Episode 14. Sacred Cliturgy: Resurrection of Great Sex with Sheila Gregoire

March 29, 2021

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I'm Morgan Strehlow - writer and host of the Sanctuary Woman podcast.

Meet Morgan

It’s time for Sacred Cliturgy, a monthly bonus episode of Sanctuary Woman where we discover what would happen if we talked honestly about sex with one another?

You see sexuality is inherently VERY GOOD. But, let’s face it – it’s complicated.

It’s especially complicated when we don’t talk about it. 

So I asked the question: What if Christian women started talking about sex – like for real? What if we talked about and understood our own bodies, our own sexuality in a more healthy and holistic way – not in spite of our Christian faith, but in light of it? What if that led to better sex, better sexuality, better sex education, better single lives and better marriages?

We need to talk.

I’m Morgan, and I’m here to talk about it.

Today’s episode of Sacred Cliturgy is a special one, because after years of suffering through really unhelpful – and oftentimes harmful – marriage and sex advice from well-meaning Christian leaders, I discovered Sheila Wray Gregoire. I don’t mean to be dramatic when I say that Sheila was a godsend to me, but she really was.

My sexual formation was… umm.. lacking, to put it gently. Even into adulthood and into marriage. But it seemed like every Christian resource I would pick up centered the man’s experience and the man’s needs – never the woman’s. And never mine. Which is probably why they were incredibly unhelpful for me.

In fact, the most helpful resources for me as a woman were not Christian resources at all. And – let me tell you – there are some truly excellent secular, science and research-based resources on sex and sexuality that will change your life. We’ll talk about those another time. (Click here for my favorite and most recommended secular resource.)

But I’m aware enough to know that *most* Christian women will *only* seek out and read Christian resources on a topic like sex or marriage. Which is why Sheila’s books, podcast and presence in the Christian marriage space are critically necessary.

And before we go on, I want to say this: when most people talk about sex, including myself, we tend to use a lot of generalized gendered examples. And while some of these gendered experiences and examples are mostly true, or true for the most of that group, they are not always true. And they fail to represent every persons experience.

Sex, after all, is a subjective experience, and its definition and understanding vary from person to person. Many of us have been educated and socialized to think about sex very differently from one another. And some of us were never formally educated about sex and were left to learn from the dictionary, from Google, from porn, or from a book we picked up at the library and quietly read between the stacks because we were too embarrassed to check it out. (Yeah….that was me.)

I’m excited to introduce you to Sheila today. Sheila, along with her daughter Rebecca, recently released a book called The Great Sex Rescue. Sheila and Rebecca interviewed me last spring, and part of MY STORY, along with the nuanced and complex experiences of other women, are centered throughout this book on sex, particularly in the contexts of Christian marriage relationships. But even if you’re not married, this conversation is worth listening to if you hope to be a part of, or currently are in, a sexual relationship.

Now it’s my turn to interview Sheila. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

That might be the end of mine and Sheila’s conversation, but the conversation doesn’t have to end here. Share this episode with a girl friend, or with your partner, and use it as a jumping off point to have a better conversation about sex with one another. You can also join me over on Instagram @SanctuaryWoman.

If you happen to be listening and are thinking – wow, I found books like Love and Respect and Sheet Music actually really helpful for my marriage. How can something that was good for my marriage be so bad for many others? I hear you. And if that’s you, I’m so grateful that these books were helpful for you. And still, I am hopeful that Sheila’s book and her resources will course-correct that which wasn’t helpful – and help improve and evolve our conversation about sex in Christian spaces to be healthier for everyone and more inclusive of both female and male experiences. I, along with so many, have suffered from harmful teachings about our bodies, our sexualities, and our socially (not biblically) prescribed roles as women and wives. I am excited and hopeful that this smart, biblically-informed and research-based resource now exists and will move the conversation forward in a way that honors women and God’s image in women.

I want to close out this episode with a reading from 2 Corinthians 3. This passage produces a lot of hope in me when I’m reminded of God’s very good and infinite glory. While Paul is writing about God’s glory reflected in the Old Testament vs God’s glory through the life, death and ministry of Jesus Christ, I can’t help but ask some of these questions of myself and of God as we lean into this call to a kind of ministry that has historically brought more condemnation than it has righteousness.

7 The ministry that brought death was carved in letters on stone tablets. It came with such glory that the Israelites couldn’t look for long at Moses’ face because his face was shining with glory, even though it was a fading glory. 8 Won’t the ministry of the Spirit be much more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation has glory, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness? 10 In fact, what was glorious isn’t glorious now, because of the glory that is brighter. 11 If the glory that fades away was glorious, how much more glorious is the one that lasts!

12 So, since we have such a hope, we act with great confidence. 13 We aren’t like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites couldn’t watch the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were closed. Right up to the present day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. The veil is not removed because it is taken away by Christ. 15 Even today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But whenever someone turns back to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. 18 All of us are looking with unveiled faces at the glory of the Lord as if we were looking in a mirror. We are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

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