cover image See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity

See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity

Amy Frykholm. Beacon, $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0466-1

Frykholm (Rapture Culture), a special correspondent for the Christian Century, presents briefly the stories of nine individuals who have experienced deep disconnection in their attempts to reconcile their sexual and Christian selves. The stories deal with homosexuality, abuse, exploitation, repressive rules and shame. Each describes a process of reconciliation and the discovery of a new sexual ethic. Despite dealing with harrowing experiences, all end hopefully, with most individuals maintaining a Christian identity. Frykholm avoids editorializing and readily admits the stories do not present easy answers nor are they applicable to every believer. The stories also show that roots of sexual trauma are complicated, sometimes hazy and difficult to unravel, with blame both on and outside of Christianity. While the stories are too brief to satisfy all questions, they are complete enough to provide a sense of the individual and their struggles. Some may find, however, the brevity gives a sense of rushing; some may wish more of the subjects were men. In the final chapter, Frykholm hints at a new sexual ethic, one grounded in wonder and pleasure, but she only sketches this. Doing more would undermine the value of this work, which challenges all Christians to do the work of reconsidering their default opinion on sexuality and open themselves up to a deeper, truer connection between body and spirit. (Nov.)