Single, Saved, and Sexin: The Redux

One of the most controversial posts we’ve ever had here at the blog was called Single, Saved, and Sexin’: The Gospel of Getting Your Freak On.

In that piece, over two years ago, I argued:

Sex is a form of creative power. And it is in the literal fact of its creative aspects that we feel alive, fully human, and connected. I think God wants nothing less than this for us, and that requires regular, intimate connections of bodies, or at the very least a very regular, intentional and unapologetic intimate connection with our own body.
 
So sex is back on the table for me in an emotionally safe intimate connection with another person. Because marriage or no, I am clear about this one thing: celibacy is not for me. I need connection. I need intimacy. I need sex. Period.
via Clutch Magazine

via Clutch Magazine

I know from that experience that I touched a real nerve. That’s why it’s been two full years since I have returned to this conversation. Take a look at the comments section (but only if you are brave, prayed up, and have some sage at the house.)

What I saw in those comments was fear. Fear of offending God and bringing God’s wrath. In fact, I spent a whole weekend on Crunkadelic’s couch trying to make sense of the backlash (turns out Church folks can be really vicious, especially when they think they are doing it for God).  But mostly I was disappointed at this unhealthy relationship that Black women have to our theology.

How have we come to think our desires have no place in the Kingdom of God? If that is true, how is the Kingdom of God any different than say, American Slavery, which taught us that we were first and foremost the property of someone else, to be used for their pleasure, our sexual needs and desires totally both subordinate to and in service of someone else’s needs and wishes.

I absolutely understand the conservative evangelical church’s teaching about being in total submission to God’s will, trying to conform our desires to God’s desires, and trusting that God’s plan is better than ours. Yet, God is a relational God to me,  not a dictator who sits on high meting out rules and punishments.

No, I don’t have all these deep theological and philosophical questions figured out.  I am not a theologian. What I am is a person who deeply loves God and who God has been to me. What I know is that that God has invited me to ask my questions, to get honest, and to struggle in the community of faith over what it means to be a fully grown Black woman.

As a Black feminist, I know that as we attempt to create a new politics of pleasure in Black feminism, we must address the role of religion and spirit in that process. The politics of respectability is so deeply bound up with Christian theology, that “de-tangling” these interconnected strands will be a freeing project for us all, even those who don’t identify as Christian.

So this post is the prelude to getting that conversation started.

Tomorrow night, Friday, March 15, 2013, at 9:05 pm, we are going to host a live Google Hangout on this topic.

I’ll be chatting with three fierce, progressive, feminist ministering women who can give some critical perspective on these issues.

Rev. Theresa Thames

Rev. Theresa Thames

Theresa serves as an Associate Pastor at a progressive and reconciling United Methodist Church in Washington, DC. Growing up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast gave her an appreciation for music, art, culture, and theology. Theresa attended Howard University and continued her studies at Duke Divinity School. Theresa’s areas of interest are intersections of theology, sociology, and organizational systems.

DC oftentimes feels too busy and noisy, so in order to feel at home, Theresa spends her time connecting with people through music and storytelling. When she’s not teaching a class or thinking about organizational systems and development, Theresa enjoys listening to music (she has close to 5,000 songs on her iPod) dancing, listening to podcasts and reading. However, her most important and most fulfilling role is being AuntieMommie to her 10 year old nephew.

Rev. Arabella Littlepage

Rev. Arabella Littlepage

 

Rev. Arabella Littlepage was born and raised in Huntsville, AL and now resides in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Howard University in 2003.  She was ordained a Baptist Minister in 2010 after earning a Master’s of Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary in May of that year.  She currently serves as an Associate Minister at a local Baptist Church in the DC metro area.  Her ministry interests include equipping people to think constructively about one’s life with God in community, studying and teaching contemplative spiritual practices, and facilitating retreats.  In addition to her work in ministry, Arabella is an avid knitter and scrapbooker.

 

 

Candi closeup_hair up Cropped - red eye removed

Dr. Candi Dugas

Dr. Candi Dugas is an award-winning writer and practical theologian whose progressive insights challenge how we think about faith, freedom, and justice. Author of two published books and more than 20 regionally produced stageplays and skits, Candi’s latest projects include her most recent book, Who Told You That You Were Naked? Black Women Reclaiming Sexual and Spiritual Goodness and her first screenplay, Desire’s Kiss, which celebrates feminine sexuality in the context of faith.

A graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur, GA) with a D.Min. in Christian Spirituality, Candi also holds a M.Div. in Homiletics/Worship and Hebrew Bible from Gammon Seminary/ Interdenominational Theological Center (Atlanta, GA) and a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) – GO GATORS! She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Working Title Playwrights, Atlanta Screenwriters Group, the Church Within A Church Movement, and the Interfaith Community Initiatives.

One of the few Atlanta natives left, Candi enjoys hanging out with friends and family, especially her daughter, Jordan — along with mountain vacations, dancing, and driving sports cars. She dreams of opening retreat houses that create physically safe spaces for possibilities, peace, rest, revelation, thought, truth, healing, and wholeness.

