A Review of God Loves Sex: An Honest Conversation about Sexual Desire and Holiness by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III

GLS

This may be the first “commentary” on Scripture I’ve ever read that doesn’t take its particular stance TOO seriously. Somehow the authors were able to highlight BOTH the beauty of Scripture as well as the complexity and messiness of human, sensual sexuality. The agenda seems to have been, “Let’s be as brutally honest as we can and let’s see where this leads us.” Why? Because, “To the degree that we enter these turbid waters, we will discover the depths of our fear, heartache, harm, and fury as lived through one of the most intimate acts known to humanity. It is that ground that God intends to light up with his holy delight to redeem our sexuality” (26).

I couldn’t help but imagining what the process must have been to write this book. My best guess is that the two authors spent a few months vacationing in a log cabin on the water, somewhere on the West Coast. They bought not-just-a-few bottles of brandy (or something stronger), and while processing through all the points and pains of their pasts and half-way through one of their endless disquisitions @ likely 1:38am on the emptiness or the exhilaration or the ordinariness of it all, one of them stumbles upon the Old Testament book of the Songs of Songs and realizes God is telling them that all of this is God’s way of making them more holy, more sane, more honest, more Godly. They both stop, put down their drinks and in stark amazement, read more, and one of them starts writing. Approximately two days later we have the final product – a book about Scripture and about sexuality that reminds us all-too-well of just how complicated-and-yet-connected these subjects really are.

If you are looking for a plain, straightforward or simple “teachy” book on the topic of sex – flee from here! Not only is this book not chronologically concerned… it doesn’t even have a list of points “For us to live by!” But do we need any more lists anyways? I have to say, by the end of the book I was somewhat relieved to remember not so much what I LEARNED but how this book made me FEEL. Like the Song of Songs, this book is purposefully evocative, illustrative, descriptive, and poetic – and it holds nothing back. If you want a book that helps you feel, and you want to remember what it could be like to be honest about your untidy sexual past or you are even willing to wonder about what Godly, Holy sexual desire could look like in the future, then buy this book today!

Ultimately, if I’ve got this right, the authors are MOST interested in inviting us to think about about how the full range of our sexual desires are related and connected to the holiness of God and the holiness God offers to every human being. Throughout the book the authors ask a question I’ve never really thought to ask but should have: If sex (and with it, sexual desire and sensuality) is a gift from God, as well as is Holiness – then how are these two divine gifts related? How can our sexual histories be understood to be a part of God’s landscape of holiness for us? In the end, they look to Scripture as a way of exploring “godly sensuality” and they leave the reader space enough to make the personal connections.

This book surprised me. I went into it hoping I’d gain at least a few good nuggets on how “to think Biblically about sexuality” especially since one of the authors is a highly regarded Biblical theologian. But I’m happy to say, this book was about much more. Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III haven’t just offered us a pattern for how to THINK Biblically about sexuality. Even better, they show us what it would be like for us to be honest about the FEELINGS we currently have while at the same time pursuing the God who gave us these desires in the first place. All in all, this book delves into the “‘more’ that lingers in and about sexuality like a “compelling fragrance” (26). You’d probably like it, but be prepared for getting more than what you bargained for!

*Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied*

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s