Jon Stolpe Stretched

What's S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me now?

Sex God by Rob Bell

So I’ve had this book by Rob Bell sitting on my night stand for several months now.  The first time I tried to read Sex God, I just couldn’t get into it.  I’m not exactly sure why.  I think part of it was that I was trying to read all of Rob’s interesting end notes along with reading the book.  I think this may have prevented me from getting into the flow of Bell’s most recent book.

If you’ve read Velvet Elvis (his first book) or seen any of the Nooma videos, you know that Rob Bell has an interesting way of connecting life to God.  I’ve always been blown away by his creativity and his ability to help people connect to the creator of the universe.  Sex God fits right into this mold.

When I finally gave it a second chance (without reading all the interesting end notes), I finally got into it.  In Rob Bell’s unique style, God uses sex and marriage to point people to God.  You’ll have to read it to see more about what I mean, but I’ll leave you with one quote that from the epilogue that nails it for me.

I finish with this story because life is messy.  Gut wrenching.  Risky.  Things don’t always turn out well.  Sometimes they don’t turn out at all.  Sometimes everything falls apart and we wonder if there’s any point to any of it.  We’re tempted to shut ourselves off, fortify the walls around our hearts, and forge ahead, promising ourselves that we will never open ourselves up like that again.

But I have to believe that we can recover from anything.  I have to believe that God can put anything – anyone – back together.  I have to believe that the God Jesus invites us to trust is as good as he says he is.




Full of grace.

Sex God was worth the read.  (Next, I’m looking forward to reading Mark Batterson’s new book – Primal –   I’m expecting an early copy in the mail any day.)


December 2, 2009 - Posted by | book review


  1. Back in the 60s, Charlie Shed told engaged couples not to pray alone together because that intimacy could lead to sexual intimacy. And he told married couples who were haveing trouble in their relationships, especially if it involved sex, to pray together. I think this builds on the sex-God connection you’re getting at. Though I’m not sure I can really trace it in our marriage.

    However, both Old and New Testaments make a big deal out of using marital sex as at least a metaphor for God’s covenant relationship with the community of faith. I would say that it is sacramental (in the sense of a physical experience conveying a spiritual reality, not as a sacrament in the same sense of baptism and eucharist), a kind of an icon in which we get a glimpse of God in eternal glory.

    For my way of thinking, this is the basis of Christian sexual ethics: how well do our sexual relationships convey God’s covenant love, rather than thinking in terms of rules to keep or break. Maybe a little less clearly defined but definitely a much higher standard.

    Comment by Norman Stolpe | December 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. Haven’t read that book, but I am neither a Rob Bell fan, nor the emergent church. This webiste pretty much lays out the reasons why, but the emergent movement tends to throw (literally) the baby Jesus of the Bible out with the “old theology” bath water it so deeply despises.

    Comment by Dennis Johnson | December 3, 2009 | Reply

  3. Dennis, Interesting article and comment. I would love to hear more of your comments after you’ve read the book. Whether it’s Rob Bell, R.C. Sproul, Billy Graham, or Andrew Hoffecker, everything should be held against the candle that we’ve been given – God’s Word. After all, we’re supposed to be followers of Christ and not followers of any of these or any other ‘men’. Do I connect and agree with everything that Rob Bell shares in his book? Well, I would say probably not; however, I believe the overall analogy used in Sex God may help people connect on a much deeper level to God – and I think that’s good. Thanks for your comment.

    Comment by jonstolpe | December 3, 2009 | Reply

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