From Publishers Weekly
Mention "sex and the church" and divisive issues such as abortion, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage and the response to child sex abuse scandals all pop to the forefront. Berry (The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church
) takes on these subjects and more, presenting many viewpoints from various strains of Christianity and then asking readers to "decide how [they] will decide." Berry marches through history, beginning with Jewish purity and property laws and moving on to Jesus' challenge of those laws, Paul's writings on sexual morality, the church fathers' 11th-century ruling on celibacy for the clergy and the Reformation's pro-marriage stance. She then contrasts early Christian worldviews with those we encounter in the church today, especially now that people are not considered "property" and attitudes toward sexuality are influenced by an understanding of psychology, biology and women's rights. Berry mostly provides analysis, but moves into adviser mode at times, such as when she promotes "celibacy as a spiritual discipline" for all Christian singles. This book is a fine introduction to issues of Christianity and sexuality for anyone unclear about where denominations stand on any particular sex issue or for those wanting more information about the church's historical attitudes on sexual morality. (Aug. 18)
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About the Author
Carmen Renee Berry
is the author of seventeen books including girlfriends
, on the New York Times
best-seller list for fifty-two weeks, and her latest title, The Unauthorized Guide to Sex and the Church
. She is a nationally-noted speaker, publishing consultant, and former psychotherapist. Carmen has several master's degrees-social work, social sciences, and history. Her first book was published in 1988 and she has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs such as Oprah and CNN.