NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Raw, intimate, and timely—a no-holds-barred celebration of our bodies that flies in the face of antiquated ideas about sex and gender.
“A triumph.”—Glennon Doyle • “One of the most important, life-changing books I’ve ever read.”—Rachel Held Evans, author of Searching for Sunday and Inspired
Negative messages about sex come from all corners of society: from the church, from the media, from our own families. As a result, countless people have suffered pain, guilt, and judgment. In this instant bestseller, Nadia Bolz-Weber unleashes her critical eye and her vulnerable yet hopeful soul on the harmful conversations about sex that have fed our shame.
Bolz-Weber offers no simple amendments or polite compromises. Instead, this modern-day reverend calls for an inclusivity that empowers us to be loyal to people and, perhaps most important, ourselves. “Christianity is not a program for avoiding mistakes,” she writes. “It is a faith of the guilty.” With an alternative understanding of Scripture passages that have been weaponized against Christians for decades, Bolz-Weber reminds us that sexual flourishing can and should be for all genders, all bodies, and all humans. She shares stories, poetry, and Scripture that wage war on perpetual anxiety around sex by celebrating sexuality in all its forms and recognizing it for the gift that it is.
If you’ve been mistreated, confused, angered, and/or wounded by shaming sexual messages, this one is for you.
In this mix of memoir and call to action, Bolz-Weber (Pastrix) draws on experiences from friends, congregants, and her life growing up evangelical in order to offer a new framework for Christian teachings about sex, gender, and relationships. A former pastor, Bolz-Weber expertly sets her critique of Christianity's current teachings and her own ideas for reform in dialogue with biblical texts, early and recent Christian thinkers, and evangelical cultural models for femininity, masculinity, and sex. Her aim is to retrieve what's of value from within Christianity and posit what is missing and needed in order to create a more forgiving, empowering community that encompasses the many Christians (and non-Christians) who find themselves left out in the cold by the church. Bolz-Weber proposes dropping the abstinence-only approach by instead using concern as the criteria for sexual health. By this standard, a devout Christian with concern for his or her spiritual health would abstain from sex before marriage. More concern for healthy sexuality from Christian teachers would also, in Bolz-Weber's estimation, allow room for rethinking "sexual ethics, gender, orientation, extramarital sex, and the inherent goodness of the human body." The book is aimed at multiple readerships: disaffected and alienated Christians; ex-Christians who left the church due to restrictive, problematic, and heteronormative teachings; and the still-committed Christians who struggle with those same teachings. Accessibly written, Bolz-Weber's powerful book effectively presents sexually liberating and inclusive guidance within a Christian context.
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A close look
This collection of life stories bound by a commonality of faith, brings us to a closer look at our lives and sexuality. Uncomfortable yet approachable, reaching inside to encourage us to see and seek what we truly feel and believe. A moment in literary time caught in a continuum of living, a page in the middle of the book of my life - well, perhaps a bit beyond my middle and somewhat closer to my end. I needed that time to be ready for this book. :-)