Holy Relationships by Meg Wagner is designed to help older youth reflect on their gender identity and sexuality in a way that allows them to see that, no matter what they are feeling, who they think they are or aren't or what people say about them -- they are created by God and affirmed by God and the Christian community. This five-session program is designed for 9th - 12th graders.
The author wanted to write a curriculum that could be used with the Journey to Adulthood (J2A) or as a stand-alone piece alongside any youth curriculum that would create safe space to examine what our faith teaches us about sexuality, attraction, gender, gender expression, and the qualities of a good relationship. Some of the lessons draw heavily on the sexuality section of J2A because Meg found that so much of that work dealt really well with both the gift and the responsibility of our sexuality and things to consider before sexual intimacy. In this curriculum she also broadened the understanding of gender identity, expression, and attraction and the ways in which those are fluid categories that are shaped by our culture, context and experience.
Session 1: Made in the Image of God
In this introductory session, participants will explore what it means to be created in God's image. They will examine gender identity and sexuality as social constructs and talk about what they have learned about both from culture and from their parents. They will learn the differences between gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and attraction.
Session 2: Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself
Participants will talk about self-love, developing a healthy self-concept, and the importance of both to being in a healthy relationship with others. They will examine healthy pride and the consequences of shame.
Session 3: Beloved, Let us Love One Another
In this session students will look at four different types of love: storge, eros, philia, and agape and look at all of those types in the bible. They will explore the idea of church as a community whose primary characteristic is radical love.
Session 4: Holy Relationships
In discussion, participants will explore characteristics that the Episcopal Church has named as expected in lifelong committed relationships and add others to the list that they think are important. They will talk about which characteristics are more or less important in different types of relationships and talk about the relationship of the Trinity.
Session 5: Passion, Sex, and Sexuality
The young people are asked to bring in examples from pop culture of positive and negative images of sex and sexuality and those are shared and discussed. They read sections of Song of Songs and talk about what they hear about sexuality and passion. Students discuss the essential qualities that need to be present in any sexual relationship: love, safety, privacy, equality, commitment, and awareness.