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. Or read the first chapter for more of a taste.
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.
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.
Some other reviews of Sex God: