I have learned in life that it is as important to know how to stop doing things as it is to have the courage to initiate them. My original vision was to get Christians talking about sex. I wanted to create a page that credited you with the intelligence to think for yourself and to bring your own consciences into a living relationship with your heavenly Father, and Christ as discipler and friend. My intention has been to stimulate your thinking and inject some freedom to embrace all that is good and God-given in sex and sexuality.
Sometimes I observe that we give lip service to believing that God invented sex and gave it as a good gift, but then laden it in real life with so much guilt, unreality, burdens and brokenness that it loses the capacity to fly. I know the heartache that broken sexual experiences bring; how it can drain our relationships and our closeness to God, who ultimately is the only sustaining source of life in all its fullness. I believe in a God who is grace in action and my writing has always sought to express my meagre attempts to imagine how to view God’s ideals for sex (which were created through love) through that lens of grace, healing and forgiveness ? which are his continual gift to us all.
I hope what I have written has got you talking to each other about the topics; this has been more important to me than whether you agree or disagree with my take on the topic. I want us as Christians to be able to support each other through our sexual challenges as much as any other area of life.
Having worked for many years as a psychosexual therapist in the sexual health department of a local hospital with predominantly secular clients, I have observed that there can be distinct complexities surrounding our sexual expression as Christians that are framed by our faith and tend not to be issues for those who have not experienced church or Christian teaching. I have also had the privilege of experiencing what living God’s way can save us from (along with the benefits of a loving Christian church community). My vision has been to help us as Christians face some of the challenges that are unique to us and explore what is good about sex rather than becoming a stuck record on the ‘shalt nots’
I want to thank Christianity magazine for having the courage to print what I have written. I was aware that when we first started the ‘Dear Maggie’ page it was incredibly pioneering, controversial and radical. The mailbox was full of letters of concern as well as thanks. I respected and listened to both, though I needed the positive ones to keep me going! I have noticed that what I write is now less controversial and I take from that that my vision is accomplished.
As I end this column, I want to encourage you to continue to talk appropriately about sex, being mindful to treat others and yourself with grace, gentleness and self-control, knowing that in God we find ‘the way and the truth and the life’. He set us ideals out of the depths of his love for us. He walks with us from whatever point we are at, always guiding us into wherever we will find more light, not more darkness.
I want to encourage any of you who could make excellent psychosexual therapists to consider training in this much-needed art. One thing that has not abated has been the ongoing emails from Christians looking for a qualified psychosexual therapist in their area who loves God, understands the Christian walk and could provide help.
I feel I have achieved my vision for this Dear Maggie page; the vision that remains unachieved is for it to be easy to find faith-filled Christian psychosexual therapists in any location in our hurting world. I leave this one with you...