A CAREFUL VIEW OF SCRIPTURE with Regard to LGBT Questions
Since I believe that the church needs to engage our culture, the resources on this page give a wide variety of viewpoints that we may find in various churches and in the world today. Since this is the case, it should be understood that the views expressed by myself and other Christians on this reference page may not necessarily reflect the official position of my / their respective denominations. And when I reference various books, DVD's, or web resources it should not be assumed to be an endorsement of the entirety of that resource.
What Christians Think About Homosexuality L.R. Holden While slightly dated this was one of the best books I initially read on understanding some of the complex views regarding homosexuality. It includes 6 unique views complete with point and counter-point arguments. If you want an in-depth point / counterpoint book this is it.
Walking the Bridgeless Canyon Kathy Baldock This is a brilliant book with excellent documentation. Kathy avoids the negative pitfalls that some books such as these tend to fall into. She gives an excellent history of the changing views about lgbt folks in society and the church, carefully covers the problems of exgay ministries, and discusses the problems that can occur in mixed orientation marriages. She avoids the political discussions and ends on a positive note mentioning people she knows by name who are supportive of the lgbt community. See also, Kathy's blog. Only one negative about this book... If you are Side B she does not really explore what that looks like and how Side B folks find value in this direction /calling / vocation. If you want to explore that you will need to go to websites such as A Queer Calling by my friends Sarah and Lindsey and/or read Eve Tushet's book ... see this and other similar books and resources below. (Side A)
Gay and Catholic Eve Tushet In this first book from an openly lesbian and celibate Catholic, widely published writer and blogger Eve Tushnet recounts her spiritual and intellectual journey from liberal atheism to faithful Catholicism and shows how gay Catholics can love and be loved while adhering to Church teaching. (Side B)
Making Sense of the Bible Adam Hamilton This is a well written book by Adam Hamilton ... a Methodist Minister. If you are looking for an easy to readcomprehensive guide to the bible as a whole ... how it came to be ... and the challenges of interpreting it for today, this is the book for you. Rather than focus on just one issue or one challenging question Pastor Hamilton applies his understanding to multiple challenging questions of today with some very different answers (such as the creation story ... abortion ... who gets to heaven and so forth) ... His view appears to be Side A though he is willing to operate within the Discipline of the United Methodist Church.
Understanding Sexual Identity - A Resource for Youth Ministry Dr. Mark Yarhouse This book has a Side B perspective though the author's counseling method is open to a Side A view. This is, in my opinion, better than his previous books in that it gives a broader more nuanced view of the many ways (or narratives) gay folks have in thinking about their same gender attractions. It presents useful guidelines for ministry that leaves the possibility open for future conversation and gives tips to avoid shaming ideologies/methodologies that can tend to drive the young person who has same gender attractions away from church. If you are fully affirming you may not be totally comfortable with this book (see Kathy Baldock's review) but it does avoid the reparative therapy route and does not condemn a Side A route. Side note: He and Dr. Throckmorton (another Christian Psychologist) put together a form of therapy that is supported by the APA and is not focused on orientation change. The therapy is called SITF and allows for client determination (Side A/Side B) in counseling. (Side B)
Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White Adam Hamilton Pastor Adam Hamilton is a respected pastor in the Methodist Church who has some unique ways of looking at issues that tend to polarize today's culture and church. I found this book to be very helpful. See also... this sermon by Dr. Hamilton (also listed on this page) (neutral)
Love is an Orientation Andrew Marin Andrew tends to avoid nailing down exactly what his view is at times. Though I sometimes find this frustrating others have found him to be very helpful. I have taken a course at the Marin Foundation and do appreciate their refusal to polarize the discussion. (neutral)
Changing our Mind David Gushee From Amazon description: "Every generation has its hot-button issue," writes David P. Gushee, "For us, it's the LGBT issue." In Changing Our Mind, Gushee takes the reader along his personal and theological journey as he changes his mind about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender inclusion in the Church. "For decades now, David Gushee has earned the reputation as America's leading evangelical ethicist. In this book, he admits that he has been wrong on the LGBT issue." writes Brian D. McLaren, author and theologian. (Side A)
Torn - Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays versus Christians Debate Justin Lee Justin Lee is the executive director of the Gay Christian Network. He carefully lays out his own journey in this and the various steps and missteps he took as he sought to reconcile his faith and his orientation. He comes to a Side A conclusion but is not negative towards those who embrace a Side B conclusion. (Side A and Side B)
