IVP - Behind the Books - May 2011 Archives

May 18, 2011

A Few Books for Your Summer Reading List

Now that warmer weather is finally on its way, the summer planning begins. Here come the family vacations, backyard BBQs, trips to the beach, church picnics and long, sunny walks with the dog. This warmer weather also means you can finally get around to those outdoor projects you’ve been able to put off all winter. But before you leave for vacation or make that honey-do list, remember that summer is a great time to relax and read a book!

IVP has plenty to offer! Browse our website or check out these four easy-reading titles on different aspects of our demanding culture. Happy reading!

Hollywood Worldviews by Brian Godawa

worldviewsBB.jpg“Any Christian wanting to understand modern film from the viewpoint of its message, its moral premise, will find Godawa’s Hollywood Worldviews a must-read. A film must be approached from more than one direction to do justice to it, but an understanding of its worldview is a requirement. There is no better book available on the subject.”

—Jack Hafer, producer, and chairman of cinema and media arts at Biola University

Unsqueezed by Margot Starbuck

unsqueezedBB.jpg“Margot Starbuck navigates the complexities of self-image, appearance, our bodies and beauty with humor, insight and wisdom. Get ready to be both entertained and moved. You will be laughing out loud one moment, then suddenly challenged with biblical truths that will transform your thinking and inspire change. Reading Unsqueezed is a truly liberating experience.”

—Ann Capper, R.D., C.D.N., nutrition editor, FINDINGbalance.com, and author of Big Thighs, Tight Jeans (Should Jan Go on a Diet?)

Friending by Lynne Baab

friendingBB.jpg“Friends are so important to me! But today there are more forces pushing us apart—as well as new media to bring us together—than ever before in history. Lynne Baab explores a world of options and encourages us to redevelop the art of friendship for a new era. This book is full of practical tools, winsome stories and keen insights. I’m hooked.”

—Dr. Steve Hayner, president, Columbia Theological Seminary

The Wisdom of Pixar by Robert Velarde

pixarBB.jpg“Wow. And here I thought I was just watching cartoons with my kids! I love how Robert takes readers through the beauty, fun, depth and warmth of Pixar films and frames the solid values that run through them. This book is a must-read for parents who love Pixar films as much as their kids—and for those interested in generating some great postfilm family conversations.”

—Caryn Rivadeneira, author of Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. and cofounder of TheMommyRevolution.com

Posted by Leah Kiple at 10:42 AM

May 3, 2011

Sacred Conversation About Sex

Thank you to Jenell Williams Paris for this post about her new book, The End of Sexual Idenity.

  • An adolescent boy feels confused and ashamed about a same-sex sexual encounter he had.

  • A married woman is considering divorcing her husband because she has fallen in love with a woman.

  • A college student wants to befriend a gay classmate, but isn’t sure how close he should get to a gay person.

  • A mother wonders how to nurture her child’s sexuality in godly ways.

Let’s face it: sex is complicated. Christians sometimes dodge the complexity and discomfort of talking about sex either by making definitive moral pronouncements that seem to settle it once and for all, or by simply refusing to talk about it. But many Christian leaders, including pastors, teachers, lay leaders and others, want to do more than just get the “sex talk” over with. They want to really love people, helping them center every part of their lives in Jesus’ love, including even their sex lives.


My book, The End of Sexual Identity, encourages Christians to pursue sexual holiness in the complexity of the real world. Sexual holiness is nothing new—it’s the old, old story of Jesus and his love, applied to our sexual journeys. For individuals, it’s the call to live life centered, oriented, toward the love of God. We can then reject any other orientation— heterosexuality, even—that would distract us from the central importance of who we really are as beloved children of God. On the corporate level, it’s a call to Christian unity, that we may love other Christians so much we can’t bear to separate from one another, even despite theological and personal differences in sexuality.

In the book, the sexual identity framework is the lens through which I view broader matters of sexuality such as marriage, celibacy, and sexual desire. The book takes on the sexual identity framework—the secular notion that one’s sexual feelings are indicative of one’s identity. The sexual identity framework is divisive, setting believers against one another, and dividing individuals within themselves as they strive to fit with one category or another instead of living before God as a unique individual.

I wrote The End of Sexual Identity with some trepidation, worrying that it might just add fuel to the fire of Christian in-fighting about homosexuality. I want to step back from those heated battles to begin reframing the conversation in a way that leads to civility and mutual respect. My highest hope for the book, however, is that it would inspire sacred conversation about sex—conversation that is real, vulnerable, and consequential. It’s an invitation to all believers to consider how the love of God might challenge, bless, and renew their sexual lives.


Jenell Williams Paris (Ph.D., American University) is professor of anthropology at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She has written for such publications as Christianity Today, Books & Culture and Christian Scholar's Review. Her books include Birth Control for Christians, Urban Disciples and Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective.

Posted by Rebecca Larson at 3:39 PM | Comments (1) are closed

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