Relationships in a World of Individualism

  • rWorld

    The rWorld is about more than Dale Kuehne's book Sex and the iWorld.
    The rWorld is a New England based, non-profit (in formation), that is composed of a growing number of people and organizations from many faith and ideological backgrounds worldwide. We believe that much of the fulfillment for which women and men are looking can be found by enhancing the quality of our relationships. While the individual freedom we enjoy in the West is a gift, the love and intimacy for which humans yearn will not be found in self-serving materialism or hedonism, but in a variety of healthy relationships.

    Contact us if you'd like get involved:

  • Dale Kuehne

    Sex & the iWorld

    Professor of Politics and The Richard L. Bready Chair for Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH.

    In this blog I'm highlighting signposts of the world in which we presently reside as a means of helping promote a civil, and meaningful dialogue about what kind of world in which we wish to live. I am particularly interested in exploring how might we reconcile the individual good and the common good, and where reconciliation isn’t possible, which should take precedence and why.

    I also blog at

    [Content Caution]

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About “Sex and the iWorld” (with Latest Reviews)

In Sex and the iWorld, a pastor who is also a politics professor examines current issues pertaining to sexuality and society and asks, “What kind of world are we creating and is it the kind of world we want to live in?”

With an inclusive approach and openness to responses from all points of view, Kuehne contrasts the “tWorld”—in which traditional morality reigned and recent societal shifts would have been unimaginable—with the present-day “iWorld”—in which such shifts are widely accepted alongside the belief that individual fulfilment and personal gratification are paramount. He finds that both of these worlds fall short of his proposed “rWorld,” in which a larger web of healthy and nourishing social relationships provide a meaningful collective context for a biblical understanding of sexuality.

With the free study guide available online, Sex and the iWorld is an ideal resource for individuals and small groups who want to explore these important subjects.

To order the book on click here.

You can listen to an interview with Dale Kuehne on the Mars Hill Audio series v. 99

You can watch a video of Dale Kuehne’s lecture at Hamilton College in April of 2010 here:


From the foreword by Jean Bethke Elshtain: What we require at this point in our society’s life is a powerful and compelling narrative. And if we “really believe” that we “have something to add to the argument” about human sexuality, we should say it, knowing others will label us and categorize us in ways we ourselves would not have chosen. Kuehne takes up Christians who disagree with his approach, many of them indebted to psychological theories and models that accept uncritically the assumptions of the iWorld–offering no alternative narrative thereby.

It takes a good bit of faith to enter the lists in behalf of reasoned argument and critique. No “side” will find you an uncritical ally. That is precisely what recommends this challenging, well-written text. Kuehne is deeply immersed in popular culture: he listens to the music, goes to the films. He is utterly free from condescension. Kuehne appreciates that cultural critics are immersed in the culture they criticize. They cannot take up a lofty stance above the fray. As a teacher, a scholar, and a citizen, Kuehne offers in this volume a powerful example of what political theorist Michael Walzer calls “the connected critic.” He is both American citizen and Christian. He is both inside and outside. He appreciates and he criticizes. Above all, he displays a stance that combines both compassion and judgment, reminding us thereby that the God Christians worship is a God of judgment and of mercy. All who read this volume will find much in it to engage, to criticize, to savor.

With rich historical and cultural insight, Dale Kuehne tells the story of how the sexual revolution emerged. He convincingly demonstrates that the shifts are not inconsequential. Sadly, he is right–our very lives and the well-being of society are at stake. Sex and the iWorld is a great apologetic for God’s designs.–Dennis Hollinger, president and professor of Christian ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

This is a very important book–clarifying complex issues, jolting us out of complacency, and demanding action. Biblical Christians must confront this book’s stark challenge.–Ronald J. Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action

“Dale Kuehne has done a remarkable thing in this book. He has set today’s question of homosexual partnerships in the large historical, social, and moral context in which it deserves to be treated. Kuehne’s concern is with human love, marriage, family, the care of children, the unfolding generations, the quality of society and political community, and the character of the church. Considered in a broad historical framework and with sensitive Christian understanding, homosexuality and other hotly disputed issues of our day become clearly illuminated. Take the time you need to read and reflect on this book. The payback will be tremendous.”–James W. Skillen, president, Center for Public Justice

Gracious, astute, courageous, authentic–Dale Kuehne’s book offers just the kind of biblically formed ethical wisdom our generation desperately needs if it is to be led out of its current sexual darkness and pain into the light and healing of the Creator-Redeemer, whose own deepest desire is the fulfillment of all our deepest human desires.–Jonathan Chaplin, director, Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, Cambridge, UK

