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A Library Journal 2011 Best Book — Spiritual Living
How the strict purity ethic and rules-based culture of American Protestantism has adversely affected the sexual development of many believers, and the intimate and varied personal stories of the roads nine of them traveled to begin to heal.
See Me Naked takes us deep into the complex, intimate intersection of sexuality and spirituality. Telling the stories of nine ordinary people and the religious worlds they were raised in, Amy Frykholm takes us beyond the shockingly regular headlines of sexual scandal in the church to ask how Christian cultures in America affect our sexuality. A man named Matthew shows the intricate relation between his religious faith and his sexual addiction; another man defines religion as a wall that kept him from the discovery that he was gay, while a young woman uses sex to defy her devout parents. Many of these stories diagnose a troubled culture of religion and sex, but Frykholm’s point is not to indict Christianity. Instead the book points toward how American Christians might make better use of their tradition to heal the divide between religion and sexuality. Nearly everyone interviewed for the book remains a Christian, yet each has undergone significant transformation to reach reconciliation.
“A fascinating, troubling, and finally heartening book that subtly shows ways that Christians might reconcile their bodies with their devotion to God.” — Library Journal (Starred Review)
“A culturally significant collection that explores the challenges of reconciling pleasure with piety.”–Kirkus
“Amy Frykholm has gathered the intimate stories of people of faith in search of wholeness. These tender tales both challenge and encourage the church to listen to voices it might not hear otherwise. When it comes to integrating mind, body and spirit, the Church can serve as curse or blessing. These searingly honest stories compel us to strive for the latter.”–The Rev. Lillian Daniel, author of Tell it Like it is: Recovering the Practice of Testimony
“This is a compelling book that traverses the teeming intersection of sexuality and faith in the life of nine individuals. They are stories of very ordinary people’s struggles to live as whole beings. Their stories are rendered with such compassion and insight, however, that the result is anything but ordinary. The reader is left with the conviction that the church must, and the hope that it will, minister to people in the fullness of their lives.”–The Rev. Martin B. Copenhaver, author of To Begin at the Beginning
“American Christianity is facing a crisis: our easy answers about life after death have left so many with little hope for life in their bodies here and now. Amy Frykholm chronicles this crisis in real time, inviting us to experience the pain of sisters and brothers living in exile from their flesh. But she also proclaims a gentle word of hope: ‘look again at our tradition,’ she seems to whisper. ‘Christ is risen in a body with feet that touch the ground.’”—Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture
“With singular gentleness and a palpable respect for those whose stories she is telling, Amy Frykholm lays bare whole areas of human sexual formation that I had never seen before, much less considered. By using narrative instead of proposition, she exposes very effectively the places where we in Christianized American culture have failed to understand our bodies as a means of holy rejoicing and candid worship. Even worse, she shows us where we have failed to help our children so to do. This is an important book.”–Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why
“These disarmingly honest life stories of people navigating the ‘tenacious strangeness’ of their sexual and spiritual lives will stay with you long after you finish this book. So will the gracious, honoring, and insightful ways Frykholm tells and interprets them. It should be on every Protestant pastor's coffee table.”–Timothy Beal, author of The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book