Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

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As a teenager and young man, Justin Lee felt deeply torn. Nicknamed "God Boy" by his peers, he knew that he was called to a life in the evangelical Christian ministry. But Lee harbored a secret: He also knew that he was gay. In this groundbreaking book, Lee recalls the events--his coming out to his parents, his experiences with the "ex-gay" movement, and his in-depth study of the Bible--that led him, eventually, to self-acceptance.

But more than just a memoir, TORN provides insightful, practical guidance for all committed Christians who wonder how to relate to gay friends or family members--or who struggle with their own sexuality. Convinced that "in a culture that sees gays and Christians as enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position to bring peace," Lee demonstrates that people of faith on both sides of the debate can respect, learn from, and love one another.
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About the author

Justin Lee is the founder and executive director of The Gay Christian Network (GCN), a nonprofit, interdenominational organization working to increase dialogue between gays and Christians and support people on both sides wrestling with related issues.

A passionate Christian from a conservative evangelical background, Justin thought he knew everything there was to know about the Christian approach to homosexuality-until unexpected events turned his world upside down and forced him to reconsider everything he believed. Today, his organization works with individuals, families, and churches to stop the debate from tearing people apart.

Justin's work has garnered national attention and praise from gays and Christians from across the theological spectrum. He has been featured in numerous print, radio, and television venues including Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper 360, the Associated Press, and a front page article in The New York Times. He is the director of the 2009 documentary Through My Eyes about the debate's impact on young Christians, and the co-host of popular long-running podcast GCN Radio. Justin lives in Raleigh, NC.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Jericho Books
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Published on
Nov 13, 2012
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781455514328
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Religion / Christian Life / Personal Growth
Religion / Christian Theology / Ethics
Religion / Sexuality & Gender Studies
Social Science / LGBT Studies / Gay Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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2017 Foreword INDIES Award Finalist In an age where neither society nor the church knows what to do with gay Christians, Greg Coles tells his own story. Let's make a deal, you and me. Let's make promises to each other. I promise to tell you my story. The whole story. I'll tell you about a boy in love with Jesus who, at the fateful onset of puberty, realized his sexual attractions were persistently and exclusively for other guys. I'll tell you how I lay on my bed in the middle of the night and whispered to myself the words I've whispered a thousand times since: "I'm gay." I'll show you the world through my eyes. I'll tell you what it's like to belong nowhere. To know that much of my Christian family will forever consider me unnatural, dangerous, because of something that feels as involuntary as my eye color. And to know that much of the LGBTQ community that shares my experience as a sexual minority will disagree with the way I've chosen to interpret the call of Jesus, believing I've bought into a tragic, archaic ritual of self-hatred. But I promise my story won't all be sadness and loneliness and struggle. I'll tell you good things too, hopeful things, funny things, like the time I accidentally came out to my best friend during his bachelor party. I'll tell you what it felt like the first time someone looked me in the eyes and said, "You are not a mistake." I'll tell you that joy and sorrow are not opposites, that my life has never been more beautiful than when it was most brokenhearted. If you'll listen, I promise I'll tell you everything, and you can decide for yourself what you want to believe about me.
Encourage the Church to address the gift of human sexuality—how to view it, how to deal with it, and how it relates to spirituality

A Theology of Gay and Lesbian Inclusion: Love Letters to the Church challenges traditional church teachings that brand homosexuality as immoral, using pertinent scripture from the central Gospel to promote a full acceptance of gay and lesbian Christians. This powerful book questions the assumption that gay Christians are morally inferior, presenting testimony from gay men and lesbians about prejudice they’ve experienced at the hands of the Church—and its straight members. Written as a series of ten letters, the book addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the church and appeals for a new understanding and commitment to the acceptance of its gay members.

From the author:
The purpose of this book is to equip you, Christian warrior of the Gospel of peace, to stand against those who use the Bible to resist change—even that change of which our Lord would approve. In one sense, there is nothing revolutionary about this book. It is a book that respects tradition—but only up to a point: that point where tradition has to change, to give way to what the Holy Spirit is showing us in our day of the mind of Christ. And this is not revolutionary, because tradition has had to change before; it is a developing truth, born of the corporate experience of the children of God, and open to our claiming the exercise of our God-given gift of reason.