A superb accomplishment. Kuehne brings fresh perspective to our understanding of sexuality, relationships, culture, and public policy through his shrewd sense of cultural analysis and his unique identity as a political philosopher and theologically engaged pastor. The result is not only a compassionate and incisive analysis of past and present but also an intriguing portrait of what could and should be. Kuehne breathes new life into Christianity’s contribution to the conversation about the fundamental nature of the human person.–Stanton L. Jones, provost, Wheaton College

In Sex and the iWorld, Dale Kuehne combines the micro-level sensitivity and spirituality of a pastor with the macro-level range and relevance of a politics professor. The link between these two–and between the traditional tWorld and the (post)modern, individualistic iWorld–is a robust relational theology and sociology. Kuehne offers this relational approach as a way to deal publicly with the most personal issues of identity and sexuality in Western societies. His approach is rooted in the Christian tradition but avoids alienating those not in tune with it by listening sensitively to the wider culture, particularly popular culture. You too may discover the relevance of U2 to the sexual anarchy of our age.–Gordon Preece, ethics consultant and adjunct lecturer, Ridley College, Melbourne

Erotic longing and its relationship to individual happiness and social stability have been the subject of serious thought at least since Plato wrote twenty-four centuries ago. Dale Kuehne’s modern examination of this topic reminds us that many of the great philosopher’s insights about the relation of physical sensation and the longing of the human soul to individual happiness are as applicable today as they were in ancient Athens.--Henry Olsen, vice president and director, National Research Initiative, American Enterprise Institute


The Church needs to be reminded–and needs to make the case–that ‘the biblical teaching that limits sexual relations to a marriage relationship between a man and a woman is actually beneficial to all.’ And that’s exactly what Kuehne does in his book, in a direct, challenging, but ultimately compassionate way. Every human, he says, is on a ‘never-ending quest for acceptance, love, and fulfillment.’ But these things can never be found in the iWorld–by asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ So instead of being subsumed by the iWorld culture, the Church has the ‘rWorld’ to offer. The rWorld understands that God created people for relationships–and that we find our deepest fulfillment in relationship with Him, and in living a life rich in self-giving, not self-satisfying relationships. And that makes Kuehne’s book, Sex and the iWorld, a worthy read.–Chuck Colson,

Very highly recommended. . . . Wise, serious, and important. We are thrilled at the interdisciplinary, ecumenical–and, finally, very, very useful–nature of this wide-ranging book. . . . This is a book about the very nature of the human person–and the ways in which our individualistic culture . . . has deformed our understandings and our practices. We live, sadly, in an iWorld of autonomy and contracts. Kuehne boldly and freshly asks us to think more deeply and live more radically, into a rWorld (relationship world) of mutuality and covenant. . . . Hardly anything could be more urgent.–Byron Borger,

Sex and the iWorld is neither diatribe nor moral treatise. It’s a humble invitation to reason together about how best to find meaning and fulfilment in life. iWorld inhabitants of every persuasion can find illuminating points to ponder in Kuehne’s words.--Terrell Clemmons, Salvo

This challenging textbook succeeds in many ways. With thoughtfulness and inclusive scope, Kuehne posits that during the past 100 years, we’ve been transitioning from the tWorld, where traditional morality reigned and family was at the hub, to the iWorld, centered on the immediate desires of the individual. . . . Ultimately, he advocates the rWorld, a biblical relational paradigm for sexual and personal fulfillment, with a not-to-miss discussion of ‘Sex and the Soul.’. . . Sex and the iWorld is an excellent master’s course on modern sexuality and relationships.--Andrea Bailey Willits, YouthWorker Journal

An important new book.–Ron Sider, Prism

Discussions on sexuality and sex education can often be difficult in youth ministry circles. With recent reports bemoaning the efficacy of the abstinence only approach it seems we need to broaden the conversation. Kuehne’s contribution does just that. As a pastor who teaches politics Kuehne has a unique perspective on how sexuality affects society at large. . . . Kuehne pulls from theology, philosophy . . . history, and the oft neglected but vitally important discipline of sociology to provide a well-rounded and erudite discussion. Kuehne’s work will greatly enhance the dialogue on sexuality among any church leaders, particularly youth and college ministers. . . . Kuehne’s ‘rearticulation’ is a breath of fresh air to the sexuality and sex education conversation. His call for our migration to the ‘rWorld’ should be heeded by all Christians especially those working with young people.–Casey McCollum, Journal of Youth Ministry

