Hey! I am excited to announce that Gregory Coles’s book is coming out. Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity is a short book, basically a memoir. I think I blurbed it as “raw and endearing” or something like that. It’s very honest about the pain he went through coming out within the evangelical world and trying to figure out what a future of love rather than despairing isolation might look like. It’s a painful read but can provide a lot of companionship for people who have really struggled to experience God’s love for them. (In the pre-publication version I read, the beginning doesn’t really hint that things do get better, but in fact Coles does start to discern possibilities for love within his church, and he begins to experience God’s tender love for him.)
My one actual criticism isn’t even a criticism of the book itself but of the evangelical world, to the extent that I know it. This book is written the way a lot of evangelical work on sexuality is written: as if Christian history stops at the end of Acts, then skips forward to about 1994 with nothing in between. Without a feeling for the historical dimension of Christianity and the weird diversity of Christian societies and saints, people struggling with contemporary Christian cultures’ failures are much more isolated.And in this temporal isolation it’s much harder to get past our own culture’s blind spots w/r/t Scripture. For example, it’s almost impossible to see the role friendship really plays in the Bible, or the role celibacy plays in the New Testament, if the only Christian culture you know is contemporary evangelicalism. (That’s only slightly less true of contemporary American Catholicism, too.) Coles does some necessary work rediscovering what is really in Scripture. That project would be deepened and strengthened by rediscovering how previous Christian societies have understood and lived out that Scriptural witness.
That said, Coles’s book is good and so few books on this subject are! Recommended. Keep tissues handy.