Monday, February 8, 2010

‘Sex, Lies & Religion: Enjoying the Freedom of Unconditional Sexuality’ by Randy Elrod – Book Review

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Sex, Lies & Religion; Enjoying the Freedom of Unconditional Sexualityby Randy Elrod is only the latest book in the past month or so that the Lord has brought to me that addresses the theme of freedom in Christ.  The others are ‘Embracing Your Freedom’ by Susie Larson, and ‘Pure Pleasure’ by Gary Thomas.

There is a terrific book trailer:

Randy Elrod is the founder of the cre-ate Conference (which is happening this week, February 8-11, 2010) and the Kalein Creative Communication Retreat & Master Class, an international creative communication workshop in Franklin.

His biography (from his website) says this:

Randy Elrod is described by his friends as a Renaissance man. A dreamer, artist, writer, mentor and teacher, he enjoys a marriage of 30 years with his childhood sweetheart, Chris. They enjoy traveling the world, the sacraments of food and wine, the culinary arts, and hosting guests at their home “La Maison des Reves” in historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee.

Mr. Elrod’s main purpose in writing this book is to expose the misconceptions – perhaps even heresies - that have been perpetuated by Christians – and pagans – through the millennia on the subject of sexuality.  According to Randy: “The result is a lot of screwed-up thinking about sex, ranging from a prudish suspicion (even outright hatred) of sexuality on the one hand, to rampant immorality—even among professing Christians—on the other. Both extremes are born of an unbiblical dichotomy between a pure soul and a sinful body.” (pp. 13-14)

Mr. Elrod points out that our ultimate authority must be God, not man-made religions:

A biblical understanding informs us that our ultimate authority must always be the Creator—not the Church or religion. Dysfunction comes when we intertwine the church and God and view them as one. We often forget that both church and religion consist of wayward leaders and broken people just like us. Our Creator alone earned the right to act as our ultimate authority and thus is worthy to receive the reciprocal gifts of intimacy and wild abandonment. He desires both our soul and body more than our religious minds can comprehend. (pp. 19-20)

Mr. Elrod makes the case that the Lord’s desire is for us to enjoy freedom:

The ethos of the Incarnation makes possible the seemingly impossible thesis, “to enjoy the freedom of unconditional sexuality.” Religion seeks to control us by applying excessive conditions and oppressive rules. But the Incarnation does not give rules to follow; it re-creates in us holy longings and the ability to renew the image of the Creator Father in our bodies. It transforms us by the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus and to the degree that we accept that transformation, we no longer need conditions and rules, because we no longer desire to break them.  Unconditional freedom is made possible through grace. The only requirement is that we enjoy our freedom. (pp. 127-128)

Mr. Elrod regularly used the Bible to make his points.  I especially appreciated the laser focus he placed on the work of the Holy Spirit in helping us to live out a life of freedom:

Galatians teaches that good fruit characterizes a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. This list of moral qualities or “fruits” produced by following the Spirit leads to freedom and communion with God. Religion worries that “living by the Spirit” instead of rules leads to immorality and sin.  Just the opposite will be the case. A relationship with the Spirit produces the moral qualities that epitomize a life of unconditional sexuality…   But when we live out a spiritual life in freedom, God brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard. These fruits of the Spirit are the underlying spirit of sacred sexuality.  (pp. 110-111)

I found Mr. Elrod’s premises to be biblically sound, and they all encouraged monogamous intimacy in a marital relationship.  I think that this book may need to be read multiple times depending on how your mind has been programmed over the years.  I also think the return on investment will be well worth the effort.

I have to be honest and admit that there were some parts of ‘Sex, Lies & Religion’ that made me uncomfortable – in particular, the sections on masturbation and sexual fantasy.  I was raised in a rules-driven Christian denomination by a parent who was very uncomfortable with the whole subject of sex.  Sometimes I wondered how I was even conceived!  Although I have been married almost five years, there are still some issues that come to the surface on occasion.  Fortunately, the Lord has shown me over and over lately (including the aforementioned books) that there is freedom that I am missing out on, and that is negatively impacting my husband and my marriage.

The enemy of our souls uses history, truth and lies to deceive us.  ‘Sex, Lies & Religion’ does a fine job in exposing those lies.  This book is ultimately is a story of God’s redemption.  Despite my temporary discomfort, I thank Mr. Elrod for bringing those elements to the surface in this important book.  I highly recommend that the book be read by anyone who wants to live a life that is more full of joy and freedom. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from cre:ate 2.0 Publishing to read and post a review on my blog. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


Barbara E Brink said...

Interesting topic. the ladies of our church just had a class with similar discussion points. There is so much wrong thinking on the subject in "religious" circles and so much in your face blatant sexual sinful living from the world around us, that it's about time someone thought to actually write from a true Biblical perspective. God actually has a lot to say about it, since he created all things for our good.

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Barbara -
Thanks for stopping by! I think this would be a wonderful book for a Womans Small Group study. I learned a lot - and lots of misconceptions were exposed.
Blessings -

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