I can remember it like it was yesterday. Bored out of my mind in the balcony of Salem Baptist Church’s 11:00 am worship service, I started thumbing through the Bible. And that’s when an 8-year-old Andy found a naughty word in the sacred text. Surely, I misread it. Heavens be, there couldn’t be such a word in the Bible.
It would take me a few more years to realize that Song of Songs had more to offer than the word “breast.” And yet, no one at my church talked about it. Well, they did, but it was more of the talk of resisting your sexual impulses because teenage guys and girls are succumbing to temptation and becoming sexually immoral.
As a person of faith, we turn to the Bible for truth, guidance, and insight into life. While the Bible talks a great deal about sex, we have to recognize that it was written through a highly patriarchal lens, where women were often viewed as second-rate citizens and silent objects. There is more written about things to avoid sexually but not so much on a guide to a healthy sex life and sexuality. And yet, that doesn’t prevent people from using the Bible as the end all be all on the topic of sexuality.
We sat down with Sheila Wray Gregoire, writer of numerous books on religion and human sexuality. Gregoire and I discuss the challenges of Evangelical purity culture, the psychological and sexual impact of this movement on Generation X and Millennials, and the effects of unhealthy male-dominated religious perspectives on the sexual relationship within marriage.
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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the Associate Executive Coordinator of CBF North Carolina. He’s also served as CBF’s Church Start Specialist, the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton, and the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge. Follow on Twitter @haleandy.