Cyber Swing/Polyamory Resource Center
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
Here is some suggested bibliography
for serious study of Christian sexual issues:
Note these are about heterosexual issues. A separate extensive bibliography about homosexual Christian issues is also available at http://www.libchrist.com/other/homosexual/books.html
For those that want to do their own serious research by
looking at both sides of issues here is some suggested bibliography for serious
study of Christian sexual issues. In addition we have a HUGE biblical research
section covering just about any question / challenge that has come up in the
last 15 years at The Bible, Christianity & Sexual Issues section of
libchrist.com or direct link:
"Dirt, Greed, And Sex, Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and their Implications for Today," by Professor of NT, Church Divinity School, Rev. Countryman points out "nowhere does the Bible make monogamy a clear and explicit standard" The Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles suggests the book be required reading for those who think they know what the Bible says about sexual ethics. Christians have allowed the fundamentalists to hijack the issue of sexual morality, both heterosexual and homosexual. This is an in-depth look at not only the NT, but also the OT in terms of various sexual issues, including adultery, incest, prostitution, etc., and how the NT deals with the OT teachings
NEW UPDATED "Dirt, Greed and Sex" by Countryman published 10/2007:
This new revised edition, of the landmark 1988 text, includes updated text and notes throughout, taking advantage of recent studies of sexual ethics and, where appropriate, criticizing them. A new chapter engages the presumed "ethic of creation; that has become a major theme among more conservative thinkers and writers in biblical ethics. A concluding chapter on sex is thoroughly rewritten and offers a positive statement of a New Testament sexual ethic.
L. William Countryman is Sherman E. Johnson Professor of New Testament at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California,
"The Poisoning of Eros" Raymond Lawrence, Jr., Episcopal extensively quotes many resources. Concludes a new sexual ethic is needed based on affirmation of sex and valuing polyamorous communities over exclusivity. Discusses porneia and concludes it is limited to the cultic prostitution having nothing to do with singles sex or monogamy. Points out Torah said nothing about adultery for men, only for women. A clergyman for 31 years, now teaches and supervises clergy in pastoral counseling.
Updated new book The Scandal of Christendom, by Raymond Lawrence published 2007, Amazon.com review:
In Sexual Liberation, The Scandal of Christendom, Raymond J. Lawrence, Jr., catches Christianity with its pants down regarding its failure to deliver a positive sex ethic. He traces the roots of sex-negativity in the Greco-Roman culture and how it it was adopted by the early church fathers, then perpetuated over the centuries in both the Catholic and Protestant churches. He also traces the sex positively of the Jewish culture and how it has been drowned out by the powers that have been, and why. Sexual Liberation is a well-written, well-researched, well-documented re-working of Lawrence's earlier book, The Poisoning of Eros. His new book is loaded with insightful stories that make for thought-provoking and enjoyable reading. I couldn't put it down. The dust-jacket illustration deserves mention as it not only undergirds the central message of the book, but it is also a delightful expression of the beauty of sex. Sexual Liberation offers much-needed balance against the sexual addiction bandwagon that Christendom is currently riding. Every clergyman, indeed, every thinking believer, should read this book and then "declare the year of the Lord's favor" regarding sex.
J. Harold Ellens Review Excerpts
"The first 2007 publication to come into my hand for review is a stunningly important one. Raymond J. Lawrence, Jr. has finally looked the monster in the eyeball and stared him down. That monster is the twenty centuries of bizarre distortion in Christendom of the biblical ethic of sex. The Christian Church has made an oppressive monstrosity out of sexual repression virtually since the transition from the Jesus Movement to the rise of the church as we know it, a transition which had happened by the end of the first century. This destructive Christian sexual ethic was certainly in full sway by the establishment of the Christian canon at the end of the third century, and stands in demeaning contrast to the celebrative biblical ethic of human sexuality.
Lawrence argues persuasively that this shift from the Bible to Church ethical moralizing was prompted by the move from biblical theological metaphors and values to the Graeco-Roman philosophical values and principles championed by the Stoics, Cynics, Neo-Platonists, and other strains of pagan culture that were everywhere rampant in the Mediterranean world during the first eight centuries of Christian history. Lawrence's argument is cogent, coherent, tightly woven, and amply illustrated. This is not only a profound contribution to the contemporary cultural interface with biblical principles, relevant to psychospirituality, but it is a highly engaging book. John M. Gessell, Professor of Christian Ethics, declares that it is "a lucid and masterful account of Christianity's shifting attitude toward sex from the positive valuation of its Jewish roots to the contemporary Church's obsessive hysteria about sex. For anyone who is seeking a clue to today's Christian sex wars, this book will provide it."
This volume is endorsed by two Forewords: one by the famed Donald Capps, Professor of Pastoral Psychology at Princeton and the other by Don Jones, Professor Emeritus of Ethics at Drew University.
Another book that is enormously helpful on an emotional level is "The Intimate Connection: Male Sexuality, Masculine Spirituality," by James B. Nelson. Nelson is a pretty theologically liberal Christian, but is recognized as a foremost authority on sexuality and Christianity. The book is really not a biblical one, but deals very helpfully with psychological and cultural issues that impact Christians in relation to their sexuality. While it focuses on men, its principles are mostly applicable to women, too.
