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Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality
Stock image - cover art may vary
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0310280672
ISBN-13: 9780310280675
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: June, 2008
Length: 201 Pages
Weight: 8.8 ounces
Dimensions: 7.7 X 5.7 X 0.7 inches
Language: English
   
   

Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality

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Introduction: This Is Really about That Chapter One: God Wears Lipstick Chapter Two: Sexy on the Inside Chapter Three: Angels and Animals Chapter Four: Leather, Whips, and Fruit Chapter Five: She Ran into the Girls' Bathroom Chapter Six: Worth Dying For Chapter Seven: Under the Chuppah Chapter Eight: Johnny and June Chapter Nine:...
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55

Customer Reviews

  It's time for a sexy party

Yes, this book is about that.


Rob Bell delves into the link between our sexuality and our spirituality, and the result is a work that will open your eyes to the relationship that God seeks with humanity.

The basic premise is that we are all broken, always seeking a connection with others since our connection with God has been severed. We all want to be known and accepted as we are. Only God can provide us with this, but sex is the next best thing. So we all walk around with distorted concepts of who we are, searching for that connection through physical relation rather than spiritual.

The book is engaging, and Bell has a talent for teaching by using stories(sound familiar?). He is able to weave Bible history, Jewish customs, and contemporary culture together to form a picture of the relationship God desires with mankind. I especially enjoyed a passage on page 70 that describes that Garden of Eden as good, and for it to be truly good, it couldn't be forced on people. Hence, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

A few criticisms, however:

On page 63 Bell describes the universe as unfinished. He claims that "God's intent in creating these people was for them to continue the work of creating the world, moving it away from chaos and wild and waste and formlessness toward order and harmony and good."

I just can't agree with that statement. When God created the universe, it was good. He rested on the seventh day, content with His creation. There was "order and harmony and good." Then we, humanity, screwed it up. I get the gist of what he's saying, but the statement just doesn't make sense.

The other problem is on pages 20 and 22. Bell discusses a passage in which Jesus says "If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away." Bell later states "And that's Jesus' point with the "gouge out your eye" teaching. His point isn't that you should mutilate your body if you find yourself lusting after someone. His point is that something serious--sometimes hellish--happens when people are treated as objects, and we should resist it at all costs."(p.22)

I agree with him on his thoughts on people(specifically women) being treated as objects, but I don't think Jesus is just saying that bad things will happen when we sin. To me, Jesus is calling us to a higher level of spirituality. He goes on to say it is better to lose parts of your body than to lose your soul(paraphrased). This means that a life dedicated to God means a neglect of yourself.(Read more about this at The Humble Way blog) I think Bell slightly twists a verse to suit his topic.

Bell is also reluctant to name the author of epistles such as 1st Corinthians, etc. I don't know why, and it's not a big deal. I just wonder why. And, on a more petty note, this guy drops geographic names like Carmen San Diego:

"...I was in Canada..", "...stayed at a wildlife lodge in Africa.", "I was in London..". These are just some of the examples. I'm just saying, dude travels a lot. Maybe I'm just jealous.

But seriously, this is a book I would actually recommend spending money on, and it's also worth your time. Some people criticize Rob Bell for being weak theologically, and I can see their point. I wouldn't go to him for Bible commentary. But he definitely has insight into relationships, especially those concerning people and God. Read this expecting the relational side of God's love to be revealed.
 
  This is really about that.....

Rob Bell is refreshing. He is taking new looks at subjects with fresh language and perspective. I got this book after reading Velvet Elvis. He is a thinker, He is funny. He is relevant about the issues of life and what people talk about today. I also bought it because I read the review about the guy who bought it and used it in an upcoming wedding that he conducted. Do you have a wedding coming up, then this book is for you.

In Sex God, Rob explores ideas like sexuality and identity and where does that come from, what does being made in the image of God look like today and what does love look like today between a man and woman, or a family?

His Chapter titles are great -- 'God Wears Lipstick', 'Sexy on the inside', 'Angels and Animals' and 'She ran into the Girls Bathroom', keep you turning the pages of this great book. His chapter on marriage is worth the whole book and his cross-cultural understanding of the Biblical story gives a new generation of readers fresh insight.

This book is for men and women and how they treat each other. It is for couples considering marriage or for those who have been married a long time. It is for parents to talk with to their children. Rob writes about the common misconceptions about sex and what people search for, what has let them down and what their soul longs for.

Page 156/7 - "It's easy to take your clothes off and have sex. People do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit and thoughts and fears and future and hopes and dreams..... that is being naked." This book will help you find out what love is all about and how you are apart of something much bigger.....
 
  Awesome Look at God and Personal Intimacy

I agree with other reviewers that the title of the book is misleading (whether this is a reflection of crafty marketing or Rob Bell's uber-creative whimsy is debatable). This misnaming is unfortunate, because I think it confuses the reader (myself included) as to the overall goal of the book. However, a simple addition of a "/" renders the title more accurate: "Sex/God." As Bell emphasizes in his introduction, "This" (sexuality, intimacy, marriage,) is always about "That" (God and his loving relationship with humanity).

When read this way, I think the book becomes more coherent and compelling. In fact, I think it is one of the most inspiring theological statements on love, marriage, and intimacy that I have read. Rather than the typical, predictable, shallow Christian answers to defend traditional marriage and sexual purity, Bell provides a sweeping vision of how our intimate relationships reflect the self-giving love of our Creator. Not only that, but our self-giving love for one other person actually helps to manifest God's love to many other people. Even the pain of a failed relationship reflects the pain God feels and the risk God takes by loving us humans. Bell challenges us to think of sex, intimacy, and marriage in the most holy and reverent - yet also in the most realistic and practical - of ways.