Interviews and Blogs

June 5, 2013, an interview with Andrew West of the Australian Broacasting Company

April 26, 2013, a blogpost by Kristin Rudolph of the IRD

December 19, 2012, an interview With Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse about my book, Sex and the iWorld

October 24, 2012, My First Public Interview about my Experience with Childhood Sexual Abuse

October 1, 2012

Sept. 19, 2012, Interview with Justine Toh from CPX

Sept. 10, 2012, Religion in the US Presidential Election, Video Interview with Simon Smart from CPX

August 2, 2012, A Political Pilgrim, Video Interview with Simon Smart from the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX) (Sydney, Australia)

May 14, 2012

April 19,2012

April 16, 2012

Dec. 14, 2011

Nov. 5, 2011

Oct. 27, 2011

Oct. 21, 2011

August 20, 2011

July 25, 2011

June 2011 Radio Interview on Light FM (Sydney, Australia):

June 17, 2011: Another review from Down Under,

June 2, 2011: A Review from the Land down Under,

July 27, 2010, Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint,

Dr. David Alexander’s May 2010 Baccalaureate Address at Northwest Nazarene University in which Sex and the iWorld plays a central role.

Mark Pearson:

March 2009 ForeWord Magazine makes Sex and the iWorld one of the Finalists for Book of the Year.

March 25, 2010,

March 19, 2010, Christopher Benson named Sex and the iWorld as one of the books he expects will significantly influence him in the future.

October 22, 2009, Mark Earley highlights Sex and the iWorld on Breakpoint.

October 5, 2009, Charles Colson highlights Sex and the iWorld on Breakpoint.

September 29, 2009, Dan Whitmarsh reviews Sex in the iWorld.


11 Responses to “About “Sex and the iWorld” (with Latest Reviews)”

  1. Brian Emmet said

    Picked up your book via Ken Myers’ “Mars Hill” and am enjoying it very much. I’m currently in “The Brave New World” chapter. My Q: how do things like smoking bans, trans fat bans, and certain kinds of over-the-top environmental agitations (e.g., PETA) fit your analysis of the iW’s “taboos”, particularly the first two?

  2. dalekuehne said

    Thanks for your thoughtful question. I’ll attempt a brief reply. One of the most important questions facing the iWorld is the degree to which it can grant freedom without losing coherence and social fragmentation. Outside of Anarchy, I do not know of a school of philosophy that believes the iWorld can continue to expand individual freedom without a resulting social breakdown. If that is the case, in a world of moral relativism, it is easy to imagine an increasing amount of political correctness enforced coercively. I believe that is what you are witnessing in the examples you have given. As you will note, I don’t believe that iWorld is a philosophically coherent world. It exists to the degree that people believe it exists. History is full of examples of philosophically inconsistent cultures and civilizations. You’ve identified a challenge facing the iWorld. Can it sustain itself without moving in a totalitarian direction? Can it mature and embrace individual freedom, or in the absence of a coherent and generally agreed upon moral framework will iWorld government move in a totalitarian direction?

  3. Brian Emmet said

    Sorry to be slow in responding. (By the way, I’m a pastor in Arlington, MA, so I “know what you mean” about not being entirely sure how to engage these issues with my folks! That’s why I’m finding your book so helpful.) I suppose, following your comment above, that the iWorld is also an imaginary world: there’s a sense in which it doesn’t truly exist, because it can’t.

  4. dalekuehne said

    The working title of my book was” Standing on the Threshold of an Inconceivable Age.” The phrase comes from Perry Miller, and for me in encapsulates what it is look out into a postmodern future.

    • Brian Emmet said

      I heard an interview–I believe it was on NPR–with Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings” and who recently came out as a gay man. He stated that every time he’s in a hotel, if he finds a Gideon Bible (or equivalent), he tears out the page with Leviticus 18 on it. Can’t remember if he tore out other pages as well–one wonders why not–but it seemed like the iWorld version of Jefferson’s excision of all the parts of the NT that “obviously” didn’t belong there.

  5. Fantastic post! This could aid lots of people find out about this matter. Do you want to incorporate video clips together with these? It could undoubtedly help out. Your reason was spot on and owing to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here

  6. Bruce Meyer said

    Hi you all. Brian Emmet is my pastor. Brian, Dale and I have talked a little and planned to spend more time together. Maybe we could do something.

  7. Cellplearm said

    I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it is awesome.

  8. […] About “Sex and the iWorld” (with Latest Reviews) […]

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