Like Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition in the early 1800s, Sex and Jesus is a journey of exploration. The territory, like the newly acquired western United States were, is vast and mysterious. I want to map, if I can, sexuality and spirituality and perceptions on both as they interconnect for typical American citizens of diverse ages, genders, weights, sizes and religious or non-religious affiliation. I’m asking a lot of questions about a lot of different things, some easy to talk about, some taboo and some, quite honestly, deplorable. I’m not necessarily seeking to answer questions as much as to explore different thoughts, preferences and rules (written and unwritten) about sexuality and God so that I can chart the land. Where are the fault lines we all ought to avoid building on? Where are the waters we gather around for life and gratification? What are the highest peaks of orgasmic pleasure and the lowest valleys of sexual depravity? What is the shape of sex on God’s canvas of humanity? I don’t know how successful I’ll be, but I’ve got my bags packed and now I’m out to assemble a crew… and I want YOU!
Of course, I’ll be the captain of this grand adventure. I will be as honest as I can possibly be in sharing what I find, but I’m far from objective. I’m admittedly and unashamedly a conservative Christian. I’m comfortable and confident in my faith in Jesus Christ. This is the cornerstone of my life and also, obviously, the catalyst for this expedition. Additionally, I’m a fitness fanatic, a small town woman with minimalist tendencies and a dark past. I’m an advocate for abused and neglected children because I’m an adult survivor of sexual abuse. All of these “hats” and so many more influence me and leave me less than neutral.
I want more than my own paradigm and voice. I would like to collaborate with some of my dearest companions as I make this journey, and do so hope a few will volunteer to join me. I respect and value their opinions more than anyone’s… that’s why they’re closest to me; but I also want to supplement their input with the opinions of others I might not be as familiar with. I need more than the perspectives of a handful of select individuals I know well. If I only ask and trust my friends for data I don’t think I’ll see the true topography with all the gritty bits that may be left out as they shape their answers because of the complexity of human interaction and our personal relationships. In order to fully explore the territory, I need the rest of my crew to be a trustworthy but diverse mix.
That’s why I’m coming to you!
I have a vague vision for this project that resembles the Lewis & Clark expedition. My core team will be small enough for me to listen to with focused intensity but large enough to provide a broad view of the landscape. I’ll be asking a sexual question of the day several times a week as well as a lot of survey questions. These will help me define the forum topics and questions I’ll ask others along the way. Ideally we’ll meet a number of times this year in one-on-one or forum type settings (either online or in person where time and distance permit). I hope to talk openly and candidly about sex and religion.
Of course ‘along the way’ I’ll interview the natives, foreigners and fellow sojourners on their own adventures. From this group of people I’ll explore different cultures, traditions, beliefs, perceptions and mindsets than what may be the accepted norm within the corp. As different as these perspectives are, they have a right to be heard and I want to listen.
So today I’m asking for brave volunteers to join my Corp of Explorers or honestly represent the natives and fellow sojourners. There will be lots of sex and Jesus talking and definitely some exploration along the way. I promise, all data and feedback will be treated with the utmost respect, and information within the book will be presented anonymously. If you want to participate completely anonymously you can, I’ll respect your privacy, but I need you to be honest no matter what! If you are intrigued and want to actively participate in this adventure with me, will you please email me at: LucyHDelaney@gmail.com
Some but not all of the topics I plan to cover are:
Climax and multiple orgasm
Biblical history of sex
Libido, sexual appetite and dysfunction
Monogamy and multiple partners
Church traditions, rules and taboos
Purity and depravity
Breast and penis envy and size
Pornography and artistic nudity
Biblical laws regarding sexual practices
Trust: A firm believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something
Her voice was melodic and well worn. I could tell, even without seeing her, she was at least a septuagenarian (in her seventies). She left a simple voice mail but her closing statement gave me pause...
“I trust I’ll hear from you soon.”
She trusted me. I know it was, like she is, an antiquated relic from bygone days, but it struck me. She trusted me.
With ADHD, simple things like calls are difficult. There’s nothing to “pin” the moment to. Fact exchanging phone calls are the worst… post-it and paper at my desk, notes app on my phone, Subway napkin on my counter, never sear the facts in my brain quite right.
But she trusted she would hear from me. What was it about the phrase?
