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The Unauthorized Guide to Sex and the Church Paperback – August 23, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; First Edition edition (August 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849945445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849945441
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,376,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

Customer Reviews

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It is a great reference guide to a subject that is controversial and inflammatory, but nonetheless perpetual.
Scandalous Sanity
Carmen's has managed to make this topic of conversation interesting & entertaining while still providing historical facts & information directly from the Bible.
C. Daniel
Throughout the book, Berry offers resources with regard to each specific issue and provides a separate listing of resources in an appendix.
FaithfulReader.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By FaithfulReader.com on September 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
For all the talk about sexual issues with regard to the church --- abortion, homosexuality, pedophilia, and celibacy come immediately to mind --- you'd think sexuality was the church's major concern. If that's what you think, well, it turns out you're not entirely wrong. Carmen Renee Berry's survey of Christian thought on sex reveals an inordinate amount of emphasis on the subject throughout church history.

Berry's "unauthorized guide" is divided into three major sections. The first traces the history of Christian (and Jewish) attitudes toward sex, as well as historical thinking on which sexual practices were considered appropriate and, of course, which were not. Conservatives and liberals alike would do well to read this section in particular; many Christians, I'm sure, would be surprised at how ancient laws regarding property rights helped shape ideas on sexuality that have survived to this day, for instance, or how Luther's early opposition to celibacy helped shape the thinking that led to the Protestant Reformation.

The second section examines four specific issues that stand as obstacles to church unity in contemporary society: sexual purity, celibacy, abortion, and homosexuality. Berry offers insight into each issue by examining them from a variety of perspectives and, in some cases, a variety of denominational perspectives --- a particularly helpful bit of information for anyone who tends to lump all Christians together. The third major section looks at sex scandals in the church, providing some troubling statistics on the incidence of rape, pedophilia and other forms of sexual abuse, sex addiction, pornography, and the like within the church.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By njf on April 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found the the treatment of women throughout our history to be disgusting. If God created women as good and loving creatures-how is it that men can decide differently? The information given made my blood boil even though it is all true. Well presented--surely in the 21st century, the church will recognize the value and contributions of its female members and the discrimination and the persecution can be put aside and we can begin to realize that our sexuality is gift - not evil!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scandalous Sanity VINE VOICE on January 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Simply put, Carmen Renee Berry's book on sex and the church is a valuable asset to have in your library. It is a great reference guide to a subject that is controversial and inflammatory, but nonetheless perpetual.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is basically a history of sex in the church and Judaism. The first chapter, for example, discusses body ownership and rights of women in patriarchal times, and chapter five discusses the early church father's reaction to sexuality. The second part of the book goes into current sexual issues, such as nonmarital sexuality, abortion, and homosexuality. The third part discusses sex scandals that have rocked the church, covering (of course) priestly sexual abuse of children.

The book is fair and well-researched, and Berry is able to write about a sensitive subject nonchalantly. One can almost picture the smirk on her face as she writes. There are also some valuable resources in the appendices.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Smith on October 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
After politics, the quickest way to start an argument along ideological lines is to bring up sexual standards. In an attempt to calm and forward the discussion, Berry wrote this book about sex and its relationship with the Christian faith.

Berry starts off with a history of sexual morality, going back to the Jewish roots of the faith. Her description of the changing attitudes to sexuality and their influence on the culture at large is fascinating. Having read a bit more of the history of the Protestant Reformation, though, I would encourage the reader to take her description of that conflict with a grain of salt. Yes, Luther was concerned with the church's demands for celibacy. No, that was not the main spur to the vast changes he initiated.

In the second section, Berry presents conflicting views on some major points of dissension in the church today, including abortion and homosexuality. I find myself a bit more on a conservative side than Berry, but I have to commend her fairness in presenting both sides equally.

While this book is no earth-shattering theological revelation, it is a useful place to start thinking about and (hopefully) talking about these issues. I suspect that's exactly what the author intended.
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By C. Daniel on February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Another fantastic book written by Carmen Renee Berry. If you have any questions on what God has said regarding this topic as opposed to what has been influenced by man over time, this is the book for you. Carmen's has managed to make this topic of conversation interesting & entertaining while still providing historical facts & information directly from the Bible.
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