From the moment I heard what this book was about, I was intrigued. Loving the LGBT community has been both a serious struggle and topic of significant controversy among Christians for decades. This struggle has been one that I have personally wrestled with every time I’ve heard of a friend or a family member that has chosen to identify with that lifestyle. So when I heard there was a book written by an Ozark Christian College graduate that has gay parents and found a way to love them without compromising conviction, I knew it was a book I wanted to read. But it took recently learning about another close friend making that lifestyle choice for me to determine that this was a book that I needed to buy. When I did finally read it, I was not disappointed. This pastor has a heart for this difficult-to-reach community that is rare, because he was raised in that community. I now have a perspective to help me still uphold the truth of God’s word, but to also love these people as never before, thanks to this book. This is now my first recommendation on the topic of homosexuality for Christians, hands down. ~ Bethel
Giving grace is really hard. We have all received it, but Christians struggle to give to those that need it the most. This seems to be especially true when it comes to a Christian’s response to the LGBT community. When it comes to responding to this people group, they often choose to push on the truth in a condescending way, or they choose to order too much grace, to the point that they ignore what God has to say on the subject. Neither one on its own fully pleases God, but we struggle to find a way to find a balance between grace and truth. Especially they put the label of “hater” on us just as quickly as some will put the label of “sinner” on them. In the end, we are left unsure of how to even begin to approach the subject in a Christ-honoring way. It makes us ask the question: Is there a way to love those in LGBT community in a Christ-honoring way? Can we love them without compromising our convictions?
In Caleb Kaltenbach’s book, Messy Grace, he shares his personal journey of having two gay parents, finding his way to the Lord as a teenager, and eventually learning how to love those in the LGBT community without compromising his conviction about homosexuality. You follow Caleb as he describes how he was partly raised by his mom and her partner, and how he even participated in gay pride parades. He was taught that Christian hate gay people. When he was teenager, he started going to church, and he eventually became a Christian and was baptized. His parents were less than supportive, even his dad who was still in the closet at the time. He eventually went to Christian college (my alma mater, Ozark Christian College) and became a pastor, and has learned about how to minister to the LGBT community. He walks us through what it means for us as Christians to live in the tension between grace and truth, demonstrating that it is possible as he displays in his own personal journey. He shares what this can look like in the context of a church, and helps us to see that in order to love as Jesus loved those who struggle, we have to be willing to get a little messy. You will be inspired and challenged by Caleb’s testimony and biblically grounded insight, if you choose to take these truths to heart. This is a book that every Christian about 13 or older needs to read, especially if you have loved one that identifies as LGBT. This book is available pretty everywhere Christian books are sold, so get your copy today!
DISCLAIMER: The link listed above is an affiliate link, which means that if you make a purchase using this link, I’ll receive a small commission. This will help support my blog, my YouTube channel, and will help me produce more content like this in the future. Thank you for the support!
I have been looking forward to the release of this book ever since I first heard that one of my favorite YouTubers was planning on writing a book with his wife. Since I was on the launch team for Jeff’s last book, It’s Not What You Think and I met Jeff on that book tour, I knew it was a book I didn’t want to miss. And sure enough, I was right. It’s a book with the facts that everyone should know about love and marriage, regardless of your relationship status. It’s a book that came at a time when I needed a refresher about God’s incredible design and intention behind marriage and relationships in general. But this is also a book that brings my journey as a blogger and a book reviewer full circle. I When I reviewed It’s Not What You Think, it was my only my second book review. But since then, thanks to a lot of positive feedback from several people (including Jeff himself!), I have found a passion for reviewing books, mostly books on Christian living. This review is my 19th book review in almost 4 years, which is insane. My desire to do more with book reviews started with It’s Not What You Think. It’s been incredible to see where God has taken a simple interest of wanting to be involved in book launches and has turned it into a way to serve and minster to others online. In light of all this, it’s my pleasure to give this book my highest recommendation to anyone, single, dating, or married, over the age of 16. If you want to know more about it, just ask ~ Bethel
Love is hard. It takes effort, intentionality, self-denial, humility, vulnerability, and many other things that our culture has convinced us is unnecessary or makes us weak. So instead, we revert to the culture’s distorted views of sex and romance, and we unknowingly buy into the lie that we will find lasting love and fulfillment using their methods. They also imply that you will never find fulfillment unless you have your “happily ever after.” However, there is even more unhappiness, un-fulfillment, divorce, and brokenness in relationships and marriages than ever before. And this brokenness is creeping into the hearts and minds of men and women who have never even been in a relationship. All because we have given into the lie that we will never be happy without it. It makes us as the question: Is it possible to find a love that lasts in our world today?
