“Sex God,” by Rob Bell

Sex GodFinished Sex God while on vacation. It’s okay. Certainly not as good as Velvet Elvis, in my estimation. And I was expecting better from his sophomore publishing effort. He makes some good points and he’s obviously a good teacher, but I’m not really sure he made an argument for much of anything. I think he writes too loosely, without enough clear meta flow and arrangement.

Like his basic definition of sex. He writes, on page 40, “Our sexuality, then, has two dimensions. First, our sexuality is our awareness of how profoundly we’re severed and cut off and disconnected. Second, our sexuality is all of the ways we go about trying to connect.” On the “first” part, I think this is point of his book. And he’s right. Although I would’ve written it differently… like, “in the realm of sexuality we most learn how profoundly we’re severed….” On the “second” part, I think he’s over-generalized it. Sex isn’t all the ways we connect. It might be the place that most vividly and emotionally illustrates the heaven on earth kind of connection that we all seek. That is, the level of intimacy of sex is that connection we all seek. And sex is that place where lots of people struggle most to connect to God and people. As he says, sex is the “this” that represents the “that” of connection. But, it’s not like all other connection is a subset of sex… and the problem is that he speaks throughout the book this way, as if sex represents all the ways we want to connect with other people and, ultimately, of course, God.

But, I don’t have time to really do some meaningful analysis, so take that last paragraph with a grain of salt. I’m just talking off the top of my head.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a helpful read, and he makes some really good points about sex, intimacy, and connection, but I just wasn’t all that excited about it. It’s all too piecemeal and the metanarrative doesn’t shine through. Nor does much of a suggestion of how to reconnect with God and others. Which might not be his aim, which is fine, but it leaves the reader sorta dissatisfied. My basic assessment: He’s a really good teacher and speaker, but I think his writing needs to mature with regard to its organization and I think he assumes readers read the same way they listen.

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