These are some helpful books we've found to be helpful for individuals, churches, and church leaders. Please let us know if you have other recommendations
Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, by Justin Lee
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.
God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, by Matthew Vines
The landmark book exploring what the Bible actually says—and doesn’t say—about same-sex relationships. As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to some-day 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:
Unclobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality, by Colby Martin
Churches in America are experiencing an unprecedented fracturing due to their belief and attitude toward the LGBTQ community. Armed with only six passages in the Bible—often known as the “clobber passages”—the traditional Christian position has been one that stands against the full inclusion of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Unclobber reexamines each of those frequently quoted passages of Scripture, alternating with author Colby Martin’s own story of being fired from an evangelical megachurch when they discovered his stance on sexuality.
Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, by Austen Hartke
Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians provides access into an underrepresented and misunderstood community and will change the way readers think about transgender people, faith, and the future of Christianity. By introducing transgender issues and language and providing stories of both biblical characters and real-life narratives from transgender Christians living today, Hartke helps readers visualize a more inclusive Christianity, equipping them with the confidence and tools to change both the church and the world.
Changing Our Mind: Definitive Edition of the Landmark Call for Inclusion of LGBTQ Christians with Response to Critics, by David P. Gushee
Christian denominations and churches everywhere struggle with the issue of LGBTQ inclusion. With growing scientific evidence, our wider society has taken big steps, but too many religious families and communities have not kept up. As much as ever, many people still experience deep condemnation by evangelical and other churches, getting kicked out or altogether leaving. Dr. David Gushee offers a powerful, inspiring message of hope and healing by helping Christians to return to Bible study, prayer, and reflection in a way that creates a vision for a more inclusive church.
Arguably America's leading Christian ethicist, Gushee has written many helpful books for churches, discussion groups, and individuals. He is the author of the "Evangelical Declaration Against Torture" and drafted the "Evangelical Climate Initiative." His Kingdom Ethics is on pastors' bookshelves nationwide. Now, in what he describes as the most important book of his career as a Christian teacher, Gushee gives us this encouraging discussion on how he changed his mind.
From his own careful Bible study, research, and prayer, Gushee takes us along an conversational theological journey. In one book, he concisely marks out every single component of historic Christian sexual morality. He covers all of the relevant biblical passages and all the theological positions, including the key argument of creation. With a careful study of context and biblical language, he walks us through a principled discussion that is respectful of traditionalists while calling for inclusion and the end of contempt. This definitive third edition also includes Gushee's response to critics and a study guide for small group discussion.
Ministry Among God's Queer Folk: LGBTQ Pastoral Care, Second Edition, by Bernard Schlager and David Kundtz
This practical pastoral care handbook, written by two self-described queer people of faith, covers the basic skills that religious caregivers and ministry students need in order to be effective, enlightened, and supportive pastoral care providers to LGBTQ persons in congregational and other community settings.
Authors Schlager and Kundtz distinguish pastoral care from pastoral counseling: while the latter is reserved for those with special training in the practice of therapy, the former can be developed by ministers and lay people with sufficient education and practice.
This book requires of the reader no previous experience with LGBTQ communities and treats the following topics: the definition and functions of pastoral care; effective care in challenging times; coming out of the closet; creating communities of care; and caring for a wide variety of LGBTQ relationships. The authors provide case studies throughout the book to ground and illustrate their theology of pastoral care.
Wandering Through the Fire: A Journey of Pain and Purpose
Volume 1 - The Awakening
By Cyrus Cormier
September 11, 2021, High Tide Publications, 80 pages, Non-Fiction, retail $7.95 available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Rarely can a synopsis of a person’s life bring so much to the reader. Reading through Cyrus’ memoir of his early years will give all of us pause to consider the effects of the wrongs imposed upon African Americans. African Americans endure the effects of racism daily, directly or indirectly. Because of that we ALL suffer the consequences of every racist act, many of which are systemic and almost passive. Monuments to Confederate heroes are latent reminders to African Americans that our society still has built-in racism that limits access for people of color.
While White people don't face this sort of face-slap every day, here's a book that illustrates how one person arose from the hate, vile comments, verbal abuse and overt racism to transform that into love and compassion for all.
A star athlete in college and Captain of a Basketball Championship team, Cyrus graduated and got his first job in the professional world and met racism head-on. Cyrus Cormier’s Wandering Through The Fire, is an inspiring story of a black man, born in a racist-riddled America, and his journey through life with the inspiration and support of his family. Through the strength of family, Cyrus is able to transform the pain of racism he endured into healing for all; he shows you how to do that in your life! Reading his personal story, he shows us how to transform the hatred he endured into acceptance, forgiveness and love.
This is a book that everyone needs to read.
Lynn Underwood, Book Editor Williamsburg Baptist Church and Author - High Rise and The Last Stone
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