In the latest book by YouTuber and author Jefferson Bethke and his wife Alyssa, Love that Love offers hope that we can find a love that lasts in our world today by sharing their own personal romantic journeys. As they take turns authoring chapters titled after popular songs, they share the highs and lows that led them to each other and that inevitably led them to marriage and a family. As you join them on this incredible journey, they help us see the problems with our culture’s broken and distorted view of love and helps us replace it with one that is full of life, hope, and endurance. They cover so much in the pages of this book, from recognizing unhealthy relationships and bad self-esteem, to seasons of singleness, to healing from breakups, to the beauty of sex in the covenant of marriage. Although this young couple has only been married for 5 years, they speak with a wisdom beyond their years and their experience, as they reflect much of the counsel and wisdom bestowed upon them by those who are older and wiser than them. What results in a radically transforming view of love and romance that could change our culture, if we choose to embrace it. This is exactly the book my generation needs, regardless of their relationship status. As a single woman who has never been in a relationship, I found this book to be powerful, useful, and exactly the insight I need to give me a necessary foundation to build by sexual theology. This book, as well as workbooks and a video curriculum, are available today! Get your copy now!
A Sweet Bogo Deal!
Thanks to an extremely generous publisher, I, as a member of the book launch team for Love that Lasts, am offering you a sweet deal: Buy one, get one FREE, with NO LIMITS! Here’s how it works:
1) Buy the book from anywhere (Amazon, B&N, CBD, etc). I personally recommend you look into ordering from the link below for Christian Book Distrubutors*:
Love That Lasts: How We Discovered God's Better Way for Love, Dating, Marriage, and Sex
2) Either screenshot or take picture of the receipt.
3) Go to jeffandalyssa.com/freebook and fill out the form, using the promo code “Bgrove”
4) You’re all set! You will receive the first copy as soon as it ships from your distributor. The second one will come from the publisher around the end of October.
You will probably only pay about $5 per copy of the book (not including shipping costs on the first one. The second will ship free). Since there is no limit, you will get a free copy for every copy you purchase! This deal only lasts until October 17, so don’t miss out! Get your copies today! (And make sure to let me know how many of you take up this awesome deal!)
* DISCLAIMER: The link listed above is an affiliate link, which means that if you make a purchase using this link, I’ll receive a small commission. This will help support my blog, my YouTube channel, and will help me produce more content like this in the future. Thank you for the support!
This is an incredible book. From the time I first heard about the book, I knew it was a book that I needed to read. I ordered the book the moment it came out in spring 2013. Having just gone through a situation in which one of my guys friends told me he didn’t return my feelings for him (in a very caring and Christ-honoring way), I was struggling with trying to understand why these emotions where so hard to overcome and why I was single. When I finally had to chance to complete the book over the course of that summer, I became a young woman that learned to be lost in God’s love. This book was a game changer for my love life, and I know it can be for you too, if you are willing to apply the lessons from this book. Another great example of how Dannah Gresh’s writings have impacted my walk with God, I’d recommend this book to any young women about 16 or older. If you want to know more about it, just ask ~ Bethel
All women long to be loved. It’s something that many women spend their whole life searching for. We all want our Prince Charming and our happily ever after’s. Many women try to seek out love and affection in men, but they end up doing it for all the wrong reasons. They give into the “violent craving” all women have deep within them for the affection of men, and make that the focus of their emotional health, their self-worth, and even their life. Then, when either men hurt us or we are unsuccessful at earning a man’s affections, we fall apart, often trying to compensate the lack of affection with all the wrong things. It’s a vicious cycle that so many women in our world today are caught in today, because our culture sells it to us as normal. They tell being “boy crazy” is normal. They try to convince us that if we dress the right way and act flirty and attractive, we will get the attention of our Prince Charming and you’ll live happily ever after. In the end, this method doesn’t work, and now most women don’t know what to do to handle these feelings for guys correctly. It makes us ask the question: Is there a way to find love and contentment, even if I don’t have a guy?
“A girl should be so lost in God, he has to seek Him to find her.”
