Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

4.6 18
by Justin Lee
     
 

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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,

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Radiates a genuine concern and belief in progress through slow, personal evolution...Both LGBT individuals and Christians will benefit from the modeling of a kinder, more accommodating navigation of this culture war."—Publishers Weekly,
"

Lee's writing is approachable, and he shows compassion for those on all sides of this debate."—Kirkus Reviews"

Disarmingly vulnerable...poignant..."—Christianity Today"

The beauty of this book is that Lee wants to challenge all kinds of Christians...Perhaps it is because of so many fights hard won that Lee is now able to move into more nuanced territory in this gracious and grace-filled memoir."—The Christian Century"

Lee, one of our leading voices on the issues of being gay and Christian, gives us this powerful look at ways that members on both sides of the lines can learn from and grow with each other."—SHE Magazine"

...His book offers helpful suggestions for Christians...[and] helpful suggestions for pastoral counseling..."—World Magazine"

This book is full of three things that are not always much in evidence in our debates on sexuality—fresh air, common sense and manifest love of Christ. What makes it different is that it is not essentially about arguing a case but abut bridging the gaps of understanding and sympathy that (inside and outside the Church) have distorted or muffled the overwhelming miracle of Gods gift in Christ and in Scripture. I welcome it very warmly."—Honorable Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams"

Justin didn't leave the church when he realized he was gay...he has been too determined to show them how much he loves them...This is the story of how one Christian man's faith taught him to accept himself, serve others who are in need, and bridge the gap for those who do not always understand."
Jennifer Knapp, Singer/Songwriter, Founder of InsideOutFaith.org"

This is the most important book I've read in years, and it will be the first I recommend to anyone interested in bridging the divide between the LGBT community and the church. Justin has given us a precious gift with this story. May we receive it with the same courage and faith with which it was delivered."—Rachel Held Evans, blogger, author of Evolving in Monkey Town and A Year of Biblical Womanhood"

In TORN, Justin Lee blends simplicity, clarity, humility, honesty, and vulnerability in a gracious and eye-opening way. The book brings fresh perspectives to old and polarized debates, and it offers a wise and faithful way forward for pastors and other Christian leaders, parents and other family members, not to mention gay men and women themselves. This is the book that every Evangelical, Charismatic, and Roman Catholic Christian should read on the question of homosexuality."
Brian D. McLaren, author of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World (brianmclaren.net)

Kirkus Reviews
Gay Christian Network founder Lee argues that sexual preference doesn't need to be a source of division for the Christian church. Raised in a conservative Christian household, the author was certain during his teenage years that homosexuality was a sin. Nevertheless, he was attracted to other boys and could not change his attractions. In this book, part memoir and part manifesto, Lee explains his lengthy search for answers and assistance from a church unwilling to accept his sexual preference. Lee's story begins as a young man, when he came out to his parents, who showed him unconditional love even while not accepting homosexuality as a permanent condition. He went on to search out "ex-gay" ministries, which promised that he could change into a heterosexual. These experiences left him unchanged and unhappy, as he discerned that ex-gay ministries might change sexual behaviors but never alter sexual preferences. As a college student, Lee became an almost unwitting leader of his campus gay and lesbian organization, and he attempted to build bridges between campus gays and Christians. The author argues that a serious examination of Scripture shows that God does not condemn homosexuality per se, but only harmful practices such as molestation or rape. In the New Testament, if selfless love was involved, it made everything right: "I thought about every example of sin I could come up with. In every single case, Paul was right: Truly living out God's agape love for others always led to doing the right thing." Lee calls for a radical change in the church's approach to gays and lesbians, focusing on acceptance, love, understanding and open dialogue. Lee's writing is approachable, and he shows compassion for those on all sides of this debate.
Christianity Today
"Disarmingly vulnerable...poignant..."
Honorable Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams
"This book is full of three things that are not always much in evidence in our debates on sexuality--fresh air, common sense and manifest love of Christ. What makes it different is that it is not essentially about arguing a case but abut bridging the gaps of understanding and sympathy that (inside and outside the Church) have distorted or muffled the overwhelming miracle of Gods gift in Christ and in Scripture. I welcome it very warmly."
Rachel Held Evans
"This is the most important book I've read in years, and it will be the first I recommend to anyone interested in bridging the divide between the LGBT community and the church. Justin has given us a precious gift with this story. May we receive it with the same courage and faith with which it was delivered."
Jennifer Knapp
"Justin didn't leave the church when he realized he was gay...he has been too determined to show them how much he loves them...This is the story of how one Christian man's faith taught him to accept himself, serve others who are in need, and bridge the gap for those who do not always understand."
Brian D. McLaren
"In TORN, Justin Lee blends simplicity, clarity, humility, honesty, and vulnerability in a gracious and eye-opening way. The book brings fresh perspectives to old and polarized debates, and it offers a wise and faithful way forward for pastors and other Christian leaders, parents and other family members, not to mention gay men and women themselves. This is the book that every Evangelical, Charismatic, and Roman Catholic Christian should read on the question of homosexuality."
The Christian Century
"The beauty of this book is that Lee wants to challenge all kinds of Christians...Perhaps it is because of so many fights hard won that Lee is now able to move into more nuanced territory in this gracious and grace-filled memoir."
SHE Magazine
"Lee, one of our leading voices on the issues of being gay and Christian, gives us this powerful look at ways that members on both sides of the lines can learn from and grow with each other."
World Magazine
"...His book offers helpful suggestions for Christians...[and] helpful suggestions for pastoral counseling..."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455514311
Publisher:
FaithWords
Publication date:
11/13/2012
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

Rowan Williams
This book is full of three things that are not always much in evidence in our debates on sexuality—fresh air, common sense and manifest love of Christ. What makes it different is that it is not essentially about arguing a case but abut bridging the gaps of understanding and sympathy that (inside and outside the Church) have distorted or muffled the overwhelming miracle of Gods gift in Christ and in Scripture. I welcome it very warmly.

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