I know that the “INCARNATE” Series is in our rear view mirror, but I think it permanently altered our thinking, vocabulary and approach to embodied spirituality at Journey.
In that spirit I felt like I had to comment on a few books that have been absolutely MONEY for us on this series. I’m indebted to each of these authors for helping me think through this series in general and to help us to formulate language to speak to the area of sexuality.
Creation and Fall, Temptation
By Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Basically this is a series of lectures he delivered at the University of Berlin in 1932 and 1933. This is not Cost of Discipleship or Life Together (his two most popular and spectacular books). This is a “LECUTURE SERIES”. Though it’s not “technical” it is academic. But, it is the most insightful thinking on the MEANING of Genesis 1-3 that you are likely to run across. You must read slowly and you will probably underline a lot. Almost every line is quotable. This book points to another tragic aspect to his martyrdom: we were robbed of a great mind who may have had Karl Barth like impact.
Washed and Waiting – Reflection of Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality
By Wesley Hill
To borrow a line from Scrooge, “if I could work my will…” I would have everyone who wants to enter the discussion on homosexuality read this book. It is deeply personal, theologically insightful, beautifully written and Biblically sound. You have to read this book.
Earthen Vessels — Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith
By Matthew Anderson
This has been our featured book for the series. It is both profound and readable. It’s accessible and yet deeply theological. But that doesn’t mean it’s not eminently practical. In fact you may not agree with the way he works out some of the theology of our bodies that he has developed. You need to read this book! I can hardly think of a more better way to construct of foundation from which to discuss the array of issues related to the body, sexuality and spirituality that we must wade through to speak intelligently to our culture.
Theology of the Body for Beginners – A Basic Introduction to Pope John Paul II’s Sexual Revolution
By Christopher West
I believe that Christopher West’s (and Pope John Paul II’s dense tome on which it is based) is perhaps the key that will lead us forward in answering the difficult challenges that Christ-followers face in explaining the good news to a skeptical culture.
Here’s a couple of cautions: First of all, C West is an unapologetic Roman Catholic. His language and thinking clearly reflect this. His chapter on contraception is thoroughly and traditionally Roman Catholic. Secondly, don’t let the “for beginners” line fool you. The concepts are profound and may take a pass or two to feel like you are really getting it.
This book is not for everyone, but if you are up for it, it’s worth the work.
Slaves, Women and Homosexuals – Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis
William J. Webb
This is a seminary-level class reading book. It’s not really technical, but it reads like a series of papers to be read at the Evangelical Theological Society. That being said, if you really want to get into the issues of Biblical interpretation (hermeneutics) that will be decisive in the arguments in the Church at large over sexual issues, this book and the Richard Hays’ book are pretty critical.
The Moral Vision of the New Testament – A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics
By Richard B Hays
The chapter that works out a New Testament response to homosexuality is simply the best thing I’ve seen written on this subject. Buy the book just for that chapter if you need to.
The Challenge of the Disciplined Life – Christian Reflections on Money, Sex and Power.
Real Sex – the Naked Truth about Chastity
Lauren F. Winner