Book Reflection: real SEX

Category: By Christian

In what seems to be turning into a two-book sexathon, I just finished up Lauren Winner's real SEX (my next project just so happens to be Sex God by Rob Bell). Girl Meets God was one of two books I read in 2006 that I would like to reread this year, and that has thus endeared my heart to Lauren Winner. I find that one of her strengths is making the ups and downs of living out your faith something that we can all identify with and I appreciate her candor as she addresses various issues pertaining to life and God.

real Sex fills a huge void in Christian Literature in that it talks about sex and spirituality in a way that is very understanding of some of the cultural paradigms that have been very detrimental to both Christians and nonChristians in our hyper-sexed society. It seems as though the church has not done a good job when it comes to talking about sex. The subject is either ignored altogether, or it's clothed in insider language that only appeals to those who are a part of the in group. It's too bad, because with the number of sexual messages that most people receive every day, the church is falling behind when it comes to communicating a sexual ethic that is informed by our relationship with God.

There are a couple of particular aspects of real SEX that I really appreciated. First, was Winner's willingness to address the issue of how the church treats unmarried people. Not only does she call churches to task for setting themselves up as clubs for families, she also provides some great advice on how churches can be more inclusive of single people. It has been something that I have been thinking about a lot lately as one of the marks of New Monasticism is "support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children." Easier said than done as that paradigm has been neglected by the church during our recent past.

The other helpful discussion I found in Winner's work was how she fleshed out the idea that chastity (different from celibacy) can be a formative spiritual discipline. Not only did she provide a great definition of chastity, but she also did a fantastic job of showing how it can work in conjunction with other spiritual disciplines to better align us with God's heart.

The volume comes in at about 160 pages, so it's something that everyone can get through with relative ease. In my own mind, it has been useful because it has spurred some thought as to how I'm going to address the issue of sex with my daughter some day (gasp!!). How can I as a parent do my job in providing the foundation for my daughter to have a healthy sexual ethic? That's a huge responsibility, and it's more than a little scary. Apparently a lot of parents are paralyzed by the same fear, as evidenced by this piece from NPR yesterday. At least I have a couple of years to figure out the answer to that question.

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1 comment so far.

  1. Beth 7:09 PM
    amen amen amen! I LOVE this book... and plan to share it with my future husband soon... I so appreciate her thoughts, esp. in how she approaches the non-Christian world with the same passion she does the Christian world

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