Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review of Bringing Sex Into Focus by Caroline J. Simon

Bringing Sex into Focus

Bringing Sex Into Focus: The Quest for Sexual Integrity
by Caroline J. Simon
ISBN 978-0-8308-3637-6
IVP Academic
Reviewed by Clint Walker

This short and readable little book attempts to deal with the intersection of Christian ethics and human sexuality in a wise, succinct, and highly intelligent way. For the most part, Caroline Simon succeeds in her effort that she put forward in Bringing Sex Into Focus, challenging readers to think and process issues in human sexuality in a thoughtful and winsome manner.

Simon begins her book by proposing six "lenses" that people view sexual behavior through. Two of these views are explicitly Christian: understanding sexuality as expressive of covenant and as a procreative act. Other ways of viewing sexuality are often held by Christians, but are less explicitly Christian, and at times work against a world view that lifts up the Word of God for the authority of what is ethical. Such "lenses" include: a romantic lens, the plain-sex view, the power view (which is many ways is an argument against the plain sex view), and and expressive lens (my sexuality is a way of expressing my individualism and identity).

The rest of the book addresses how people live out their sexuality, both in relation to Christian ethics, and in relation to these other lenses as well, and how those behaviors demonstrate healthy and/or unhealthy and holy and/or  unholy ways of living out one's sexuality.

Simon begins with tackling what most Bible-believing Christians believe are the channels that healthy sexuality should flow through. Namely, virginity and chastity outside of marriage, and fidelity and the becoming of "one flesh" from within the boundaries of marriage. After this, she tackles some more controversial expressions of human sexuality such as flirtation and homosxuality. Then she tackles what she calls, "deficient" views of human sexuality.

Simon writes well, and gets her readers to think. She has clear convictions, and expresses her conclusions as times, but always with a class and grace that will be appreciated by the reader.

This is a book I will keep on my bookshelf and refer to from time to time for several years.

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