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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable lesson in discipleship, 5 July 2011
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This review is from: Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality(Deckled Edge) (Paperback)
I hope every Christian reads this book. It is a window into the experience of a gay evangelical, but it is also a story about discipleship - what it means to follow Jesus in the face of overwhelming challenges. I think that everyone, whether they are looking in from the outside or struggling through on the inside, will learn and benefit from Hill's observations and stories.

The blurb is accurate, and phrases the content of the book very well: "In Washed and Waiting, Wesley Hill writes for gay Christians and those who love them. Part-memoir, part theological reflection, Hill shares the struggles that gay Christians face as they seek to live faithful to God's 'no' to homosexuality...He advocates neither unqualified 'healing' for those who struggle, nor their accommodation to temptation, but rather faithfulness in the midst of brokenness."

Hill shares stories of homosexuals who strive to remain celibate in light of their conviction that the gospel demands it. He tells his own story, along with those of Henri Nouwen and Gerard Manley Hopkins, and draws on writings from CS Lewis, Rowan Williams and others as he tries to explain his own understanding and experience. There are some rock-hard, hard-won truths in here, and they are all the more powerful because the book is not a polemic. He is not trying to convince anyone of a particular position: he takes a starting point - that of celibacy for those with a same-sex attraction - and is writing to comfort, to help others to understand, to show the people in his position that they are not alone. I think he succeeds in this. If you want to get a sense of the tone of the book, I recommend the short videos on YouTube of Hill discussing the book.

In some ways, this book reminds me of A Grief Observed by CS Lewis. Both books start with the authors' experience and then apply the gospel to it. That is how discipleship must work, and this example of discipleship lived out deserves to be widely read.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Jul 2011 13:41:51 BDT
This sounds to me remarkably like a manual of psychological and spiritual self-abuse - how to reject your God-given sexuality and bury it in the ground. Certainly the last thing needed by gay Christians who are still on the journey to healthy acceptance of their natural, unbroken sexuality and whose need for loving sexual relationships is as real and as legitimate as that of their heterosexual brothers and sisters.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jul 2011 09:38:22 BDT
Thanks for the comment. The book is not about how to "bury" your sexuality at all - Hill is writing, in part, about how to be honest and open about your sexuality, even if you believe that Christians are called not to have sex with someone of the same sex. And it certainly isn't a "manual" or book of rules: it's primarily a collection of stories and insights that shed light on the central theme.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jul 2011 13:41:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Oct 2012 20:00:42 BDT
Thank you for that correction Mr Fross. Perhaps "manual" should be emended to read "chronicle". Whatever, it does not sound to me like a healthy pattern for a gay Christian (or non-Christian) to follow. I'm all in favour, of course, of people being open and honest about their sexuality, but it is anything but helpful, either to themselves or to others, that they should represent homosexuality as a form of "brokenness" to be struggled with. There's nothing broken about it.

As to the matter of burying, I believe that a gay person's need for a gay relationship is as real and as legitimate as a straight person's need for a straight relationship, and that to deny or suppress that need is indeed comparable to burying one's talents in the ground. Some people may, of course, feel called to celibacy or may prefer it, but I emphatically reject the idea that celibacy is a moral obligation for gays.

I must say, however, that I do like the title "Washed and Waiting". It brings into my mind the picture of a guy who has just had a shower and has generally spruced himself up, and is now waiting for his boyfriend so that they can go out together for a really good night on the town. Whoop, whoop!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2012 13:24:46 GMT
S. James says:
Of course you would say that William, because secular society purely does what it 'feels' is right or instinctive. The dangerous issue lies therein, because it is a complete and utter fallacy to believe 'just because it feels good I should do it' and is so against what the Bible teaches. Personally, for Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction having a militant, aggressive, bigoted homosexual lobby in their faces is far from helpful and people HAVE to realise that for a Christian their identity is in Christ and what he did on the Cross (paid for our brokenness aka 'sin'), not as a homosexual. In a free society, of course I believe it is right those who identify with a homosexual lifestyle are free to live their lives without persecution, that is obvious. However, for Christians with same-sex attraction we are called to be set apart for God. Don't get me wrong, Wesley Hill in his book is quite plain and clear about how this is quite a hard ask at times, but with Christ's family we are not alone. Philippians 4:13: "I can do everything through Him [Jesus] who gives me strength".

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2012 13:35:45 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2012 10:44:45 BDT
S. James, you could just as easily say that people HAVE to realise that for a Christian their identity is in Christ and what he did on the Cross (paid for our brokenness aka 'sin'), not as a heterosexual, and that for Christians with opposite-sex attraction we are called to be set apart for God. And it would be equally nonsensical.

"Just because it feels good I should do it" is, in fact, what guides the behaviour of most people, and if you seriously think otherwise, then you must be fairly detached from real life as real people live it. It is, on the whole, a fairly sound rule to follow, unless there is a good reason why you shouldn't do it - which, of course, there not infrequently is. In the case of a gay man having a sexual relationship with another guy, other things being equal, is there a good reason why he shouldn't? No doubt some people would say yes. I would say no. A gay man who has been persuaded that gay sex, irrespective of the circumstances, is a sin and that he must therefore live a life of perpetual sexual continence, whether he likes it or not, is, I'm afraid, a victim of psychological and spiritual abuse.

P.S. I must observe however, that there is one very important difference between homosexual and heterosexual sex. As every schoolboy knows, "It feels good" is seldom, if ever, the reason why heterosexual people have sex. I have understood correctly, haven't I?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2013 22:46:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Feb 2013 22:49:56 GMT
Kevin Sell says:
I notice that S. James refers to Christians having a militant, aggressive, bigoted homosexual lobby in their faces.
If that applies to me simply because I want to be treated just like everyone else and to have equality, then I accept the description without apology. You can call me any abusive names you wish, and I still want equality, fairness and to be free of discrimination. Gay people are no more called to celibacy than anyone else. To be celibate is a deeply personal decision, hopefully made for good reasons, and self-disgust (arising from brain-washing) about one's sexual orientation is not a good reason. Loving and caring relationships are as important to gay people as straight people. I should have some idea, I have been with my lovely partner for over 20 years. and we have a good life.
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