good christian sex

Bromleigh McCleneghan's new book with HarperOne, Good Christian Sex: Why Chastity Isn't the Only Option--And Other Things the Bible Says About Sex, is a welcome addition to an ongoing conversation about sexuality and faithfulness among the people of God. A Methodist pastor, Bromleigh brings a generous theological lens to topics like pleasure, intimacy, fidelity, and more.

I appreciated her candid and warm pastoral tone, how she teased out desire from lust, and the ways she strove for inclusivity of queer sexualities, genders, and people. She is sensitive to singleness and survivors and does not deal in shame. Her incarnational take is refreshing and open, setting itself apart in a field that can otherwise tend toward narrow, prescriptive, and downright harmful. McCleneghan provides a compelling vision for sexuality that is mutual, holistic, fun, and faithful.

Her sexual ethic is much about love of neighbor: not objectifying or exploiting, treating one's partner and oneself with kindness and justice, and seeking the kind of vulnerability that cultivates growth and community. It's a vision that is healthy, fruitful, and deeply embodied, and one I am encouraged to see practiced alike by people of Christian faith, other faiths, and no faith at all.

And I suppose that's my only objection: if Christians are called to live in a manner "set apart," should a Christian theology of sexuality distinguish itself in meaningful ways from its religious and cultural counterparts? Are consent and mutual respect all God requires of the Church with regard to sex? They meaningfully ground a healthy and holistic sexual ethic that is certainly honoring of people made in God's image--and far too often missing in both church and culture at large--but is it wholly sufficient for followers of Christ?

I'm not sure it is, but I believe wholeheartedly that this is a conversation worth wrestling with together as people and communities of faith, and I'm thankful for McCleneghan's scholarship, witness, and contribution, particularly as she reclaims the God-given goodness of bodies and sexuality for Christians who haven't always or even often received that good news.

I received my copy from TLC Book Tours.

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