In "Gay Theology Without Apology," Gary David Comstock has made an outstanding contribution to the growing body of "gay-friendly" Christian literature. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and a university professor, Comstock brings both sensitivity and intelligence to his subject. Ultimately, his is a forward-thinking and inclusive Christian theology which affirms that gay love and sexuality are not only compatible with the Christian walk, but that the Christian community as a whole is impoverished by the exclusion of self-affirming lesbians and gay men.
Comstock incorporates both revealing autobiographical passages and incisive scholarly work into his explorations of several biblical texts. He also has an admirable sense of humility; in his introduction he notes that he does not claim to have constructed a definitive pro-gay Christian theology. Rather, he writes, "My intention is not to speak for others, but to add my voice to others' and to encourage others to speak."
Comstock's readings of biblical passages are fascinating. I particularly liked his bold re-reading of the book of Leviticus; unlike some who selectively harp on a scattered handful of verses, Comstock looks at the entire book in larger political, historical, and cultural contexts. Also remarkable is his analysis of the book of Esther: he sees in the character of Queen Vashti a "role model for lesbians and gay men."
In his explorations of the Bible, Comstock incorporates quotes and ideas from many sources: poet Gary Snyder, literary scholar Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, African-American writer Audre Lorde, and more. Although he is open to other voices, his own vision is strong and compelling. He is particularly adept at taking cliches and assumptions and turning them upside down.
Gary David Comstock is a gay Christian whose work is relevant to all moral people, regardless of their own sexual identity or religious orientation. Regarding the Bible, Comstock writes, "I have begun to engage it as I would a friend" (Chapter 1). Engage Comstock's own book as you would a friend, and you might come away with an experience that is both intellectually and spiritually rewarding.