Nearly three years ago, when I began working with my agent (Hannah Bowman) to put this book together, I didn’t know if I’d ever make it to this point. I wasn’t sure if the book would make it to the press, make it through the editing process and actually end up on the shelf. Even when I held it in my hands, it still felt deeply surreal. But here we are, and here it is, being shipped out to bookstores and landing on doorsteps across the nation.
Depending on who asks, my answer on what this book is about changes. For those I don’t want to get into a protracted discussion with, it’s “women’s issues” and “theology.” But it’s about so much more than that. This book takes direct aim at the shame culture that has enveloped the American evangelical church. It is a brave attempt to give people the tools they need to live their lives fully out, as themselves, fully human and fully realized as God’s creations.
Shame is graceless – it lies to our very souls, creates anxiety where there should be none, and darkens our ability to see a way out. And traditional Christian ethics around sex are shrouded and immersed in shame tactics. Losing virginity before marriage – no matter the circumstances – is a source of deep shame for many. The idea of being unclean and impure pervades every aspect of sexuality for my generation, a legacy of the culture wars of the 20th century.
No one emerges from the culture wars unscathed, and young women have long been the first casualty, unable to understand what healthy sexuality looks like, unable to engage fully in their own lives because of the barriers shame has set before them. An entire generation has learned that they are damaged goods.
And this is why I write – to let you know that you are not damaged goods. You are not “goods” at all. You are a person, you are whole, and you are a being lovingly created by God. Holiness does not belong in between your legs, but in your heart. There is a great love and a great grace out there, and you can learn what it means to honor God in yourself and in others by understanding how to approach sexuality in a healthy, knowledgeable, and gracious manner. You need only reach out for it.
Guest post by author Dianna E. Anderson
DAMAGED GOODS: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON CHRISTIAN PURITY
Releases in bookstores and online everywhere on 2/10!