Ahhhh, it was Jesse Collver in eleventh grade. Trust flooded back, setting my heart to beat wildly and calming my anxieties all in the same sweet memory. Full disclosure, I had a high school boyfriend and Jesse was not him. Also, I think it’s safe to say almost every girl in high school pined for Jesse – these facts may come in handy later, so hang on to them and follow me on a journey into trust.
The year was 1994 and the high school boyfriend (I later found out) rigged a survey allowing me to become a Natural Helper. I remember little about the group except for the retreat where Jesse became the definition of trust for the rest of my life.
All new Natural Helpers went on a weekend getaway to a lodge, in the middle of nowhere, to learn how to be better helpers. There was a bus ride and other workshops and food and girls like the gregarious Gwen giggling in bunks far too late into the night, but I only remember Jesse... and trust.
I trusted few people back then (or now if I’m completely honest). I knew people meant well but rarely followed through. Bad things had happened to me and people let me down. I trusted few, but I watched everyone. Words and actions, over time, could eventually transfer a person into my “safe” category. That didn’t necessarily translate to “trusting” them, but at least I felt a measure of safety around them.
Jesse was safe, probably because he was precisely my definition of handsome and had never said or done anything to me to make me doubt the quality of his teenaged character. And there we were, a bus full of kids, in a wooden lodge in the forest… and we had to play a trust game.
It was simple; one person steps into the middle of a human circle and falls backward with arms across chest and eyes closed, the others catch. It was all fun and games to catch. I was well acquainted with catching what falls and trying to manage it. But when my turn came; I couldn’t fall back. I don’t know how many times I couldn’t fall but I remember the instructor coaching me to trust, prompting the kids to assure me they were trustworthy and still I couldn’t. Then Jesse made trust real.
He walked up behind me, this big, strong, safe young man; his heat, at my back, blocked out the noise and giggles and frustration building inside me. His nearness, his presence thrilled me. HE was at my back! HE whom I had admired from a far for a year and a half of high school days, which was pretty much forever at sixteen. He was with me. And he spoke…
Lips pressed gently to my ear; two hushed, warm words whispered… “Trust me.” His breath tickled and teased and pulled at my insides. My breath caught somewhere between in and exhale. In that moment, everything in me belonged to him. HE was trustworthy. I knew there was absolutely, 100% no way he would be there, if he intended to let me hit the ground. Heart beating wildly; I nodded. I would trust him. I crossed my arms, closed my eyes and fell… into arms at the ready.
That was trust. That is trust. To this day, when I think of trusting someone, I go back to falling into his arms. I don’t know how it would have played out had a girlfriend or boy with whom I had no secret affection or attraction to whispered to me. But it happened the way it did, and I know trust because of it.
My sweet septuagenarian trusted that she’d hear back from me, and though the facts of that call-back conversation lay scribbled on a bright yellow post-it I may soon forget, I didn’t break her trust.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” From the moment I read this verse in Isaiah (30:21), I thought of Jesse at my back, strong and warm behind me, gentle and safe beside me, completely assuring inside me. I’m so grateful for this picture of trust and humbled to say I honestly trust the LORD this much. I don’t understand the circumstances of my life, but… I trust Him. He is my strength and my hope and my confidence. I trust the LORD with all my heart, mind, soul and spirit. May you also come to know something so trustworthy in your own life. If ever you want to talk about trusting Christ, I would be honored to speak with you!
Just a fun guest post I wrote up for a friend a while back. It seemed to fit this rainy day too...
If I close my eyes and listen… really listen, what do I hear?
Today, Chopin and Brian Crain’s rendition of “Hallelujah” and Fur Elise, Clair De Lune and… water.
I hear water… in my ears and in my soul. It’s a rainy day. It won’t rain for long, just long enough to wet the soil and refresh a restless soul. Days like this beckon the busy to rest, relax, breathe in reprieve… and blow out the electric buzzing of a million things that must be, should be, ought to be done.
But no, not today. Today I shall be still, quiet and calm, which is something quite foreign to my hurried nature, but necessary and nurturing every time I do it.
As the water rolls from the roof-top…
down… to plummet into a puddle of brother droplets in rapturous ripples, I scroll and click.
The water rolls and drips and I scroll and click… through hundreds of pictures, memories, moments stolen from forever and captured on a phone that is running out of space to hold much more.
