Friday, December 21, 2007
Rob Bell makes me cry. There, I've said it. But really, he does. The way he writes, he brings together the truth of God's scripture and the reality of God's love with such clarity that it brings tears to my eyes.
I love reading, but some books are easier to read than others. I've been working my way through some very good books that are heavy reading, and since this was sitting in my stack I decided to give it a shot. It didn't take long for me to finish it. Rob writes like he preaches. Lots of pauses, short phrases for impact, and he leads you through a narrative like a good story teller would.
Sex God is Rob's latest book. The subhead is "Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality" which sounds kinda weird, but it's really not. It's also a book about a lot more than sex. This book is about the value of human life. About dignity. About marriage. About relationships.
One of Rob's chapters is entitled "God Wears Lipstick" and in it he discusses the concentration camps during world war II, and the horrors that the British soldiers found when they liberated those camps. Each of these people that had been brutalized, violated and stripped of all their dignity were bearers of the divine image of God. He relates the treatment of these people with how men treat women when they turn them from divine image bearers to mere objects of lust. Rob writes "The problem is that 'that' is actually a 'she.' A person...It's degrading. It's violating. It does something to a person's soul"
The entire chapter is very powerful, but it's the story at the end that made me cry: "It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived...that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived...I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips...At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity."
I have removed a lot to keep this entry short and given you a very brief summary of the chapter (very brief), but the essence is that humans are special, and God has an interest in seeing us retain our humanity and this affects how we treat one another. This theme carries through the entire book, as Rob drives home the point that every person is worth dying for. Every person.
The latter sections of the book deal more specifically with sex, as Rob moves into a discussion of how the union of a man and a woman is designed to provide a glimpse of who God is. What was revolutionary to me was the discussion on heaven, and how our relationships on earth provide small glimpses of what God will provide for everyone in heaven. It suddenly became very clear why there will be no marriage in heaven, we won't need what marriage provides because we will have the full glory of God.
Sex God isn't as critically acclaimed, or as controversial as Velvet Elvis, but it's a great book nonetheless. I have to admit, I wasn't excited about the book when I read the title. I dragged my feet on purchasing it because I wasn't sure if I would like it. But having read it, I am very grateful for the gifts that God has given Rob, and that Rob is obedient to use those gifts for the kingdom.
If you haven't read Velvet Elvis, read that first. But if you have, pick up Sex God. Highly Recommended.