More Sex

I still haven’t rushed out an purchased Rob Bell’s book yet, but Ryan’s review (thanks, mate!) pushed me off the fence.  Sooner rather than later, I’ll have to pony up the 11 bucks.  (Finding the time – not that may just be the real challenge!)

The only reason I was fence-sitting in the first place was that so many Christian books that discuss sexuality  – especially extramarital and same-sex sexuality – are so bloody predictable.  They’re predictable in a very Nancy Reagan “just say no” sort of way, which I find to be too single-dimensional and unconvincing.  I suppose they’re fine for preaching to the choir, but I think the arguments for perceiving sexuality in a counter-cultural manner need to recognize that sexuality is complex.  I mean, let’s face it: sex is fun.  It’s pleasurable.  What’s more, it’s going to take a heck of a lot more than a Nancy Reagan type of argument (essentially equating abstinence with the Protestant work ethic) to get young, hormone-ridden people – not to mention older hormone-ridden, lonely, frustrated people) to give up on the American sex dream.

In reading Ryan’s review, though, I got the sense that Bell’s book is different.  His review put me in mind of something I read recently in Marva J. Dawn’s The Sense of the Call: A Sabbath Way of Life for Those Who Serve God, the Church, and the World.

The book’s premise is that folks who minister in the Church (not just those few who are ordained, but rather the whole lot of ministers) frequently fall into the overextension trap, which causes good people to lose focus, lose energy, lose their sense of call.  The sense of call, according to Dawn, “is that God’s Kingdom reclaims us, revitalizes us, and renews us and thus reigns through us before others, on behalf of others, sometimes in spite of others, and always with others.”

Sexuality fits into the book in a chapter entitled, “The Body is a Temple: Enjoying the Feast of Self.”  In addition to comments about sexuality, Dawn includes some words about exercise, fasting, feasting and stuff like that, but puts it all into a relational context.  There are some thoughts in the chapter that I can’t decide on yet, in terms of whether I agree (including some stuff about committed same-sex relationships – the jury’s still out for me), but I can get on board with what she refers to as “social sexuality.” (Sorry, Ryan.  I called it “communal sexuality” on your page – I think that may describe something entirely different…)  By this, as far as I can tell, she means that people are sexual beings and relational beings, and that we have to find a way to get on with other people while maintaining appropriate (i.e. God-honoring, others-honoring, self-honoring) parameters.  That we’re sexual beings within a social context is maybe a better way to say that.

Unfortunately, Dawn doesn’t go into great detail about how to do that.  Maybe once or twice she even has that bit of Nancy Reagan in her voice as she writes.  Long story short: I’m curious to see how Rob Bell handles this complicated subject.

Suddenly I’m in the mood for some jelly beans…

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One Response to “More Sex”

  1. Glad my review could encourage you to check it out. Be sure and share your thoughts when you find the time.

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