If you had told me a few months ago I would be starting off a discussion about sexuality in Velvet Ashes Book Club, I would have laughed nervously and probably changed the subject.
Yet, here we are! If you are reading these words and joining the conversation too, welcome. Thank you for pushing through the layers of apprehension, awkwardness or even shame to chat honestly with your sisters in this community.
This month we are reading Rethinking Sexuality: God’s Design and Why It Matters by Dr. Juli Slattery. We come with our own opinions, thoughts and experiences related to the topic of sexuality. We represent different life stages and relationship statuses, and so Rachel and I are co-leading this month to bring you both a single and married perspective.
And honestly it might be weird. You and I might not agree with each other, or with where Dr. Slattery lands or what she recommends. That’s okay. The fact that we are thinking about God’s design for sexuality and adding on the layer of specific issues we face regarding sexuality as cross-cultural workers is significant.
Talking about it in a safe place is important too. Dr. Slattery writes in chapter one, “For far too long, Christianity has not represented a safe place for pilgrims to find help related to sexuality. Ironically, everyone seems to be talking about sex but rarely within the context of home and church.”
There’s a good chance that you have experienced pain or confusion related to conversations about sexuality in the context of your church or organization.
You might have suffered abuse. If that’s true of you, I’m so sorry. I wish you didn’t have to deal with that hurt and betrayal.
You might be dealing with sexual struggles or sin. I wish I had easy answers for you, but I don’t.
My hope is that this book and our discussions this month don’t add to your pain, shame or confusion. I hope that by sharing honestly, or even just being willing to read this book together, it will be a source of light and love and not judgment.
I come to this conversation as a 35-year old virgin. I come with questions and longings, and bit of embarrassment that I have to admit all that. I am bringing my feelings of complete inadequacy because I don’t know what I’m talking about, and I don’t have all the answers which is a challenge for this perfectionist. I’ll be totally honest that I’m skeptical the words “sexual” and “discipleship” can be in the same sentence, but I’m curious and open and eager to learn.
What about you? Let’s be respectful and kind in the comments and as we listen to one another.
Why do you think these conversations have been challenging to have in the church? Is the same true of sending organizations?
What are the specific issues regarding sexuality you have seen in your context? Is this different from your passport culture?
How do you come to this conversation?
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:
September 14th: Part 2 (Chapters 3-7)
September 21st: Part 3 (Chapters 8-10)
September 28th: Part 4 (Chapters 11-12)