At church on Sunday I attended a class discussing Lauren Winner’s “Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity” (Brazos, 2005). Her thesis (in the second chapter anyway) is that the church tends to have one of two responses to singles about sex: either be honest and loving (e.g., go ahead) or just don’t do it. She suggests that we look at the larger context of the “say no” passages in order to see God’s larger view of sex as good in the right settings. I won’t go any further here with that thesis but all that to say:
Winner wants us to think about the body as being good. And since the body is a sexual entity, that sex is also good. Got me thinking that most of us don’t see our bodies as something that is good. We focus on the fall and the brokenness we see. We see our lack of health. We see insatiable desire. We see danger. We see something that doesn’t measure up to the image we most want to see.
But here is the challenge. Did God make your body? Is it good? If you only focus on what is not good about your body, what are you missing? How are you marring the true story about your body?
4 responses to “Do you see your body as good?”
I read this book and found other friends who enjoyed it. I find that there are a lot of factors which impact my feelings about my body. How my parents (and, at times, the “church” in a broad sense) handled me as a teenager was often to accidentally shame something created as good (aka, don’t have sex because it’s bad). I eventually saw that as a means of protecting me by attempting to control something they could not control (my choices about sexual behaviors).
I also find that being a woman in this society puts me in a conflict about how to view my body. Take my personal history, mix in messages about being perfect, mix in images of exploited women where “sex sells” everywhere, and I have found that (even after some help in these areas) it is incredibly difficult for me to value my body and, in some ways, my “self”.
Though it’s a complicated thing to unravel, I am increasingly believing that God is very interested in helping us view ourselves and others as He views them, including viewing our bodies as good… maybe not “whole” because of the Fall, but good.
I was not previously aware of this book. It sure is good to see the Body of Christ tackling this subject!
Without knowing more about Winner’s thesis, I don’t really know whether I agree or disagree. My own personal experience of the church’s messages on this topic fall into the “just don’t do it” category.
Phil and Carmella’s posts raise this question for me: “Are ‘good’ and ‘fallen’ mutually exclusive when it comes to our physical bodies?”
Jess, I think most churches give that message. And some for good reason since the damage and danger is great. And yet, I think Winner has some good points as to a bigger and more balanced view of sex. I also don’t think good and fallen are mutually exclusive. But I do think that many people live as if they are.
Thanks so much for your thoughts, Phil! They are always much appreciated…
I agree that many people live as if “good” and “fallen” are mutually exclusive, even if that is not the case.