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Podcast: The 4 Paradigm Shifts of Healthy Sexuality With Juli Slattery Part 2

Episode 102 – The 4 Paradigm Shifts of Healthy Sexuality With Juli Slattery Part 2

Join Josh and Kit as they speak with Juli Slattery about the framework we are so in need of to discuss sexuality comfortably wherever we are.

This week we will aim to tackle the remaining 2 items of the 4 part list below.

The 4 Paradigm Shifts of Healthy Sexuality:

1. Moving Away From Being Silent About Sexuality
2. Every Sexual Issue Is Also a Spiritual Issue
3. We Are All Sexually Broken
4. Truth and Love Must Coexist in All Our Discussions About Sexuality

Guests:
Dr. Juli Slattery

Mentions:
Authentic Intimacy
Java w/ Juli Podcast

Thanks for joining us. We would be honored if you would leave a review/rating on the Regeneration podcast (here’s how).

Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

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Podcast Transcription

Josh
Hey, everybody, welcome back to Part two of Conversation Kit and I are having with Dr Julie Slattery on four paradigm shifts towards healthy sexuality. So if you’re with us last week, the first paradigm shift was moving away from being silent about sexuality in the church and really moving to a posture of sexual discipleship. And she unpacked for us last week. What she means by that and the second paradigm shift was that every sexual issue is a spiritualist you. And instead of explaining that to you, if you were not a part of podcast last week, I’d actually encouraged to go back and listen to part one, because those 1st 2 paradigm shifts are doozies. So I didn’t wanna get into paradigm shifts Number three and number four So Julie The third paradigm shift, then, is that we’re all sexually broken and, um, talks about what you mean by that for maybe even start with, would it? Well, maybe it’s the same question, but what does it mean to be sexually broken?

Dr. Juli Slattery
Yeah, we only know what sexually broken means if we know what sexually whole means, right? You don’t know if something’s broken until you know what a homeless looks like. And ah, and so we have to go back to our definition of sexual wholeness, which I think traditionally the church has defined so narrowly that very few people would say, Oh, yeah, I’m experiencing sexual Brokenness right now. We’ve defined it as all right. What you need to do is stay sexually pure. And then someday God’s gonna bring a spouse, and then you’re gonna have lots of sex, and it’s gonna be good and everything’s gonna be great. And ah, and that’s with broad strokes, how the church has presented sexual wholeness. And so people kind of scratch their heads and go Well, I guess you know, if I haven’t had sex outside of marriage, then I’m whole or I guess if I’m married and I’m just having sex with my spot in my spouse. Some hole and those other people out there are dealing ball kinds of sin and they’re broken. And so we have this current paradigm within Christianity that defines some people as being in sin and sexually broken, and the rest of the people as Yeah, we’re doing what God wants and we’ve got it all figured out. And I think that’s because we have such a limited understanding of what wholeness is. And, ah, you know, what the Lord has taught me over the last several years is that, you know, sexual wholeness is way more than that. It actually even goes beyond sexual morality and pushes into what does it mean to be mature in this area of my life? Even if I’m not doing anything that’s blatantly sinful or wrong, my my sexuality can still be filtered by lives that I believed in picked up over the years. It can be seen even in marriage, through the grid of selfishness or resentful nets or bitterness. And so, you know, the gospel paints this picture that sexual sexuality actually in some ways represents of Jesus Christ pursuing us with a passionate love, you know, giving us a covenant that the Bible talks about like it’s some marriage is symbolic of this, but a covenant vow where were faithful to each other and were sacrificial e giving to each other and loving each other. And so sexual wholeness means representing that picture. And, ah, and so that means that all of us fall short of that. I don’t

Kit
care if

Dr. Juli Slattery
you’re single or married or widowed or divorced or whether you struggle with porn or you don’t. But you’re heterosexual or homosexual. E eat every category, whatever you want to say. We all fall short of that. And so we all have, ah, areas of our sexuality that need to be measured by the truth of who God is and need to be surrendered to his work and his healing.

