After many weeks of hectic activity, I found a few hours this week during which I finished reading blogger Dawn Eden's (of The Dawn Patrol) new book, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding fulfillment while keeping your clothes on.
In a no holds barred attack on the popular media's assault on a Christian understanding of sexuality, Dawn explores current Sex and the City-style views on sex and lifestyle. Dawn takes no time to reveal to the reader who she is and why she's writing this book—instead of dwelling on these things, she dives right into the sexual morass created in our modern media-driven culture and finds reasons for hope, and practices for developing a proper and fulfilling chastity.
On clothing and dress:
God made you to be a gift for the world. Part of being a gift is in the packaging. You look best when you are packaged as a surprise. You look worst when you have been shop-handled.
On modern popular feminism (the kind which does more harm than good, in my opinion, for society):
Women are told that self-sufficiency means refusing to allow men the opportunity to do things for them... [But, from time to time,] she needs advice, a shoulder to lean on, or just someone to carry her loaded-down backpack.
On the relationship between marital love and God's love:
The nature of marital love, enabling husband and wife to unite both spiritually and physically, not only is a symbol of God's love but is God's love.
There is a lot of great information contained in this book, and many inspiring reflections, drawing from time to time from C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II, Mother Theresa, Peter Kreeft, Christopher West, and others. No matter what your vocation is, you could gain a unique insight into popular culture and practical advice for living in it by reading this book. Instead of taking a theological, philosophical, or sociological approach, Dawn Eden combines many approaches to chastity and sexuality, using personal experience and her faith as a compass, to write a book that is much-needed today.
I think Dawn could deal a bit more with her idea that "God is a matchmaker... [Dawn] believes His dossier on your possible candidates for a future husband is extermely thin. In fact, [Dawn] believes it contains only one name." There are a few times when Dawn mentions this 'one husband for one wife' theory, but it's meaning is not all that clear. I believe that there are many different women who could be 'compatible' with the same man (and vice-versa), and would be equally able to fulfill God's will in marrying the same man. Is Dawn saying that God has monogamy in mind, or is Dawn saying there is really only one other person in the whole world for each of the men and women called to the marriage vocation?
On the whole, though, I think this book can be a great resource for learning and discussing the option of chastity in modern society. The book doesn't look like some sort of touchy-feely religious textbook (like some other chastity-driven books I've seen), nor does it look like a stolid Thomistic work of philosophy (as does the Theology of the Body). Rather, it looks hip and sassy—reflecting a bit of the author's personality. I would think, because of some of the topics discussed, the book would be best for those who are of high-school age or older.
I typically judge a non-fictional book by how many dog-eared pages there are after I finish reading it (if the page is dog-eared, that means I found something intriguing on it). This book definitely scores high in that regard: 26 of 207 pages had folded-down corners!