Sexuality and Hope

February 27th, 2020

The Cupboard welcomes guest Dr. Hillary McBride.


Dr. McBride is a Psychotherapist, and host of the CBC Podcast "Other People's Problems" and the Liturgists Podcast.


We speak with Hillary about purity culture, scrupulosity, mental health and body image, changing views from one generation to the next. 


How is it that when religious culture becomes fearful or controlling or strict, so often the first location of control is over women's bodies? Purity culture has hurt men as well as women, often preventing people from taking steps of maturity and life. The cycle of ignorance, fear, and shame has done terrible damage to so many women and men. Dr. Hillary McBride in her work and in her podcasts and books, offers a better way of understanding, a better way of speaking and even more promisingly, a way of hope. 


Episode Terminology:


Gnosticism: A philosphical/religious way of seeing the world. For our purposes in this episode the basic consideration is that gnosticism presents a spiritual/earthly (or physical) division. Much of the New Testament is written in contrast and opposition to gnostic thinking which said that Jesus could not have been divine because he had a physical body. The inferior way of seeing the physical also led to some extreme actions as seeing the body as degraded led some to think that any form of expression, including sexually was fine as the body was degraded anyway.


Purity Culture: The emphasis/idolatry of sexuality (particularly female sexuality) in some religious circles that led to expressions such as “chastity vows”, etc. This was the conflation of morality and even spirituality to focus upon sexual behaviour (particularly female sexual behaviour).


Platonic Thought: From the philosopher Plato, related to gnosticism, Plato presented a spiritual/physical distinction that elevated the spiritual and denigrated the physical. Much of what is considered “christian” is actually platonic as this way of thought pervaded Biblical interpretation and teaching.


Jung – (Carl Jung): A branch of psychology, therapy coming to emphasize talk therapy, often a consideration of the conscious and the subconscious together.


Original Blessing: Corollary to “original sin”. Some Christian teachers and writers are emphasizing not that we are bad, but that we are blessed. In most cases this is not to deny that we do wrong or that we sin, but that the emphasis is on blessing instead of badness.


Divine Immanence: God’s presence is often considered to be expressed in transcendent ways, ways that are above human, spiritual, other than human. The other reality of the presence of God is expressed in immanence, in the here and now, in the physical. Transcendent can mean “far away”, Immanent can mean “close to us”.


Many thanks to our recording host House of Funk Brewing, located in North Vancouver, BC.  


Rector's Cupboard episode hosts: Todd Wiebe, Allison Williams, Brett Ziegler. 


Books and articles discussed in this episode:


Hillary McBride's website

Harvey Weinstein Article - NYT, January 2020

Pastor Eaten by Crocodile (not an alligator as Todd said) - Snopes, 2017

9th Grader Expelled - NBC News, January 2020

Ben Greenfield Article – Times of London, January 2020

Mothers, Daughters, and Body Image: Learning to Love Ourselves as We Are - Hillary McBride, 2017

Embodiment and Eating Disorder - Hillary McBride, 2018

Shameless – Nadia Bolz-Weber, 2019

Beyond Shame – Mattias Roberts

You are Your Own – Jamie Lee Finch

Come as You Are – Emily Nagoski

The Purity Myth – Jessica Valenti

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