Josh
So So give us, give us a little picture. I want to just press in a little bit when you said that maturity exceeds morality goes beyond morality, and then you talked about you know, the sexuality, by God’s design, really is meant to represent something of Christ and his church. So what might an example of that be for so say that you know, persons listening to sing well, but I never, you know, I really, really never have struggled with sexual Santa married. We’re happily married like we have a good sex life. How my sexually broken, what might be examples of Like what? Here’s Here’s an area where you can press on towards maturity as a sexual being.

Dr. Juli Slattery
Yeah, well, let’s talk about marriage first and then I’ll give an example for singleness. So for marriage, I think even in a healthy marriage, there’s the feeling that the sexual relationship is negotiated. And, uh, this is even, I think, presented him Christian marriage conferences where we look at first Corinthians, Chapter seven, and then it’s like, Well, you have a duty to fulfill your spouse’s sexual needs and it feels very transactional. Well, you know, like you want sex five times a week and I want it once a week. So let’s compromise and ah, and I would say, Okay, that’s a moral but not necessarily mature way to view this because, uh, the morality is okay. We’re not sinning, and we’re actually trying to find a middle ground here. But the whole purpose of sex is the pursuit and the celebration of two people actually becoming one. And this union where there’s no walls, there’s no barriers at the deepest knowing possible. And so I would say that God wants us to push beyond a negotiated compromise and to really even push more into how how do I help you, um, become fully alive in this area? How does a husband unlock her husband are? How does the husband unlock his wife? Sexuality, which is very complicated. So it’s not just about him getting his needs met, but how do I become a student of you? And how does a wife fully enter into sex with her husband instead of feeling like, Well, we did it, but my mind wasn’t there. I was checked out. And so that’s just one example of I met many, many couples who would say, When you describe it that way, I realized that we’ve never really experienced that level of intimacy On has always just been this negotiated aspect of our relationship. So that’s the married example on. But let me talk about the single example again. I think for a lot of singles, all they hear is the goal is not to have sex. Um, you know, keep those boundaries and plays when you date just white knuckle it. Maybe someday you’ll get married and will be great. But I would say again, that’s a moral but not a mature way of you in your sexuality, your sexual your sexual desire is about more than just finding a spouse. You know, it’s the aspect of who you are that proclaims, even in your body, that you are not meant to do life alone. Uh, that you were your created thio. Give yourself away to be known and to know to have significant relationships with people and with God. And so how we steward our sexuality in our body in terms of whether or not we have sex with somebody is just one aspect of that. But does my whole life represent the spirit of holy sexuality, which is? I was meant to give myself away. I was meant to be in an intimate relationships on, and so there’s a much broader and deeper call toe what it is two grown mature in our sexuality than just to avoid sin.

Josh
That new boy This this comes right back to what you’re saying earlier about this. This cannot be approached sexual disciples. It cannot be approached as a category alone because really, really what you’re you’re describing falls under the I mean, the way it was going to mind for me as it falls under the umbrella of what does what does it mean to be a human being and what does it mean to love? And whatever the context there, then you know whether I’m single or married, whether if I’m married, whether I’m having sex tonight with my spouse or I’m doing the dishes If I’m If I’m single, whether I’m wrestling with a sexual urge in this moment where I am, you know, playing with my niece or nephew, all of the mean every one of those situations, You know who I am is a body creature is proclaiming something, and for me to Stuart my myself, my desires, my body, um, with with a a direction that has got honoring it gets just kind of unfolds into this larger conversation about andan sex unfolded, and I’m not sure I’m making sense, but, um, I think that your ah yeah, this this just really, really helpful, kid, where you going to say so I didn’t want to cut you off.

Kit
I just like the, um the level playing field of instead of, you know, I think a lot of times my experience has been that Christian marriage is, you know, kind of in a box. It’s kind of Facebook style, you know, like Christian marriage looks like this. And this is what your sex life was like. And, you know, he’s kind of pretending that everything’s fine when in reality being honest, each one of us will have intimate intimacy issues of some kind. Um, and when it’s when we’re pretending that we don’t, it sets up the US versus them within the church and outside the church. You know, Christians against everybody else or Christians against each other. And so what you’re just describing Julius is just such a deep, uh, more honest, um, just experience of what it’s like to be really about these issues that we hide behind and pretender, Okay? And I I just think it’s a really important area for us to grow in.

