In his second book, Sex God, Rob Bell delivers a fashionable treatise for dealing with sexuality in the open. “It’s always about something else,” Bell says, “Something deeper. Something behind it all. You can’t talk about sexuality without talking about how we were made. And that will inevitably lead you to who made us. At some point you have to talk about God.”
Sex. God. The two are connected. God made us, God made sex, and there’s a deep conjoining spirituality that runs through all of us because of it.
Bell writes in short, witty paragraphs and a conversational, almost sing-song narrative. With chapters like “God wears lipstick,” “Sexy on the inside,” and “Leather, whips and fruit,” Bell peels back the layers of why we act the way we do, connecting our sexuality to everyday life and our everyday life to our Creator God. There is nothing puritanical about Sex God, for sure, but Bell handles the provocative subject with decorum.
In “She ran into the girls’ bathroom,” Bell asserts that love is risky and that the centrality of the Bible is God’s demonstration of love in Jesus, an offer of redemption. This offer, much like a guy asking a girl to a dance, was God’s risk to offer his love to the world.
Chapters 6 (“Worth dying for”) and 7 (“Under the Chuppah”) serve as a set up for the power of a Christian marriage and why, “The point of marriage isn’t marriage. It’s a picture.” Bell points to the deeper context of sex and marriage as mission. Dealing with words like submission, headship and sacrifice, Bell scales the redemptive beauty of the wedding gospel found in Ephesians 5. Marriage can be terrifying – “Being naked is terrifying,” Bell writes, but our desire for someone to accept us no matter what speaks to a deeper need, a need for the unconditional love of God; a love that’s worth the risk.
In true rabbinic form Bell often provides more questions than answers and in the ilk of Velvet Elvis, his first book, Bell’s questions are often what seduce us. Alluring and evocative, queries from a professional provocateur like Bell are what drive this book beyond the prosaic and into the prodigious. Questions like, “Is sex a picture of heaven?” linger long after the book is put down.
However, the answers given are enough to create a virtuoso of heavy-hitting Hebrew word pictures as well. Bell’s deft ability to bridge cultural metaphors with biblical truths is compelling. And, though the book does flirt with theological depth, as soon as you think it’s getting too deep it lilts on to the next thought, question or story.
The book is not just for married couples (although many of the chapters fit well for pre-marriage counseling); whether married, divorced or single – Sex God has something unique to offer.
In the end, Sex God provides a rich conversation about what it means to be human and why our sexuality will always connect us to God or, in Bell’s words: why this (sex) is really about that (spirituality).