I suppose I am a compulsive picture taker. Somehow freezing a moment in time helps me feel more connected to humanity. Someday, sometime, decades, maybe centuries from now, years after I am long dead, perhaps… perchance, these digital snapshots will give the future of mankind a glimpse into the simple individual life of she who was from the past. Like fragmented potsherds in an ancient dig site, I fancy these humble moments could be dusted off, refined with futuristic enhancements still unknown, and archeologists and their protégés will speculate on the life of a layman of this era based off these photos that were left to find.
What can I say? I am a creative, idealistic soul, nothing, not even a picture taken of me, my family, my friends or my world, is just for a singular, selfish purpose. And yet, in a singularly selfish, self-centered way, each photo is nothing more than narcissism... proof that I exist. Evidence that I am someone. I matter, even, if only to myself. I am here. I am alive. I live!
And what a life it is that I live! Drip… click… ripple… scroll…
Click… a selfie, and my tongue is out… hmmm, I ought to delete that, and be more mindful in the future of both selfies and my tongue’s penchant to make an appearance in my pictures.
Click… a night out with my ladies and gents. These people who once were strangers, now friends, their smiling faces and recollections of our good-natured antics bless me, and I smile back at their digital reflections.
Click… A hike with my youngest son and fellow gym mates, to work out and watch the sunrise over Saddle Rock. Sweet, savory, sweaty fellowship with God and man.
Delete… because neither myself, my Facebook feed or the future of humanity needs to see the meal I was so proud of making from scratch a month ago… or do they?
Click… a photo of my grand-daughter, a precious mix of her mother and dad; a gift of a child I somehow helped create even though I adopted her mama. Were it not for my infiltration into her mother’s life, this precious babe wouldn’t be here today. Like Tim McGraw’s country song, I let myself feel the pride of being a grandma and am humbled that I have them in my life. I say a prayer for my girls... all of them.
Ripple… how strange our lives are, rippling out, away from ourselves, puddling, muddling into the essence of others.
Scroll… A series of photos from a mini-vacation with my eldest son where we rushed to find as many waterfalls as we could and capture them into digital treasure boxes we could open and share later.
Drip… they’re slower now, the clouds are moving away, almost time ‘to do’ again and not just ‘be.’
Click… my friends, my family, my world, these souls and places I have opportunity to experience and embrace.
Ripple… I am grateful.
Scroll… What a good, full, blessed life the Lord has given me.
If I close my eyes and listen… really listen, I hear the heartbeats of countless souls like drips and drops that dance their way into my simple, layman’s life … this precious, priceless puddle of humanity I claim for myself and for posterity!
Goals, what's the point? I mean realistically will I achieve them all? Maybe the answer is no. According to the Ted talk I'm too idealistic, too high flying, too optimistic to set realistic goals. But yeah, goals... I make them, I believe in trying to achieve them, I believe if I set SMART goals I have a good shot at climbing on top and conquering them! And if I miss one here or there… I still have all the others to point to and smile at.
I shared my Physical and Intellectual goals last week. The rest of my goals are certainly more personal to me and I'm shy, I guess, to share them. My physical goals are obvious to everyone who's seen me over the last several years. The intellectual, well, anyone who's listened to me geek out knows I have a knack and love for memorization of all things but names and love to have my head in a book or in the stars. But my Financial, Professional, Social, Family and Spiritual life goals are more intimate.
What I've learned through The Leaving, and am embracing in The Middle, is that no matter how unique or different or misunderstood I feel... I am not alone. Pretty much anything I feel or think has been felt or thought before. It's in that Book, in Ecclesiastes. There is nothing new under the sun. BUT there is shared experience, communal solidarity and accountability, and for those reasons I'll get over myself and share them.
With no further ado… my other goals. (and yes, since I'm sharing, I freely invite you to hold me accountable to keeping them and celebrating the achievements with me and I'll love you forever if you do!!!!
Refinance car into my name – January
Change the car/life/rental insurance & beneficiary info – January
Deplete emergency fund to minimum acceptable amount and put the rest toward car loan
$100 allowance for the month NO MORE!!!!! All extra to car loan
PAY OFF CAR!!!! – December (shoot for September)
Learn about major retirement plans – March
Choose plan and begin contributing at a minimum of 5% of income (shoot for 10) when car is paid off-brand
Replenish emergency fund to 4mo expenses
Professional: BUILD MY INVENTORY, get my name out and… make some money on my books, that would be lovely!
