Lauren Winner


This afternoon, I finshed listening to yet another stimulating interview with–you guessed it–Lauren Winner. The interview with her was recently broadcast on Inner Compass, a television interview show funded by Calvin College that “explores how people make their decisions about ethical, religious, and social justice issues.”

The episode is called “Dating,” but Winner addresses with satisfactory depth related topics such as courtship, marriage, singlehood, and community. I found enlightening her keen observations of how societal changes have affected the phenomenon of dating over the years. As well, I particularly appreciated her attempt to debunk certain unhealthy perceptions and expectations of marriage and singleness.

If you are interested in this kind of stuff, or have relationships with youth and young adults who are very likely thinking about these things and might talk to you about them, may I recommend listening to the interview. The discussion here offers a lot of good food for thought.

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Here’s an insightful article about hospitality by Lauren Winner. I particularly like her observation on the Christian value/discipline behind the practice of hospitality–that is, inviting people to where we are vulnerable, not only to take care of someone, but also to cultivate intimacy is in fact a Christ-like endeavor. She reflects:

I don’t find inviting people into my life that much easier than inviting them into my apartment. At its core, cultivating an intimacy in which people can know and be known requires being honest—practicing that other Christian discipline of telling the truth about where we live and how we got there. Often, I’d rather welcome guests into a cozy apartment worthy of Southern Living. I’d rather show them a Lauren who’s put together and serene. Often, telling the truth feels absurd … “

On hearing about my admiration for Lauren Winner’s writing, Jason recently pointed me towards an honest, enlightening talk that Winner gave last year at Calvin College’s January Series. The talk (followed by a Q&A) is called “Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity,” based on her book with the same title. There’s clearly an edge in her voice while she speaks and fields questions–perhaps due to the sensitive nature of the topic as well as her determination to be personal and frank about her own experiences and to debunk bad thinking around talking about premarital sex.

Winner was invited again to speak at this year’s January Series. Entitling her talk “The Truth About Married Sex,” she explores the differences between the culture of premarital and married sex, as well as the expectations of these cultures. She invites her listeners to consider another way of evaluating what good sex is. I love her thinking in both talks. Her approach is descriptive, rather than presciptive. She is lucid, non-judgmental, matter-of-fact.

If you aren’t familar with her story and want to know more without having to read her memoir Girl Meets God (though I highly recommend it), may I suggest the following sequence of interviews with Dick Staub:

Segment 1 of 4

Segment 2 of 4

Segment 3 of 4

Segment 4 of 4

Lauren Winner will be teaching a course on writing as a spiritual discipline (1 or 2 credit option) at Regent College this summer, which I would love to take if I can scrape enough money together ($430/credit + $35 registration!). Lauren Winner is a keenly observant, intelligent writer and author of a couple books I enjoyed reading a few years ago, namely Girl Meets God and Real Sex. She (and therefore her writing) is refreshingly thoughtful and frank. Her style is highly readable and accessible; at the same time, she brings a certain academic rigour and scholarly inquiry to her writing. And she’s young! It would be sooooo cool to take a writing class from her.