Sunday, January 18, 2009

Book Review: “False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction” Harry Schaumburg. Colorado: NavPress, 1997, 247 p.

Overview—Give a brief overview of the book, including its theme, perspective and approach.

In this book, Harry Schaumburg presents a comprehensive study of sexual addictions and the road to freedom. As the title suggests, "False Intimacy" sees the power of sexual addictions as offering a false intimacy that each of us crave. For Schaumburg, true freedom lies in developing true intimacy with God and with others. Relational pain will then no longer drive the addict to false expressions of sexuality. "False Intimacy" offers the reader an examination of sexual addictions, their behaviors and their causes. Schaumburg then offers hope to affected by addiction, including spouses and the church.

Critique—Offer a brief critique of the book, including elements of strength and weakness.

"False Intimacy" is perhaps the most complete book on the subject I have read so far. Schaumburg integrates insights from psychology and behavioral studies with a rich theology of intimacy with God. He does not shy away from calling the addict to true repentance form the "idols of the heart". But such repentance is not complete without a look to internal and external factors that led to the sexual addiction, including personal history and interior motivations.

Application—Offer some specific application to your own ministry— demonstrating the value and relevance of the material in this book.

Schaumburg offers many practical ways to help the person struggling with addictions. I found the section on reviewing one's personal history - breaking your history into segments and asking yourself probing questions about each segment – to be a powerful tool to uncover the roots of such addictions. And because sexual addictions go beyond the person struggling, the sections on helping the spouse of a sexual addict were hands-on helpful and sensitively written. But the section on the church as a healing community was my favorite and the questions for self-examination (p.209) will find their way into our small group discussions!

Best Quote—Be sure to include the page number where the quote can be found.

p.211 "Loving those who are sexually addicted in the power of God's love entails a process of offering them what is not deserved so they might be restored to our Lord, to others, and to us. Properly understood, love is the greatest gift each of us can offer. When love is given to those held captive by the sins of sexually addiction and spiritual adultery, it reaches out with God's power to astound sinners. It destroys the power of sin over their lives. It contradicts al the false intimacy within sexually addiction and calls forth sinners to express true love because the have been loved so deeply"

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