Coakley seeks to turn Freud “on his head” and make the case that it is not sex which is fundamental and our desire for God “ephemeral” but in fact, just the opposite. “[I]t is God who is basic, and ‘desire’ the precious clue that ever tugs at the heart, reminding the human soul—however dimly—of its created source.”² Coakley helps us to see that desire is more fundamental than sex. Her central theme woven throughout is that ascetic practices, namely that of prayer, reorders desire and the notion of selfhood in relation to the Trinity.
I don't remember how it started, but just a few blocks into the walk to our hotel the debate was on. Our conversation ranged wide—the scope and purpose of salvation, justification, sanctification, the sovereignty of God, the relationship of divine and human agency—never seeming to settle in on one thing. We argued as we walked one and a half miles of the city streets of Philadelphia, as we waited for lights to change at street crossings, as we took a wrong turn and had to retrace our steps; not even the check-in process at the hotel halted our conversation.