Love to Stay, by Adam Hamilton [review] #UMC

UPDATE: As of this posting, there’s a free ebook of “selections” from Love to Stay for you to read. Click here and make sure it says “free” when you check out. 

Love to Stay is the latest book by Rev. Adam Hamilton, pastor of Church of the Resurrection, which is the largest United Methodist Church in the world by worship attendance. He has a great production model: take a sermon series and turn it into a book and small group study. While it makes him a production church, he does it very well and I enjoy his curriculum.

As part of his latest book, there’s an infographic floating around that I’d like to add to the conversation, as it has some really interesting facts about love, marriage, and sexuality (click to enlarge):

Love to Stay Infographic

While it’s likely “correlational not causational” that worship attendance leads to a more active sex life (though that will preach!), the rest of the statistics are helpful. ;-)

I’m an emotional person that just cries at TV commercials (like this one…augh!), so I found myself tearing up several times during the book at stories of real people and their relationships. While the conclusions and recommendations are pretty typical for what you would find in Christian relationships theory, I didn’t find anything that I strongly objected to. His chapter on repentance and reconciliation (the fifth chapter, I think) was particularly well done.

Perhaps my only disconnect with some of it is the stereotypical depictions of men’s shortcomings and women’s expectations…I think gender values are more diverse than that and I would have appreciated more diverse examples that didn’t reinforce “manly stupid men and gentle sensitive women” gender norms. Perhaps I missed some better examples or book shortcomings…let me know in the comments. Regardless, it doesn’t detract from the book and could lead to good small group study.

I enjoyed the book and can see its value for small group study. The book has six chapters, perfect for a small group study. There are also DVD accompaniment videos, but they are not necessary for the small group study. In fact, if you want to preview the bulk of the material, it is likely found in Hamilton’s sermon series “Love, Sex, and Marriage” given in 2012. Watch the videos starting from the bottom up if you decide you want to use it.

I’ll be leading a book study on Love to Stay in January 2014 for one or more small groups in my local church. I’ll let you know then how it does in a real-life setting!

Disclaimer: I received Love to Stay free in return for a blog post. As you know, my policy is to give my honest take on things. And publishers don’t care whether I’m brutal or supportive because publicity is publicity (see: Reza Aslan).

 

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Comments

  1. Carolyn says

    I watched most of the sermon series and it was pretty good. The thing Hamilton got wrong was the biochemistry. He claims that the three main hormones released during intimacy (dopamine, oxytocin, and vassopressin) function differently in people who have multiple sexual partners than in those who have only one. I believe his quote was “they stop working”. Incidentally, my husband was taking biochemistry at the time and I read about how some of these hormones work in his textbook. They’re multi-purpose chemicals that multiple things throughout the body. For instance, dopamine cause the gallbladder to release bile at the the right times. If what Hamilton said were true, people who have multiple sexual partners should have gallbladder and digestion problems! Between that and the correlation =/= causation thing, my eye keeps twitching every time I think of the many ways statistics and science are misused in his sermon series/book. How am I supposed to believe in the veracity of any of Hamilton’s claims if I know for a fact that some of the things he says are just plain wrong? Perhaps he’s over-generalizing for a lay audience, but to do that to a point at which you disseminate misinformation is to do a disservice to your congregants. It seems like statistics and science are just vehicles for his un-scientific claims.

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