Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Just Read...

Rob Bell’s Sex God: exploring the endless connections between sexuality and spirituality [Zondervan, 2007]. It is very, very, very good.

Bell has three things (at least) going for him (and they are closely related)

He really understands people:
I’m guessing there are various things that feed into this, including a community around him to learn with, and God-given insight. But the stand-out is his overwhelming compassion for people: a total absence of judgmental attitudes, combined with a deep desire that men and women should know the truth that sets you free.

He is a gifted communicator:
A natural story-teller. Random encounters become anecdotes; anecdotes become diagnoses. Words engage at several levels, inviting you to go deeper, further, beyond what made it into the book.
And the stories are accessible, whether you would consider yourself familiar with the Bible/culture/metaphysical questions, or totally unfamiliar: the tone is engaging, not patronising.

He knows the Bible:
Not just the lines on the page, but the spaces between the lines. Not just what is written, but the cultural contexts that inform how what is written was written – why God uses this picture image, rather than another; what that picture unlocks.
It is obvious that Sex God is under-girded by serious scholarship. And yet it is refreshingly readable.

Sexuality is the biggest issue in the life of anyone living in our culture toady.* Rob Bell’s handling of the subject – which is, in effect, a (pastoral and prophetic) handling of peoples lives – is a must read, for anyone with a pulse.

Buy it. Read it. Pass it on. Get it back. Read it again.

*Sure, we live under the shadow of the War on Terror, and global warming, and international trade injustice, but all these things – though they impact our lives, and our lives impact them – are external to us. Sexuality is us, and from the legal system (the UK’s new SOR’s, civil partnerships, proposed developments in embryo research…) to popular culture (glossy magazines, soaps, Hollywood, the music industry, advertising…), and back again, sex is quite simply bigger than anything else.

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