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A Lily Among the Thorns: Imagining a New Christian Sexuality Paperback – April 20, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


De la Torre (ethics & religion, Iliff Sch. of Theology) here discusses the profound influence of feminist and liberation theologies. The savor and seriousness of his convictions is apparent from the disposition of his materials: unlike most books in the U.S. publishing market, which end on an upbeat note with suggestions for change, De la Torre moves outward from affirming women and the body to a carefully argued condemnation of predatory sexualities (pornography, rape, violence, sexual abuse), with only the most guarded hope for "resurrection after crucifixion." An excellent and intelligent book that deserves a wide audience. (Library Journal, May 1, 2007)


"No clergyperson, seminarian, or layperson should ever again speak publicly about the Christian view of sex without first reading this book. They will need to undergo such an exercise in order to cleanse themselves of the many presuppositions and prejudices about sex that pervade our religious and secular cultures. This book is written for all liberal, conservative, evangelical, and neo-conservative Christians as a primer for adequate teaching on the subject of sex."
—Peter J. Paris, Elmer G. Homrighausen Professor, Christian social ethics, Princeton Theological Seminary

"The best guide to good sex I have seen! Miguel offers us a compassionate, liberating, thoughtful, honest, and well informed manual to the joys of loving, sexual relationships at their most ethical and transformative. He mines scripture and tradition for their life-giving possibilities, analyzes our society, and offers support for everyone seeking to negotiate the church's mixed messages, the right wing's harmful uses of religion, and popular culture's degradations of sex."
—Rita Nakashima Brock, director of Faith Voices for the Common Good, and senior editor in religion at The New Press

"De La Torre has given us all a marvelous gift; not simply justification for throwing away old oppressive models for sexuality and faith, but a new way of seeing ourselves, our sexual giftedness, and each other as we seek God's kingdom together."
—Harry Knox, director of religion and faith program, Human Rights Campaign Foundation

"Finally, a theologian who takes sexuality seriously enough to offer a sense of the sacred in our most intimate being"
—Marc H. Ellis, professor of Jewish studies, Baylor University

"De La Torre is . . . a progressive evangelical with a razor sharp mind who measures justice from the point of view of the oppressed. . . . A Lily Among the Thorns is destined to become a classic."
—John Raines, professor of religion, Temple University


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (April 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078798146X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787981464
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,102,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For more information on Dr. De La Torre, visit his website at:
or check out his blog at

Miguel A. De La Torre (born October 6, 1958) is an associate-professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology, a religious scholar, author, and an ordained minister. Born in Cuba months before the Castro Revolution, De La Torre and his family migrated to the United States as refugees when he was an infant. At nineteen years of age he began a real estate company in Miami. De La Torre dissolved the thirteen-year-old real estate company in 1992 to attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in order to obtain a Masters in Divinity and enter the ministry. During his seminary training he served as pastor at a rural congregation.

De La Torre continued his theological training and obtained a doctorate from Temple University in social ethics in 1999. According to the books he published, he focuses on ethics within contemporary U.S. thought, specifically how religion affects race, class, and gender oppression. His works 1) applys a social scientific approach to Latino/a religiosity within this country; 2) studies Liberation theologies in the Caribbean and Latin America (specifically in Cuba); and 3) engages in postmodern/postcolonial social theory. In 1999 he was hired to teach Christian Ethics at Hope College in Holland, MI. De La Torre resigned his tenure in 2005 and took the position of associate professor for social ethics at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.

Since obtaining his doctorate, De La Torre has authored numerous articles and books, including several books that have won national awards, specifically: Reading the Bible from the Margins, (Orbis, 2002); Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004); and Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins, (Orbis, 2004). He has been an expert commentator concerning ethical issues (mainly Hispanic religiosity, LGBT civil rights, and immigration rights) on several local, national, and international media outlets.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GH on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author's views on sexuality don't represent anything ground breaking. However, the beauty of what he has done is to knit this progressive view of sexuality into a concise, well argued package. In doing so, the author has made a progressive way of thinking about sexuality more accessible to a greater range of Christians.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Gates on May 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
De La Torre puts forth an ethic of sexuality based around the 'familial' and 100% vulnerability. He makes a very good case for his argument when he does Biblical interpretations, hitting on several sections of the Bible that deal with sexuality and relating them to the 21st century. His interpretation is liberating--which I think all interpretation should be. 'Liberating' does not mean 'allow one to do whatever one wants,' but rather 'see the humanity in all, and live so that all may be in the kingdom.'

However, I ran into some issues with the rest of De La Torre's book. First, though I agree that vulnerability should be a part of any sexual encounter, and that it should be mutual vulnerability, I have a hard time agreeing that every encounter requires *100%* vulnerability. Second, I think that those of us who come from family backgrounds that are not terribly loving might have a hard time understanding a sexual ethic as being 'good' if it is grounded in such familial terms. Third, I took issue with his presentation of black men (though I felt he discussed women well), and with his ideas about what sadomasochism and BDSM entail. Fourth, I do not think he did a very good job discussing polyamory. Fifth, though he has a section on sexuality for singles, most of it revolves around celibacy and marriage--neither of which are truly viable alternatives for many single people, and which seems to de-liberate LGBTQ persons who live in places where they cannot marry.

That said, I think the book is useful for learning a way of doing sexual ethics, and especially for doing sex ethics in terms of liberative Biblical interpretation. His writing is clear and concise, and his sources are easy to trace.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By willymom on October 15, 2011
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Dr. De La Torre continues to amaze me with his insight and intelligence. His approach to this sensitive subject is what I would hope all thinking Christians would embrace. This is a MUST read.
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Miguel Torres is One author I keep searching for. Very Well informed and in this particular book Address themes that need to be reflected and Think twice. It made me Think over About many subjects regarding the making of culture and human practices
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