This is the quote that author Dannah Gresh used to inspire the book that asks this question. In Get Lost, she addresses the “violent craving” that all women have deep within our hearts for the affection and affirmation of men, and she explains that there is a better way to satisfy this craving. Instead of trying to find it in men that are flawed humans that will ultimately disappoint us, Dannah encourages you to seek it out in the all-consuming and satisfying love of the Heavenly Father. She then takes you through a “love feast,” a 10-Day devotional journey through the facets of God’s love. You are encouraged to take guys off the table and give the best part of your day to God, so you can focus your heart and mind on Him. In the process, you will find that the call to be consumed in God’s love isn’t always easy, but it is so much more fulfilling that any version of romance and personal fulfillment our culture tries to sell us. Then, after your feast, you learn at the conclusion how to bring guys into the picture in a way that honors God and keeps your heart in line with His.
This is an incredible book for older teen girls and young women, especially if you have been through a break-up or are still single. There is also a great video curriculum available for this book take can turn it into a ten week study. This book is available most places Christian books are sold, so get your copy today!
DISCLAIMER: The links listed above are affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog, my YouTube channel, and will help me produce more content like this in the future. Thank you for the support!
Since the release of the Fifty Shades movies, I have found myself increasingly frustrated with the lack of movies that really teach what love really is. Most romantic movies today are either inappropriate, because they concentrate too much on the physical side of love, or they are unrealistic, because they concentrate too much on the emotional side of love. Many are in both camps. And from the perspective of a Christian, I believe that many of these films are an insult to the way that God designed love and romance. But we view them as merely “entertainment” or “romantic comedies.” Now, I’m not saying that we can’t enjoy some of these movies within reason, but they should not be where we learn to define love or where we should find edification for our relationships. It's rare to find movies that do either of these jobs correctly.
To help with this problem, I have come up with a list of five romantic movies that do a much better job of portraying love and relationships as God intended it. Each one has different concepts about love that defy the cultural expectations of what it is meant to be. I don’t want to spoil these movies if you haven’t seen them, but I want to highlight the different aspect of love they emphasize.
Old Fashioned – Love that is Chivalrous
Our culture tries to sell us romance that has very little respect or courtesy involved. Love and the fuzzy feelings come first, then you figure out how you relate to each other. This should not be. The respect needs to come first and be part of the foundation on which the relationship is built. If it’s not in the foundation of the relationship, it very difficult to put it in later. Old Fashioned reminds us how to put that into the foundation of a relationship, and is a great movie, especially if you are dating or married. I would recommend it to teens and adults.
The Song – Love that is Passionate and Forgiving
However, it should not be the foundation of what the relationship is about. Movies and books like Fifty Shades portray sex as the primary source of character development. How messed up is that? Aside from inappropriate implications, sex isn't the only way we should get to know someone! If your spouse is only there to fulfill a sexual need, then there’s a problem. The Song portrays the consequences of this, but gives hope in the end about how to restore it.
We also learn that love forgives. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, most people know that Solomon messed up big time when it came to relationships. One point in which the film differs from the original story is that Jed and Rose have reconciliation at the end of the movie. I won’t reveal exactly how for those that haven’t seen it, but it is a beautiful picture of the forgiveness that God gave us through His Son. The Song is a great Christian film that I would recommend (although it may not be as appropriate for children).
Fireproof – Love that Endures the Fire
Those who are married shouldn't have to divorce because just don’t love each other or they can't get along anymore. During those kinds of trials, they have to purpose themselves to love each other, even if the other one don’t deserve to be loved. That’s what Christ did for us. When we are aware of how much Christ loved us, it compels us to love others in the same way, especially spouses and families. Fireproof is an excellent reminder of this truth and I would recommend this movie to anyone.
Love Comes Softly – Love that Grows Over Time
Love Comes Softly teaches its title as the main moral. Despite the popular romances we love in our favorite chick flicks, love develops over time. It does not happen instantly. I personally don’t believe that “love at first sight” really exists in romance. I believe in attraction at first sight, but that is not enough to merit a romance. Love is something that grows over time if you choose to work on it, because its a decision, not a feeling. Sometimes, you might be working on it when you don’t realize it. But it’s something that has to be worked on, not something that you can fall in or out of. It’s a matter a choice. Love Comes Softly is a great example of this and I would recommend it to anyone
The Swan Princess – Love that Endures a Lifetime
What I love about this movie is not the happily ever after, but the fact that they declare that their love for each other will endure longer than life itself. That's powerful! The love they have for each other is not conditional on the other’s actions, but on the vow that they made to love each other, no matter what. The feature song of the film, Far Longer Than Forever, is a powerful reminder of the comfort and peace one can find in knowing that the one you love has an enduring loyalty to you and you alone. You can't find that in the fuzzy romance or the physical intimacy of a relationship. That’s what makes The Swan Princess stand out from all other fairy tales. This is a film I would recommend to anyone.
