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

( 15 )

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 ...

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

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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.

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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
  • Sales rank: 255,707
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Justin Lee

Justin Lee is the founder and executive director of The Gay Christian Network (GCN), a nonprofit, interdenominational organization working to increase dialogue between gays and Christians and support people on both sides wrestling with related issues.

A passionate Christian from a conservative evangelical background, Justin thought he knew everything there was to know about the Christian approach to homosexuality-until unexpected events turned his world upside down and forced him to reconsider everything he believed. Today, his organization works with individuals, families, and churches to stop the debate from tearing people apart.

Justin's work has garnered national attention and praise from gays and Christians from across the theological spectrum. He has been featured in numerous print, radio, and television venues including Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper 360, the Associated Press, and a front page article in The New York Times. He is the director of the 2009 documentary Through My Eyes about the debate's impact on young Christians, and the co-host of popular long-running podcast GCN Radio. Justin lives in Raleigh, NC.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Chapter 1 Battle of the Century 1

Chapter 2 God Boy 12

Chapter 3 The Struggle 19

Chapter 4 The Truth Comes Out 27

Chapter 5 Why Are People Gay? 51

Chapter 6 Justin in Exgayland 70

Chapter 7 That the Man Should Be Alone 97

Chapter 8 South Park Christians 106

Chapter 9 The Poisoned Yeast 125

Chapter 10 Faith Assassins 135

Chapter 11 The Other Side 148

Chapter 12 Back to the Bible 168

Chapter 13 Whatever Commandment There May Be 191

Chapter 14 Lightning Rod 209

Chapter 15 The Way Forward 226

Notes 255

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Finally!

    This book has been a long time coming. I will be giving this to a lot of people. The best work written on gays and the church.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    This was amazing. Must read for everyone on any side of this &qu

    This was amazing. Must read for everyone on any side of this "culture war"!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Highly recommend

    This chronicles a young man who was brought up in a very conservative Christian family and community and is, in fact, a strong believer having his own personal faith in Christ. As he comes into puberty, he realizes he is attracted only to other males and rather than females. He looks very critically and honestly into God's will for him by looking at scripture. Please read this book... it might surprise you...it might not. But his story and resulting ministry is very powerful.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Unbelievably moving, well-written, well-researched, logical... b

    Unbelievably moving, well-written, well-researched, logical... basically perfect. Thank you, sir, for writing this. Thank you so much.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    Great book for all Christians!

    Loved the way it was written to the last word.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Brenda Ballard for Readers' Favorite Justin Lee has

    Reviewed by Brenda Ballard for Readers' Favorite

    Justin Lee has known God's love since childhood. He lives his Christianity and it is no secret that this is who he is. He felt the call of the Lord to work in His service and knew that was what he wanted to do with his life. He also knew he was gay, something he kept suppressed for a very long time. Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate is Mr. Lee's story of coming out, struggling with where his beliefs could be found in the Bible, dealing with how people treated him, and how many perspectives there could be in one Body of Christ. Written with the tenderness of heartache and healing, this book helps the reader understand this controversial subject and how God sees it. 

    It had to take a lot of guts for Justin Lee to write Torn. Anybody who has been put in the awkward situation of one Christian denying another will know how deep from the heart this experience comes. This is a very controversial subject in the church but Justin doesn't make the reader feel like they are in some struggle between wrong or right. He has managed to write his experiences with brotherly love and a passion for God. This would make a great gift for family and friends who struggle with their own or loved ones' personal choices. Libraries would benefit in areas where struggling teens can access the book without worry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2013

    Lifechanging, Humbling look at Gay/Christian Debate

    This is a must read for all of us! Learning my grandson was gay, i immediately wanted to help "change" him and reassure him that we loved him despite his sin. As if i didn't have any of my own. I need to apologize ASAP!
    This book was easily readable, full of information from "the other side". We need to let these men and women TALK and then we need to LISTEN! READ THIS BOOK!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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