Saturday, 12 April 2014

Book Review: 'Pulling Back the Shades' by Dannah Gresh & Dr Juli Slattery

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Christian women don't have to choose between being sexual and spiritual. They have legitimate longings that the Church has been afraid to talk about, and books like Fifty Shades of Grey exploit. Whether you are single or married, sexually dead or just looking to revive your sex life, Pulling Back the Shades will address your desire to be both sexual AND spiritual. With solid Biblical teaching and transparent stories, trusted authors Dannah Gresh  and Dr. Juli Slattery, offer an unflinching look at the most personal questions women ask. The book offers practical advice for women to address five core longings:

  • to be cherished by a man
  • to be protected by a strong man
  • to rescue a man
  • to be sexually alive
  • to escape reality
God designed women with these longings and has a plan to satisfy them. It's time for women to identify their intimate longings and God-honoring ways to fulfill them.

What I thought:

I begin this review with the preface that I have not read the Fifty Shades of Grey books.  I prefer my fiction clean; without gutter language and explicit bedroom scenes.  Therefore Pulling Back the Shades is a book I never thought I would be reading!  The reason I agreed to review a non-fiction book addressing such a controversial issue was my deep respect, both personally and professionally, for Dr Juli Slattery.  Despite this it was not without a small amount of unease that I delved in to see how these two well-respected, Godly women would approach the topic of erotica and intimacy from a Biblical perspective.  From the very first pages I was put at ease and I knew this book would indeed be the ‘game changer’ both authors desired it to be.

Throughout Pulling Back the Shades, the authors share with authenticity and sincerity their burden for women, particularly Christian women, pulled into the lure of erotica and the deception that it is harmless.  Infused with stories from real women Gresh and Slattery reveal the very real damage to women’s lives and marriages caused by dabbling in erotica.  They describe the inbuilt longings of women and how erotica feeds into them so completely.  They openly discuss the deception and spiritual battle involved and the way Satan uses erotica to “kill and destroy” people of faith.

The book begins by acknowledging and describing the emotional and sexual needs of women and how the Fifty Shades style of erotica appears to fulfil those needs.  What I found refreshing in the early chapters of this book is that these authors do not shy away from God’s Truth and dare to risk ‘political incorrectness’ to name that which God defines as sin.  Gresh and Slattery do not leave the reader in that confronting, perhaps condemning place, but move forward to share a Godly, Biblically-centred view on women’s sexuality and practical suggestions for being both spiritually and sexually satisfied.

What comes through the pages of this book very clearly is the burden and deep concern these two authors carry for the hearts of women who are being deceived and destroyed by the world of erotica deemed harmless, perhaps even helpful, by health care professionals across our nations.  These two women, who dare to speak God’s truth in love, bring words that not only identify damaging sin, but words of healing and restoration.

If you are someone who wonders why the Fifty Shades books should be left in the bookstore, or if you experience difficulty with intimacy as a result of erotica I would urge you to entrust yourself into the loving, wise care of these two authors.  Their advice will give you hope that restoration is possible and remind you of the God whose knows you intimately and who wants you to appreciate the woman He created you to be.  Even if these are things you're not questioning or struggling with, even if you enjoy a positive, intimate marriage Pulling Back the Shades will offer you insight and wisdom into the beauty of married intimacy.

With thanks to Moody Publishers for my review copy.

'Pulling back the Shades' is available from Amazon and The Book Depository.

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