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Gay Theology Without Apology [Paperback]

Gary David Comstock
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.12
Price: £11.57 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Nov 2009
"In these fresh and bold essays, Gary David Comstock finds God's liberating connection in scripture-from-the-underside, in nontraditional traditions, and in body experience. Candidly self-revelatory, he shows how only in taking our own lives seriously can we be lovers of the world. Gay Theology without Apology is ... a charter of hope for gay/lesbian/bisexual Christians on the edges of the church." James B. Nelson
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers (30 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160899175X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608991754
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 14.8 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,887,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best intro to queer religious practice 5 Mar 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Gary's book is valuable in its simplicity and eloquence. The essays, empty of jargon but rich in personal narrative, evince a deep love for humanity and a genuine exploration of what a queer-positive spiritual practice might mean. I wish I could get my mother to read it.Gary taught me at Wesleyan U., where he currently lectures in Sociology and is the Protestant Chaplain. He has edited a new book of critical essays, a book that looks a bit more dense and academic. But I haven't read it yet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No apologies here... 29 Dec 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
Comstock clearly announces his bias in the title, 'Gay Theology without Apology'. Comstock has absolutely no doubt about the destructive nature of homophobia, the catch-all phrase in current parlance to mean those who are opposed for whatever reason to homosexuality (I would like to see a different word developed -- the 'phobia' part implies more than it should be implying in many cases of my experience, and leaves little room for a reasonable difference of opinion).
Comstock's emphasis is on the well-being of the community and a reinterpretation of those parts of the community which do harm. Comstock's definition of sin 'is the violation of mutuality and reciprocity, typically in the form of dominance and submission' -- i.e., he sees the power-disparity between a man and woman as far more potentially sinful than a same-sex relationship would have. Comstock freely reinterprets scripture, saying 'the Bible is not a coherent rule book with a consistent, reliable and currently applicable list of sins' -- something I agree with, or else, we're all doomed because we none of us try to hold to all of them equally -- 'but it does provide some guidelines for naming and changing what is wrong.' This is the crucial point upon which the entire theological framework of Comstock's book turns -- how do we determine the boundaries of interpreting scripture to suit the present day situation?
And yes, I do mean interpret, after all, even those who are Biblical literalists sometimes fail to realise that 'to take the text literally' is an interpretation -- I do not discount literalism as something to take into account.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compassionate and thought provoking theology 21 Jan 2001
By Michael J. Mazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No apologies here... 22 July 2003
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Comstock clearly announces his bias in the title, 'Gay Theology without Apology'. Comstock has absolutely no doubt about the destructive nature of homophobia, the catch-all phrase in current parlance to mean those who are opposed for whatever reason to homosexuality (I would like to see a different word developed -- the 'phobia' part implies more than it should be implying in many cases of my experience, and leaves little room for a reasonable difference of opinion).
Comstock's emphasis is on the well-being of the community and a reinterpretation of those parts of the community which do harm. Comstock's definition of sin 'is the violation of mutuality and reciprocity, typically in the form of dominance and submission' -- i.e., he sees the power-disparity between a man and woman as far more potentially sinful than a same-sex relationship would have. Comstock freely reinterprets scripture, saying 'the Bible is not a coherent rule book with a consistent, reliable and currently applicable list of sins' -- something I agree with, or else, we're all doomed because we none of us try to hold to all of them equally -- 'but it does provide some guidelines for naming and changing what is wrong.' This is the crucial point upon which the entire theological framework of Comstock's book turns -- how do we determine the boundaries of interpreting scripture to suit the present day situation?
And yes, I do mean interpret, after all, even those who are Biblical literalists sometimes fail to realise that 'to take the text literally' is an interpretation -- I do not discount literalism as something to take into account.
Comstock ultimately sees the exclusion of the homosexual from community as a great sin, while asking those who consider homosexuality a sin to pinpoint the locus of the harm being done.
I find some of Comstock's methodology compelling, and some unsettling. Comstock says at the outset that 'Christian Scripture and tradition are not authorities from which I seek approval; rather they are resources from which I draw guidance and learn lessons' -- from which I take him to mean that he would not be wearing a WWJD arm bracelet. However, Comstock is forward in saying that this particular work represents 'A' gay theology, and not 'THE' definitive gay theology.
Far from definitive, but a series of issues that must be dealt with in the current climate of many denominations -- this book helps to clarify many topics.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply personal and moving 1 Mar 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Gary Comstock was the first openly gay man to be appointed as a chaplain at a major US university (Wesleyan Univ., in Connecticut). Although Comstock's background is in academia rather than churchwork, this book is hardly "academic" in the derogative sense. It is deeply personal and moving, yet managaing to be relevant to the average reader. For anyone who has questioned their faith because of the prejudice and intolerance in Christianity, I would recommend this book. It makes no apology for the intolerance of the Bible, but somehow managed to be all the more spiritually comforting. Anyone, queer or straight, will find guidance here.
5.0 out of 5 stars No need for apologies! 29 Nov 2010
By Harold D. Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great, well-rounded source material on queer theology. If you read the Bible to endorse homophobia, you should read this. But you probably won't.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best intro to queer religious practice 5 Mar 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Gary's book is valuable in its simplicity and eloquence. The essays, empty of jargon but rich in personal narrative, evince a deep love for humanity and a genuine exploration of what a queer-positive spiritual practice might mean. I wish I could get my mother to read it.Gary taught me at Wesleyan U., where he currently lectures in Sociology and is the Protestant Chaplain. He has edited a new book of critical essays, a book that looks a bit more dense and academic. But I haven't read it yet
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