Introduction: This Is Really About That
The introduction outlines the book: the powerful reality of symbols and how symbols are deeply and profoundly ingrained in our lives. And sex, because of its source, is ultimately a symbol of our desire to connect with God.
We've lost a proper understanding of what a symbol is. We've watered it down. We've weakened it. And while Rob doesn't ever use the word symbol, perhaps because we have bereft the word of its power, his illustrations of how moments connect with other moments in our lives clearly demonstrate the power of symbols in our lives.
Chapter One: God Wears Lipstick
Rob Bell talks about how humanity can be dehumanized (his example is excerpts about behavior in a concentration camp), and that that dehumanization is anti-human and, therefore, anti-God.
It is hell.
He then writes about how in the objectification, sexualization, of women by men, we dehumanize them. And not only do we dehumanize women, but we dehumanize ourselves. The same is true in a concentration camp. The same is true in torture. And war.
We humans can bring either heaven or hell into our worlds. And to be a Christian is to work for a new creation, a new humanity - to bring heaven to earth.
This chapter powerfully speaks of the connectivity we share with all humanity and the connectivity we share with God. And that those relationships demand this new humanity we have been given.
It's one of my favorite chapters, and the last illustration in the chapter brought me to tears.
Chapter Two: Sexy on the Inside
Chapter two is about all the ways we are disconnected: Things are not as they are supposed to be. We are disconnected from one another (think wars, hypocrisy, and argument). We are disconnected from creation (think living in tiny manufactured bubbles as opposed to sleeping under the stars). In this chapter, Rob explores where this disconnection comes from - the Garden - and then speaks about how sex may be related to the Latin secare, which means, "to sever, to amputate, to disconnect from the whole" (dissect, sect, section). Therefore, our sexuality is (1) an awareness (think Eden) of our disconnectedness, and (2) "all the ways" (Rob's words) we try to re-connect. And here he begins to blur/erase the line between sexuality and connectivity that I'm not altogether on board with. But if he leaves it at connectivity, I'm jibing with it.
In his discussion of sexuality as connectivity, he briefly discusses celibacy as a vow to "universal love," which he explores briefly here, and more later.