender specific ‘playgrounds’ thinking that because they were born male or female they had to conform to that role. Embracing all who our kids are rather than who ‘society’ wants them to be. What if we raised them into homes that didn’t put our sexuality into compartments but saw it holistically. Letting them play with whatever toys they wanted, sending them to co-ed schools so that friendships both male and female were celebrated and encouraged. Not ever allowing our roles in society be determined by our genitals.
I know for me personally I couldn’t live in a world where all my friendships were female, heaven forbid. Nor could I live in a world where they were all males. My friends both male and female enrich my life. Friends both male and female enrich Glen’s life. Surely this is the way it was meant to be.
Debra’s quirky humorous way was perfect for smashing many a concept out of the water. She deals head on with same sex attraction and how this has been so badly dealt with in the past in the church and indeed society. All of this I embraced and learnt so much from! How she talks about Jesus being a sexual being and how we totem pole sins. How in our minds there is an inconsistency and false hierarchy of sins. In this book there were moments for me of anger, seriously, anger at why had no-one told me this before. Anger at myself for allowing the structure of something that that was fear based and not meaningful. Again, the way in which I viewed my own sexuality and others around me as compartments and not holistic.
This is a book not for the faint hearted. It’s a book that will challenge and provoke. It will be a book that will hopefully change our views in how we view ourselves and the people around us.
I leave you with this quote:-
‘People are looking not for a no-holds barred sexuality but for a sexuality to be defined more broadly than erotic. The flagrant sexuality of MTV and sitcoms gives us a reduction of the expansive life- affirming motivation that our sexuality is. People are longing for a broadening of what it means to be a sexual person.’ Lilian Calles Barger