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Oh God!: A Black Woman's Guide to Sex and Spirituality Hardcover – March 26, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ordained minister Newman (With Heart and Hand) chose a riveting topic for her second book: her premise is that African-American women often have confused ideas about sex, in large part because the church gives them confusing messages. Unfortunately, the book does not live up to its initial promise. Newman's message is less about ethics (she is curiously opaque, for example, about the propriety of sex outside of marriage) than self-image. Above all, she wants her readers to feel good about themselves, urging women to take up "Project Me," which involves spending time alone and tending to their own needs. This is hardly new advice. One wonders how Newman's suggestions that women take a karate class, learn to embroider or buy themselves flowers will help her audience think more clearly about sex. Part of the book's superficiality stems from Newman's attempt to cover too many subjects, including body image, domestic violence, orgasm in marriage, dancing in church, dating and HIV prevention. Though these are all worthy topics, Newman sacrifices depth for breadth. One of the book's redeeming features is her sensitive biblical exegesis; she portrays Jesus as a "revolutionary feminist" who befriended women, and concludes from her study of the Onan story in Genesis that masturbation (which she calls "self-pleasuring") is not sinful. These interpretations, though certainly not original to Newman, are ably presented. Readers will also appreciate the biblically inspired reflection questions that close each chapter. Scriptural summaries and fill-in-the-blank worksheets, however, are not enough to salvage this disjointed guide.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this blunt, compassionate, and entertaining book for black women, Newman, an acclaimed minister based in Washington, DC, offers strong and sensible advice on managing one's body and relationships in light of one's spiritual life, happiness, and welfare. Admirably frank, Newman deals with sexual abuse, divorce, HIV, masturbation, and self-worth. Her honesty means a good deal more than the evasions of many other writers who address women's spirituality, and her work deserves a broad readership. Highly recommended.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine; 1 edition (March 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345450779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345450777
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,860,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cedric A. Harmon on April 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Susan Newman has taken a bold step in her original work, Oh God! The honesty and frankness with which she writes is refreshing and empowering to women, women of faith and the church community at-large. It is not surprising that some reviewers will take exception to the book at first read, because the work challenges long held silence, traditional comfort zones and prudish mind-sets regarding sexuality. Dr. Peter Gomes encountered similar diatribes on his work, The Good Book Reading The Bible With Mind And Heart. Once again people of faith are being asked to engage the Holy Scriptures with all of their intelligence and to relinquish tacit acceptance of simpleminded traditional understandings.
In concluding my review, I am hopeful that the book will encourage dialogue and discussion not immediate dismissal. To quote Bengel, "Apply yourself closely to the text; apply the text closely to yourself." In this case do so regarding the Holy Bible and Oh God.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Finally, someone in the church is talking realistically about sex. Dr. Newman contends that our sexuality is a gift from God that should be embraced and celebrated. Each women must decide the path that is right for her -- taking into account respect for self, neighbor and God. Black women of faith have been conflicted for too long. If Oh God! and Dr. Newman can help us find a healthy balance between our sexual and spiritual selves, I say more power to her!
I was shocked by the tone of the two negative reviews, but I am convinced that those people did not actually didn't read the book. They are obviously threatened by Dr. Newman's contention that women of faith should take control of all parts of our lives -- and our decisions, sexual and otherwise, should be between ourselves and God. Obviously there is some hidden agenda at work here because people who bought Oh God! from Amazon.com did not also buy that list of sex books quoted by the so-called "Christian" reader, they actually bought:
It's All Good Hair by Michele N-K Collison
Sittin' in the Front Pew by Parry A. Brown
You Know Better by Tina McElroy Ansa
Satisfy My Soul by Colin Channer
And, those quotes were taken totally out of context.
Oh God! says, read the bible for yourself -- don't just listen to what your pastor says or what your girlfriend says. God gave you a brain, so use it! Do what is best for you, taking into account all of God's commandments. Read this book for yourselves -- you will not be disappointed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rev. McCallister on April 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Thank God some one had the courage to tell the truth, about God, Sex, the Church and the sacredness of the body. Rev. Newman has broken the seal of silence that has left many estranged from the church and their own sense of faith. In her clever, sensitive and oft times painfully honest manner; Rev. Newman uses humor to make the uncomfortable safe and invites women and men to walk the journey of self discovery to wholeness.
As an ordained clergywoman I have longed for a text this accesible and sincere. I praise God for Rev. Newman's courage and call...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Reading Oh God! is like sitting in a room listening to Dr. Newman talk. It is as if she knows the secret concerns I have about myself as a Christian woman wrestling with the issue of sex. She opens up the Scriptures in areas where male clergy have never gone. I'm challenged by this book, and changed by it. I don't agree with everything, but because my eyes have been open to many new things, I am willing to consider them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Found this book to be a good guide, but it did not address real world relationship issues. This is not a book for a 20something looking for ideal love. The author is far removed from the dating scene. If you are looking for young and hip advice,I prefer LaDawn Black's Stripped Bare.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clarke on April 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Susan Newman's book is about becoming mature and complete as a "whole person." In this book, she transcends the rigidity of socioreligious rules, in an effort to restore relevancy to religion and foster loving relationships among all people. Her book is a true winner. If you want honesty, candor and humor on the subject of sex from a Spirit perspective, then this book is for you. Newman challenges us to be more honest about intimate relationships. It's breathtaking, challenging and real. If you love sexual expressions and love God, then read it and love more wholly, while you live more complete.
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By T on February 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is pretty amazing. It was a required option for one of my classes. I am very glad I choose to explore this book. It has been very help in the work that I am doing this semester around spirituality and sexuality. It opened up for new ways to communicate to particular groups the importance of acknowledging your own sexuality. Additionally how doing is liberative and powerful!!!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Newman has written a book that every open-minded woman--dare I say, Christian--will want to read and share with friends. Do I agree with every comment made? No! However, overall, Susan has done a fantastic job of opening the door for Christian women to have an honest conversation about sex and spirituality. She has said some things that before now we dared not whisper in church. But, now women are talking and sharing their true feelings. The book also provides needed advice about how sexually transmitted diseases are spread and how to practice safe sex. Of course, if Christians are not having sex, there is no need to discuss safe sex. Let's keep it real!! We all know what's happening and who's doing it? For those who may not agree that sex and sexuality is a topic for church, here's the opportunity to have a discussion. You don't have to agree with what Susan writes, but we must take our heads out of the sand, open our eyes and acknowledge what's happening around us. I have never heard any one stand in the pulpit or in the church to condone teen pregnancy, rape or incest or encourage the members to contract HIV/AIDS. Yet, it would seem to be the message when we refuse to educate our members. Thanks, Dr. Susan Newman, for opening the doors for conversation and even debate about sexuality and spirituality.
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