Dr. Juli Slattery
Yeah, and you know, I think we start with the assumption that we’re all sexually broken. We all having things were struggling with and areas that we could meet. You need to mature. Then the mature Christian leader, the mature Christian pastor, Uh, could be honest, you know? Yes, it doesn’t need to be graphic. You know, there’s only thing to share details, but you can say, Hey, listen, this is an area of my life that’s always under attack, and it’s an area where my spouse and I have been growing and learning, and we’ve got a lot more to learn that. And but now we’ve changed the conversation. It’s not. Let me confront you on the sin in your life and let’s get you in a group so we can fix you. It becomes, you know, we’re all on the same journey on, and we’re here to encourage each other and to pursue God in the midst of it.

Kit
For a long time, I really thought there was something uniquely wrong with me with my marriage because I knew that we had stuff. I knew he had things that were challenging us, you know, and nobody was talking about it. So I thought, Oh, I guess you must be something really wrong with us and, um and how sad. That is right on. And I’m sure I’m not alone. Um, that there would be many of us that has have felt that way or feel that way. And so you’re right. I think for us as, um, whatever role we have in ministry Ah, as leaders as people were talking about it, like, what can we bring you? What kind of honesty and vulnerability can we bring? So it becomes safe for other people to speak up?

Josh
Yeah, And when I think about, you know, a cz a man who has has a lot of left a lot of sexual sin in my past, I can just a test to the reality that that that doesn’t mean that all the sexual Brokenness in my life is gone that there’s there’s still ways these little toxic beliefs that kick in Where I you know, if I when I examined myself, I still find their place in me That’s still think about sex in that category of will. I shouldn’t want that. Even though I very much do I want to be interned with my wife, but, um and then and then parts of our our marriage relationship between my husband. Why, Corby tonight my wife and I where I I definitely continue to feel like a boy. Lord hourly. This might look okay, but I can see in my heart that I do not love the way that you love on Di. I need your help there. And I need to continue to come to the cross for you to continue to transform me. So and then what? You know. So I you know, I lead a ministry to say that I allow it almost, you know, Should I say I’m gonna say because because I do think that I am for a culture that says, Let’s be the people of the cross and not just the people who have the cross in our review mirror as yet we needed that. And now we’re good, but we we need it. This this whole, the Brokenness that we’re living in. Um uh, it’s it is deep and wide, and we’re gonna be trudging through it from glory to glory, but will be trudging through it until Christ comes again or we go

Dr. Juli Slattery
home. And there’s a freedom that comes with being a will Say that you know, you and I we teach this? We read the books. We’re supposed to be the experts, but, you know, behind closed doors, you know, each one of us has difficulty walking this out in different areas. And there’s a freedom to say I can’t study my way out of it and I can’t learn. You know, it’s like I’m not on my heart isn’t perfect and I’m a broken person and God is gracious and he meets me be meeting when I cry out to him, Yeah, and I’ll never get past that until I get to heaven and I I I am perfectly clothed and the reality of his righteousness. But it’s a struggle. It’s a struggle. Until then,

Josh
yeah, And again the great great news that, um, that he’s again he’s not ashamed of that. He’s is happy and willing, and very is. He’s not the one who’s, you know, standing outside of these conversations.

Dr. Juli Slattery
great about that, too, is it reminds us that the end goal isn’t a great sex life.goal is God wants to re find us. He wants to make us like him. And if he uses our sexuality is something that challenges and humbles. And it was a tangible way that we have to love and practice self disappoint her self control like he’s making us like him. And that’s an end goal.

