Becky’s Bio: Becky is a recent grad of Brite Divinity of TCU and the community pastor/co-pastors at The Eucatastrophe here in Fort Worth, TX. Becky will be debuting “Spiritual InterSEXions” on Sogo Media TV in the fall of 2012, which I am personally excited about! Becky is a friend, colleague, and inspiration to many…I am honored for her to write the latest guest post for the Whiskey Preacher!
Spiritual InterSEXions: Where Sexuality & Spirituality Touch
By Becky Holmes
“Let’s talk about sex for now
to the people at home or in the crowd
It keeps coming up anyhow
Don’t decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
Cut that ain’t gonna stop it”
The lyrics to the classic hip hop song “Let’s Talk About Sex” by Salt ‘n’ Pepa creatively illustrates one of the reasons for this blog/vlog- not talking about where sexuality & spirituality touch ain’t gonna stop them from touching. So, why not talk about where spirituality and sexuality meet- these spiritual intersexions? I mean are we really going to choose to ignore the importance of spirituality and sexuality in our everyday lives? Ignoring important things almost always ends with me waking up in the middle of the night with a bad case of procrastination insomnia and there are few things I hate more than not being able to sleep- the taste of spoiled milk for one—but I digress.
So, a little bit of an introduction to the topic and me… I was raised and spent my early adulthood in a bubble- a little conservative evangelical Southern Baptist Christian bubble and looking back I had a serious case of arrested sexual development. Until recently, didn’t even have the language to express the complexity of our embodied experiences- terms like sexual fluidity, gender essentialism, and intersexuality were unknown. The thought that there is something outside of the binary sexual system was, at best, stupid, a feminist ploy to destroy families and, at worst, against god’s design for humanity. Growing up, most everything related to the topic of SEX was taboo- unless it was about who was pregnant or who shouldn’t be having sex. I knew some basic sexual biology from growing up on a farm- we had dogs, cats, sheep, pigs, I even had an aquarium with some seriously fertile guppies. It was like my own little zoo. And like some zoos, we artificially inseminated just so we could choose the best studs, I mean, bulls for our heard.
Spirituality or as my family called it, Christianity (because all the other religions/faiths/beliefs were crap) was another matter- there was no other topic I remember being spoken about more than god and god’s rules for living. My family had family bible reading and “discussion” every morning or evening- because we didn’t get enough Jesus in our lives from the twice-on Sunday and once on Wednesday church meetings. And, I was schooled at home (aka- homeschooled) and my parents always included bible or Christian living curriculum. All this provided a lot of a certain kind of knowledge about god/spirituality/faith/insert your own word for this concept and a lot of a certain kind of knowledge about sexuality- but I really had no idea how or if one topic related to the other- except that sex is only for a man and a woman who are married and only they should have babies- anything outside of these parameters was a sin against god.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t curious about sexuality and about how what “god wanted from me” in this area— it was just that there was a lack of information and conversation on the topic. So, I did my own “research”. I remember a looking up “masturbation” in one of those Christian Teenager help books- basically it said it was sinful because any kind of sexual arousal should be done within marriage. When I was in college the Internet became available and my research kinda continued but I was too ashamed to do much. After the newness of the writhing, screaming and previously unseen human body parts had worn off- I felt guilty and weird that I kept being drawn to the faces of the girls not the boys. For you see, one thing I knew about sex and god, though I don’t remember ever hearing a sermon or even a conversation about it, was that it wasn’t supposed to happen between two women or two men. From this null curriculum, I knew and believed whole-heartedly that this kind of sexual expression was extremely repulsive to god and very dangerous for humans.
How I wish I had asked more questions. How I wish there had been someone to take me beyond the paternalistic interpretations of the biblical text to a more complex and multivalent reading. How I wish there had been someone or some resource that would have pushed me to question the heteronormativity hidden in the beliefs and ideas of my faith tradition. How I wish my faith tradition had been honest with itself in how it has helped socially construct, in both healthy and unhealthy ways, what it means to be a sexual being who is a follower of god through the way of Jesus. So, here is my attempt to delve into all of the stuff I wish had been talked about when I was a kid, teen, and young adult. Spiritual InterSEXions is a safe space to have ongoing conversations, to explore how sexuality and spirituality mutually inform one another in complex, profound, and even funny ways. I mean, who doesn’t find it hard to keep a straight face when the wives of TLC’s show “Sister Wives” discuss the complexity of the rotating schedule of conjugal visits that they keep with their husband? But, the idea that these kinds of relationships could be deeply informed by one’s spiritual beliefs is unthinkable to many who claim Christianity as their spiritual tradition- but it sounds like a perfect topic for Spiritual InterSEXions: Where Sexuality & Spirituality Touch.