In her book, Redeeming Sex, Debra Hirsch takes a look at our own sexuality. The good parts, the broken parts and everything in between. She skillfully weaves, theology, psychology and her own story as a lesbian who came to Christ but didn’t see the need to change her sexual identity right away.
Now Debra is married to Alan Hirsch, and both have been pivotal in the missional movement that started in Australia but is finding great influence all around the world. This book is so incredibly rich, that it’s hard to find just one take away. There were some key concepts that have really been helpful to me as I think about sexualityin my own life and in the world around us.
Sexuality as a pie vs. pumpkin loaf.
Often we look at sexuality as one part of our being. We try to compartmentalize it like a slice of pie. When the reality is that sexuality is woven into our entire being. Think a pumpkin loaf, which is a spiral and layered with cake and cream. Which means that you can’t always separate sexuality from attraction, emotional, physical, and spiritual. They are all interwoven and interlocked.
I think, as an evangelical Christian, we think we can separate out our sexuality from our spirituality, but it is just the opposite. The two are linked, and it’s not just about the physical or genital sex as she calls it. But there is a spiritual side to sexuality that whether you are married or single can have healthy expression in our friendships, marriages and community. An expression that the Church needs to learn to live in and teach out of.
Debra Hirsch stepped into probably one of the most difficult areas that Christians are trying navigate in our culture. I think Christians have done a terrible job loving the LGBT community. Debra, with great sensitivity and love, talks about this and weaves in her story of being bi-sexual and what her experience was in the church and how through the love of Christ and being part of a healthy Christian community she was able to experience change. She is careful to say that her story is not the story of everyone. I don’t have time to get into everything in the book, but she asked a question that I found convicting:
Is LGBT behavior a greater sin than our hatred toward LGBT people?
In a culture where we rate our sins, some being worse than others, this question slowed me down to think about my own prejudices and bias’. Jesus said to love our neighbors; and it was one of the top 2 for Him. Those of us who are truth tellers, let’s remember to tell the truth to ourselves before we start doing it to the world around us.
Acceptance Precedes Repentance.
This idea was fascinating. I know that the expression we need to “belong before we believe” has been in vogue for years, but this idea that we accept people even before they repent seemed to have struck me from a different angle. I’m not sure what I think about this statement. In some ways, I LOVE it. I totally am on board with it…but then I wonder is this a biblical statement? Do we see Jesus and Paul and Peter practicing this idea? To be honest, I haven’t dug super deep into it yet; but I’m ok wrestling with it and let it land eventually.