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The Unauthorized Guide to Sex and Church
Thomas Nelson / 2005 / Paperback
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Is it possible to be a Christian and a sexual being? Furthermore, is it morally legitimate for the church to make public declarations about the private lives of both believers and non-believers?
Best-selling author Carmen Renee Berry tackles these and other issues that arise when the church discusses sex and sexuality. In lively, compelling prose, she traces sexual attitudes and practices in the Old Testament culture, notes the effects Jesus had on societal mores, and follows these attitudes as they have evolved in Western civilization.
This bold, balanced discussion is as entertaining as it is informative, encouraging us to demonstrate that our love for Christ transcends our differences in doctrine - and opinion.
Is it possible to be a Christian and a sexual being? At times it seems like the Church pits sexuality and spirituality against one another. Yet the cost in creating such a dichotomy has resulted in harmful implications on spiritual growth, sexual intimacy, and moral credibility.
The Unauthorized Guide to Sex and the Church traces sexual attitudes and practices in Hebrew culture as presented in the Old Testament through the current issues that confront the church today. It addresses questions such as "How has the church become so notorious for sex scandals amongst its leadership?" "Why is the church unable to present a united front on sexual issues such as marriage/divorce, premarital sex, homosexuality, and abortion?" and "How can I make wise and informed choices about these important issues in light of my beliefs?"
Blending historical facts with practical wisdom, this lively exploration looks at how Christian views of sex have developed and changed based on doctrinal, cultural, medical, scriptural, and psychological understandings.
Mention "sex and the church" and divisive issues such as abortion, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage and the response to child sex abuse scandals all pop to the forefront. Berry (The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church) takes on these subjects and more, presenting many viewpoints from various strains of Christianity and then asking readers to "decide how [they] will decide." Berry marches through history, beginning with Jewish purity and property laws and moving on to Jesus' challenge of those laws, Paul's writings on sexual morality, the church fathers' 11th-century ruling on celibacy for the clergy and the Reformation's pro-marriage stance. She then contrasts early Christian worldviews with those we encounter in the church today, especially now that people are not considered "property" and attitudes toward sexuality are influenced by an understanding of psychology, biology and women's rights. Berry mostly provides analysis, but moves into adviser mode at times, such as when she promotes "celibacy as a spiritual discipline" for all Christian singles. This book is a fine introduction to issues of Christianity and sexuality for anyone unclear about where denominations stand on any particular sex issue or for those wanting more information about the church's historical attitudes on sexual morality. (Aug. 18) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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