Work: Make less than two errors requiring Journal Entries/mo.
Work: Have back-up fully trained so I can go on vacation this year – July
Writing: Publish 4 books with Booktrope (to edit by 2/15 – Gia's Secrets: 3/15 – Gia's Addiction : 4/15 – Gia's Salvation: 11/15 – 11 Lives Book 1)
Writing: Finish Sailing with Rusty by August
Writing: 3 IG posts/wk 1 book, 1 fitness, 1 otherwise
Writing: 3 blog posts/wk 1 review/interview, 1 me, 1 motivation/social awareness
Writing: 1 marketing campaign/season
Writing: Get on Goodreads once/wk
Writing: Redraft Big Y & publish (self or with Booktrope)
Social: “Friends are gifts you give yourself, if you want friends be one!” “Do to others what you would have done to you.”
Have a guest a week over
Do something with a friend each week
Report CASA hours every month
Mentorship after CASA case closes – March
Finish AWANA year strong
Organize Origins of Life/ Flood debate series for fall/winter time
*watch all videos – March
* organize series by topic
*begin by end of September
Family: If you don't take care of your family you're worse than an unbeliever
3 family dinners/wk
Take each kid out alone once/mo
Try to babysit for Marlee once/mo so kids can have a break
Help Gramma once/mo
Do bills with Gramma & Auntie once/mo
Auntie's story recorded – February
Auntie's story written – March 6th
Gramma Ts story done – May
Call Dad & Mom once/mo
Go camping 2 weekends/mo May-September
Spiritual: Seek me first the Kingdom of God and all the rest will come in due time
Celebrate Recovery bible study – June
Prophecies of Messiah bible study – December
Daily Devotions – Bible/Prayer/Psalm practice
Christian yoga 3x/wk
Retain Matt 5-7
There they are, plastered on my wall at home and now exposed for anyone to see. Wish me luck, hold me to them, be my friend, watch me soar!
Apparently the kissing strangers scene in Finding Jordan has inspired my baby brother to find a stranger of his own to kiss when he ventures out on his trek across America. Since I'm still musing about what to write this week, I thought I'd share a little of Jordan's kiss with a blue eyed stranger with the rest of you. The back story is that Jordan is interviewing for a job as an Intervener (a person who works with someone who is deaf-blind) for a world famous adventure seeker, Hank Moore. Hank has challenged her to find a stranger on the plane to kiss. She found her guy but lost her courage and then returned to sit by Hank on the plane...
“Well that didn't work.” I said as I refastened my seat belt.
“This is hard.”
“I didn't say it was going to be easy, I said it would make you understand what life is like for me. Everything is a risk, new and unknown and takes incredible effort, even something as simple as a kiss isn't so simple if there are barriers to overcome.” As we were talking someone came walking up the aisle, and stopped beside me. Jean jacket, faux wool, blonde hair. It was my blue eyes! What was he doing up in first-class?
“Hang on Hank,” I said stopping him in mid-sentence, with a hand on his forearm, as my eyes reconnected with my handsome stranger. I had to remind myself of my interview because as soon as I realized it was him, I forgot all about everything. I saw his blue eyes dart to Hank, saw the surprise. It was a common look I was used to for those in the sensory-impaired community. He saw Hank, then saw Hank's blindness, and he was no longer a man sitting beside me, he was a blind man, and Blue Eyes didn't know what to do, or what to say. I wondered what his initial plan had been in the first place. I was about to introduce him, whoever he was, to Hank but he moved on, quickly, like I had up the aisle and into a vacant bathroom. I smiled. I knew he was interested. There was a bathroom back there way closer to him. He followed me.
I explained to Hank what had just happened, from the beginning. He knew better than I did about peoples' reactions to him.
“He's your mark.”
“He's the one. Kiss him.”
“What? I thought I got to pick.”
“Fine then, but I recommend you pick him.”
“OK then.” I was going to do it. He was going to come out of the bathroom and I was going to stand and grab him and kiss him like my life, or at least my career depended on it. I was. I was! And then he came out and I froze again. He looked at me and made me forget everything I had just planned to do. My legs wouldn't move, nothing...all I could do was stare, like a deer in the headlights and watch as he and he kept walking... then, as he passed, I finally reacted and grabbed his ringless-left hand in desperation and said, “Wait!”
