Eros Beyond Sex

When we encounter the word eros—the Greek noun to which the adjective “erotic” corresponds—we probably assume that eros is essentially sexual love. Yet in making this assumption, we hit far wide of the mark established in the thought of the Greek philosophers and continued in the Christian tradition.What, then, is eros? Is it a purely physical love, or a love that consumes both mind and body? How does eros relate to sexuality? The traditional answers to these questions may surprise us and ent … [Read more...]

The Vagina Monologues and Body Shame

 A few weeks ago I attended a production of the Vagina Monologues. Watching actor after actor deliver a monologue about her vagina was a bit of a culture shock; just a few hours ago, I was on the bus coming from my Christian fellowship at the Trinity Forum Academy, where the topics covered in the Monologues aren’t usually discussed.Under the influence of this culture shock, I instinctively cringed a little at the show’s vagina preoccupation. But I starting warming up to it— until one … [Read more...]

Apollo and the Unmerciful Hermit

[This delightful story is one of many given in Benedicta Ward's translation of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, which makes excellent Lenten reading.]There was once a brother who was very eager to seek goodness.  Being very disturbed by the demon of lust, he came to a hermit and told him about his thoughts.  The hermit was inexperienced and when he heard all this, he was shocked, and said he was a wicked brother, unworthy of his monk's habit because he had thoughts like that.When the br … [Read more...]

Virginity: Christianity’s Main Idol?

Does the Christian church damage women by idolizing virginity?Elizabeth Esther recently started the conversation around this question at her blog with this post:Like other Christians, I talked about the “sacrifice” of abstinence. There were princess-themed books about saving our first kiss. Some of us wore purity rings and made pledges to our Daddies not to have sex until we’re married. Ultimately, we implied that a woman’s inherent worth and dignity could be measured by whether or not a … [Read more...]