“Healthy” is not exactly the adjective I would match with the word “sexuality,” especially when it comes to the ways the church and Christians have portrayed and lived out what we believe about sex these past few centuries.
As a justice advocate, I thought I understood racism and sexism. But it wasn’t until I became a youth pastor to a multiracial group of teens that I realized just how deeply racial and gender injustice is woven into our society.
I was raised in Christian purity culture. I proudly wore my “True Love Waits” ring. I read Joshua Harris’s Christian cult classic, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. And today, I’m a psychologist and a vocal critic of purity culture.
My dad showed me that a great father, like a good man, is defined not by strength, but by tenderness. A great father doesn’t run from his feelings, but knows and communicates them. He is fully invested in the nurturing of his children.
“My daughter is dying; come heal her,” begged the father with his last breath. Jesus followed the man back to his residence. Jairus dared to calm his pounding heart. Then a woman threw herself at Jesus’ feet, sobbing.
Over the decades, psychologists have gathered quite a lot of data on fatherhood and the role it plays in the lives of children. For example, there is data from social and developmental psychology which tells us that parental rejection affects children more when it stems from fathers. But what does the hard science of biology tell us about human fatherhood?
Before you were born, your father and I chose not to learn your gender. We knew we'd love you and raise you with the same values and opportunities—boy or girl. When the doctor announced that you were a girl, we were overjoyed.
When the news of my mom’s death spread throughout my congregation and the naval base in Port Hueneme, Calif., I began to learn about the kindred spirit that exists among women who have lost their mothers. These women cried with me and told me, “There is something deep that happens in our souls when a woman loses her mother.” All of these women talked of mothers who loved them and modeled that every woman can be all that God wants her to be.