 

Time: 9:05-10:05 pm EST

Place: The conversation will stream live at  http://www.youtube.com/user/CrunkFeminists

Date: Friday, March 15, 2013 — Be there!

Tweet us: @crunkfeminists

Post questionsFacebook, here in the comments section, or on Youtube during the convo.

Update, March 15, 2013 — Click here for the permanent link for the Single, Saved, and Sexin Conversation.

 

 

crunktastic

17 thoughts on “Single, Saved, and Sexin: The Redux

  1. Girl, you make me think and cry on the regular. As an academic in a place where the overall black population is just 2%, I come to your blog for news, thoughtful analysis, and sometimes, just re-affirmation. This happens whether I agree with your position or not. As it regards religion and a healthy sexual relationship with one’s body AND mind, you hit the nail on the head. I’m happy that via your work and your strength you’ve chosen to make productive the discourse that came out of those vicious comments. Continue to walk your walk and talk your talk.

  2. I am always amused by the notion that God needs that nosy loud mouthed man or woman living down the street to set the world straight and on the righteous course. As to why God is too impotent to take personal action, I have no idea? Anyway those people know what God needs and expects better than God does and they are sure they will be generously thanked in the life to come.

  3. I will not be able to watch the livestream as it’s happening, will a video be available on the CF page at a later date?

    • Yes, the video will be on our YouTube channel and we will also put a link to it on this post. Thanks for your support.

  4. How are you going to distort the Word of God to benefit your fleshly desires? The Word of God clearly states, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Heb 13:4. What about 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Galatians 5:19-21, John 3:30, and Romans 8:8 just to name a few. God was not created for us but we for Him, to worship and glorify Him. I see that Matthew 7:15 is coming to past!

    • If you clicked on the link to the original Single, Saved, and Sexin post, you could scroll to the comments section and see that every possible scripture reference and admonition has already been provided. Thanks for reading.

  5. I’d just like to say I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. It feels as if there are so few safe spaces to discuss progressive personal politics within the context of Christianity. Conversations like this remind me that I don’t have to choose between feminism and Christianity. Thank you for organizing the conversation and thanks to all who participated!

  6. I am so beyond sad that I missed this conversation live! I just found out about it when I opened the weekly digest email. I will definitely be watching it some time this week. I want to sincerely thank CFC and the panelists for making a space for something as vital as this. As a blackwoman, lesbian, sexual/reproductive health advocate and current seminarian I find myself having these types of conversations everyday with people who cannot wrap their minds around the complex nature of theology and God. I hope that there are more conversations like this in the future. I will definitely be looking up Rev. Thames and Rev. Littlepage as I am also in the area.

  7. I heard a talk once by an academic and theologian, Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas. What I remember gleaning from it had to do with slavery’s indiscriminate use of Black women’s bodies which by default resulted in the rigid way in which the church (i think this applies to all predominantly black churches) polices black women’s bodies. just in case we forget what happened in slavery, the governing body (the black church) will enforce some guidelines (sent down from heaven)
    This link below is not the talk (I’m still searching for it) but it gives a synopsis of her talk. The description is not as succinct as the talk was though.
    http://www.clgs.org/events/black-church-and-blues-body

  8. I think this post is interesting for a couple reasons. Many people are subjugated by their religion, which preaches “sexual discipline” as a form of righteousness women more so than men. Confined to these spaces, believers are taught that they must marry before having sex and that other actions are shunned upon. I don’t know of any particular bible passages that directly speak to this sexual law however I am far from the saint that would have the most remote idea. What I find interesting is that contradictions of such laws are found in such key stories like Jesus’ birth for which Joseph and Mary were not married at the time of his conception. Is it possible that God makes exceptions for men? However you look at sex in the bible it is muddy. For this reason I believe the idea that God wants us to have sex is very adaptive to what church folks believe otherwise. I think this same sexual confinement keeps well to do women in abusive or unloving marriages to appease God. Moreover, women face a unique challenge because as some feminist may argue, the Bible perpetuates gender discrimination and preaches the damnation of women. Another argument is that the Bible is overly sexist and some even goes to say that God used in the masculine form is troublesome by his omnipotent nature for which some men claim divine right over women in households, workplaces and everyday life. One can dare to argue that God is the ultimate male bastard for which women are overwhelming viewed as evil and met with dire consequences. One consequence that sticks out more than any is Adam and Eve for whom Eve is shown as the harbinger of evil for enticing Adam into eating the fruit and ending paradise as we knew it. This catastrophic motion is punished with banishment and “period cycles” facilitating all the supposed sin in this world to a woman. Overall one may argue that it is impossible to procure healthy sexual or gender perspectives from stories with such natures. Therefore biblical arguments that hold virtue over all, especially for churchwomen, are contradictive and sexist in the religion that confines their sexual directions, damns them by nature and offers sexist narratives that ordain men.

  9. I just wanted to say that, as a new intersectional feminist and someone who has struggled with Christianity for a long time, this site is wonderful. It’s the only feminist blog I’ve come across so far that suggests that Christianity and progressive thinking don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I am actually sitting here crying, and I am very grateful.

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