Thou Shalt Not Love - What Evangelicals Really Say to Gays Dr. Patrick Chapman Dr. Chapman is an anthropologist who has a rather different view of scripture and cultures. His book is well referenced with the habits of multiple cultures down through history and how they responded to gender identity and sexuality questions. This is book is decidedly fully affirming. Some may find some of the author's phrasing with regard to the church and church leaders to be troubling. (Side A)
Adam Hamilton's Sermon Adam Hamilton is a Methodist minister. This is an excellent sermon by Pastor Hamilton that challenges us to rethink how we respond to gay and lesbian folks. (Side B to neutral)
Lead With Love Lead With Love is a 35-minute documentary. .. Per their website: Our goal is to provide comfort, information, and guidance for parents who have recently learned that their son or daughter is lesbian, gay, or bisexual. The film follows four families as they share their honest reactions to hearing that their child is gay, including the intense emotions, fears, and questions that it raised. Interviews with psychologists, teachers, and clergy provide factual answers to parents' most commonly asked questions, as well as concrete guidance to help parents keep their children healthy and safe during this challenging time. (Side A'ish)
Webinars Sisters of Thunder The series is hosted by Kathy Baldock, with Yvette Schneider, former policy analyst for Family Research Council, and head of Women’s Ministries at Exodus International. Every session includes teaching and answering your online questions. (Side A)
Websites with a Bridging Emphasis (somewhat in the middle space)
Family Acceptance This website is written by parents for parents. Per the website: We are not ministers or therapists with professional credentials to give you advice. We are small-town American neighbors. We do not have a political or cultural agenda. We are sharing our story in the hopes of providing for you what we could not get for ourselves: Support, comfort and understanding on a difficult issue. (Neutral to somewhat Side A)
Gay Ambassador Good power-point illustration on the need for a different kind of dialog. Per the website: This is by Anthony Venn-Brown Author, Speaker, LGBT Ambassador and Bridge Builder. Anthony was formerly a leader in the Assemblies of God and popular preacher in Australia’s mega-churches and overseas, for 22 years Anthony tried to change his homosexuality through psychiatric treatment, exorcisms, ‘ex-gay’ programs, 40-day fasts and daily struggles with his ‘problem’. Although happily married for 16 years with two daughters, he eventually had to admit that nothing had changed and in 1991 faced the toughest decision of his life; be true to himself, which would result in losing everything he held dear, or live a lie.
Gay Christian Network Founded in 2001, the Gay Christian Network (GCN) is a nonprofit Christian ministry dedicated to building bridges and offering support for those caught in the crossfire of one of today’s most divisive culture wars. Their membership includes both those on Side A (supporting same-sex marriage and relationships) and on Side B (promoting celibacy for Christians with same-sex attractions). What began as an organization to provide support to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Christians has grown into a worldwide movement for compassion with many straight members as well. GCN helps create safe spaces both online and offline for Christians of all sorts to make friends, ask questions, get support, and offer support to others.
Dialogue Decalogue The "Dialogue Decalogue" was first published in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies in 1983 and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. It is presented here in a slightly revised version. While the "Dialogue Decalogue" was originally written primarily to further inter-religious dialogue it has recently been adapted to a variety of other circumstances to help people of diverse ideologies and value systems build bridges and find common ground.
Love Boldly LOVEboldly exists to restore dignity, decency, and civility back into polarizing conversations on faith and sexuality. Since 2010, theyhave been blogging, meeting, and building relationships to help heal the divisions between the church and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. Our organization is comprised of individuals with a variety of positions on the theology and politics regarding faith and sexuality, but all of us are fundamentally dedicated to honoring the dignity and humanity of all people, and there is room and safety for each person wherever you find yourself in your journey.
Musings On / Musings on Blog Website and blog by Misty Irons. She is a straight evangelical Christian of the Reformed tradition. Her husband Lee is a former pastor who is currently pursuing an academic career in New Testament Studies. She has a unique view that supports gay marriage politically but questions it from a theological perspective.
New Direction / New Direction Blog This is a Canadian ministry headed by Wendy Gritter. Their mission is to nurture safe and spacious places for sexual minority persons to explore and grow in faith in Jesus Christ. Their vision is to see see sexual minorities encounter and grow in Christ-centered discipleship marked by radical trust, robust hope and fearless love.
Websites with a Clear Side A or Side B Focus..
