Book Club Channel
Discovering Sexual Wholeness: An Interview with T.C. Ryan
Realize it is not your job to save someone from their compulsive behaviors. Your job is to know, love, care, and encourage them. So you need to keep healthy boundaries. Avoid getting pulled into the emotional maelstrom of compulsive craziness. Practice generous love, but maintain your own emotional well-being. You have your own journey of learning to live in the light.
You have identified the power that shame has to keep people from seeking the help they need. How can churches help people on this journey? What limitations do churches have?
Churches have great power and opportunity to change the landscape of shame-empowered sexual addiction. Teach the real gospel, that we are worse sinners than we'd like to admit we are, and at the same time we are each one of us more wildly and extravagantly loved by our Father in Heaven than we can possibly imagine.
Churches can help to change the way people think and the climate in both the Church and in society by teaching a healthy sexuality, recovering a sexual ethic that is open and gracious and truthful, dropping fear and silence and repression. Give people the right information about how sexuality and sexual brokenness work. Teach them how shame works, how it is contrary to the gospel, how it is actively, if inadvertently, handed down through families and churches.
Churches can't make people recover, and they can't make sexual brokenness disappear. But they have the power to equip people with the freeing truth that genuine spirituality is about the recovery of relationship (with God, self, and others) that is done in the heart and works outward, rather than fear-based and shame-based behavioral performance.
What has been the most surprising aspect of your journey toward sexual wholeness over the last couple of years?
I think I continue to be most surprised that the relentless hold sexual compulsivity had on my daily existence has been broken. I had lost hope, after so many years of struggle, that I could live the kind of life I now enjoy.
Tim Keel is the Senior Pastor and primary teaching pastor at Jacob's Well and a member of its leadership team. After spending eleven years as the founding pastor of Jacob's Well, Tim and his family moved to Auckland, New Zealand, where he was the Senior Fellow for Congregational Studies at Laidlaw College. He has recently returned to Jacob's Well and is excited to once more be a part of the Jacob's Well community.
Keel is the author of Intuitive Leadership: Embracing a Paradigm of Metaphor, Narrative, and Chaos (Baker, 2007) and a forthcoming volume on Ecclesiastes in the Resonate Bible Commentary series from Intervarsity Press.