Josh
Yeah. Oh, boy. And I mean, that’s opens up a whole other conversation to about just the reality that we we have made such an idol out of sex. And even in Christian marriage, it’s like, You know, if if that’s good than thing, we’re good. If it’s not good, we’re not good. But but I love that I mean this to this area to like every other in our lives. When difficulty comes, it doesn’t mean that God is not in it. It means that that it’s difficult and God is in it and he will use it for good. And, um, is our higher goal. Yeah, it’s not the great sex life. The higher goal is, um, Christ likeness being transformed. And Eunice wasn’t, um, are so so Paradigm Shift number four. Truth in love must co exist. Let’s let’s shift gears and talk about that. Yeah, what were you? How I do? I do feel like especially around the there. Certain kind of hot button topics in the area of sexuality that it feels like among Christians. There’s almost two different camps. There’s the camp of truth, and there’s the camp of love. And, um and I think, uh, that that’s been so painful for us to walk in as people, this area of ministry. But just talk about what? What do you mean by truth? Love must co exist and And how do they co exist? And from your perspective,

Dr. Juli Slattery
yeah. Uh, well, when you talk about hot button issues, you know the first thing that everybody’s gonna think about his LGBT on. But this really has been, um, kind of a dividing line for churches, denominations, but even more of a granular level people and families, you know, I know family’s Christian families that in some ways have split because because even generationally, one generation says God’s word on sex is really clear, and we’re going to stand on it. And the other generation, the younger generation, who also would claim, you know, saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and being a disciple of the Lord says no, you know, Jesus is love, and, um, and this the way you’re interpreting the Scripture isn’t loving s o The LGBT issues the big one. But I think it plays out in all these little areas to that we don’t think about abortions. Another one where we’ve got camps of Christians that say the most important thing is saving the life. And then we’ve got other people that would say no. The most important thing is ministering to the woman, and you feel like you’ve got to take a stand or even something as simple as your brother gets divorced. And you don’t think it was a biblical divorce. And so how do you respond to that? Do you confront him? Uh, do you keep your mouth shut? Do you? Uh, but you feel bad for me because you wanted to find happiness. You know, he was unhappy in his marriage, you know, that’s ah Rhea life Example of how you feel this tension of Well, this is what the Bible says. But this is what my heart wants to dio. And if Jesus is love, then my heart must be right. And so I think whenever we’re dealing with these issues, we were gonna have a tendency to air on one side or the other. And to feel like one has to, it has to kind of cancel out the other. So, uh, so if I’m somebody, that’s true to the word of God And true to a biblical understand sexuality, that means that and some aspect of my life I have to be a hater. Means said, I’m gonna be judgmental or on the other side. If I’m a caring and compassionate person, that means that I’m gonna have to overlook certain teachings of God’s word. And, uh, and when we read the scriptures, we never see that were told to choose between truth and love because they’re one in the same men embody Jesus Christ. Like John said, he was full of truth and full of grace. You know, God is love. He’s bolt of those things, he said on the way, the truth and the life. And we also

Kit
says that he’s love

Dr. Juli Slattery
so eso. If we don’t see this split in Scripture, then our human experience of it has to be has to be, in some ways, short sighted s Oh, that’s that’s kind of what I’m getting at is well, we can’t settle for lining yourselves. in one camp or the other, we have to press into the attention off. We don’t get off the hook with either of these.

Josh
Yeah, yeah. And thank God, too. And even going back to the pastoral moment with one individual person, I think that, um, you know, one of one of the issues that a lot of people who are wrestling with their own sexual past trauma or sexual struggles today they, too, are wrestling with, You know, I know the truth, but I’m not living it out. And they and so they’re people that come in and they’re beating themselves up for the ways they’re doing this wrong. Or they or they were not dealing with sexual scent lives because they’re like, Well, you know, it’s just too hard. So I think each individual it comes down to the individual level, too, But share a story. I was at a, um, a dinner recently, and there were two Christian women at the table, both God fearing love, Jesus, women and, um and they were talking about One of them is talking about this organization she works with that helps unwed moms, and, uh and she she kept saying in the conversation how their focus was. The mom was the mom was the mom and really was evangelistic Lee trying to reach out to these often cases you know, teams in a very traumatic, difficult situation and how this mystery woman had kind of a gift for evangelism was saying, You know, yeah, this many people have turned to Christ in that moment and spend beautiful and they’ve chosen and the woman across table from her who is very pro life and has been involved in pro life activities in her experience. There’s this beautiful moment. She stopped and said, You know, I have to confess I have. For this many years I’ve been doing this work. I’ve always thought of the baby as the priority, and I haven’t thought about the mom and just her humility. Thio acknowledge that in that moment was a beautiful thing. But I think it was this coming together of, of truth and grace of of in a very visceral way. And so she she walked away. I think with a greater sense of I can love the baby, and I can love the mom and somehow have to wrestle through how truth and grace manifest itself in how interacting this moments. But yeah, really, really good. Yeah,

