Top critical review
An honest account but ultimately departing from the traditional understanding of scripture
14 June 2013
In this book, Justin Lee describes his own journey of self-discovery, coming from a loving Christian home in America, to realising the truth of his own same-sex attractions. He moves from denial ("this was just a phase"), through telling someone on an anonymous chat room that he was bisexual, to eventually admitting that he was exclusively attracted to other men. He then describes his "coming out" to his parents and pastor and the wider college/church community.
Interestingly, Justin Lee looks at the various ideas for the causation of same-sex attractions and challenges the widely-held view amongst Christians that it stems from a poor quality relationship with the same-sex parent. His experience growing up was that "my parents raised me well, they gave me plenty of love, and I was a happy kid."
Justin Lee's stories of how well-meaning Christians in the church and the `ex-gay' world tried to fit him into their theories make for embarrassing reading - let's not be that sort of church in this country! He then goes on to consider his other options: celibacy, the sex-saturated `gay lifestyle', and even leaving Christianity, although none of these options appeal to him. Eventually, in chapters 12 & 13, Justin Lee re-evaluates the Bible, telling how he came to the conclusion that the Bible does not prohibit "modern-day committed gay relationships". His arguments are not new but, by this point in the book, the reader may well have warmed to him as a genuine and truth-seeking young man. So it seems quite harsh to have to brand his conclusions as false teaching. It almost feels like having to step into the clumsy shoes of the judgemental Christians he describes. However, the Bible does say that teachers have a weighty responsibility (Matt 18:6) and we need to be careful to handle God's Word correctly (2 Tim 2:15).