Review: Sex God

I suppose I should start by saying that this isn’t even a book I purchased for myself, as religious non-fiction doesn’t tend to be my genre of choice. I picked this up for Matt a few months ago, and after he finished it, twice over, he asked me to read it so that we could discuss it. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a book named “Sex God,” but I figured it couldn’t be bad – the author is Rob Bell, pastor at Mars Hill, which is the church I attend (irregularly). I enjoy his sermons, and hoped his writing style would be similar.

To start off, the title is a bit misleading; attention grabbing, but just slightly misleading. The focus of the book, as the full title suggests, is the connections between sexuality and spirituality. The definition of “sexuality” isn’t the conventional one, though; Bell’s definition of sexuality is a bit broader, more like the connection with others that we are all in search of. Not what I was expecting, but it was interesting. Rather than sexuality, I would say this book is more about personal relationships, marriage and love, and how they relate to and are paralleled in our relationship with God. The book also manages to be religious, without being terribly preachy; most points and messages are delivered via anecdotes and short stories, including pop culture references.

While the book wasn’t what I was expecting, it was a good read. I found it insightful, and thought provoking. My only real beef with the book is that it doesn’t seem to focus on any one topic, which is likely due to the anecdotal, slightly meandering style of writing. You’ll start at one point, and sort of wander around a bit, and eventually come full circle; while there are some thought provoking points made, I just wish that he could have gone into more depth. My other minor quibble is how he does his footnotes. All of his footnotes are at the back of the book; you’ll read a passage, see the number for the footnote, flip to the back of the book, and find out exactly which passage of the Bible he’s referencing. That’s it. Not even the text of the passage, just the book, chapter and verse number. If I had to flip all the way to the back of the book, I want it to be for more than just 2 words. Shorter footnotes, like references to Bible verses, could have easily been placed at the bottom of the page, or even in-line with the text. All in all, though, I would definitely consider this to be a worthwhile read.