Our culture has sold us so many versions of love that are messed up, we have brought into them. The couples that are so popular from our favorite chick flicks are usually in relationships that are about the fulfillment of personal needs – physical, emotional, spiritual, or a combination. Even if they are “in love,” it is often more about fulfilling the personal need than about the other’s needs. It becomes a love that is very selfish in its nature. To me, it's very disheartening.
The characters in these five movies are different. They are the ones that learned to give up themselves for the one they loved. They all made mistakes to get there, but through their trials and adventures, they learned to love the other as only Christ could through them, and that is so much more beautiful than any romance our culture tries to sell us. As we watch these and other romantic movies, let us do our best to praise those that portray love as God intended it, and discern when love is not portrayed correctly. Hopefully, it will change the way we see everything.
Fights can get pretty ugly, especially between women. This has been very clearly demonstrated over the last several weeks in regards to the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. As I have been on the book team for Pulling Back the Shades, I have encountered articles and comments of women who are passionately arguing for Fifty Shades. These books and this movie are a hot button topic. Women are obsessed, or dare I say addicted, to them. They are very adamant to defend their choice, and call out anyone who questions that choice. The love of these books and this movie is so great, I even heard that fist fight broke out between two women at the premiere in our local theater because one of them wouldn't be quite. Yikes!
I have been thinking about what to write on this blog, I feel compelled to address the five main arguments I have seen women making in defense of these books and the movie. I am not an experienced writer or debater, but I will do my best to explain their arguments and the answers from both Christian and logical perspectives, in hopes that everyone can see my point.
1) Don’t Judge Them Unless You've Read Them
This is by far the most common argument for the books, and honestly the most frustrating to me personally. They claim that it is impossible for us to make any sort of educated judgment if we have not read them. Christians and non-Christian readers alike are saying we should read them for ourselves before we decide if they are good or bad.
There is major fault in this line of logic that is very easy to see. I will illustrate by asking a few questions.
- Do I have to be try cocaine to know that I don’t want to be addicted?
- Do I have to have a heart attack to know it doesn't feel good and should be avoided?
- Do I have to experience suicide to know its consequences?
I think these examples should be sufficient to illustrating the error in this line of logic. I don’t have to experience any of those things to know that they are not wise or good for me. In order to know pros and cons in any of these cases, there are two ways to figure it out before diving in: research and wise counsel.
Research should be an important part of every decision we make if we want to be wise. For the Christian, the first place we should look is the Bible, to see if God’s word reveals the truth about a particular subject. Then, we should look to those who are well-informed to seek out the right opinions. Sometimes, your best friend’s opinion or your friend's recommendation isn't going to cut it, if you want to make a wise choice. Look up reviews or articles to see if something is worth your investment. Then, go seek out the wisdom of someone you trust, like an older mentor, to see if they think it is wise to pursue. If after all that all lights are still green, then you can go into it without regrets. If not, then you should probably avoid it.
As far as Fifty Shades is concerned, I have not, nor do I plan to, read the books or see the movies. But this does not mean I cannot have an educated opinion about it. I have done my research. I have read Pulling Back the Shades, several posts and articles, and plot summaries. I have several people in my life older and wiser than me that think it’s not beneficial, and I trust their counsel. I have done the same thing (researched and sort out counsel) for both the Twilight saga and the Harry Potter saga, and I came to similar conclusions (Those stories may be saved for other posts). I do not walk into this discussion with uneducated answers, and assuming that everyone who disagrees can’t have educated answers is faulty logic and an arrogant assumption of their part.
2) But It’s a Love Story
I have made a comparison chart of one of the greatest descriptions of love to ever be written, 1 Corinthians 13, and love as it is portrayed specifically in Christian's actions (based on my research of the book). It’s pretty obvious they don’t match up. In fact, most of his actions are the opposite of love, as the Corinthians passage defines it.
It grieves me to think that so many women have been deceived by these books, which are a wolf in sheep’s clothing as far as love and romance are concerned. Christian and Ana’s story disguises itself as a love story when it reality, it’s the exact opposite of what love should be, according to 1 Corinthians 13. Don’t be deceived.
3) If They Both Consented, What’s the Problem?
