A biographer and religious theorist analyzes the great divide between healthy sexual expression and spirituality in modern Christianity.
“Perhaps it is a relief to check our bodies at the door when we go to church,” writes Frykholm, but the candid plights described by the nine individuals he profiles were not resolved that effortlessly. The author focused on interviews with Protestant Christians because she believes the disharmony in connecting “one’s whole self to something spiritual” has significant Protestant roots. Each of her subjects shares “the pain of a toxic culture of religion and sexuality,” and their tales are rife with fear, shame and isolation. Frykholm begins with recollections of her adolescence, when her limits were tested by an increasingly frisky boyfriend while her sensibilities continued to be shaped by her Baptist roots. In the first section, both “Sarah,” the daughter of a Korean Presbyterian minister, and “Mark,” the son of a suburban Ohio Methodist minister, found themselves estranged from Christianity once they were faced with the “crisis” of sexuality. Other frank memories of sex addiction, abuse and street prostitution are equally powerful. Frykholm acknowledges that the homosexual population wrestles frequently with this conundrum, and that demographic is featured prominently. Paul emerged as a successful gay pastor in his community despite coming out publicly to his congregation, while Megan embraced a lesbian relationship, but only after years of self-doubt and hesitancy. Using keen insight and a host of memorable voices, Frykholm successfully relates her desire to utilize “our stories, our bodies, our sexualities, our minds, and our souls to love one another better.”
A culturally significant collection that explores the challenges of reconciling pleasure with piety.