Sex and the Cornfields Begins at Taylor

Published: Mar 12, 2013

An annual series examining human sexuality begins today at Taylor University. The event, Sex and the Cornfields, is designed to examine human sexuality from a Biblical perspective.

The featured speaker is Jenell Williams Paris, professor of anthropology at Messiah College, Grantham, Pa. She is author of, most recently, The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex is too Important to Define Who We Are. She writes and speaks about faith, gender, and sexuality.

Session #1: A Bigger Question, A Smaller Life Tuesday @ 8:15pm in Rediger

Sexuality invites reflection on the big questions of life: why we’re here, what is the good life, how to honor mystery, and why – in families, nations, and wars – sexuality is so often wounded. Reflection on these big questions can lead us to live better lives, each of us with a small life in a big world. A focus on the small, crafting personal lives of holiness, is important, too. Moving between “small” and “big” is a beautiful way to carry the mystery and the promise of connecting the sexual and the spiritual in our lives and in the world.

Session #2: Sex and the Soul. Text: Isaiah 43:1-7 Wednesday in Chapel

We’re often tempted to understand our human identity and worth in light of our sexuality: choices we’ve made, feelings we’ve felt, temptations we’ve craved. This talk invites a reversal, an invitation to understand our sexuality in light of our identity as beloved children of God.

It’s OK to use sexual identity categories sometimes – they can help us connect with others and make sense of our own lives, and honor our major commitments and responsibilities. But when we do so, it’s important to remember that none of society’s labels is the sum total of who we are. It’s important that we not forget who we really are: God’s beloved.

Session #3: Sexual Passion and Compassion Wednesday @ 8:15pm in Rediger

Today, the word “passion” refers to strong feelings, especially those of sexual attraction, but the origins of the word refer to suffering, specifically the suffering of Christ. Indeed, in sexuality we find both great delight, and deep pain. This talk invites us to consider what it could mean to hold sexuality – our own, and sexual issues in the world – with compassion.

Workshops at Various Locations

Thursday @ 4:00pm and 7:00pm

New to Sex and the Cornfields this year is workshops for our students. Presenters include our own faculty and staff as well as our speaker, Jenell Williams Paris. All four workshops will be offered at both times: 4:00pm and 7:00pm.

#1: Fertility and Birth Control Presenter: Jenell Williams Paris Professor of Anthropology at Messiah College Location: Euler 100 Note: The 4:00pm workshop will be for both men and women. The 7:00pm workshop is for women only.

Every day, your body gives signals of its fertility. You can learn to listen to your female cycle, and use this knowledge to manage PMS, achieve or avoid pregnancy, or just for self-knowledge. In this workshop you will learn the basics of female fertility and cycles, and survey current forms of birth control. Our focus will be discussing how to make fertility management decisions in light of Christian values, and in ways that promote bodily and relational health.

#2: Language and Sexuality: Fostering a Safe Environment with Words

Presenter: Jon Cavanagh Director of Apartments and Off-Campus Community Kinsley Koons Choros President

Location: Euler 118

Words can be used to edify each other and they can be used to demean each other. The words we use to explain and describe sexuality can carry a variety of connotations, emotions and even baggage with them. The focus of this workshop will be creating safe environments with the words we use, especially around the topic of sexuality.

#3: Engaging the Journey of Abuse: How Sexual Abuse Has Impacted Us All

Presenter: Troy Tiberi Samuel Morris Residence Hall Director

Location: MMVA 002

This workshop will explore the prevalence of sexual abuse and offer a social, neurobiological, and theological framework for understanding the long-term impact of abuse. Whether you are a survivor of abuse or you have a desire to support others who have a history of abuse, you will receive appropriate next steps for engaging your story or the stories of others.

#4: People Addictions

Presenter: Bob Neideck Director of Counseling Center

Location: MMVA 005

Romance, relationships, and sex are three of God’s gifts to mankind. They have also become three of the all-consuming preoccupations of our culture. Many experts believe these can be the “root addictions” that all other addictions stem from. In this workshop students will learn to recognize how people addictions develop, differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships, the beginning steps toward healing and recovery, and how to support others who are struggling.

Additional Events

Lunch with Faculty and Staff

Thursday @ 12:00pm in Alspaugh West

Join this lunch with Jenell, hosted by Jeff Cramer. Bring your lunch to Alspaugh West to interact with Jenell.

Panel Night Thursday @ 8:15pm (Women in Rediger and Men in Stuart Room)

Students are invited to hear and ask questions of a panel of women and a panel of men.


Friday @ 6:30pm in Student Union Join us for the finale of the week. Students will have the opportunity to discuss and debrief the week over a meal.