One of the major complaints I come across as I speak to churches, ministries, and college groups, is the lack of resources.
“Fine, pornography is a problem. Now what?”
That’s an important question to answer, especially when it comes to helping women who struggle with pornography.
The lack of resources in this particular field can leave groups and those who struggle feeling paralyzed. Personally, I am working on a resource for addicts and those who want to help them, but I’m not the only one out there.
So, I want to take some time throughout this year to review some resources that churches, groups, and women may find useful as we tackle the problem of sexual struggles among Christian women.
Last time, I reviewed Not Marked by Mary DeMuth. That book, while not directly addressing pornography, was extremely helpful for me when it came to healing from past sexual trauma and preparing for marriage.
Today’s review is of Redeemed Sexuality by Andrew A. Boa.
Andrew reached out to me when this book first published and asked me to review it. To be honest, I misplaced it and then had to pack everything up to move after my marriage, so this review is two years late, but here it is.
An Overview of Redeemed Sexuality
Redeemed Sexuality is a resource written by Wheaton College Graduate, Andrew Boa, and published by InterVarsity Press. It is designed as a 12 session small group resource to address the journey of freedom from sexual struggles. The author directed a small group discipleship ministry for college students struggling with sexual brokenness, and this resource definitely reflects that background.
Topics range from addressing wounds of the past, confession and creating a battle plan for temptation. It also includes some prayers and notes for leaders. There is also a group covenant at the beginning to help guide the group in being a safe place for people to share and heal.
What I like about this book
First, even though it is written by a man, this book is designed to also address women. Drew acknowledges that he involved women in the review/editing process in order to remove evidences of gender bias. This has resulted in a book that speaks clearly to both men and women (though I still recommend staying away from co-ed groups). There is no feeling of “men struggle with this and women don’t” which is great. Instead, Redeemed Sexuality, addresses struggles as a human problem, not a gender specific problem.
Second, this is one of the most practical books I have read on what the journey of freedom looks like. There are interactive, guided activities for readers to do that really help map out what this journey of healing looks like. Starting in chapter (session) 1, readers are encouraged to write out their sexual history, with a huge “bank” of ideas to get you started. This is very similar to what I do with women when I try to teach them how to share their stories. The book is filled with content like that.
The charts and exercises in this book are fantastic.
Third, it’s short. I’m starting to see a trend of resources that rival War and Peace in length. And honestly, no one likes lugging around a 10 pound brick of a book. When I was in college, the resource I had to use was larger than a standard sheet of paper, thick, spiral-bound, and bright blue. It caught attention and was embarrassing and awkward to carry around. Redeemed Sexuality is standard sized, small, and neutral in color. That may seem like a silly thing to like about a book, but when you struggle with shame already, the last thing you want is a book that draws attention to itself.
Fourth, this book emphasizes community. For years, accountability has been the buzzword when it comes to freedom. But we’re starting to realize that approach is less helpful than encouraging community. Accountability is primarily focused on stopping a behavior; community is focused on healing and reconciliation. That is vitally important to eradicating shame and finding freedom.
Fifth, but not least important, this book has a Biblical worldview. Near the end of the resource, the emphasis transitions to God’s view of sex and developing a Christlike sexuality. This is a crucial next step missing from many resources.
What I don’t like about this book
For me, the major downfall of this book is its structure.
Each session is essentially Scripted, including a prayer at the beginning. This can be helpful when a leader might not understand what to say or where to go, but it’s also a bit of a handicap. My recommendation would be to take the “script” as more of a recommendation.
It is very rigidly structured for a small group setting. In and of itself, it’s not a bad thing. In fact, many resources are structured like this. However, the rigidity of this one feels like it would be unable to stand on its own or in a one-on-one discipleship setting. It is specifically designed for small groups of at least 4 it would seem. This works in a college setting, but outside of that, many churches or ministries struggle to build small groups for women, even groups as small as 4. That structure is unfortunate because the content is powerful enough that it could really make an impact if it were structured in a way that a reader could potentially work through it, even one-on-one.
The content and exercises in this resource are absolutely stellar. If you are in a ministry situation where you are able to drum up a group of women, then I believe this resource would be a great starting point for a small group.
However, if you are a woman looking for resources for yourself or a mentor looking for something to go through one-on-one, this isn’t really structured for you. You may be able to use some of the content to “design your own” course, and, honestly, the content is just that good. Even if you bought a copy, ignored the “script” and utilized the exercises, from how to share your story to questions for your prayer partners, I think this could still serve as a resource for you.