Canyon Walker Connections A personal blog and ministry of Kathy Baldock. She is astraight Evangelical Christian. Relationships, along with her own questioning and doubts on other personal issues caused her to wonder if what she had been told about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (glbt) communities was accurate. After working through that question she is now an advocate to the glbt for equality and inclusion in Christian churches. Her purpose is to educate, encourage and engage in dialogue between the Christian Church and the LGBT Christian community. Her work has been translated into several languages and she is not afraid to go nose to nose with oppressive people at Pridefest events and elsewhere. (Side A)
Freed Hearts This is the personal blog of Susan Cotrell. Her Jesus-compassion for the lgbt community started when her best friend in high school told her he was gay. Per her about me page: 'My heart has broken for the unloving, unlovely way Christians have treated the LGBTQ community, pushing them away from the Jesus they represent. Underneath it all, I know that Jesus’ love is always the right thing, even though He surprised people by those He loved." (Side A)
Just Because He Breathes This is the personal blog of Linda Robertson. Per her "About Me"page: This blog was created to tell the story…our story…of how God taught us, conservative, evangelical parents, how to TRULY love our gay son. ... I love people. ... I feel extremely passionate about justice & equality for all people, because all people are children of God, created in His image. I feel most at home spending time with other people who are messy and broken like me. I feel passionate about speaking up for the voiceless, and advocating for those who are most vulnerable. Although I am a Christian, I feel broken-hearted by the things that the church in America has become most known for. You will never find me marching in a parade against gay rights, abortion rights or immigrant rights. I do not resonate with those who are known for being AGAINST things, especially when what it amounts to is being against people’s hearts and souls. (Side A)
Spiritual Friendship From the blog's description: We embrace the traditional understanding that God created us male and female, and that His plan for sexual intimacy is only properly fulfilled in the union of husband and wife in marriage. However, this blog was born out of frustration with the prevailing narratives about homosexuality from those who embrace this traditionally Christian sexual ethic: an excessive focus on political issues, and the ubiquity of reparative therapy in one form or another. We want to see more discussion of celibacy, friendship, the value of the single life, and similar topics. To learn more, see our introductory posts:Ron Belgau: why am I here?Wesley Hill: why am I here? We pray that you will be blessed by our conversations and reflections. (Side B)
Rachael Held Evans Description from her blog: Rachel Held Evans is a New York Times best-selling author whose books include Faith Unraveled (2010), A Year of Biblical Womanhood (2012), and Searching for Sunday (2015). Hailing from Dayton, Tennessee—home of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925— she writes about faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt. Rachel has been featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, Christianity Today, Slate, The Huffington Post, The CNN Belief Blog, and on NPR, The BBC, The Today Show, and The View. She keeps a busy schedule speaking at churches, conferences, and colleges and universities around the country. A lifelong Alabama Crimson Tide fan, Rachel is married to Dan. Her preferred writing fuel is animal crackers and red wine. . (Side A)
Unique / Personal websites and blogs
Crumbs from the Communion Table Personal Blog of Justin Lee, Executive Director of GCN. Per Justin: I speak and write about living out an intelligent, Christ-centered, compassionate Christian faith. I also use this blog to share about my journey as a first-time author, my experiences as a public speaker, and anything that strikes me as funny, profound, and/or interesting.I love to dialogue with people who disagree with me, so share your thoughts in the comments! (Side A/ Side B)
Mudblood Catholic Personal blog of someone I know online who is Catholic. In-depth exploration of various issues. (Side B)
Sacred Tension Personal blog of someone I know online. Shares his personal journey and insights. (Side A)
A Queer Calling From their description: Hi! We’re Sarah and Lindsey. We are a celibate, LGBT, Christian couple. We feel very blessed to have this queer calling, although it can be difficult at times to know exactly how to talk about our experiences as a couple. Celibate, LGBT couples are a rare bunch! We started this blog in an effort to share our experiences as a couple. In no way do we think that this kind of partnership is ideal for all LGBT people or that other LGBT Christians should strive to be like us. We are not interested in engaging in theological debate on the questions, “Does God bless sexually active same-sex relationships?” and “Is same-sex sexual activity sinful?” Our blog is a place for reflection on the lived experiences of celibacy, being an LGBT Christian, spirituality, vocation, and other issues. (Choose not to use Side descriptors)
Through My Eyes Excellent film that interviews over 20 gay Christians. This film stays neutral in terms of Side A and Side B and instead focuses on their journey of faith. This is an excellent resource for churches and families and will help you better understand the lives of gay and lesbian people.
Anyone and Everyone This film depicts families from all walks of life. Individuals from such diverse backgrounds as Japanese, Bolivian, and Cherokee, as well as from various religious denominations such as Mormon, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Hindu, and Southern Baptist, share intimate accounts of how their children revealed their sexual orientation and discuss their responses. ....... The film also depicts meetings of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) where people get support and help.
Seventh Gay Adventist Although I am not a Seventh Day Adventist, I enjoyed this film and some of the complex ways in which people who disagreed interacted with each other. I think it provides unique guidelines for going beyond the surface questions and answers and explores the difficult and practical ways that a church may respond. A further description follows... Faith, identity, and sexuality collide in this raw and moving documentary about the challenges and spiritual journeys of three Seventh-day Adventists who love God and their church and are also gay. One young man spent five years in "ex-gay" therapy trying to become straight, but now he's falling in love with another man and wondering if that can be okay. Another was an Adventist pastor in Brazil who was fired for being gay. Can he find his calling again? And a lesbian mom from the midwest wants her daughters to grow up with her faith and beliefs, even though she knows her church might not accept their family. ...This feature-length documentary follows their raw and moving journeys as they wrestle with deep questions and struggle to find a place where they can integrate identity, love, and belief. Through the lens of real people and real stories, this film is creating listening spaces for genuine dialogue and connection all over the country (and internationally) from film festivals to churches.