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A Lily Among the Thorns: Imagining a New Christian Sexuality

Jossey-Bass 2007
RRP $32

I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.
As a lily among the brambles,
so is my love among maidens   (
Song of Solomon 2: 1 – 2 )

In A Lily Among the Thorns the author Miguel De La Torre, a well-respected ethicist and professor known for his innovative readings of Christian doctrine, gives us an opportunity to rethink our approach to sexuality.

De La Torre rejects both the liberal and conservative Christian prejudices about sex, and instead develops an ethic that is liberative yet grounded soundly in the Bible; a sexuality that celebrates God’s gift of great sex by fostering intimacy, vulnerability and openness between loving partners.

De La Torre examines the Bible, our history, and current culture to show how and why racism, sexism, and classism have distorted Christianity’s central teachings about sexuality.

He shows how the church’s traditionally negative attitudes toward sex and particularly toward women, people of colour, and gays, have made it difficult, if not impossible, to create a biblically based and just sexual ethic. But when the Bible is read from the viewpoint of those who have been marginalized in our society, preconceived notions about Christianity and sex can get turned on their heads.

The book takes on topics such as singleness, same sex relationships, and predatory sex, and the author provides a liberating approach to dealing with such issues of sexuality.

Miguel De La Torre’s book is a worthwhile read for anyone who desires to have a relationship based on equity and ecstasy, and for anyone who is interested in the church’s teaching and doctrine on matters of the pleasures of the body.

Reviewed by Peter Harvey Patrol Minister Frontier Services – Flinders Patrol