See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity

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See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An essential book [that] will perhaps begin the national conversation that we deserve.”—Paul Landerman, Edge
“Frykholm and the brave souls she interviews will challenge your understanding of grace.”—David K. Wheeler, Burnside Writers Collective
“The most redemptive book I've ever read.”—Dave, Elliot Bay Bookstore

“A culturally significant collection that explores the challenges of reconciling pleasure with piety.”—Kirkus

“A Christian herself, Frykholm does not offer this book as a means to discourage people from the religion. Rather, she holds up these wounded but not lost souls to critique dogmatic practices that, in disdaining the body, disdain the spirit.”—Crystal K. Wiebe, Bitch
“A fascinating, troubling, and finally heartening book that subtly shows ways that Christians might reconcile their bodies with their devotion to God. Highly recommended for individual Christians but also for pastors and church groups.”Library Journal, starred review

“Amy Frykholm has gathered the intimate stories of people of faith in search of wholeness. These tender tales both challenge and encourage the church to listen to voices it might not hear otherwise. When it comes to integrating mind, body and spirit, the Church can serve as curse or blessing. These searingly honest stories compel us to strive for the latter.”—The Rev. Lillian Daniel, author of Tell it Like it is: Recovering the Practice of Testimony
“This is a compelling book that traverses the teeming intersection of sexuality and faith in the life of nine individuals. They are stories of very ordinary people's struggles to live as whole beings. Their stories are rendered with such compassion and insight, however, that the result is anything but ordinary. The reader is left with the conviction that the church must, and the hope that it will, minister to people in the fullness of their lives.”—The Rev. Martin B. Copenhaver, author of To Begin at the Beginning

“American Christianity is facing a crisis: our easy answers about life after death have left so many with little hope for life in their bodies here and now. Amy Frykholm chronicles this crisis in real time, inviting us to experience the pain of sisters and brothers living in exile from their flesh. But she also proclaims a gentle word of hope: ‘look again at our tradition,’ she seems to whisper. 'Christ is risen in a body with feet that touch the ground."–Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture

“With singular gentleness and a palpable respect for those whose stories she is telling, Amy Frykholm lays bare whole areas of human sexual formation that I had never seen before, much less considered….This is an important book.”—Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why  

“These disarmingly honest life stories of people navigating the ‘tenacious strangeness’ of their sexual and spiritual lives will stay with you long after you finish this book. So will the gracious, honoring, and insightful ways Frykholm tells and interprets them. It should be on every Protestant pastor's coffee table.”—Timothy Beal, author of The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly
Frykholm (Rapture Culture), a special correspondent for the Christian Century, presents briefly the stories of nine individuals who have experienced deep disconnection in their attempts to reconcile their sexual and Christian selves. The stories deal with homosexuality, abuse, exploitation, repressive rules and shame. Each describes a process of reconciliation and the discovery of a new sexual ethic. Despite dealing with harrowing experiences, all end hopefully, with most individuals maintaining a Christian identity. Frykholm avoids editorializing and readily admits the stories do not present easy answers nor are they applicable to every believer. The stories also show that roots of sexual trauma are complicated, sometimes hazy and difficult to unravel, with blame both on and outside of Christianity. While the stories are too brief to satisfy all questions, they are complete enough to provide a sense of the individual and their struggles. Some may find, however, the brevity gives a sense of rushing; some may wish more of the subjects were men. In the final chapter, Frykholm hints at a new sexual ethic, one grounded in wonder and pleasure, but she only sketches this. Doing more would undermine the value of this work, which challenges all Christians to do the work of reconsidering their default opinion on sexuality and open themselves up to a deeper, truer connection between body and spirit. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Frykholm (correspondent, Christian Century; Rapture Culture) tackles difficult and even taboo subjects from a Christian position. Rather than instructing Christians how to manage or control their sexual impulses, Frykholm acts as a kind of journalist-sociologist, compassionately retelling the stories of nine faithful but often puzzled Christians trying to deal with challenges as diverse as chastity, lesbianism, pornography, and prostitution. Frykholm recognizes the agonies Christians often suffer as they try to come to terms with sexuality without coherent guidance from their culture or church. VERDICT A fascinating, troubling, and finally heartening book that subtly shows ways that Christians might reconcile their bodies with their devotion to God. Highly recommended for individual Christians but also for pastors and church groups.
Kirkus Reviews
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807004685
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,192,196
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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