Last week the Auckland Compass Alumni hosted Jack and Judith Balswick for an evening of discussion around the topics of authentic sexuality, gender and singleness. The Balswicks have both been Senior Professors at Fuller Seminary for many years – Jack in Sociology and Family Development; Judith in Marital and Family therapy. They have (co)authored over 80 journal articles and 20 books between them (often together.)
It was a great night. The Balswicks facilitated the conversations with graciousness and some good-natured humour – when sex is your topic I guess you get used to that!
I recommend their material to you – in particular, one of their earlier books, Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach. Describing authentic sexuality as “real, congruent and integrated” they explain:
The purpose of this book is to consider the biological, psychological and sociocultural factors as we bring a biblical focus to authentic human sexuality. Due to the complex factors contributing to sexual development and barriers hindering it, our task of defining authentic sexuality is far from simple. Human sexuality must be understood in terms of a variety of influences that include biology, sociology, psychology, theology, gender, emotions, behaviours, attitudes and values.
Using a diagram that I found very helpful, they go on to explain three models of human sexuality – each of which is, by itself, insufficient to explain the development of human sexuality:
“Three alternative models of human sexuality are visually illustrated in figure 2.1 (see below.) The three arrows leading from nature to human sexuality, from God…and from nurture to human sexuality represent single-factor explanations of human sexuality. We believe that each one alone is an incomplete explanation because it fails to acknowledge the contribution of the other two. When one attempts to explain human sexuality through an exclusive set of explanations, it becomes a short-sighted “deterministic” explanation. Determinism is an explanatory approach that attributes a ‘one-and-only’ causality.”
“… As represented in figure 2.1, biological determinism explains human sexuality purely in natural (physiological and genetic) terms, social determinism attributes the development of human sexuality solely to sociocultural factors, and theistic determinism claims that human sexuality is simply part of God’s creation and not dependent on either sociocultural or biological factors. The latter is a type of naive theistic determinism. We believe that each of the deterministic positions yields a limited understanding of human sexuality and fails to provide an adequate grasp of authentic sexuality. Even though each approach explains an important aspect of human sexuality, when taken alone, the explanation is partial.”
As an introduction to thinking and conversations in this area – this book is a very good place to start.