My review of Sex, Lies & Religion by Randy Elrod


Sex, Lies & Religion is a must read for those who are wiling to embrace a fresh perspective on the role of sex and how it connects with our spiritual lives. Randy challenges a lot of what you may have perceived as the role sex plays in our lives, especially as spiritual beings.

The first eight chapters give you an overview of some very specific thoughts from Randy on the role of sex, our bodies, and a brief history of how art has portrayed the male and female body as a celebration of God's design. Randy states very plainly how he sees that the church and religion have bound us to the truth of what God designed for the role of sex to be in our lives. He believes this constriction to God's plan for us has contributed to the moral failures that we see so often in our church leaders and in Christians.

Chapter nine really brought some perspective for me that I have experienced in my own life. This paragraph in particular from chapter nine really brought it altogether for me.

"Making love becomes a way of life. It is the spiritual essence of each day. And in this sense every day is foreplay. The soft brush of a fleeting kiss as you awaken,a brief time of thoughtful conversation over a cup of coffee, a warm and close embrace at hello and goodbye, showing affection to unruly children, expressing exuberance about life, practicing serenity in turbulent times, and displaying a sense of compassion to others, are all as much “making love” as when actual sexual intercourse takes place." - from Sex, Lies & Religion by Randy Elrod.

This book is not for the faint of heart. You will be challenged on your personal views on these matters. If you want to engage in a different perspective and are open to those views being challenged, you need to read this book.  To purchase your copy, click here - Sex, Lies & Religion.

Recreate - Day 2

Don't mess with a good thing...that is what I have always said. So, I didn't know how Recreate would be this year because it was going to be different than in years past.   I have lost count, but I think I have been to Recreate 5 or 6 times. This is the 1st year I brought my hubby Todd...we were not all staying at the same place. Let's just say, all apprehensions have been removed. I LOVE IT! Randy and Chris have once again KNOCKED IT out of the PARK!!!! Our sessions today with Dr. Steve Guthrie and Ian Morgan Cron were...I am without speech.  Here are some random thoughts.

  • The truth of God is announced in words or deeds...not just finding a song with the word "humility," but showing it.
  • Music and the Arts have an important teaching experience to give. Teaching is not limited to the words. 
  •  The most meaningful we may do as worship leaders is allow God's people to sing.
  • A Contemplative life is not all about content - it's about intent.
  • As artists and worship leaders, we need to help others seek clearly what they have felt vaguely.
  • Action without contemplation is a disaster
  • Contemplation without action is a disaster
  • There is nothing wrong with the loud moments in our worship, but nothing can imitate or replace the importance of silence.
  • Consider Jesus' prayer life.
  • The paths of beauty, truth, and goodness must all be explored to be a true contemplative.

Some of this might not make any sense to you.  However, I encourage you to read Ian's book Chasing changed my life...get it here.

We enjoyed a songwriter's night with Meredith Andrews, Matt Boswell, and Michael Farren. The songs they shared were unbelievable and will definitely become a part of our song list at LCC-HHI. If that wasn't enough, Michael W Smith ended the evening by leading us in worship.  See the quick video clip below or view it on the right at Cullenhouse TV.  I can't wait for Day 3...

Spurgeon makes me think

Sp13 I am a big fan of Spurgeon and one of the reasons is because He challenges me to think about a Scripture text that I would never find relevant to my life on my own.  He writes in such a way that I have to think - it's not so simple that I can just glance at it and move on. I read his morning meditations very often.  Who makes you think about Scripture in a different way? Share it with us.

"Let us attend sermons, but above all, let us be much alone with Jesus." C.H. Spurgeon

Dumb Christianity?

Last night, some of our staff attended a lecture by Dr. Ravi Zacharias at Columbia University.  At the end , he gave students the opportunity to Q & A with him.  I was particularly intrigued by one question from a student - what is wrong with America's churches?  His answer was brief and concise.  Basically, Dr. Zacharias believes that the American church has dumbed down the Bible to its congregation.  He believes that we have given more emphasis to music than the teaching of God's Word.  He stated that the American church gives quick,simple and pat answers to some of life's toughest questions.  He believes the hope for the church will be found in this next generation of young people.

