I was fortunate enough to be offered an advanced copy of this book by the author. The keynote speaker at the 2019 Gathering Voices conference ‘Extending the Table’, Carol Shepherd, an academic, has an impressive publications portfolio. In this book she challenges ‘the Christian church’ to consider the all-too-well documented negative impacts of its teaching and attitudes on the lives of LGBT+ youth, and indeed LGBT+ people at large. These impacts include higher incidence of health and mental health issues as well as suicide. The book highlights the selective use of cherry-picked and weaponised biblical texts whilst blatantly avoiding adherence to the primary tenets of Christ’s teaching to love.
The book is professionally researched, and I have to say I was really impressed. Enjoyed isn’t the right word given the material but it plays that lovely trick of being easy to read whilst at the same time covering a breadth of material that has accessible academic precision balanced with a style which comes from the heart.
As a gay person of faith there was material in this book that I was already aware of but there was lots of gap filling too. Whether I knew it already or it was new to me, having it in once place to refer to in the future will be helpful. I found the personal stories moving and illuminating and at times my heart broke again knowing that people still face such hateful behaviour at the hands of people claiming to follow the calling of their God.
For those seeking to better understand what it means to be an LGBT+ person of faith living with the beautiful identity and sexuality that God gave them whilst trying to be faithful to a calling to be Church this book is a great place to start. At only 75 pages it covers a lot of ground.
Available on Amazon as Paperback or Kindle here