He stopped and looked at my hand on his, then smirked but said nothing and stood still. He was cute, definitely, my age and my ticket to pass this phase of the interview. My heart beat like hummingbird's. He was looking at me, I stood, never taking my eyes from his. He was much taller than me, over six feet, easy.
“OK,” I said standing to meet him. “This is going to sound like the worst come on line on the planet, but I have to kiss you, right here, right now. You don't have a girlfriend or anything like that do you? Crap! Wait... don't even answer that.” I said remembering Hank already told me this was the guy, “Just... let me kiss you first then I won't know.”
“Uhhh,” he smiled, “Why do you have to kiss me?”
I grinned and put my face in my hands and shook my head. “I can't believe this,” I said to my hands. I knew Hank couldn't hear that even if he could hear any other part of the conversation. As awkward as kissing a boy on a plane was, it was a means to the end. To the job of my future. Blue Eyes gave me the perfect way to include my weird interviewer into the moment. “This is Hank Moore, he does TV shows about adventure.”
“Yeah!” Blue Eyes said, “I thought that was him,” he said, all of a sudden way more interested in Hank than me, “but then I was like, no, no way. So you've been to the Congo?” He asked turning his attention to Hank, who nodded and sat up and forward toward us his right ear cocked noticeably toward us. I wondered how much he could hear from his distance down and three feet away with all the engine noise. Our own conversation side-by-side had been choppy and staggered as it was. Blue Eyes looked at him, then me, and the uncertainty flooded across his face. I did not know him, but I thought I knew the look. He wanted to know something but didn't know how or who to ask. And this would be the guts of my job, connecting Hank to the outside world, not only the places and activities but the people, the fans, that he couldn't see and they couldn't do without guidance.
I smiled lightly and said, “It's OK, he takes questions, you can ask more if you want.” And then it occurred to me that maybe Hank didn't take questions.
“It's OK if he asks you questions right?” I asked leaning into Hank's good ear.
Hank nodded his head up and down once, his ear still turned toward Blue Eyes.
“So, I heard there are stories about a dinosaur that lives there, is that real?”
Hank turned toward me, he couldn't hear, “He wants to know if a dinosaur lives in the Congo since you've been there to explore.” I asked a little louder.
“Dinosaur? Oh, Mkele um bembe? Yes, there are rumors, of a sauropod-like creature that lives in the waters. Huge, plant eating. Highly territorial. Most of the natives are afraid to say too much out loud. They think it will anger the beast.”
“That's crazy man. Did you... uhhh” he stopped, looked at me nervously, “see one?” he finished asking Hank then turned back to me.
“No, but we did have a close call with a hippo though. That was interesting.”
“Yeah, I remember that on the show,” Blue Eyes said with a smile, then turning to me, “So what does he have to do with you kissing me.”
“Oh,” for the slightest second I forgot about that. I was doing what I was supposed to do, what I dreamed of doing for a living, then he reminded me of the kiss. Apparently he hadn't forgotten. “He wants to know about the kiss,” I said loud enough that Hank could hear. I felt suddenly exposed, the two of us were standing in the front of first class and I was speaking loud enough for most of the others around to hear as well as Hank, “I'm, um, actually, trying to get a job working for him.” I knew he wouldn't know what an Intervener was and didn't want to say companion and job in the same sentence so I left it there, “It's my task for the plane ride.”
He pushed his lips together in contemplation, staring at me hard, nodding his head then said, “Well, if you have to kiss me, how about I make it easy for you?” and pulled me close to him in one quick, fluid move. The electricity running from him to me was palpable, I looked down, then up then leaned into him. Both of us refused to close our eyes. I don't know what his thing was, I kept mine open to be sure he wasn't going to change his mind at the last minute, and leave me standing there expectantly with my eyes closed, not that Hank would see it if he did, but I would be embarrassed. Everything proceeded in slow motion, until we were only inches away from each other, each watching the other for permission to move closer. Finally, in desperation, I begged him, “Would you just kiss me already?”
It was all the permission he needed. He smiled big, grabbed my face in his hands and covered my lips with his...
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