I’m actually quite a shy person.
But once I’m talking, I’ll tell it as it is. I’ll say the words that aren’t being said, I’ll delve the topics that are too taboo and I’ll throw out challenges for people to wrestle with.
As for this blog, it’s a space where I write at the edges of ideas that relate to hope, sexuality and consent. I want to lean into the grey places where people haven’t yet distilled their thoughts or figured out where they want to stand. I’ll disentangle complexities and dare to re-open questions where the standard answers now seem incomplete.
In practical terms, that means I write about:
- sex and portrayals of sex,
- consent and consent culture,
- purity and purity culture,
- inclusion and transformation,
- bodies and personhood,
- the Bible and Christian witness.
I approach these topics as a Christian and a feminist, but also with a listening ear to the sex-positive community.
I also incorporate these themes into my creative writing.
- Who am I writing for?
- What other people have said about my writing
- If you appreciate my writing, please like, share and subscribe!
A teacher once told me that people have a ‘comfort zone,’ a ‘stretch zone’ and a ‘panic zone’ when it comes to ideas. You could say my posts are kind of like that.
Some of them are well within the bounds of established Christian thought, others are a bit edgier, and others— well they might not cause a person to panic, but they are some way outside the comfort zones of many.
Following the theme of ‘Light in grey places’ I thought it might be cool to refer to these three categories of content as follows: sunlight, firelight, and moonlight. (With an eye roll for anyone who suggests ‘twilight’.)
This caters for people who lean towards a traditional view of sex and marriage but want to clue themselves up on sex and consent, Christian ideas of hope that bring joy (not guilt) when you share them, and some of the more nerdy aspects of the Bible.
(If these are in your stretch zone, you are very welcome here! Don’t feel judged!)
It’s stuff that’s broadly uncontroversial within Christian egalitarian circles, but I talk about them in my own words, trying not to assume too much knowledge for people who aren’t Christians. I also focus on the positive side, on how things should be.
But maybe you want to think a bit more out of the box.
The content in this category is also more bracing, looking at the problems of patriarchy and where things go wrong. That includes posts that unpick abuse dynamics, posts that challenge Christianity’s hyper-elevation of marriage (including complementarianism), and other posts that challenge exclusionary theology (including penal substitutionary atonement).
If you’re now puzzled or indeed nervous about how my beliefs drive my writing on these topics, it’s probably worth checking the about my theology page.
Don’t get me wrong, my aim here is to shine a light in the dark. I’m not here to promote BDSM, or porn, or sex work, or polyamory — but I want to take an honest look at these edges. If you want to read more on what I’m willing to promote and what I’m willing to write about, it might be worth checking out the about my feminism page.
Meanwhile, I also had a realisation that I can’t discuss virginity without discussing violence. I therefore categorise all posts directly relating to purity culture as moonlight, regardless of how graphic they are. This is where you’ll find the posts all about the Deuteronomy 22 laws.
OK, one more category: this is for my creative pieces (often themed around the Bible), contemplative posts about myself (especially my journey as a blogger), and other bits about theology and Bible that don’t fit elsewhere.
I treasure all positive feedback about my work, but here are some pieces from names that might be familiar to you.
This is the most comprehensive article I have ever read on the topic of consent.
– Ashley Easter
I really appreciated this article. With so many obstacles that many of us faced with harmful teachings on purity, masturbation, sex in general, sometimes sex just doesn’t work out the way we had hoped and planned.
– Julie Anne Smith
Julie is an advocate for victims of spiritual abuse and founder of Spiritual Sounding Board; her important blogging work calling out abuse in the church has been recognised in The Washington Post.
She was commenting on: my open letter to the evangelical couple considering sex therapy.
I think Christine’s scenario has a lot of credibility.
– Margaret Mowczko
Marg is a theologian and egalitarian blogger who encourages mutuality and equality between men and women in the church and in marriage. She has written extensively about the New Testament on her website.
She was commenting on: this post that examines Deuteronomy 22:28-29 which, on the surface, seems to be about a young woman marrying her rapist.
I loved the way that you played with skandalon and what that might have meant for Jesus as he was growing up – and also what it might have meant for Mary and for Joseph too.
– Dr Paula Gooder
Paula is a New Testament scholar, author and Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
She was commenting on: this creative monologue about Jesus visiting the temple as a boy, written from Mary’s point of view.
This is a clever and sharp piece of work and theologically sound
– Rev Dr Kevin Giles
Kevin is an Anglican minister, theologian and author of many books including The Rise and Fall of the Complementarian Doctrine of the Trinity and What the Bible Actually Teaches on Women.
He was commenting on: a short sketch I wrote contrasting the paternal/filial relationships between Jonathan and Saul, and Jesus and the Father (not published on my blog).
Had a marvellous afternoon with @hope4greyplaces, who has a MASSIVE BRAIN and a good heart.
– Natalie Collins
Natalie is a gender justice advocate and author of Out of Control: Couples, Conflict and the Capacity for Change; we met up that day to talk about her Own My Life course which helps women regain ownership of their lives when they have subjected to abuse or violence by their partner.
Good questions & insights in your blog post, @hope4greyplaces!
– Vicky Beeching
Vicky is writer, broadcaster and equality campaigner; she was a singer-songwriter in the evangelical church and then came out as gay in 2014. Her amazing memoir is UNDIVIDED.
She was commenting on: Evangelicals can’t sanitise Vicky Beeching’s conversion exorcism as badly worded prayers.
I’m going to talk about [modesty] in terms of consent and context, which totally revolutionized this whole conversation for me. … Christine Woolgar cuts through the modesty kerfuffle with the most reasonable and rarely heard suggestion: modesty is not about the body; it’s about knowing when to display your “glory” and how to display it without excluding others.
– Bailey Bergmann Steger
Bailey is a lifestyle blogger and egalitarian and now mum who writes amazing and thoughtful pieces, particularly as regards civil conversation and her deconstruction from being a stay-at-home daughter.
She was commenting on: this post I wrote about modesty: Modesty 101: modesty is not about clothes, rather glory and context.
This is so good and important as always. I am in awe of Christine’s openness, wisdom and nuanced approaches.
– Amy Norton
Amy is a sex and BDSM blogger (her very not-safe-for-work blog is here)
She was commenting on: this post about how we use the language of consent: “The sub is in control” — actually, this isn’t true and consent culture needs better words.
I’m here to build up a library of useful notes and reflections – it’s up to you what you make of them. Whether you agree or disagree (or both), my aim is to help you gather your thoughts.
So if this site does help you, I would love it if you would share that with your friends, follow my Twitter profile or Facebook page, or indeed subscribe to this blog (there’s a box in the widgets – you can see it at the side on a PC, or at the bottom on a mobile device).