While the churches continue to struggle to come to terms with the needs of their lesbian gay and bisexual (LGB) members, there are few books that attempt to give a voice to LGB Christians themselves. This book draws on the experiences of a large number of LGB people, their families, friends, ministers and congregations.
No other book combines honest experience, advice, Biblical study and prayer in the same way. It is a moving account of the reality of life for LGB Christians and those who walk with them. It is essential reading not only for LGB people themselves, but also for their families, friends, and churches.
This book is a must for any lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans (LGBT) person, or any member of their families, who may have experienced difficulties in coming to terms with their faith, or with attitudes within their church towards their sexuality. It focuses on vivid accounts from real people of their experiences, good and bad, within their faith communities. The authors discuss and validate these personal accounts and the book comes alive because of them. Personal survival journeys are respectfully outlined - whether it is to leave the church, or to engage differently; maybe by rejecting certain theologies which have been used to condemn them, but still remaining involved and active within the church community. It is a valuable addition to the wider LGBT literature which addresses issues of faith, as it explores different strategies that people in similar challenging situations have employed. It is rightly called "a survival guide" and indeed describes how some LGBT people have managed to carve out a career path within the church. There are chapters on relating to God, working through depression, coming out in church, in working with young people, and on love and marriage. It is an easily accessible book in terms of reading - easy to dip into. The authors are a clinical psychologist and a writer and editor.
This is an excellent book - well written without being academic, God-centered without being pious, and good-humoured without getting silly. Not bad for a serious book about a difficult and complex subject.
If you are looking for theological answers about 'the gay debate', you won't find them here - but if you want to hear from gay and lesbian Christians about how they experience God and the Church, and the dilemmas involved, you will learn much from it. Should you come out to your house group? Is celibacy a real option these days? How can a straight parent support their gay son or daughter? These and many other topics are dealt with in the light of the real experiences of 50 Christians from many denominations. [One of the really impressive things about this book is the simple fact of managing to include, on an equal basis, voices from the Salvation Army, the Roman Catholic church, Methodists, Baptists, Anglicans and more!]
For readers on the evangelical side, this may be an uncomfortable read as it will challenge some more conservative ideas - but the honesty of the authors shines through, as does their dedication to God. For those who have given up on the Church in despair at not fitting in, read this and take hope. I don't agree with everything in it, but I learned a lot.
I must admit that I bought this book (from a gay bookshop) more out of a sense of duty to support gay Christian efforts rather than any burning desire to read yet another book on LGB Christian issues. As a lesbian Christian who's long wrestled to integrate my faith with my sexuality, I once read every book available on the issue. Now I actively avoid them, weary of reading the same arguments again and again. And yet I did read this one- maybe because it's easily presented in bite-sized pieces, maybe because it's gentle and there's no pressure to read it from cover to cover. I'm so glad I did. This is the book I was looking for all along. It doesn't rehash the 'is it scriptural, is it moral' debate. But it also doesn't skirt around it. Instead, it cuts right to the heart of how to live. I found a lot of comfort in reading about other people's experiences, and I was inspired by the creative ways they have found to move forward. I particularly appreciated the discussion of mental health problems- often another taboo topic within the church. I realised reading this book how much I'd given up on the whole church thing, but I feel hopeful now that I might be ready to give it another go- armed with the tips, ideas and resources from this book.