Debra Hirsch has written her first solo book and I want to
highly recommend it. Hirsch previously wrote Untamed: Reactivating a
Missional Form of Discipleship
with her husband Alan Hirsch and now
she turns to the topic of sexuality with her book, Redeeming Sex: Naked
Conversations About Sexuality and Spirituality.
it she reveals much about her own journey of faith and the course her understanding
of sexuality has taken from early adolescence to her current understanding.

What makes this book so good is the way she adopts and
explains a hermeneutical approach that allows us to distinquish other difficult
ethical and cultural issues from the issue of holistic sexuality. She desires
that we see how intrinsic sexuality is to our very being and says, “Sexuality
is written through every aspect of who we are. We need to adopt a view of
sexuality that encompasses all of our humanity, not just our genitals.”
(p. 70, 71)
Debra Hirsch starts from a very positive perspective
on sex. She quotes James Nelson (Reuniting Sexuality and Spirituality)
and reminds us that,
Actually, Christian theology
at its best has recognized that sin is not fundamentally an act but rather the
condition of alienation or estrangement out of which harmful acts may arise.
However, it has taken a long time for theology to acknowledge that sexual sin
is fundamentally alienation from our divinely intended sexuality.
To put it overly simply but
I hope accurately: sexual sin lies not in being too sexual, but in being not
sexual enough – in the way God intended us to be. Such alienation, indeed,
usually leads to harmful acts, but the sin is rooted in the prior condition.
(p. 78)
She also reminds the reader that we are all broken by
sin and that our brothers and sisters who find themselves in the LGBTQ
community are no more or less broken than those who find themselves outside of
the LGBTQ community.
We all must turn, with all
that we are (sexuality included), in order to receive saving grace. No one is
excluded from this call, and there is certainly absolutely no room for self-righteousness,
because we are all – at the end of the day and to the end of time – beggars
showing the other beggars where to get the bread. (p. 122)
. . . all of us hobble into
heaven and get there by grace. There is no room for self-righteousness and
exclusion based on disputed interpretations on non-essential issues of the
Bible. (p. 131)
In chapter 7, Hirsch also gives us a high view of
celibacy and urges us to encourage those who make such a commitment. “. . . we
need to take a fresh look again at celibacy; it’s not the spooky monster it’s
made out to be.” (p. 129)
The hermeneutic she recommends to us comes from William
J. Webb and is called the “redemptive-movement hermeneutic.” (p. 139-147) This
allows Hirsch to come to a traditional understanding that homosexual activity
is sinful alongside other forms of sexual sin (heterosexual or homosexual).
But, she then emphasises that we Christians have often been guilty of leading
with theology. She suggests that we must instead “lead with our embrace.” (p.
What Debra Hirsch is truly advocating is a church of
grace and truth. She argues for a church that will allow people to belong
before they believe and believe before they become sanctified. She is
suggesting that the church must become a place of welcome where all may meet
the saviour and make a decision for him and then begin the transformation of
sanctification. On page 199 she states that
Centered-set thinking allows
everyone to journey to Jesus in his or her own unique way, and we all end up
perfectly unique in him (1 John 3:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18). While we all might be
heading in the same direction, our paths are different and we journey at a
different pace.
I encourage us all
to consider the thoughts presented in this great book.

Works Cited

Hirsch, Debra. Redeeming
Sex: Naked Conversations About Sexuality and Spirituality.
Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, 2015.

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