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Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism Paperback – March 15, 2009
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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About the Author
Melinda Selmys is a contributor and columnist for several periodicals. She is a wife and mother and very active in numerous Catholic organizations.
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This book is a gold mine, not only for homosexuality, but about the topic of sexuality in general. Indeed, anyone who wants a picture of critical thinking, or tackling the social or political issues of our day would benefit greatly by reading Ms. Selmys's work. It is even-handed to both sides - smacking, wagging the finger, and patting on the back in even courses for both sides. Most importantly, she makes it personal. This is not another political or religious treatise. This is the experience and research of Melinda Selmys, who had a unique upbringing, a unique adolescence, and a unique conversion to Catholicism that had little to do with "seeing the light", and more to do with understanding a tree is green, and not green. It had less to do with old and holy nuns and priests, and more to do with a Druidic sorcerer.
Sound strange enough for you? Maybe this book is not for people who are comfortable with the narratives of their positions - that gays who come out are liberated and free, while those who become "Jesus freaks" are hiding from themselves. Or that gays who don't give up their feelings right now and completely are going to burn in Hell forever. Or, maybe, simply, that I'm right, and the other side is completely wrong and dragging civilisation into the Dark Ages. This book may not be for you if you think this way.
But if you want to climb out of the trench and see the no-man's land outside - step out and start a dialogue with the soldiers on the other side, whether they be "bigots" or "profligates" or "fundamentalists" or "corrupting influences", or whatever, maybe this book can help you. Maybe Melinda can show you what she learned. Sin is bad. But to free a man from sin, we must love the man, not merely quote statistics. Love is good. But love is more than an intellectual feeling; it expresses itself in the body. Sex is more than "bumping uglies". It involves the intellect; it is not animalistic. And it is also an act of the will. It affects so much. And it is much abused by all sorts in our culture, in every way conceivable. And it is so abused because our our loneliness. We are a lonely society, and sex is the palliative we use to cover it up.
These are just some of the things this rich, rich book touches on. Everyone should get a copy of it. It is too good not to pull something worthwhile from.
Melinda Selmys has NOT written the last, the ultimate, the fully-worked-out book about sexuality and the Telos of God --- and why? Because her writing is a gift straight from the stripes and stipples of her life, the mess and meter and largesse of her heart.
There are undoubtedly some ragged edges. It's a thin book, and compex topics are skimmed a bit skimpily: gay media and politics and history, psychology, statistics (and I'm just looking at the table of contents!) Arguably there's too much resourcing from her own singularities. That may be a matter of genre: these are common drawbacks in the Telling My Story approach. But still: what a good story it is. These are, in Merton's phrase, "Raids on the Unspeakable".
This is a book you could give to anybody, anywhere on the sexual and religious spectrum, and ultimately get an illuminating discussion out of it. But beyond all the words, I want to say something wordless, to thump my chest three times and convey something like "Brava" in all its senses: Good. Brave. Valiant.