Bobbi Kumari believes that this generation has an opportunity to redeem mixed-sex relationships so that they become pure and honouring
I believe that as Christians, God is challenging us to allow Him to redeem our relationships as brothers and sisters, so that we can steward our sexuality first and foremost as siblings in the kingdom. So that we may understand and appreciate the diverse ways in which God has created us and learn how to truly honour one another despite Satan’s efforts to attack our genders. That we may learn how to see one another as image bearers of Christ and displace intimidation, confusion, fear, lust, sensuality and a hypersensitivity to sexuality from our relationships; instead putting Christ at the centre of our God-ordained complementary differences. So that we may role model to a broken world, the beauty and freedom that lies in embracing a lifestyle of sacred sexuality between men and women.
I believe something so fundamental was stolen from the Garden of Eden during the Fall, which I am convinced this generation has an opportunity to redeem. You see, before Adam and Eve ever had sex, they enjoyed nakedness, as a brother and sister in the Lord (as siblings in God’s family), before sin ever entered in. They were unashamed, completely confident in their sexuality as individuals. Free, pure and naked. Unfortunately, their innocent, sinless, transparency never had the opportunity to flourish in the garden; because the moment sin entered they had to cover up their shame. Immediately sexuality became something to be covered up in man’s eyes. Yet it was not their sexuality that had caused the shame. It was original sin. But as a direct result of sin, sexuality became shameful.
I believe there is a place in our relationships as brothers and sisters in God’s family where our God-given sexuality can be stripped of its shame and redeemed as something holy and beautiful; where a posture of spiritual nakedness is embraced by us all, as the body of Christ. Where we do not repress sexuality, but celebrate it in one another. I believe there is a place where purity, agape love and honour can so set the scene for edifying mixed-sex relationships as image bearers of God. Where femininity is boldly and unashamedly celebrated with grace and modesty. Where masculine strength and vitality is fully, beautifully manifested and stewarded.
This is a picture of both sexes, standing side by side, honourably walking in the fullness of their respective genders, without crossing the boundaries into something sexual or dishonouring. A celebration that not only enriches our lives, fosters healthy, authentic relationship dynamics and potentially prepares us for marriage, if be the case, but also role models mixed-sex purity to our culture.
Therefore, I think it is possible for men to think women are beautiful and for them to celebrate beauty in their sisters without an ulterior motive. God endowed women with curves, charm, poise and femininity. God wired men to notice and appreciate women. A secure, pure-hearted brother, with love, should be able to say to a sister that she is beautiful, without her speculating that there is something shady going on! A man should be able to appreciate the femininity of a female in an honouring, non-sexual way without causing concern. Similarly, a sister should be able to tell her brother in the Lord, that he is ‘all that and a bag of chips’ without him jumping to conclusions and getting over excited — or without it turning into flirting or inappropriate behaviour.
I have brothers around me who will compliment me with such love in their words that it truly makes me feel beautiful. It uplifts me. It edifies me. Although it took time, I have learnt to receive compliments from kingdom men without suspicion (obviously there are exceptions to this, such as when Mr Seedy is on the move). Yet I truly trust the heart of my brothers. I sincerely believe godly men can honourably admire, respect and acknowledge beauty in a sister, without lust. Equally, I am able to sincerely compliment many of my Christian brothers, knowing they won’t mistake my admiration and encouragement for flirting.
Fostering a culture of mutual edification
Just imagine, if from childhood, we were being taught how to appreciate and value the opposite sex during our formative years, to compliment and admire their strengths and honour and cherish their worth as part of the normal stages of our sexual development. We would grow up not feeling at all awkward about complementing our sister in Christ about her femininity, or a brother about his handsomeness, masculinity or strength: because it would be normal practice. As a result, we would cultivate healthy mixed-sex dynamics that would help to foster understanding and transparency between the sexes, breaking some of the taboos and awkwardness.
Imagine growing up in loving mixed-sex community where real conversations about relationships, purity, sexuality and intimacy between the sexes were part and parcel of an honouring culture. I have found this to be so incredibly refreshing and powerful in my own community. For me, honouring, respectful but raw discussions, in small group mixed settings, where we explore the challenges and struggles of sexuality have been a blast. You see, we hold so many stereotypical misconceptions, presuppositions and assumptions about the opposite sex. Fostering a culture of transparency and healthy intimacy can help to break these misconceptions and taboos between the sexes and can encourage powerful, authentic, non-sexual relationships to develop.
To navigate through the journey of stewarding sexuality together could be so helpful for both sexes in increasing confidence, eliminating confusion and awkwardness, and for preparing for future relationships and marriage. Settings like this would also be very helpful for those struggling with same-sex attraction, gender confusion and other sexual and identity issues. Additionally, if such environments were in place as a normal lifestyle surely there would be less porn and less masturbation? I am convinced that when someone has to suppress their sexual curiosities it can often cause sexual angst and repression, which requires an outlet such as masturbation.
This goes hand in hand with a study* which argues that the mystery of the opposite sex developing separately for years is a driving factor in sexual attraction. Essentially, what is ‘exotic becomes erotic’. Therefore I believe that if our sexuality was a natural, celebrated part of who we are and not shunned or swept under the carpet, then surely there would be less need to resort to an illicit release through porn or masturbation. Instead, if sexuality is talked about in healthy mixed-sex dynamics and becomes something normal yet cherished, precious and deeply valued, then I believe we can better steward it with grace, dignity and patience.
*This study: Exotic Becomes Erotic: A Developmental Theory of Sexual Orientation,” (Psychological Review 1996, Vol. 103, #2, pp. 320-3354), Daryl Bem Sourced from My Genes Made Me Do It! Neil Whitehead, Briar Whitehead, Huntington House Publishers, 1999. p76
This article is based on an extract from Bobbi’s book Sacred Sexuality.
Bobbi Kumari is an author, speaker, teacher, podcaster and founder of fashion and lifestyle brand Living in Light, which runs Sacred Sexuality. For more information visit: livinginlight.co.uk