“Sexuality is the area in which we have the most difficulty in being honest. We fear facing parts of ourselves and exposing things about ourselves that feel shameful. But we need to come clean about our sexual struggles and failures.”
So writes Ben K. C. Lee, author of Unmasked, thus expounding on his critical thesis – the need for authentic sexuality. By this he means that we need to drop the masks with which we protect ourselves from judgment, and which prevent us from being able to resolve our deepest issues.
For too long, Ben posits, the topic of sex has not been sufficiently discussed in churches, despite the innate human desire for sex. If the Church continues to avoid addressing this issue, we will get our guidance from pornography or misinformed peers. Hence, we need to disciple believers in matters of sex and sexuality in an honest and open (‘authentic’) manner.
Ben goes still further in proffering that this is only possible when our emotional life is integrated with our spirituality – and that if either one is repressed, then the other will suffer as well. “Stewarding our sexual desires is not about suppressing our sexual desires but deepening our spirituality,” he writes.
The alternative, Ben notes, is that we tend to look for sexual answers to our deeply spiritual longings for intimate connection. This will ring true for many who are struggling with sexual brokenness. Emotional needs become confused with carnal desires, and hence we retreat into obscurity, denial, and shame, rather than expose our weaknesses to ourselves, others, mentors – and to the healing light of Christ.
Ben’s message then is that families and congregations must be equipped with safe opportunities to discuss these deep issues, without sugarcoating them or being overly graphic.
If the church is to be a fully-functioning community and not just a Sunday service, it would also provide a viable place where individuals who are single may thrive as well as those who are married.
It is refreshing to see a book coming from outside the usual Western fount, and which is so whole-heartedly aligned with the teachings of Scripture; written by a pastor, but with such full sympathy for all sexual issues, and complete honesty about even his own struggles.
Unmasked is short, clear, readable, and adds a new emphasis on the simple thesis of equipping the Church and the home. It is not only of direct relevance to Christians but also to all who struggle sexually; and this is what Ben espouses throughout his ministry – complete sexual wholeness.
Paul Bach –
served several years with World Outreach in Singapore. Though back in the UK, he keeps in touch with friends in Singapore, and follows developments here closely.
Book cover graphic courtesy of Armour Publishing