Discipleship. A word not normally connected with sexuality and yet crucial to changing our world. In her book Rethinking Sexuality, Juli Slattery challenges us that while the culture bombards us with distorted sexual messages, the church cannot and must not remain silent. She coins the term “sexual discipleship“, which on the surface feels awkward, forced and even foreign. How can sexuality and discipleship go together? What does sexual discipleship even mean and who the heck is going to do it?
Talking About Sex
The whole idea of talking about sex face to face with another Christian feels radical. While Sex in the City may have brought open conversations about sex into the secular world, it did nothing to help Christians understand how to have open, honest, helpful conversations about sex. Online Christian communities and blogs can act as a great starting point to discover the truth about sex, but they do little to help us start face to face discipleship. If you can’t talk to your husband about sex, then how will you talk to your kids, or even your friends. When was the last time you prayed with a friend about sex or intimacy in their marriage? How do you even bring up the topic of sex?
In my book Awaken Love, I conclude with a chapter titled Changing the World that begins…
“Does anyone else here feel angry!?” It wasn’t the first time I had heard it during class. When women realize how wrong they’ve been about sex, they get angry. Some feel betrayed or let down by the important people in their lives for not talking about sex. Others feel angry at the church for purity messages that set them up for failure or that always slanted sex towards the needs of men. Some realize how much baggage they’ve carried because sex outside of marriage was treated like the unpardonable sin. A few women wonder how they could have understood so little about their own bodies. Others hate how culture has shaped what they believed about their husband. Most of us have something to feel angry about involving our sexuality.
When righteous anger boils up, it moves us to action. I will never forget the fear of teaching my first classes. Regardless of how crazy or uncomfortable it felt, I knew I had to do something! Reading a book about sex may help you personally, but until you have the courage to engage in conversations face to face with others, our world does not change.
Righteous anger moves us to action to make a difference for others. We move beyond what we’ve always known, or how our parents did things, and we do things different. We get uncomfortable and step out in obedience, trusting that God will show up. Uncomfortable growth becomes a better option than the status quo.
Sexual Discipleship in Action
I’ve seen sexual discipleship in action. Women that attend Awaken-Love tell friend after friend because they cannot keep it to themselves. They openly talk about the importance of sex in marriage with girl friends and how their mindset changed when they understood the truth. Some even have the courage to host an Awaken-Love video class.
Moms talk to their daughters about sex, determined to make things easier for them. Men that spent years silently struggling with porn, open up conversations with their young kids. They know the importance of open conversations from a young age. Because these men and women understand the truth about sex, they fearlessly change their world. These changes ripple and will continue to impact generations to come.
My focus for 2019 is discipleship. On the blog we will spend time wrestling with what God says about discipleship and how it applies to sexuality. Guest posts will share stories about sexual discipleship in order to help you understand practical application and examples of even small things that can impact sexuality. I want to disciple others so that they can make disciples. Sexual discipleship in the church is possible and will make a profound impact that will ripple to impact generations.
It is not enough for me to help people so that they can silently enjoy a better sex life. God wants to change the trajectory of their friends, family and churches. Online communities are a great starting point, but until we can have face to face conversations about sex, our world will not change. I am asking God to radically change lives and marriages so that they can’t help but tell others the good news.
Don’t think for a second that you need to have everything figured out before God can use you to disciple other’s in the area of sexuality. In the Bible, God constantly used ordinary people. Sometimes people learn best from our testimonies and our mistakes . He has used me, and He can use you.
Awaken-Love classes are a great way to get comfortable talking about sex face to face. In this next year, I would like to equip more teachers or video facilitators for Awaken-Love. If you want to learn more about Awaken-Love classes and they are not offered in your area, I am going to offer a special online class experience using Zoom. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. When we get at least 5 participants, we will find a time that works and set things up.
If you have righteous anger over the lack of good information about sex in the church, then are you ready to make a change? What are you going to do?