Missio Alliance Essential Reading List
Readers' Choice Award Winner
Seedbed's 10 Notable Books
Nothing has exposed the gap between the church and the broader society quite like the cultural argument over sexuality. Relationships, identities, orientations and even seemingly straightforward concepts such as gender have cut battle lines between the church and the world. In the fog of war and the cloud of conflict, it's increasingly hard to see our way clearly.
There is hope, however. Debra Hirsch has seen it firsthand—in meaningful lifelong relationships with LGBT friends and neighbors, in Christian fellowships and in movements that have held a concern for people created in God's image and a high view of the Bible's teaching on sexuality in constructive tension. When you consider the world from the perspective of God's kingdom mission, it turns out the smoke clears and a redemptive imagination takes root.
Discover a holistic, biblical vision of sex and gender that honors God and offers good news to the world.
"Deb Hirsch has given us a real gift in this book. She has brought biblical clarity to one of the most misunderstood and controversial topics of the day. Many have either sensationalized or minimized our sexuality, leaving us confused, embarrassed or ashamed about the sexual nature of our humanity. But Deb has taken in this beautiful gift of God and woven it together with a Jesus-centered vision of how sexuality can glorify God and lead us to flourish. A much-needed and redemptive book."
"If you are willing to invest the time to listen—really listen—to what Deb Hirsch is saying about the vexing and complex nature of human sexuality, you won't fail to be moved by her allegiance to radical grace, her trust in the potency of genuine hospitality and her unyielding confidence in the power of God to reconcile, repair and renew us all."
"With lived experience, direct frankness and a pastoral heart, Deb Hirsch addresses the church on sexuality. In so doing, Redeeming Sex prepares the way for the places the church must go to be 'among' today's confused and strife-ridden world of sexuality. It is a vulnerable gift that moves us beyond faulty stereotypes and pre-set notions. I cannot think of a better book to start the conversation."
"Finally. A thoughtful, biblical, yet paradigm-busting discussion on the hottest topic in the church and culture today. Redeeming Sex pulls no punches yet graciously guides us toward the heart of God in our human sexuality."
"I can't think of a person I'd rather listen to give us biblical, Jesus-lens insight—out of the mixture of opinions, confusion, joy, difficulties, grittiness, honesty, hurts, healing, reality, questions, wonder and beauty of this topic—than my friend Deb Hirsch. I believe this is going to totally connect with the hearts of so many needing to move beyond the usual explanations or ways this discussion normally happens as we rethink, rediscover and redeem sexuality."
"Join the conversation about Redeeming Sex. Deb takes a challenging conversation and brings humility, authenticity and truth to help us all talk more openly and honestly about this important topic. Thank you, Deb Hirsch!"
"Debra Hirsch's own story—and what she learned about sex before and after meeting Jesus—is both convincing and convicting. But the book is more than testimony. Debra makes intelligent, faithful use of Scripture and of authors who have engaged with this topic. She also untangles key differences between sexuality and cultural roles. Noting the Bible's extensive 'sexual language and imagery,' Debra affirms that 'our sexuality lies close to our spirituality.' Her book can lead Christians to an integration of sex and sanctity that enriches both—and makes us more faithful and redemptive disciples of Jesus Christ."
"The beautiful heart of Redeeming Sex is an exploration of the claim that Jesus is the embodiment of sexuality and spirituality, and in him, we find our model for right living and right loving. With powerful personal narrative, witty and earthy language, and sincere scriptural study, Debra Hirsch encourages readers to connect all of their lives—even the sexual dimension of life—with the life of Christ. The book provides a clear and thoughtful example of how to maintain a traditional Christian sexual ethic and at the same time treat both gay and straight persons equally. Traditionalists seeking this balance will learn much from her stories and advice."
"This book challenges us to love God and people through the lens of our sexuality. Deb pushes us to see sexuality not as something to be done secretly in closets and dark rooms but as the beauty of God. This book challenges—for sure—but it's a must read."
"I'm so grateful to Deb Hirsch for writing the best book on this conversation I have read. It speaks to the heart of our identity in Christ. It addresses complex and sensitive realities and tensions with grace, love, compassion, truth, justice and mercy. It is prophetic, profound, candid, transparent and should be read by every Christian. It will challenge you to the core, but we can no longer stick our heads in the sand and ignore the fact that people are hurting and need real answers to real issues. I am giving a copy of this book to everyone I know. It's that important."
"This book demonstrates an unwavering Christ-like love for all humanity, and carves out a space for open conversation about sexuality. It flies in the face of the escalating culture wars of our day and invites us to imagine a Church of the future that is shaped by the Gospel virtues of love and unity."
"Debra Hirsch's wise pastoral perspective places Jesus firmly in the center of our sexuality and our relationships."
"The value of this work is found in Hirsch's unique way of forcing the reader to think through and question long-held assumptions—some which may well need to be abandoned, while there are others that should be maintained but worked out in a more loving way."
"Discover a holistic, biblical vision of sex and gender that honours God and offers good news to the world."
"[Hirsch] is a delightful storyteller who addresses the touchy subject of sexuality from a variety of perspectives; however, she stays completely on track biblically even when it would be tempting to want to go to more comfortable places. . . . With lots of personal stories and real-life conversations from folks at every walk of life, her words demand attention not only because she writes compellingly but also because Christians need to be re-educated on all things sexual."
"Hirsch blends research, Scripture, theology and her own varied experience of sexuality and ministry into what she calls 'a testimony and a challenge to the church.' She brings admirable honesty and vulnerability to this mix, and the way she tells her own story models the humility and dignity to which she calls others. Hirsch speaks from within the evangelical community and primarily to the evangelical community—defined in the broadest possible sense. . . . [T]his book is important for the whole church."
"This book hails from a leading missional church leader who has lived it, redeemed it, and is now burdened by the challenge to help the church understand that at our core, we are all sexual beings, and our sexuality is nothing to blush about. In a post-Obergefell era, the church can no longer approach this issue haphazardly or without the insight of LGBT Christians."
"Redeeming Sex is a book that will transform the conversations in the evangelical world and beyond about sexuality and how we can embrace and love one another wherever we are on our journey toward redemption. Seriously—This book is a game changer, and I love it."
"Rarely have I anticipated the publication of a book as much as I have with Deb Hirsch's Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations About Sexuality and Spirituality. After waiting for more than two years, I can say without hesitation that it was well worth the wait. In Redeeming Sex, Deb provides a thoughtful, holistic, biblical vision of sex and gender issues that not only honors the ways of Jesus, but also offers a much-needed and helpful approach to thinking well about one of the most misunderstood and controversial topics of the day. . . . I believe this is going to be one of the most important books for the church to grapple with for years to come. It really is one of those books that every Christian should read."
Introduction: The Backstory
1. Oh My God! Sexuality Meets Spirituality
Section One: Where Did All the Sexy Christians Go?
2. Modesty Gone Mad
3. Jesus . . . Sex Symbol?
Section Two: Bits, Bobs and Tricky Business
4. The Eight Fundamentals of Sex
5. Gender Matters
6. Uncomfortable Sex Positions
7. Bi Now, Gay Later?
8. Limping Straight to Heaven
Section Three: The Mission of Christian Sexuality
9. The Bent Scapegoat
10. Imago Gay
11. Re-Sexing the Church
Conclusion: The Dreaded End