Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom

Back of Book:
Sex. In a world overwhelmingly obsessed with it, why is the church so silent about it? While our secular culture twists, perverts, cheapens, and idolizes sex, there are gaping holes in the church's guidance of young people. The result is generations of sexually illiterate people drowning in the repercussions of overwhelming sin struggles.

Enough is enough, says Mo Isom. With raw vulnerability and a bold spirit, she shares her own sexual testimony, opening up the conversation about misguided rule-following, virginity, temptation, porn, promiscuity, false sex-pectations, sex in marriage, and more and calling readers back to God's original design for sex--a way to worship and glorify him. This book is for the young person tangled up in an addiction to pornography, for the girlfriend feeling pressured to go further, for the "good girl" who followed the rules and saved herself for marriage and then was confused and disappointed, for the married couple who use sex as a bargaining tool, for every person who casually watches sex play out in TV and movies and wonders why they're dissatisfied with the real thing, and for every confused or hurting person in-between.

Sex was God's idea. It's time we invited him back into the bedroom.

Sometimes I request books for review simply because I know they're written on controversial topics and I want to see where the author is coming from. This author writes from deep personal experiences, past and present. It's an easy-to-read style, and while the material is thoughtful and challenging, it's not difficult to understand.

Mo Isom introduces the book by discussing that sex isn't a topic discussed much in churches. While the culture around us revels in sexual immorality and makes cheap sexual comments every other sentence, the church is largely silent on the issue. Not because we want to live like society around us, but because leaders don't know how to preach guidelines without preaching legalism, or because they don't know that boundaries can be set without harming the hurting or guilty.

Isom wants to speak up for those who are struggling sexually, but also to point out to believers world-wide that sex is a God-glorifying act without the sanctity of marriage. Not something to be shunned or embarrassed by just because our culture desecrates it. Isom willingly admits that she doesn't have all the answers, but from experiences she is able to trace the pathway to godly sexual identity and share her testimony as it led her from perversion and pain to purpose and purity.

Because of the details and topics addressed, I would recommend this for mature thinkers, and not for children. Isom begins at the root of what sex is and what God meant it to be while including personal stories and moments, as well as statistics and data where helpful. She helps us to understand that purity isn't simply virginity, and that even those who are not sexually pure can find their purity in Christ. She discusses the downfalls of her upbringing in that many churches and families assume that covering the basics and laying the foundation for purity is enough and that once you're married everything will fall into place perfectly. However, they didn't cover topics for those who have "messed up" or for those who are married and continually feel guilty for the intimacy they rightly share with a spouse when all their life they've been taught to hold back those feelings.

Isom covers pornography and it's addiction and results in our personal lives as well as sharing her experiences when she finally understood purity and the mercy of God. She realized her identity was in Christ and that the satisfaction she received from sex was temporary and cheap.

It was interesting to see the connections between the foundation for this book and a book I recently finished Beloved Mess. Kimm Crandell (author of Beloved Mess) and Mo Isom continually lace their words with where our identity and purpose are found. That we are known, seen, purposed, loved, and designed by a King. This is where our identity comes from, and once we have grasped this knowledge we begin to live in the grace of God and the purposefulness of our sexuality and spirituality. Isom also covers topics just as healing from sexual sin, her personal story of fasting from intimacy, and unrealistic expectations in the married life. She ends the book once again focusing on the Scriptural fact that sex is not a sin (though people use it to sin), but rather an act of worship when expressed in the right context. It's something we should learn to delight in and see as a gift from God. It requires self-control and surrender and submission to one another, but it's powerful, purposeful, and pure in its design.

Whether or not you've been trapped by the lies of sex, this book is a refreshing testimony of redemption through intimacy. Ultimately though we may have suffered from the hands of our church, family, or society, sexual struggles result from within. Mo Isom shows how even the deepest, most secret sins can find light, purity, and redemption when laid at Jesus' feet.

*I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

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