Thursday, August 9, 2007
straining out the good from the bad
I've been reading/skimming Sex God by Rob Bell. Now before you all get up in my face about what a heretic he is (sometimes) and how full of crap his books are (usually) let me defend myself. Basically I'm just reading it to see what it's about and be prepared in case I meet other Christians who've read it and haven't seen anything wrong with it - already I've found a few things, but that's not actually what this post is about.
So I had a few hours to kill at the doctor's office (long blood test thingy) so I skimmed a few chapters. In chapter 6 called Worth Dying For, Bell talks about how we don't need a significant other to find our worth and specifically on a few pages he addresses how women tend to give themselves away to guys who aren't willing to give THEMselves away. Here's what I liked:
Your worth does not come from your body, your mind, your work, what you produce, what you put out, how much money you make. Your worth does not come from whether or not you have a man. Your worth does not come from whether or not men notice you. You have an inestimable worth that comes from your creator.
If you're dating someone, what kind of man is he? Does he demonstrate that he's the kind of man who would die for you? What is his posture toward the world? Does he serve, or is he waiting to be served? Does he believe that he's owed something, that he's been shortchanged, that he's gotten the short end of the stick, that life owes him something? Or is he out to see what he can give? Does he see himself as being here to make the world a better place?
These are the big questions that you need to ask yourself.
"When a woman is loved well, she opens up like a flower." What does he expect of you? Does he expect you to sleep with him when he hasn't committed to you forever? Does he want all of you without his having to give all of him?
Can you tell him anything? Is he safe? Can he be trusted? Can you open up to him, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, knowing that he will protect, not exploit that vulnerability?
Are you opening up like a flower?
Perhaps this is why the text (here Bell is referring to Ephesians 5:25) talks about the man dying for the woman. This can be terrifying for a man. Committing to a woman for life is going to demand courage, fidelity, and strength he may not know he has. This is why some men take such pride in their sexual conquests. They're desperately running from their fear that they don't have what it takes to lay down their lives for a woman. Sleeping with lots of women gives them the feeling of being a man without actually having to be one.
Wow. I hope every woman who is dating someone will read those questions and honestly ask themselves those things about the man they are dating.
They are big questions. The answers might be scary and actually require some action. But I think they are worth asking. Better to have a period of hurt and frustration than a life of misery and loneliness. Or maybe even just a life that's "okay" instead of amazing or exciting or fulfilling or satisfying to the very depths of your soul (and those can be found whether you are with someone or not).
I think they are even worth asking to ourselves.
Do I serve or am I looking to be served?
Am I out to see what I can give or am I looking for a handout?
What can I contribute to society?
Are people released and inspired to be more loving, adventurous, patient, kind and caring because of being around me?
Am I the kind of woman who would attract that kind of man?
Obviously I am not looking to actually attract men...but I think my point is clear.
Anyway, there's lots of crap and fluff in Rob Bell's book, Sex God, but on this point I am applauding his willingness to speak tender but truthful love into women's lives and challenge and rebuke those men who are taking that which they are not willing to give.