I was an inquisitive child who asked a ton of questions, and in adulthood, my mother told me that my sister never had to ask because I did it first. Many of them were about sex and most were at the dinner table. According to my dad, he would blush and say to my mom, “You take this one, Selm,” since he didn’t know how to respond to his girl-child’s innocent questions. To this day I am still curious and have been a student of the body, mind, and spirit all of my life. After talking to people over the years, in my therapy offices, I have come to realize that not everyone had that freedom to inquire. Many of them experienced body shaming, misinformation, sexual violence, and religious indoctrination which reinforced beliefs that the soul is pure and the flesh is abhorrent. I never understood that, since we were also told that we were made in the image and likeness of God. Consider that in the midst of sexual pleasure, people have been known to utter the name of the Divine.
According to Jenny Wade, Ph.D., author of the book, Transcendent Sex, “Ordinary people, with no special training, can find themselves in different spiritual realms when making love — an experience so profound that nothing will ever be the same. It is about sex that triggers episodes identical to the highest spiritual states — as described in the annals of shamanism, yoga, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam — including visions, channeling, reliving past lives, transcending the laws of physics, and seeing the face of God.”
A newly released documentary, called Angels and Saints~ Eros and Awe answers many questions and poses others that expand viewers’ perspectives on the conjoined topics. The professionals interviewed for the film, include Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, Nick Evans, Em House, Rev. Lacette Cross, Chris Paige, and Rev. Beverly Dale. Between them, they have hundreds of years of experience as clergy, therapists, sex educators, speakers, and authors which is why they were tapped by producers Vic Compher and Rodney Whittenberg to be ‘modern-day angels and saints’ to offer their wisdom.
The film itself contains candid personal and scholarly conversations between the experts and audience on the erstwhile taboo topics. Music, poetry, and body celebrating dance are sprinkled through the film.
The producers are certain that this is the time to bring Angels and Saints to a wounded world since we are emerging from one of most chaotic, painful, and divisive times in history. A deadly pandemic, a contentious election here in the U.S., violence in the streets, racial inequality, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia have been inculcated into our culture.
Consider the many politicians and religious leaders who decry homosexuality, promiscuity, or adultery, and then find their own sexual identities or improprieties revealed and exploited.
Recent episodes of television shows such as “This Is Us” and “New Amsterdam” have had storylines that portray Gay and Transgender individuals in a positive light. The social media responses, though sometimes praising, have been equally pejorative, echoing the massive cultural and spiritual divide among viewers.
The intention of the producers is to reframe the ways in which we view the world through the lens of sexuality and spirituality. Their goal is to have the movie reach a worldwide audience via film festivals. It has already been accepted in the Chicago Indie Film Awards with more to follow. Seminaries, schools that have a sex-positive curriculum, faith communities, conferences, and festivals are the places where the movie can play a role in creating a more loving, embracing, and accepting world.
Let’s bring Heaven and Earth together.