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Thursday, February 1, 2018

"Faithful: A Theology of Sex" by Beth Felker Jones. A Review

Faithful: A Theology of Sex (Ordinary Theology)Faithful: A Theology of Sex by Beth Felker Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This 112 page paperback is a short, sweet, mildly sassy little thing. Beth Felker Jones, professor of Theology at Wheaton College, has compiled a handy set of chapters in "Faithful: A Theology of Sex". It's an easy-to-read dossier that takes on sex, both our birth sex and procreative sex, and is mature, unencumbered, and comprehensible.

The working premise of "Faithful" is that sex "has to do with who God really is and who we really are" (13); that sex "matters to God because bodies matter to God, because God created our bodies and has good plans for us as embodied people" (18). This means, according to Jones, that the "Christian faith is profoundly for the body and for the joys of the bodily life" (22). The author hammers out the implications of her thesis, walking the reader through celibate singleness, faithful marriedness, and the goodness of sexual differentiation between male and female.

Simultaneously, "Faithful" pushes against the commodification and cheapening of bodies and sex. As Jones asserts, if our "bodies don't really mean anything, then we will act as though we can assign them meaning at random" (15). The author exposes the demeaning direction of elitist and Gnostic trends in society, and among Christians, that deny the goodness of male bodies and the goodness of female bodies. When Gnosticism prevails "the result has been bad for female bodies, for girls and women" because "Gnostics see female bodies - far more than male ones - as the special problem that redemption needs to get rid of" (33). Jones further delves perceptively into sex gone wrong in what she calls "pornication" (43-50).

In the end, "Faithful" is a useful manual. On the one hand it lays bare the "sexual orthodoxy of our fallen world" that "wants to create a body that is something to be consumed." On the other hand it beautifully presents Christian sexuality as that which "recognizes that the body is meant to be a witness. Sex is a witness to what God does in our lives, a witness to the God who is faithful and keeps promises" (104). If you're thinking about biology and bodies and maleness and femaleness, then this is a good book. I happily recommend it.

You can purchase the book here: "Faithful"

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