I witnessed this new generation of young people who could change America this past January at the Passion 2006 conference.  Over 18,000 people were in attendance, most between the ages of 18-25. Let me set the stage...We spent about 40 minutes worshiping God in song - new worship songs, older worship songs, and ancient hymns - a variety of music in a totally rock-n-roll format.  People were not listening - they were participating!  On their feet worshiping God, singing, dancing...then we are seated with very little transition and Dr. John Piper steps up in a suit and tie and very traditionally asks us to open our Bibles.  For the next 45 minutes, He teaches an expository sermon on Christ's suffering.  His take away?  We are called to suffer and share in Christ's suffering because this is how God's glory is revealed.  Then we worshiped again in response to what we heard...

This generation is hungry for more.  I think Dr. Zacharias is on to something that we definitely need to consider...

God and Humor

Check out this article by Terry Mattingly...

Ask most people what God looks like and they'll immediately start thinking about Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel and an old man with a white beard sitting on a cloud.

Eric Metaxas thinks that anyone who truly wants to understand the righteous and jealous God of the Bible should try meditating on a different image. Metaxas is thinking about Motown, rather than Vatican City.

"I admit that the Bible does not specifically mention Aretha Franklin," said Metaxas, a humor writer and speaker best known for his work with the Manhattan-based "Socrates in the City" lecture series. "But when it comes to thinking about God, most people's minds are full of all those familiar images and they just get stuck. … So why not Aretha? She's big, she's bold and you're going to have to listen to what she's saying."

And everybody knows what the Queen of Soul is going to say: "What you want, baby I got it. What you need, do you know I got it? All I'm askin' is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit). … R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me."

Hold on to that image for a minute, because there is a method to his madness and it's at the heart of his quirky book "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (but were afraid to ask)." Metaxas is a friend of mine and the best way I can explain where he's coming from is to say that he's a former editor of The Record at Yale University, America's oldest college humor magazine, and he's written for thinkers as diverse as Chuck Colson of Watergate fame and Bob the Tomato of VeggieTales.

The key is that Metaxas ( thinks humor is serious stuff and that most religious leaders haven't grasped this basic fact about modern life. He is convinced that Americans are not going to listen if theologians and clergy keep offering dense doctrinal arguments when making a case for a traditional faith. Instead of talking about how many angels can dance on a copy of the Summa Theologiae, modern missionaries and apologists need to consider the strategies they would use to talk to Comedy Central fans over a few beers and a bowl of mixed nuts.

Which brings us back to Aretha Franklin.

Many modern seekers, said Metaxas, are curious about God and they wish they could find some answers to their tough spiritual questions. But, at the same time, they have trouble accepting the traditional Christian belief that God is God and that there is only one way to find salvation. These claims sound petty and intolerant.

"Here's a comparison that might make sense," argues Metaxas, in a book chapter entitled "How Can Anyone Take the Bible Seriously?"

"If a guy is married and he tries to persuade his wife that he needs to have a few other women on the side, his wife will likely say, 'Sorry, Romeo, but that's not going to fly. If you want to be married to me, you have to forego those other women. Period.' It's just like that with God. He doesn't force us to pick him, but he does force us to choose between him and the others. We can't have both."

In other words, God demands R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Metaxas has other skewed takes on big issues. He thinks that using sex for self-gratification makes as much sense as using Rembrandt paintings to line birdcages. He's interested in life's big questions, questions like how the universe -- including all those Chevy Camaros in Queens and Staten Island -- exploded out of something smaller than the period at the end of a sentence.

Is this theology? No, it isn't the way that intellectuals talk in cathedral pulpits and faculty clubs, said Metaxas. But it is the way that ordinary people talk on Friday nights while hanging out with their friends.

"At some point Christians are going to have to use humor and parody because that's the language of the culture," he said. "That's what people consider sharp and entertaining and real. … You can keep serving up tea-and-crumpets moralism and logical arguments and it's not going to matter because people aren't going to listen.

"You may as well be speaking Ukrainian. That isn't going to work, unless you happen to be speaking to Ukrainians."

Terry Mattingly ( directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.