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  1. JournalOfABibliophile
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Not what I expected.
    September 2, 2019
    JournalOfABibliophile
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approachwas written by Judith K. Balswick and Jack O. Balswick.

    This is the third edition of Authentic Human Sexuality. The synopsis says, "Now this third edition features updated theological and social science research, insights from current neuropsychological evidence, and an expanded biblical model of authentic sexual relationships, along with updated discussion of sexual minorities, same-sex attraction, and LGBTQ issues." I have not read the first two editions, so I can't tell you what all has changed.

    My first impressions: The cover is so pretty. I'm always looking for books on sexuality, so I was really excited to read and share this book on my blog, Instagram, and with my friends and family.

    This book is very easy to read! The length is less than 300 pages, and it is broken up into four parts: The Formation of Sexuality, Authentic Sexuality, Inauthentic Sexuality, and a conclusion.

    "Our foundational belief that we are created in the Image of God requires a careful understanding of the Scriptures for wisdom and direction and how we live our lives as sexual beings."

    In The Formation of Sexuality, the authors talk about a wide range of topics. The start off with how God created us to be sexual beings and intends for our sexuality to be genuine, believable, and a trustworthy part of ourselves. In the second chapter, they talk about sexuality in a sociocultural context, and how sexual liberation has turned sex into a glorified object devoid of meaning, personal commitment, and intimacy.

    In the third and fourth chapter, the Balswicks talk about sexuality and gender and drop a lot of stats and research. I have always been curious about hermaphrodites, so reading the research they provided was quite fascinating! There was one study they shared about 16 children born with ambiguous genitalia who had surgery to be female. Out of the 16, 8 rejected their reassigned gender, three were unclear, and 5 were satisfied. (After reading this, I posted a poll on Instagram asking if my followers what they would do if they had a hermaphrodite child: would they assign a gender, or wait for the child to decide? The poll was almost evenly split, but surgery won. What would you do?)

    In the fifth chapter the Balswicks discuss LGBTQ+ and the diverse views surrounding it. If you're curious about the authors views on LGBTQ+, here's a quote:

    "In our view, Scripture seems consistently to refer to marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman, leading us to uphold the heterosexual union as God's original intended design for humankind...Yet, we support our gay friends and family member who choose to commit themselves to lifelong, monogamous marital union in the belief that this is God's best for them. They do so in the belief that it reflects an authentic sexuality that is congruent with themselves and with Scripture, and seek to serve God and each other in a faithful, committed, covenantal relationship before God." (page 84)

    The sixth chapter begins the part on Authentic Sexuality.This chapter goes over relationships, how sexuality is an integral part of being human, and how a divine purpose in being created as sexual beings draws us into meaningful and satisfying relationships with others.

    A quote from this chapter...

    "In terms of authentic sexuality, it means intentionally affirming sexuality in ways that God intended. Empowering behaviors invalidsuch things as encouraging others to live within their sexual value system, respecting person boundaries, honoring sexual differences, and supporting areas of relational growth and challenge."(page 97)

    The seventh chapter is one of the chapters I was most interested in as a single person. I appreciated the authors saying,"Single persons are no less whole because they are unmarried, yet the church doesn't always value singleness on par with marriage."

    There are some questions to ask yourself when you're in a relationship (like are you doing things for your ego or love)... Then the authors talked about singles and masturbation. The authors even say that celibacy does not me sexual inactivity.

    There were a lot of things in this chapter that really surprised me. For example, the authors view on masturbation, whereas conservative Christians believe masturbation is a sexual sin because you can't do it without lusting after someone.

    I once read a quote saying something like... Falling into sexual sin is a violation of the first, second, seventh, and tenth commandments. The first and second because you're worshipping yourself instead of the one true God Yahweh, the seventh because you're thinking about someone you're not married to in a sexual manner, and the tenth because you're wanting someone who isn't yours.

    There were some parts that mentioned childhood exploration and masturbation that I forgot to mark and can't find. I really wanted to quote them... Anyways, here's a quote from a section on masturbation.

    "Masturbation and lust distinction.The Bible is silent on masturbation, but not silent on sexual sin. The realities of sexual sin, such as the use of internet pornography, which becomes a compulsion, is a problem. Jesus addresses the issue of lust in Matthew 5:27-28: "You have heard that it as said 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say you you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (RSV) Jesus does not condemn being attracted, sexually aroused, or even having sexual thoughts about a person. Rather, Jesus is warning that lusting after a certain person sets one on a potential path of committing adultery. Fantasy can be used to increate responsiveness and receptiveness in the relationship, or it can become a substitute for unmet needs.

    Lust need not be equated with fantasy. Fantasy allows us to imagine God-given dreams and goals."(page 126)

    From there, the book starts to wrap up quickly on topics like premarital cohabitation, marital sexuality (which I skimmed because I'm not married lol), then it moves into inauthentic sexuality such as infidelity, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, rape, porn and erotica, and sexual addiction.

    The chapter on sexual harassment had a great quote:

    "The Bible further teaches that both male and female are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), in Christ there is neither male nor female (Gal 3:28), and followers of Christ are to be in mutual submission to one another (Eph 5:21) instead of lording it over one another (Mt 20:25-27). Sexual harassment denies the image of God in the other, negates out oneness in Christ, and involves an abuse of power; therefore, the Christian community must actively combat it, for when one member suffers, all suffer together (1 Cor. 12:26). (page 194)

    All the chapters are packed full of research and statistics, and some stories. I really enjoyed reading the stats, they were probably my favorite part of the book.

    One more thing I want to quote before I finish this post. In the chapter on porn and erotica, the authors say:

    "Second, it is important to respect our Christian liberties when viewing erotica. Once again we refer to the 1 Corinthians 6:12 passage about Christian liberties: 'I can do anything I want to if Christ has not said no' (LB). Although this principle may feel uncomfortable to some, it is important not to judge another's actions where Scripture's teachings are not absolute. In addition, honest discernment is helping in discriminating between the things that direct us in God's way, and those that do not.

    Third, the effects of erotica are dependent on the context of one's situation. Paul continues in 1 Corinthians 6:12, 'But some of these things aren't good for me. Even if I am allowed to do them, I'll refuse to [do so] if I think they might get such a grip on me that I can't easily stop when I want to' (LB). Paul's use of but qualifies freedom in Christ. Paul is not saying that 'these things' are not good, but that they are not good for him.

    For the Christian, 'these things' may include erotic material. It is a strong possibility that Paul was specifically addressing the issue of erotica. In the following verse, Paul writes, "But it is not true that the body is for lust" (1 Cor 6:13 NEB). According to Paul, certain types of erotica may not be wrong in and of themselves. However, the context of the erotica can determine whether erotic material is healthy or unhealthy."(page 235)

    My final thoughts on the book... I'm disappointed. I went into this with such high expectations. As a conservative orthodox Christian, I didn't agree with much of the Balswick's views, but I did enjoy reading their book and getting out of my comfort zone. I also enjoyed sharing their quotes on Instagram and having discussions with people.

    For further reading on Christian sexuality, singleness, and things of that sort I recommend:

    Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry

    Joyfully Spreading the Word: Sharing the Good News of Jesus(Rosaria Butterfield's chapter, also pick up her books and watch her interviews/lectures/etc.)

    7 Myths about Singleness by Sam Allberry(he's an Anglican priest with SSA)

    Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl's Heart by Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal

    The Heart of Singleness by Andrea Trevenna

    Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken by David Powlison

    If you or someone you know is struggling with a porn addiction, check out the websiteFight the New Drug.
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