I attended a small Christian private school from the 6th grade until I graduated high school. Sophomore year, we had a new principal who believed a minor infraction was the result of a “heart issue,” as she put it.
Not that that idea is necessarily bad in and of itself; the problem was, she used the phrase “heart issue” over and over again in a very negative context.
Every Wednesday at chapel, she would remind us of the rules so we wouldn’t break them and thus indicate that we had a “heart issue.”
Soon, all of us students HATED hearing the phrase “heart issue,” as I’m sure you would imagine.
My principal’s goal in pointing out various “heart issues was most likely out of love. I’m sure she did want to help us obey in the little things so we would also obey in the bigger things. That’s a scriptural concept (see Luke 16:10 and James 1:13-15).
However, literally because she used the phrase “heart issue” over and over again, her whole message was lost. We would hear the words “heart issue” and instantly check out.
I still cringe when I hear the words “heart issue” — they definetly carry a negative connotation for me.
In the same way, the word “sex” can have a negative stigma among Christians.
I’m sure you know the drill.
Sex before marriage is bad.
Do not have sex before marriage.
Do not have sex unless thou hast said “I do.” Period.
Sex has become such a negative idea. Something that if it is talked about in churches (or Christian schools like mine) it’s almost always framed in a “this is bad” light.
“It is a topic clouded in secrecy, accessible only by uttering the exclusive password: “I do.” Locked out of the discussion, single women piece together a sexual worldview from parents and peers.
Sex is bad.
Sex is great.
Sex is holy.
Sex is hot.
We don’t know what is true and what is false; what is cultural and what is biblical.”
In this world of mixed messages, it can be difficult to determine what is true about sex.
Similarly, in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, prisoners spend their entire lives chained in a cave, forced to face the opposite wall. Behind them, people walk back and forth on a walkway, carrying various objects. On the other side of those people is a fire. The fire casts shadows of the people who are walking back and forth onto the cavern walls, and the prisoners believe the shadows are reality.
One day, a prisoner is set free and he sees the people who are walking back and forth on the path. He realizes that he has believed a lie his whole life; the moving black figures on the wall in front of him were not reality, but rather mere copies of reality, shadows, fake.
The world’s version of sex parallels the shadows cast on the cavern wall.
It is merely a cheap copy of reality. A fake.
“Satan’s sexuality is not celebrated: it is either hidden or flaunted. His version of sex is not just a part of who we are – it is all of who we are. For some, this results in a spiral of shame and defeat. Others use their sexuality as a form of power and manipulation. Sex is either the problem or the idol, and either way, is exalted above the power of God.”
-Phylicia Masonheimer, Christian Cosmo, page 9
The escaped prisoner from The Allegory of the Cave returns to the cave, stands on the pathway behinds the prisoners and calls out to them, telling them the truth about the reality of the shadows.
Unfortunately, the other prisoners only saw his shadow and heard his distorted echoes. Thus, they never fully understood his message about the glorious world beyond the cave.
However, just because the prisoners would never experience life outside the cave doesn’t make the world beyond the cave any less true.
If we compare ourselves to the characters in this story, who are we?
Are we the prisoners chained to the wall who are experiencing a fuzzy, faulty reality when it comes to sex?
Or are we the prisoner who has escaped the blurry messages and now sees sex for what it truly is- a beautiful creation by God to be celebrated within marriage?
It can be hard to determine what reality is if all you’ve ever seen are shadows, just as it can be hard to determine the truth about sex when you’ve been hearing mixed messages from the world and from the church.
That’s where Christian Cosmo comes in.
This book is amazing.
In this book, Phylicia Masonheimer doesn’t sweep sex under the rug, simply saying “Don’t do it!”, but rather she explains what sex is, so we can understand what the heck people are even talking about.
Many young women enter their teens and twenties with very little working knowledge of sexuality. Not only do they have little knowledge of their own bodies, they don’t know what sex looks like in marriage. They end up piecing together a sexual worldview from whatever sources they can find. The authorities on sexuality become Cosmo magazine, romance novels, porn sites and rumors, because when churches and parents are silent about sexuality, the world will always have a voice.
That’s why a biblical sexual education is so important.
(Pg. 51, emphasis mine)
Every thing Phylicia talks about is from a Biblical stand point. She exposes the lies we so easily believe about sex and teaches the truth about sexuality; how God created as a beautiful way husbands and wives can become completely unified.
To give you an idea of what Phylicia discusses in her book, here are the book’s chapter headings:
- Reclaiming Sex From the Culture
- Reframing Sex in Your Mind
- Why God Designed Sex fro Marriage
- What if I’m Not a Virgin?
- How to Live as a Forgiven Woman
- Why Sex Won’t Stop Your Lust Struggle
- What to Know About the Wedding Night
- The Truth About Fantasy
- Preach the Gospel With Your Sexuality
The book also has three appendixes:
- I waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity And It Was The Best Thing I Ever Did
- Birth Control
- Helpful Resources
What I loved about this book:
- I loved Phylicia’s no-nonsense, black and white approach to the topic of sex.
- She has a positive view of sex… within marriage.
- Phylicia explains the purpose of our sexuality.
- She doesn’t shame those who are no longer virgins.
- Additionally, she doesn’t limit purity to just not-having-sex.
- She teaches us how we can preach the gospel through our sexuality and purity.
A favorite quote:
“Pre-marital and extra-marital sex, as well as acts of foreplay prior to marriage, are outside His will. But purity is more than abstinence, just as modesty is more than putting on clothes. Purity is a posture of the heart which keeps us in relationship with God.”
To sum up, Christian Cosmo is an AMAZING resource that every single Christian girl should read :)
Something to be aware of…
I’ve hinted at this fact already, but I wanted to be entirely clear so when you read this book you’ll know it’s coming. (AKA- don’t read this chapter in a public place. Your face might turn as red as a lobster… like mine did…)
In chapter 2 of this book, Phylicia explains sex in a tasteful, concise manner; how sexual intercourse happens, what foreplay is, what masterbation is, ect.
Her purpose for doing this is as follows:
“Though I frequently discuss sex on my blog, I typically glaze over the details. Unfortunately, not every young woman reading this book understands how sex works, and we can’t move forward in this conversation until the details are out of the way.
Some of you already understand sex from a biological perspective, and if so, this chapter will be a review for you. For others, this chapter is necessary to complete their understanding of sexuality, particularly those whose parents never facilitated ‘The Talk’.”
For some of you, you may already know all of what she talks about, but for others it may be brand knew information. I just wanted to be straight up so that you would know the sex talk was coming before you got to it. :)
Where you can find Christian Cosmo:
The book is worth $10, but Phylicia is using a “pay what you can” model, so people who can’t afford $10 can pay a little less and those who want to donate to her ministry can pay a little more. :)
Full disclosure: I’m a part of Christian Cosmo‘s book-launch team, so I received a free copy of this book so I could read it and tell y’all about it. :)