Can We Acknowledge Each Other as Sexual Beings?

Musings on Our Neutered Imago Dei

It is rather easy to acknowledge our social sexuality, our gender as males and females. What is much harder to affirm is that our friends, our neighbors, and our coworkers actually also have genitals and erotic desires. For many, this thought provokes much discomfort. In many respects, we seem to prefer our acquaintances neutered or […]

Freeing Eros for Agape

For many Christians, eros stands in stark opposition to agape forms of love. Eros is viewed from many pulpits as a natural, selfish drive that must be carefully managed and is only rightly satisfied (or better tolerated) in marriage, while agape is seen as the spiritual, higher, sacrificial giving love that all Christians are to […]

Musings on Sexual Attraction, Behaviors, and Desires

Maybe due to our general discomfort and anxiety in discussing sexual matters openly, we often miss the complexity of our sexual experiences and tend to simplistically collapse them onto each other. For example, it seems, for many that any experience of sexual feelings calls for at least an attempt to express it with concrete behaviors. Because […]

The Power of Sexual Wonder

After listening to a recent podcast exploring the power of wonder and why we need it in our lives, I was left curious. If there are benefits of wonder in general, was this also true for sexual wonder? What if our fascination with nudity and sexual images is less a perversion to be eliminated and […]

Desiring Ecstasy

Crawling in from work exhausted and tired, my soul is hungry. I am ready for a break, for an escape, for relief, but also for something more, something deeper which these words cannot adequately express. My soul is craving ecstasy. In ecstasy, I am fully alive and connected with every living thing. All too often […]

Freedom of Sexual Fantasies

I’m concerned about my husband’s use of fantasies during our sexual encounters. He says he can no longer finish [climax] without relying on them. Are all sexual fantasies bad? God has created us with a powerful mind. We are able to think, imagine, and enrich the joy in our lives with many new and creative […]

Beauty Hunting

Become Good Soil
January 28, 2014

A professor once reminded me of the need to be intentional about seeking beauty, especially when counseling in the area of abuse and trauma. During each class break she would post pictures from Cute Overload, a blog featuring various cute animals. While the fury animals didn’t always stir my soul, the point was still well taken. We need regular reminders that beauty exists.

Even in a world of indescribable pain, suffering, and brokenness, profound beauty remains. And beauty reminds us of God’s infinite goodness.

To be sure, in the midst of terrorist attacks and the death of love ones it is easy to have our attention arrested by such overwhelming negative events, not to mention cancer, sex trafficking, past due bills, and that gnawing sense we have to prove our worth by staying busy.

Even still, beauty and joy are available if we have the eyes to see.

And so, beauty hunting is an apt description. We need beauty to heal and restore our souls, but we must often hunt for it.

Spend some time beauty hunting today. Where will you look? How will you open yourself up to beauty around you? Check out the linked article above for some ideas to get you started.

‘Only two things pierce the human soul,’ Simone Weil wrote, ‘One is beauty. The other is affliction.’ She was right.  Beauty is unique in its power. Not only to pierce the human soul, but even more to unlock it so that Love can come in and hope can win.

Beauty Hunting - Dr. Corey Carlisle

What does the Bible say about Lust?

Biblical Gender Roles
April 18, 2014

For many Christian men, the sin of lust has been defined as merely finding a woman attractive, and certainly if he becomes sexually aroused by her beauty. To avoid this sin, men have told me, for example, about their attempts to keep their eyes on the floor when they walk through a store. This was their heroic effort to prevent the possibility of even seeing an attractive woman, and thus lusting after her.

While part of me applauds their efforts to avoid sin at all cost, another deeper part of me wonders if this represents the abundant and free life Christ came to offer us (and modeled for us).

As mentioned in Affected by Beauty, I believe we can celebrate the beauty of the human form and allow it to affect us without sinning.

The article linked above seeks to understand lust Biblically and not simply how the modern Christian community has interpreted it. It is a thoughtful reflection that is worth considering.

In short, the case is made that Lust = Covetousness

Covetousness is defined as “the strong desire to possess something that is belongs to another.”

The article concludes that,

The sin [of lust] only comes when your sexual attraction…turns into a covetous desire to possess her sexually outside of marriage.

As such, it is not sin to simply be attracted to the beauty in another or even to be aroused by that beauty.

While we are called to fight against sin, it is not beneficial to fight against how God has designed us. God has designed us to be attracted to and affected by beauty. This is not an excuse to be rude, gawk, or otherwise make women feel uncomfortable. However, there is also no need for shame when you get feelings of pleasure from being in the presence of beauty.

 

Affected by Beauty

It seems many of us have an uncertain relationship with beauty, especially when it comes to the human form. We stand in awe at the breathtaking wonder of our created form, and yet there is often fear of objectifying and using others for our own selfish entertainment. How do we praise God for allowing such […]

Pornography and the Mutually Consenting Couple

Editor’s Notes: Originally posted on Enhancing the Dance. See followup comments here. I’m (Dr. Jessica McCleese) excited to take this opportunity to introduce you to a colleague of mine. We met while I was pursuing training as a sexual educator. Corey has worked directly with Dr. Doug Rosenau, author of A Celebration of Sex, and multiple training programs […]