Other books you might find helpful are "What the Bible Really Says About Sex: A New Look at Sexual Ethics from a Biblical Perspective," by Tom Gruber. This is privately published by the author, who lives in Ohio. I don't have an e-mail address for him, but you can write or call him at: 116 Heischman Ave., Worthington, OH 43085; phone 614 844-6650. He sells the book directly and you can tell him we referred you; he knows us.
"God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality" Phyllis Trible discusses the legitimacy of polygamy in biblical times and women today want the same sexual freedom men have always had.
"Body Theology" James B. Nelson, Professor of Christian Ethics, United Theological Seminary, New Brighton, Minnesota proposes we reclaim sexuality and rejoice in a true Body Theology that is sex-affirming, understanding of sexuality as a moral good rooted in the sacred value of our sensuality and erotic power without needing justifications that applied to a much different biblical culture.
"After Polygamy Was Made a Sin: The Social History of Christian Polygamy," by John Cairncross, Routledge and Kegan Paul Publishers, London; U.S. distributor: Dufour Editions, Chester Springs, Pa 19415-0449, 215 458-5005.
For contemporary approaches to poly relationships:"Breaking the Barriers to Desire: New Approaches to Multiple Relationships," Kevin Lano and Claire Parry, eds., Five Leaves Publications, Nottingham, England, ISBN 0 907123 36 8.
Divine Sex, by Philo Thelos, a retired Pentecostal minister who hewed the fundamentalist line for many years and rebelled against it. He also has a book on homosexuality. Both of these are available from www.trafford.com. Another of his books is The Royal Law of Liberty, dealing in general with Christian freedom from the law. That is available from amazon.com.
Body, Sex and Pleasure: Reconstructing Christian Sexual Ethics, by Christine E. Gudorf.
Recommendation by a theologian supportive of Liberated Christians ideas:
THE CORINTHIAN BODY, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1995.
Over the years I've discovered that an important class of investigations is a topic I might call "our bodies/ourselves." The view of our bodies have changed over the centuries and with the crossing of cultural boundaries (and hence, also changes in the meanings of terms we use). One of the most excellent books for understanding sexuality in New Testament times (and which also crosses cultural boundaries) is Dale B. Martin's exploration in THE CORINTHIAN BODY, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1995. This is not necessarily easy reading but it is rewarding because of the anthropological overtones it investigates (Corinth [Greek] and St. Paul [Jew]). Since my training in anthropology pushes me into a cross-cultural direction I have tried to collect literature that explores how mankind views his/her body and sexuality within the context of other cultural traditions. Much of this has no bearing whatsoever on how we interpret the Bible, but it does remind one that modern American culture (with its Puritan heritage) isn't the only way of looking at things.
"Against the Protestant Gnostics" by Philip J. Lee
"Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church", by Uta Ranke-Henemann
"The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity," by Peter Brown
Embodiment: An Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology," by James B. Nelson
"Radical Love: An Approach to Sexual Spirituality," by Dody H. Donnelly
NEW The Making of Fornication Published in 2003
Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity
Hellenistic Culture and Society, XL
"This book is a gold mine of information for anyone interested in the dynamics of sexual morality in Western culture. General readers, students, and scholars will find surprising data about sexual views, theories, practices, and politics in ancient Greek and Roman society, Hellenistic Judaism and philosophy, and early and patristic Christianity. "--Vernon K. Robbins, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Religion, Emory University
This provocative work provides a radical reassessment of the emergence and nature of Christian sexual morality, the dominant moral paradigm in Western society since late antiquity.The Septuagint's mandate to worship the Lord alone among all gods led to a Christian program to revolutionize Gentile sexual practices, only for early Christians to find this virtually impossible to carry out without going to extremes of sexual renunciation.
Knowledgeable and wide-ranging, this work of intellectual history and ethics cogently demonstrates why early Christian sexual restrictions took such repressive ascetic forms, and casts sobering light on what Christian sexual morality has meant for religious pluralism in Western culture, especially among women as its bearers.
Some of the above are hard to find and some out of print, but were source Bill and I (Dave) used to research the biblical issues over the past 20 years!
Someone said: Dave, I've found some of these books at http://www.allbookstores.com. They have a list of places where the books can be found and compares the prices. I've bought several used books in great shape for really low prices.
Not specifically Christian materials but these have helped many Christians in their polyamory explorations:
"Responsible Nonmonogamy - Love Without Limits - Quest for Sustainable Intimate Relationships" Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Deborah Anapol's model for sexual intimacy and ethical nonmonogamous relationships. Not specifically Christian but more Christ-like ideas than traditional Church repression. This is the classic work that has changed so many lives helping people understand their desire for responsible-nonmonogamous relationships, especially women. A new updated version was released in 1997 and is available from Loving More web site: http://lovemore.com
"Loving More: The Polyfidelity Primer," Ryam Nearing
"Loving More" Magazine,
Both available at Loving More web site: http://lovemore.com
Human Awareness Institute (see report in LC newsletter, Fall 1996) Web site: http://www.hai.org. This is the only practical workshop group Dave has ever experienced that really teachings love, intimacy and sexuality in the post powerful, hands on, effective loving way.
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