Dr. Juli Slattery
that’s a beautiful example. Industrial life example. And what that example shows a CZ. First of all, you mentioned the word humility, which I think is key to this, um, but also the willingness to learn from somebody you know, like for me to talk to a Christian that has a very different experience and perspective. And we disagree on some of these sexual issues for me to say. Tell me about that. Tell me about how you got there. You help me understand, and for them to ask me the same thing. So that on you as the body of Christ were pursuing the full picture of what it is to be people that are embodied by love and embodied by true

Josh
Juli I’d love just for a minute to come back to the the LGBT topic and folks who are resting with that because that has for our ministry has been certainly an area. There’s been a lot of tension for folks. You know that, um that the true side of the love side. I absolutely believe that they go together with sometimes with great pains. But do you’ve any examples that you could share of where you’ve seen those love and truth come together? Grace and truth come together through some of those conversations where people are listening to each other.

Dr. Juli Slattery
Yeah, um, you know, I think a good example that again I’ll even refer generationally two families that I know where you have the older generation, the parents who are very committed to God’s word. And they grew up and a church that was teaching God’s word. And they understand. Hey, that’s a foundation of everything is knowing God his character. And they may have a very solid theology of what it means to be a disciple of Christ and that, uh, that following Jesus doesn’t mean that we’re going to get all of our needs met here on Earth that we deny yourself. And so they’re coming with what we traditionally call. That’s the truth perspective. But then let’s say they have a son or daughter who is very justice minded, was raised. You know it as ah, millennial or Gen Z and says, Yeah, but you don’t understand like my friend is transgender and I love my friend and she gets teased all the time. And her experience of God and of Christians is being rejected. And, um, you know, judged. So in that moment, those two people have the opportunity to teach one another because the the kid, the daughter or the sun needs to understand the theology that the parent has to offer. You know, just the depth of understanding God’s character and what it means to be a follower of Jesus, but at
Kit
the same since the

Dr. Juli Slattery
parent needs to understand what it is like to experience gender dysphoria on what it is like to be an 18 year old kid growing up in this culture, knowing people in loving people that are gay, that are transgender, that are bisexual. Uh, like I want to know what what that’s like. What your what? Your life. It’s school like and tell me about your friend. Let’s have him over for dinner on because the older generation tends to make these true statements without ever putting flesh on it. Uh, what does it mean to do what Jesus did to go to the marginalized to minister to people that are confused and hurting and lost, not just to speak abdomen and,

Kit
uh and so I see

Dr. Juli Slattery
that kind of thing happening again between parent and child. But also, I think, with the spirit of humility, even within the body of Christ is we have different denominations. We have different embassies. Uh, let’s have the conversation, because unconvinced. I have something to learn from you. And I probably have something that I can share with you. A swell that would be helpful.

Kit
I think what you’re speaking to, it’s so important here because I think as Christians and maybe Justus human beings, we often want a formula. We wanted to be black and white, and we don’t want it to be messing. We don’t want it to be gray. And I think what you just described really is very much, ah, process of, um, day to day, you know, moment to moment. What? What does it look like for me to live out of truth and love, not truth or love? How do I How do I live out of those? And I think I know for me personally, like I wanted an answer and I wanted it now and I wanted it to apply to everything across the board and be done. And that’s not how it works, unfortunately, you know. Yes. Said like you go ahead.

