Lauren Winner, critically acclaimed author and assistant professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School, spoke today in a standing-room only lecture in Neely Dining Hall. Speaking on the theme from her latest book, Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity, Winner drew a total of 387 students for the convocation program in addition to a large faculty/staff/community turnout.
Winner—who holds degrees from Columbia, Cambridge and Duke—published Real Sex in 2005, securing a Publishers Weekly review that noted the book “helpfully and perhaps even radically reframes both the Christian and cultural discussion of chastity and sexuality.” Highlighting the myths the church teaches about sex, especially the emotional scare tactics given to adult singles and teenagers, Winner countered with a theological perspective based on the Christian’s understanding of sin. “I think we fear talking about forgiveness for sexual sin in the church because we fear that to preach forgiveness is to give license… But to preach forgiveness is to preach the gospel.”
She also highlighted that chastity is far from an easy spiritual discipline to follow but noted that Christians shouldn’t be surprised at its difficulty. “Our bodies are bound up in lives of suffering in a world in which redemption is not complete.”
Todd Lake, Belmont’s Vice President for Spiritual Development, said, “”Lauren Winner articulates an understanding of human sexuality that has garnered great respect across the country. Her honest account of her own struggles, plus her lively engagement with Christian understandings of sexuality, chastity and marriage, make her a much-sought-after voice of sanity in the midst our sex-saturated but love-starved culture.”
Winner is also the author of Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life and Mudhouse Sabbath as well as the forthcoming A Cheerful and Comfortable Faith: Household Religious Practice in Anglican Virginia, 1690- 1811. A former book editor for Beliefnet, she has appeared on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Publishers Weekly, Books and Culture and Christianity Today.