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The Church's Slut

For years I squirmed in my seat or pew on a Sunday morning. I couldn’t wait to leave the holy sanctuary because I was dirty and someone like me didn’t belong with the pure and chaste congregation with whom I worshiped.

I was the girl who had been sexually abused as a child. 

I was physically intimate with far too many boys beginning in high school and still struggled with sexual abstinence as a Bible-believing, Christian adult. If I lingered on a Sunday morning or gave into vulnerability, in a women’s small group, I’d be found out as the church’s slut, and I’d be cut off.

And so I carried on in my destructive pattern for years, despite knowing that the God I served was gracious, redemptive, and one of new beginnings.

Therapy offered one such beginning. My suppressed emotions had finally reached critical mass and self-harming behaviors had resulted. I needed help; I couldn’t carry my scarlet letter any longer. After a year of visits, a great deal of healing had taken place, tools for mental self-care had been gleaned, sexual promiscuity had been curtailed and no longer was I afraid to share my story – with my therapist.

To my dismay, I fell back into old thought patterns shortly followed by the promiscuous behavior I had sworn off forever. And then it happened – I broke my silence (except that which had been shared with a professional), and spilled my story to a close Christian girlfriend. Her response was exactly what I needed; she hugged me, cried with me, and reminded me of scriptures that spoke of God’s unfailing love and His mercy and grace. So began a new pattern; the pattern of not just repenting of my sins and attempting to live as God has asked, but the pattern of sharing all of my life – even the parts of me I want to hide – with those I am in close Christian community with.

The freedom in thought and deed, as well as in my heart, is a liberation I wish for every person to experience. I do want to be clear that man has not been my salvation, but confessing and praying and bearing and looking to God with others, as prescribed in James 5:16, has allowed me to see God more fully and to feel more fully seen by Him.

Though I am grateful for this new pattern and to be a part of it in other’s lives, I continue wondering – why the hell did it take me so long to arrive here?! Why do I keep hearing stories like mine coming from my dear friends who are a part of the church?! I don’t wish to descend into the church-bashing chorus, but I do wish to draw attention to the weakness we have as a church body to broach the subject of sexuality for the purpose of catalyzing change.

My experience of having my ideas of sexuality shaped by the church could double the length of this confession, but it’s safe to say our church is nearly allergic to promoting discussion about sexuality outside of waiting to do the deed until marriage.

  • What about those of us who didn’t wait and experienced the intimate bonds of sex before marriage?
  • How do we live purely on a day-to-day basis?
  • How do single people, especially those who are approaching 30 or 40, live in the midst of desire?
  • What does healthy sexuality look like as a married couple?

I am not condoning a detailed sermon from the pulpit on orgasms or how to climb out of a pornography habit, but if we are not promoting transparency with God and His people on the subject of sex, aren’t we promoting the formation of a secret self? The kind of secret self that Satan flourishes in? Perhaps the deeper and better conversation begins with us being available to a teenager who needs an ear or simply being open at a small group Bible study?

I wonder what would happen if we became unafraid to share our whole selves with those we are close to, even our sexual foibles.


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