Dr. Juli Slattery
No, I’m sorry. Go ahead. You’re going

Kit
to see just the humility that you’re mentioning is just so a critical, because I think it I know it’s been hard for me to humble myself and say, I don’t know, from one moment to the next on Lee. God, doesn’t I just have to stay close to him and take this a step at a time? And with

Dr. Juli Slattery
that humility needs. I can’t change anyone. You know, I think a lot of times we approach relationships and people with an agenda. Uh, I have to convince them that this behavior is wrong, or I have to prove to them that all Christians are gracious and loving, and so we bring these agendas to a relationship that really God never gave us. You know, God just essentially said, show up and let my spirit work through you. And it is messy. And you know, people always want the answer. Should I go to the gay wedding or not? I can’t tell you. I can give you some principles to short through, uh, or the answer should I? My my son is cohabiting living with his girlfriend. Should I have them over for Christmas? See, I can’t tell you, but here’s some principles, but we want that formula because it makes it makes it easier. It makes us feel more confident, but, uh, but really, God doesn’t want us to be self confident. He wants us to be continually dependent on the Holy Spirit for wisdom in each moment.

Josh
I think that’s part of what strikes me in this conversation is how much these four paradigm shifts really do. Weave through one another because this idea that truth in love must co exist. And I love the word must in there because it’s actually in some ways is a litmus test. Is this really love? Because if it is, then there’s truth. Is this really true? Because if it is, there’s got to be some some way to love in midst of it. And but part of what strikes me is that I keep getting this this picture of Jesus on the cross this I mean, he came full of grace and full of truth, and this was the trajectory of his life. This is where it pointed to to him for the sake of those he loved to those that he brought truth to. It spoke clear truth too. Um led into this place of self sacrifice and and kid, I think when you said and I very much resonate with it that I just want an answer, you know, how do we win the argument? Let’s close the door. Move on. I think, really, When I look in my own heart, the reason I want that answer is because I don’t want to hurt. I don’t want the pain and the difficulty in the trial of of humility, of having conversations of, of possibly being misunderstood, of possibly making a decision today that tomorrow I think I’m not sure that was the best way to do it. Um, so I think going back through, you know, this is not compartmentalized. This is a part of our discipleship as we become more like Jesus, Um, this is this is something that reveals our Brokenness, all of us, whether we’re we tend more trust in the fair sea or the or the center, so to speak, and and here we are kind of again just falling on our knees before Jesus and acknowledging as Christians who would have thought that we can’t do this on our own, that we actually do need a savior and and we’re not him, so Well, well, Juli I want to just give you so appreciate this conversation and and, you know, more broadly appreciate the work that you do in the things that you teach your thoughtfulness and clarity on some of these things. I’ve I’ve benefited and we’ll have more information about you in the show notes to this podcast but for our listeners to connect more with you. But I just want to give you the room for the last word. Anything from our conversation this week or last week that you you didn’t say or anything else you’d want to kind of conclude with us. We wrap up.

Dr. Juli Slattery
Oh, thanks. There’s a lot of things I didn’t say

Josh
much of the spot.

Kit
I know. Um, I guess I

Dr. Juli Slattery
would just say in reiterate that we’re all in this journey. We’re on this journey together. I appreciate the work that you’re doing. This thing is going to require the whole body of Christ and learning from each other and being willing Thio get it wrong sometimes and give each other a lot of grace. But we’re on the journey, and the journey is towards Jesus. So wherever you find yourself on that journey, just keep taking that next up. Mmm.

Josh
Well, very grateful to be on this journey with both of you. And I really appreciate your hearts in your wisdom in this conversation today. And I’d love to just to kind of close out this this conversation with just a very simple, brief prayer. Not Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us. Lord Jesus Christ. We need you become Do you in this hour in this season, in human history, we bring you our best. We bring you our worst and we ask Lord that you would you would move it all. Move in it all to transform us to your likeness, Prince, for our good, for the good of those we serve and that we come in contact with. And Lord, we pray for your glory In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

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