Print this page Share

Sexuality and Holy Longing: Embracing Intimacy in a Broken World

ISBN: 978-0-7879-6818-2
224 pages
January 2004, Jossey-Bass
Sexuality and Holy Longing: Embracing Intimacy in a Broken World (0787968188) cover image


This powerful book shows how many Christians, including pastors, parents and leaders, have unwittingly absorbed many cultural ideas about sexuality that are not supported by the Bible. As people created by God for relationship, our sexuality guarantees that we will long for and be drawn toward others, McMinn provides a blueprint for understanding sexuality--and our longing to be loved-- at all stages of life (childhood, teen years, early adulthood, midlife, and old age), and addresses tough topics including sexuality for those who are single (divorced, widowed, or never married). She also details practical solutions for ways that parents, educators, and churches can nurture others and ourselves in the quest to understand sexuality as a longing that draws us toward God and others, and to embrace it as a God-given gift. Thought provoking study questions at the end of each chapter inspire us to action in reclaiming our sexuality through grace.
See More

Table of Contents

Foreword by Stanley J. Grenz.



1. Rites of Passage: The Quest for Manhood and Womanhood.

2. Adolescence: Awakenings and Choices.

3. Sleeping Alone: Sexuality and Singleness.

4. Birthing Babies: The Essence of Early Motherhood (and Fatherhood).

5. Mysteries of Marriage: Bone of My Bone, Flesh of My Flesh.

6. Sexuality and Culture: Bodies and Scripts.

Epilogue: Beauty from Ashes.


The Author.


See More

Author Information

Lisa Graham McMinn is a professor at Wheaton College where she teaches courses in family and sociology. She is the author of Growing Strong Daughters and speaks, writes, and teaches on gender issues in the church. She has been married to her husband, Mark McMinn, for twenty-four years, and together they have parented three daughters.
See More


In this excellent examination of sexuality from an evangelical Christian perspective, McMinn (Growing Strong Daughters), a sociology professor at Wheaton College, provides a refreshing perspective on sexuality in general and on the specific uses and misuses of sex in, as she describes it, a "broken world." Covering topics such as rites of passage for men and women, adolescent sexual awakening, singleness, marital sex, "birthing babies" and cultural attitudes toward sexuality, each chapter includes a half dozen or so genuinely thoughtful questions for reflection and discussion. McMinn's fresh insights and clear and readable style make the book accessible on a popular level. Parents of pre-teens and teens should find it a practical tool for helping their children make wise decisions about sex, while engaged couples should find her discussion of true intimacy, and our unrealistic expectation of achieving it in this life, to be helpful in navigating their way through marriage. At the same time, her thorough research makes the book appropriate for academic use. While never straying from biblical principles, the author explores emotionally charged issues like unwanted pregnancy and masturbation with grace and compassion; her discussion of homosexuality should be required reading in ministry programs at evangelical seminaries. (Jan. 30) (Publishers Weekly, December 22, 2003)

"Christians struggle with their sexuality as much or maybe even more than other people. Sexuality and Holy Longing explores the relationship between our physical desires and our spiritual longings. Reading this book will help you understand yourself more deeply and move you toward an affirmation of sexuality that is richly integrated with faith." —Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College; coauthor of Intimate Allies and Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind

"Grace and truth are a difficult combination, but Lisa McMinn displays it to marvelous effect. Lovely, candid, mature, assured—this book is a sheer gift." —Rev. Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. Ph.D., president and professor of systematic theology, Calvin Theological Seminary

"Sex. Sexuality. Lisa McMinn knows the difference and with rare Christian candor explores how the beauty of sexuality can still flourish in the “thistles of our broken world." —Alec Hill, president, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

"Lisa McMinn dramatically and charmingly, with striking honesty, reframes Christian thinking about sexuality, providing a much-needed antidote to misguided American assumptions. As a therapist and mother, I found her comments on male sexuality and fatherhood as 'embedded' (in context) and ‘embodied’ (in physical bodies) particularly wise and helpful." —Kaye Cook, Ph.D., licensed clinician; professor of psychology, Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts

See More
Back to Top