Sex, Sexuality and the Scapegoated

My latest book contains a couple of poems around the topic of sexuality. I wrote them for those who messaged me with tragic stories of sexual abuse by church workers and community ostracisation due to same sex attraction. As an avid researcher, I looked through the academic literature and work being done around the Evangelical church, purity culture and sexuality. I found some outstanding work and research being done. Solid work, not by low-end theologians or popular pastors but Jesus-followers trained and experienced in psychology, sex-therapy, research and sexuality.

The evidence overwhelmingly points towards the destructive path we’ve been on when it comes to sexuality. And I say we, because in the past, I have unknowingly been part of propagating and affirming ideas and the interpretation of scripture that has caused harm. Although it was scant and in ignorance, it is something I regret.

What sort of damaging messages are preached and taken for granted in Evangelical circles? Here are some examples: messages about body ownership (husband own woman’s body), obligation sex (because if the man doesn’t get sex from his wife he might turn elsewhere -making it her responsibility🤦🏼‍♂️), wait till you’re married and it’ll be great (when for 51% of women it isn’t). What is discussed too seldom? High reported levels of sexual pain in Christian marriages, low mutual sexual satisfaction, sexual dysfunction, problems around postpartum sex, the actual definition of sex, masturbation … the list goes on and we haven’t started on sexuality in singleness, postpartum, through illness and injury, through neuro-diversity.

These are all really important things VERY FEW people will talk about because of religious shame (something else I write about in the new book).

So what happens when an entire group of people with religion-fueled sexual shame keep it all hidden? Well, the shame grows… and then the pain needs somewhere to go. Now, the way we deal with pain differs. Some prefer to conquer it with a sense power – so they find ways to project that power onto others. Some medicate with punishment – harming themselves or others. Some medicate with a sense security – making efforts to feel secure in their dysfunctional decisions, perhaps at the expense of others and interpretation of scripture.

Whatever the preferred method of medicating the pain, it is often at the expense of others – generally minorities. Humanity is exceptional at scapegoating. We’ve done it since the beginning (“The woman made me do it”, “The serpent made me do it”) Just consider Able (Gen 4). Consider Jesus. Consider racism. Consider gender inequality. Consider the LGBTQ+ community…

I am finding, when the hot topic of same-sex attraction or gay marriage comes up in conversation with Christians, moving the conversation towards the gigantic-research-revealing log in our own Christian eyes is actually the best place to start… it may even be the Christlike way to start. Rarely, from this turn in conversation, has the topic steered back to the place of their purging. Usually, we discover we’ve made purity more about our bodies, rather than Jesus’s body and work. And most often, we discover we have replaced morals around sexuality, with
maturity in our sexuality.

There are a number of good research-based people worth following and reading. I’d like to recommend the books, social media, podcasts of the following two people:

Dr Tina Schermers. https://www.tinaschermersellers.com/ – exceptional books including a new one on parenting

Sheila Wray Gregoire. https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/. – New Book The Great Sex Rescue and Podcast are fantastic

I also really appreciate Dr Richard Beck’s academic theological and psychological musings around the church, sin and homosexuality which can be found here. He has done a great job of revealing the many facets and factors around the debate.

Also, you can get my latest book here or on Amazon

With Love. Dave

A poem from So I Wrote You A Poem

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