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A Difficult Conversation - With 3 Recommendations

Pastor’s Bookshelf - Welcome to my bookshelf! Each month I will discuss a recent book that I’ve finished. *disclaimer; I don’t always have time to sit and read physical books, but I do quite a bit of my reading through audiobooks these days.*

This month I have a very delicate, yet special set of recommendations for the Pastor’s Bookshelf. Obviously the issue of LGBTQ inclusion is on the hearts and minds of many Methodists as we move forward – and there are many different perspectives on this issue. One of my goals in approaching this topic is to stay informed of different points of view. I want to understand what the “other” side thinks and why. My challenge to you is this – please don’t read these summaries and pick the one you will agree with and only read that. If you decide to engage this issue – read both sides, take a look at both books.

I want to recommend three books this month – none are from a Methodist perspective. But they represent three very different perspectives on the issue of LGBTQ sexuality. If you choose to read them, please don’t just read one of them. Learn, grow and be challenged to love like Jesus a little bit more.

Shameless, By Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz Weber is a very famous Lutheran pastor, known for her raw straight forward explanation of deep spiritual truths. She is known for her fearless progressive approach to challenging issues. In this intimate, emotional, story-filled book, she offers a “full-blown overhaul of our harmful and antiquated ideas about sex, gender and our bodies.” I recommend the audiobook, which she personally reads. This book would be considered VERY progressive in theology and I would also put a rated R sticker on it for language and the content of some of the stories. Nevertheless, her perspective is important, and the stories of how the conservative church have hurt people are important for us to hear.

Washed and Waiting, By Wesley Hill

“As a celibate gay Christian, Hill gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to wrestle firsthand with God’s “no” to same-sex relationships.” This book is a look into a life of a gay man who has chosen to live inside the traditional sexual ethic outlined in the bible. The most important thing I gleaned from this book is the supportive function that friends, mentors and his church played in his life. Regardless of whether you are traditional or progressive on this issue – there is an unmistakable call for the church to do a better job of loving LGBTQ people in our midst. I found it convicting, challenging, encouraging and honestly – quirky fun. I felt like Wesley would be a fun person to grab a cup of coffee with.

Gay Girl, Good God By Jackie Hill Perry

Jackie Hill Perry is an African American poet, writer and hip hop artist from St Louis. She is also someone who has “overcome” her same sex attraction. Unlike Wesley Hill, Jackie no longer considers herself a Lesbian – and she is now married with children. Personally, I shy away from “gay conversion” conversations because they are often incredibly damaging to LGBTQ people. It often represents the most aggressive and hurtful areas of the conservative position – but Jackie is a great writer, and I wanted to hear her story. It’s beautifully told, and like Nadia Bolz-Weber, the author reads the audiobook. Similar to Weber’s book, I would put a warning label – there’s no cursing, but the content of her stories would probably grab a PG-13 rating.


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