In January 2019, Nadia Bolz-Weber released “Shameless: A Sexual Reformation”. The description for this book reads as follows, “Christians are obsessed with sex. But not in a good way. For nearly two thousand years, this obsession has often turned destructive, inflicting pain, suffering, and guilt on countless people of all persuasions and backgrounds. In Shameless, Bolz-Weber calls for a reformation. To make her case, she offers experiences from her own life and stories from her parishoners alongside biblical theology to explore what the church has taught, and the harm those teachings have caused.” This book changed my life and had a deep impact on my ministry.
Not long after its release, some friends in our mission center and I went to her book tour in Portland. She was electrifying. The truths that she spoke had us clinging to every word. She isn’t a conventional, “cookie cutter” minister which is part of what gravitates me towards her. She’s real and authentic and herself, even when that isn’t comfortable for others. And I love that. And I can relate to that. This book helped me better understand the issues as well as begin healing the parts of me that that have experienced trauma because of how much of Christianity approaches the topic of sex. So much harm has been done because of the messaging and shame that is inflicted on others because of this. Within Community of Christ, I didn’t get a lot of that but instead I got nothing. This was also harmful as the only religious messaging I received growing up were the harmful voices that are out there when approaching this layered topic.
A few months ago, I was invited by Carla Long to be a co-host with her for Community Chat. Community Chat is like an online talk show where we talk about things related to Community of Christ and faith. Our most recent episode was inspired by this book. I encourage everyone to watch it and to please do so with an open mind. Even if you don’t agree or are not comfortable with talking about sex and faith together, it is important to understand why it is imperative for others that these kinds of conversations take place. In this episode, you’ll see a familiar face in Tami Perryman as she lived in Bend, Oregon, for a few years while her husband Craig worked for the congregation there. Joining Carla Long and I is also Jamiann Smith. It is my hope that we can begin to have healthy, open conversations about topics like these in our faith community.
Watch here: https://youtu.be/BNu7MxzDgx8