To say I’m a rob bell fan feels close to saying “I’m a Christian between the ages of 20 and 50” (I would have said “between 20 and 40”, but I’m 43, so…). The popularity of his “nooma” dvds, his downloadable sermons, and his last book, Velvet Elvis, plus his active speaking schedule, has made him one of the darlings of the evangelical church. Sometimes it feels like people are treating him like the last great hope for evangelicalism, or something – which, I think, would just drive rob batty.
I have history – positive history – with rob. We worked together at a church in Pasadena years ago, and stayed in contact for several years afterward. Time marches on, and we seem to have lost touch, which I think is more of a loss to me than it is to him. But I’ve continued to enjoy watching and listening and reading, being open to how god will speak into my life through rob, as well as reading between the lines as to how god is continuing to re-work rob’s life.
I loved velvet elvis (his last book). Much of it – not all of it – was stuff I’d heard him speak on at one point or another. but I still thought it was packed with insight and freshness. I loved the style and his writing voice. I thought it had some revolutionary ideas, written in a way that seemed seductively obvious and agreeable. They were stealth-ideas: you’d find yourself nodding in agreement; then there would be a slow dawning of recognition of some of the implications of what you were so easily agreeing with.
So sex god, rob’s new book, had way too much expectation tied to it (on my part). Expectation that, if I’m being fair, I don’t think it could meet. And it didn’t. that’s not to say that sex god isn’t a good book – it IS a good book. But velvet elvis was a great book. And sex god is a good book.
The book is, by the way, exactly what the subtitle says: an exploration of the connections between sexuality and spirituality. and rob does a great job of writing frankly and purely and sometimes wittily about sexuality. the book is about so much more than sex. It’s really a book about our hard-wired need for connectedness, for relationship, for community. Rob makes the case (and succeeds most of the time, if not all) that all of these issues are really a reflection of our sexuality, and part of our creator-given design.
It’s all good stuff, and it’s worth reading. There are some laughs and some insights and a few places where I had to stop and think about whether or not I agreed with him (which is a positive thing for me when reading a book).