Through all this, "Sex God" cleverly and somewhat subtly tells us as much about "God" as it does about "Sex." While we think we are reading about human relationships, we find ourselves learning about the Gospel - God's supreme love for us, manifest most explicitly in the sacrificial love of Jesus. "This" is really about "That."

"Sex God" is biblically grounded, yet never in predictable ways. I always enjoy Bell's trademark usage of vivid cultural context. His exegesis on the early chapters of Genesis and the latter verses of Revelation were particularly interesting, and he provides new insights to many well known passages.

I also appreciate Bell's concluding pages, which show sensitivity to people who are not married or dating without sounding patronizing. After spending an entire book extolling the Godly virtues of giving yourself wholly to another person, Bell reminds single people that, according to Jesus himself, they actually have a higher calling than the rest of us. And he also offers hope to people who have experienced failed and abusive relationships.

Much more could be said here, but suffice it to say that I am very eager to share this book with both my teen child and the college students with whom I work. And I immediately assigned the book to a couple for our premarital counseling sessions. "Sex God" is that good.
 
  Sex God Reviewed

It seems that every experience I have with Rob Bell's work - whether his book, a speaking engagement of some sort, or a Nooma video - is a rejuvenating experience. His latest, Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality, is no exception.

First of all the cover art is beautiful. I adore the way they have presented this work. Zondervan did a great job, even as far as carrying the look through to the book's related tour website. I love simple artwork when it comes to communication (one of the missions of my business, as well) and both of Bell's books have pulled this off so far. I can't explain exactly how they do it - part of me doesn't want to know - but every time I pick up this book I am excited. It just feels cool.

Maybe I'm going a little overboard.

I don't want to give a chapter-by-chapter analysis of Bell's work. I have a couple reasons - one being that I don't know that I have the energy (nor creativity) to take on a summary of each chapter. I also don't think I can do his work justice. Bell did the work. Go buy it and find out.

Seriously, go.

Here's why.

When Bell says "sexuality" he isn't using the first definition that comes to your mind. More specifically, he isn't only using that definition. He uses sexuality in its broader, more complete definition; sexuality is found in our connections with other people. Realizing this, his book is much more about relationships than it is about the act of sexual intercourse. He does cover the act of sex, but he also talks about friendships, agape love, and handling heartache.

Bell discusses how we can appreciate our self-worth through the story of Jacob and Esau. He also examines the ancient Jewish understanding of heaven and hell. He looks into difficult Old Testament stories like the one of Amnon and Tamar in 2 Samuel. He takes many fresh looks into the Genesis account, particularly involving the role of the woman. He explores the love and adventure of love through the Song of Songs. In a refreshing move he explains the idea of "mutual submission" in marriage. Bell draws connections between the marriage of a man and woman in the Jewish culture and God brining His people out of Egypt in the Exodus (this was one of my favorite parts). In light of this he presents a particular view on the Ten Commandments.

Excited yet?

These are some of the bullet-point-esque tabs I have sticking out of my copy of the book right now. While I read Sex God I kept sticky-notes nearby to stick onto the front of sections that I wanted to be able to easily find later.

Bell does a wonderful job of interweaving personal stories and scriptural teaching. His use of the Greek and Hebrew languages in his explanation give a particularly unique insight and can make me look at a story I've heard a thousand times as if it is the first time I've heard it. I love that.

Sex God has rejuvenated me. Bell speaks very inspirational words. He also, as usual, challenged me. He dropped in pieces of knowledge here and there that give me more of an appreciation for historical education. I want it. I see its value. It drives me to tear through his suggested reading list and absorb everything I can about Jewish culture and scriptural interpretation.

Sex God was a great read. If you have similar interests as I do - or similar desires - read this book. If nothing else Bell's method of incorporating ancient cultures into his interpretation of scripture will give you something to aspire to. If you desire to see the Church (global) of God mature and find itself in this new culture - by reaching back to its roots - then read this book.

I hope Bell helps to show you how YHWH is your Sex God.
 
  Divine Yet Sexy

This was an incredibly poetic book. Bell didn't really get into sex as we commonly think of it in American society, or even how Christians should address sex, like Smedes does in Sex for Christians. Rather he goes to what sex actually is.

And that's really the point of the book. Sex isn't an act that you do. It isn't an adjective describing a fine looking woman. It's feeling comfortable in your body. It's that combination of soul and body that only we (humans) possess.

Many books of course discuss this, pointing out how wrong it is to objectify women, and how sex can be something holy, an act of worship, for Christians don't think little of sex, but rather they think incredibly highly of it. Bell does something else here though, and it's a bit indefinable. Using scripture, interviews, and his own experiences, he awakens in me a new understanding of the reality of agape love when applied to eros, of how to truly love a woman, and be loved in return. In large part this is because of the use of prose-poetry, where he gets at the gut of the subject, rather than simply the skin. Bell shows us, seemingly for the first time, that sex really is only a poor imitation of the eternal relationship with God.

This was a book you have to drink in, and that slowly, contemplating and ruminating on all it has to offer. I've come across only one other book that reaches these heights - Songs of Songs. And truly, Sex God is a Song of Songs for the 21st Century.