Friday, March 7

12x12: God and Boobs

God and Boobs: Balancing Faith and Sexuality
Angie Schuller Wyatt

I'd wanted to read this book for a really long time - it was one of those Christmas books that I just never got around to reading.

What I Loved:
  • The chapters are short and themed, which makes it easy to read and stay interested.
  • Angie is charming, and she has a quirky quality about her writing.
  • There is ZERO victim-blaming or sex-shaming - Angie has worked with lots of women survivors of rape, incest, and abuse, and she came from a famous Evangelical family, so she's very sympathetic to the plethora of reasons women feel uncomfortable with being sexual creatures.

What I Wasn't Crazy About:
  • She refers to God as "He" and described his "maleness" throughout the entire book... Which is useful when she's talking about how many women abuse survivors tend to see God as male. They have a harder time trusting in God because, hey, he's just another guy who's going to hurt them. And I get that when we're talking about Jesus, who, undoubtedly, had a male body... But God is ungendered, and discussing God as "He" really bothered me.
  • Angie is not a fan of organized religion... at all. She describes herself as spiritual, and clearly is very faithful and devoted to God, but whether it's from growing up in a huge church or something else, she really hates on organized religion. She literally refers to it as shit, utterly devoid of spiritual nourishment. Her biggest peeve is the rule-based culture of, "If you do this, you are good. If you do this, you are bad," and resulting punishments from the church. Now, I didn't grow up in a rule-based church and I sure as hell don't adhere to a spiritual doctrine that requires me to follow rules in order to recieve God's love. Personally, although I know that organized religion has been the cause of so many evils in the world, I can't look at the Church and see shit. I see the Catholic Church and Methodist Church in particular who care so much about social justice, and I won't throw that away because some churches shame people.
  • It can get a little cheesy. Angie likes talking about talking to God and listening for "His" answers, like you're having a conversation. I certainly don't think she's crazy, but it comes off a little strange (to me, at least). We all experience our faith in different ways, so maybe that's just not my jam.

Would I Recommend This Book?
  • I actually would, haha. I'm sure after that last section you'd think I hated the book. Those first two bullet points were a constant pet peeve I had throughout the book, so they were pretty big for me... but the book was really interesting and made me think about my own relationship with God, how I trust (or don't trust) men as a whole because of my own experiences, and how the Church can or should grow in regards to how we regard sexuality. I'm sure if you read my blog at all, you will understand that I believe shaming anyone (but especially women, given how society already shames women) for sex and sexuality is increadibly harmful, and the Church has an especially hard time navigating around these "issues." More often than not, I feel like the Church puts the blame on women, telling us that we're spiritually and physically harming men because of things we do or wear, and emphasizes things like "purity" and "modesty" as ways we can be "good" church-women. This book doesn't blame women for men at all - in fact, in one of my favorite sections, she talks about how women are quick to blame themselves - for the harms that have been done to them, for mistakes they have made, for mistakes others have made, even when those things are clearly not their fault. She tells the story of Adam and Eve: Adam makes a choice to eat the apple Eve offered, then when God comes around, blames it all on Eve. "Once upon a time, there was a woman who thought that it was all her fault." This spoke to me so hard. 
  • I think I expected this book to be more about finding God within sexuality, and that's just not what it was... and that's okay! It was more about that God made each and every one of us sexual creatures, and not to feel shame about that. In fact, it was very encouraging to read about survivors of horrible abuses (and one woman whose husband flat out told her that it was HER fault their sex life wasn't good because SHE wasn't attractive enough for him - Wowza, that one felt like a knife to the heart) and still managed to find beauty within themselves and trust in God & men again.
Have you ever read this book? How do you feel about faith and sexuality?

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