A Theology of Gay and Lesbian Inclusion includes a series of letters that progress from establishing the purpose and credibility of the author, to developing grounding in Scripture and experience, to appealing to the reader to act as an ally of gay and lesbian Christians. The letters include:
“Dear Christian Believer,” which aims for the “bull’s-eye” of the reader’s faith
“Dear Sexual Being,” which offers a fresh look at a sensitive topic
“Dear Confused Church Member,” which discusses what gay people are “really” like
“Dear Concerned Church Member,” which discusses what gay people really want
“Dear Bible Explorer,” which discusses what the Bible really says
“Dear Person Trying to Do the Right Thing,” from “being” to “doing”
and much moreA Theology of Gay and Lesbian Inclusion provides a friendly and informal Biblical rationale for alternatives to traditional church teachings, encouraging the acceptance of gay and lesbian people as fully moral and fully Christian.
“Author David Prosen speaks generously and with wisdom out of his own experience of same-sex attractions: without love, all the rules and commandments in the world fall flat. It is not for us to fix or change the person with same-sex attractions; our place is simply to love them. Just like anyone else, people with same-sex attractions first need to hear that their heavenly Father cares for them. Prosen reminds us of the power of affirming love in our own experience. When someone takes the time to just be with us and tells us the truth in a compassionate way, we are more likely to receive it. Each of us, then, as spiritual mothers and fathers, may be a vehicle for Christ’s affirming love shining in the loneliness of same-sex attractions.” — Suzanne Baars, PhD, Catholic psychotherapist and founder of the Baars Institute

“David Prosen has written a powerful booklet that I wish every Catholic adult would read. With incredible authenticity and transparency, he takes the reader into the interior reality — so often marked by wounds and pain — of those who experience same-sex attraction. Yet he also points the way to hope and healing in Christ, and the ways the Body of Christ can be a source of healing. This book will change the way you see the world.” — Dr. John Bergsma, PhD, Catholic Bible scholar, author, speaker

“With compassion and honesty, David Prosen reveals an empowering vision for sharing the liberating love of Jesus Christ with men and women trapped in the culture’s false messaging and still longing for authentic love.” — Lisa Mladinich, host of Shalom World TV’s WOMAN: Strong Faith, True Beauty

About the Author David Prosen is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville with an MA in counseling. He has worked as a counselor in both secular and Catholic settings, treating many different conditions, including depression, anxiety, and more. David was featured in Blackstone’s film The Third Way: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church and has had several articles published in Lay Witness, Crisis Magazine and LifeSiteNews. He has given numerous presentations across the country on same-sex attractions from a Catholic perspective.

This collection considers how religious identity interplays with other forms and contexts of identity, specifically those related to sexual identity. It asks how these intersections are formed, negotiated and resisted across time and places, including the UK, Europe, North America, Australia, and the Global South. Questions around ‘queer’ engagements in same-sex marriages, civil partnerships and other practices (e.g. adoption) have created a number of provoking stances and policy provisions – but what remains unanswered is how people experience and situate themselves within sometimes competing, or ‘contradictory’, moments as ‘religious queers’ who may be tasked with ‘queering religion’. Additionally, the presumed paradoxes of ‘marriage’, queer sexuality, religion and youth combine to generate a noteworthy generational absence. This leads to questions about where ‘religious queers’ reside, resist and relate experiences of intersecting religious and sexual lives.

In looking at interconnectedness, this collection offers international contributions which bridge the ‘contradictions’ in queering religion and in making visible ‘religious queers.’ It provides insight into older and younger people’s understandings of religiosity, queer cultures, and religious groups. A small but active religious minority in the US has received much attention for its anti-gay political activity; much less attention has been paid to the more positive, supportive role that religious-based groups play in e.g. providing housing, education and political advocacy for queer youth. Queer methodologies and intersectional approaches offer a lens both theoretically and methodologically to uncover the salience of related social divisions and identities. This collection is both innovative and sensitive to ‘blended’ identities and their various enactments.

“God and the Gay Christian is a game changer. Winsome, accessible, and carefully researched, every page is brought to life by the author’s clear love for Scripture and deep, persistent faith. With this book, Matthew Vines emerges as one of my generation’s most important Christian leaders, not only on matters of sexuality but also on what it means to follow Jesus with wisdom, humility, and grace.  Prepare to be challenged and enlightened, provoked and inspired. Read with an open heart and mind, and you are bound to be changed.”
— Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood and Faith Unraveled

As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to someday share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships.
 
Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality. With care and precision, Vines asked questions such as:
 
• Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not?
• How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate?
• What does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah really say about human relationships?
• Can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated, not chosen?
• What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations?
 
Unique in its affirmation of both an orthodox faith and sexual diversity, God and the Gay Christian is likely to spark heated debate, sincere soul search­ing, even widespread cultural change. Not only is it a compelling interpretation of key biblical texts about same-sex relations, it is also the story of a young man navigating relationships with his family, his hometown church, and the Christian church at large as he expresses what it means to be a faithful gay Christian.
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