Many Christians struggle with having a “sexual theology.” In other words, we don’t bring God and His word into the bedroom, and as a result, we become sexual atheists that buy into the definition of sex that our culture sells us (a game between consenting adults). That's when we fall into the danger of making us our own sexual reality, just like Christian Grey. I don’t think I fully understood this until I watched this video. This is John Mark Comer, author of the book “Loveology” (This video was uploaded to Jefferson Bethke’s YouTube channel, one of my favorites Youtubers).
When you consider the way that we should view sex according to this teaching, the kind of behavior that is glorified in Fifty Shades is even more dehumanizing than what John describes. For Christian, Ana became an object for his self-gratification, and he had enough sexual partners previously that Christian has been hallowed out, just like John talks about. Those are the major problems with their sexual relationship, despite the fact that it was consensual.
4) But They Get Married
Many women claim that because they get married, and because they have some sort of “happily ever after,” that the story is good. They also talk about how Ana’s love changes him and makes him into a better person. According to their logic, how can the story be all bad if "all's well that ends well"? I get back to this question in a moment.
If it is true that “All’s well that ends well,” then why does the Shakespeare’s play of this title result in a man being forced to stay in a marriage with a women he didn't love? Because Bertram was initially forced to marry Helena, he runs away, telling her that he would not return to her unless she got his family’s signet ring off his finger and became pregnant with his child. She has to use deceitful means to fulfill this conditions, and when she does, he reluctantly returns to her. There is meant to be an irony in this title that I think is somewhat reflected in the Fifty Shades series. Even though it is portrayed as a “happily ever after” ending, it may not be as resolved as it is meant to look. If it were more realistic, the ending would not be so pretty.
5) If You Don’t Like It, Just Leave It Alone
This is the argument where the fans basically tell those of us that voice an opposing opinion to mind our own business. They tell us that if we think it’s wrong, just leave it alone and let those that do enjoy it do whatever they want. They tell us it’s their choice to read the books or see the movie, and we have no right to criticize their choices if they do.
There is some validity to this argument if you are a Christian and they are not, and let me explain why. We cannot hold a non-Christian accountable to your personal moral standard if they haven’t chosen to live by that standard themselves. In that respect, they are totally right. I feel like that is one of the easiest moments for hypocrisy to creep in and taint our witness to non-believers.
That being said, I don’t think Christians should keep their mouths shut if they believe this to be wrong. If you do your research, you will find that these books are doing damage to many marriages, are drawing women towards the BDSM lifestyle, and are tainting God’s design for sexuality. We should be grieved to hear these stories, to the point that we want to take action, but how? If you are convicted that this is wrong, then how to we tell them the truth without judging or “Bible-thumping”?
We must be careful when approaching the situation because these stories have created a moral and emotional fantasy in their minds, and that is one of the reasons they are quick to call anyone out for judging them. Did you catch that? This story alters a moral reality, one in which things that were once black and white are now grey, and this alteration is hidden behind all the emotion and good feelings the women get from reading them. Because their moral reality has been effected, they have become quick to judge anyone who questions their choice. We need to keep this in the back of our minds and the front of our prayers as we come to these discussions.
I believe that we should think of what we are doing as a warning. If I know someone is going the wrong direction while traveling, I will tell them to reconsider their route if the opportunity comes for me to tell them. If I think someone is about to walk into a dangerous situation, I will do my best to warn them if I am given the opportunity, but in the end allow them to make their own choice. This is the way I try to think of it. That is the best mindset we can have in this discussion, especially when dealing with non-Christians. If you have a personal relationship with the person you discussing this with, they will hopeful be able to see the concern you have for them if you use this approach.
Speaking the Truth In Love
I hope these tips will help you in your discussions about Fifty Shades. This is not necessarily in-depth or definitive, but I hope it will help you see that many of the women that are infatuated with these books and movies have been deceived. This deception is worked so deeper into the themes of the book, it has manifest itself in these arguments consistently. It isn't always easy to reverse a deception, especially one that is becoming so deeply embedded in our culture. But this is a topic that we cannot avoid anymore. We must do what we can to take back sexuality from Satan’s grasp so that we can reveal its divine and holy intent to a world that needs to know the truth. Now that I know the truth, I must do what I can to speak the truth in love. I hope some of you will join me in this fight.
Welcome to My Blog!
Hello, my friend! My name is Bethel. On this blog, I review books, movies, and Broadway musicals from a Christian perspective. I will also share my insights, perspective, relevant stories from my own life, and advice about how to live our life in light of eternity, and how to fulfill the two greatest commandments - love God and love people. I hope some of you will join me in learning what it means to seize eternity. Thank you for checking things out!
"Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last." - C.T. Studd
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