This is not only an endorsement of a book I just read and helped launch, it is another Just For You of curated resources that fit with the book.
When I heard Sheila Wray Gregoire and her daughter were writing another book and asking for launch team members, I didn’t hesitate to join. After listening to her advocate for true teachings within the church about sex, marriage, and relationships for several years, and knowing their approach to research, I was confident that She Deserves Better would be a necessary and helpful resource for parents, youth pastors, church leaders, counselors, and others in the helping profession.
The book is not only a resource for parents and leaders – the information, stories (many of them personal), and research within it are helpful for our daughters and sons. Because we all deserve better. She deserves better. He deserves better. And the church deserves better.
Although my children are young adults with their beliefs about relationships and sex mostly formed, I want to be equipped to help them untangle the harmful teachings we’ve learned from culture and the church. And we are untangling. “After all, if something is of Christ, then it should not cause harm. This is the journey we’d like to invite you on— a journey along the road less traveled, where hopefully you will find a much richer relationship with Jesus in the process,” writes the authors.
The authors suggest several ways to use the book. One is to use it as a conversation starter with your daughters. The authors point out harmful teachings within the church and the most popular Christian books for pre-teen and teen girls, then tells the truth. At the end of the chapters are exercises and scenarios to talk through.
While the authors address moms, it’s not limited to moms and daughters. Dads talking with their sons and daughters, moms to sons, or a family conversation about harmful teachings within the church just might be the best way to ease some of the weirdness and shame we have around sex within evangelicalism. If we take this approach, it’s always wise and loving to make sure the others are comfortable. If not, let them know the space to talk is available when they are comfortable.
We Now Know Better
I wish I’d had this resource to guide the conversations I had with my own children when they were learning about their sexuality. It would have prevented some of the pain they walked through and helped me be a better guide to them. I supported many of the harmful teachings of the church, partly by not knowing better. Sheila and her team help us know better and they ask us to reconsider what we’ve been taught.
For instance, “Girls are told that many things that are signs of poor character are actually God-given masculine traits. When we tell girls repeatedly, “This is just how boys are,” we’re putting the burden of boys’ emotional immaturity on girls’ shoulders instead of simply asking the boys to grow up.”
There are more thought provoking statements throughout the book. Some of the chapter titles and clues of what’s inside are:
- She Deserves a Big Faith
- She Deserves to Be Heard
- She Deserves to Be Respected
- She Deserves to Be Protected
- She Deserves to Know About Her Body
This book will help start the conversation and keep it going as we, all of us, discover the truth about who God made us to be.
I watched the recently released documentary about Brooke Shields called Pretty Baby. It’s an excellent unveiling of the ways in which she was sexualized at a very young age. While we like to think this has changed, it is an unveiling of how it really hasn’t.
Brooke talks openly about something many of us have experienced. Like her, we were silent because of the shame. We didn’t understand consent and the lines of responsibility seemed blurry. I’m not sure how far we’ve come around this topic. The work of Diane Langberg, Dan Allender, Sarah McDugal, along with the authors of She Deserves Better are Christians who are working to give us a clearer understanding of consent and responsibility. I know this – the church should be the very place where we have the clearest understanding.
We Have To Know
I posted a poem a couple of months ago in a post called We have To Know. The title of the poem is What Goes Unspoken. It is Brooke’s experience and it is mine, and according to statistics, it’s the experience of many more of those living and working and doing all the day-to-day stuff among us.
We only don’t know it because it is unspoken.
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