Justin Lee, a gay man and devout Christian, bridges the gaps between his faith and sexuality in this insightful and touching memoir.
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.
Lee, founder of Gay Christian Network, attempts to call a truce in the gays-versus-Christians cultural war with this autobiographical account. His experiences inside Christian communities, including ex-gay ministries, have convinced Lee that the church is hampering its own best intentions. The nondoctrinaire approach he offers, through examples and concrete suggestions, requires both sides to allow greater space for differing viewpoints and more open listening. He argues that gays need to be more welcoming to the religious, including gay celibates. On the other side, Christians need to change an approach that casts sexual minorities as sinners by definition and fixates on changing or healing. His tactics might seem too gentle for more radical aspirations, but his tone radiates a genuine concern and belief in progress through slow, personal evolution. The lens of one gay Christian's life helps bring home the political message, and Lee's willingness to admit that both sides have good intentions provides a much needed break from the rancor of the debate. Both LGBT individuals and Christians will benefit from the modeling of a kinder, more accommodating navigation of this culture war.
A must read
Ignorance on the topic of homosexuality and Christianity has plagued far too many young Christians for far too long. It has left scares of severe depression, anxiety, loneliness. It has driven many people from their faith, and still many others to suicide. I know because I’ve been there. I’ve been at the point where because of what the church was telling me, I felt like the only option for my life was to end it. It’s books and testimonies like this that saved my life. The oppression of the LGBT+ community in the church has gone on far too long. By reading this book and educating yourself, you can help put an end to it. If you and more people like you understand this topic more, you will save the lives of people like me.
Great read for "side A" or "side B" Christians and anyone in between. I have been looking for something that could verbalize my feelings and Justin nailed it. This book is about Grace above all. Definitely worth the read.