MUST-READ: Torn, by Justin Lee

by Camille on March 9, 2014

Hello wonderful people! It’s Spring Break, and I’m in Orange Beach with two teenagers, a toddler, and the hubs. Best thing? We won this condo week through a friend’s adoption raffle months ago, so it’s a highly economical get-away. Anyway, with a pool and the ocean to entertain Miss Ellie and blessed MILES and MILES between us and anything on the to-do list, my plans for this week include coffee, sleeping, reading, and spending some time with this much-missed little blog.

On that note….

I just finished this book.

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It’s by this guy, Justin Lee. He’s the founder of the Gay Christian Network, a non-profit organization seeking to improve communication and build bridges between Christians and gays. He also blogs at Crumbs from the Communion Table. 

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And I cannot encourage you enough to go read it. Right NOW. Especially if you are….

– A straight or gay single person

– A gay person in a committed sexual relationship.

– A gay person practicing celibacy.

– An evangelical Christian who “loves the sinner but hates the sin.”

– A progressive Christian growing seriously weary with the way the Church treats your gay friends and family.

– A Christian who knows a gay person, wants to know a gay person, or might encounter a gay person in the future.

– A person who seeks to understand another viewpoint and better learn how to love gay people.

– A person who does or does not think the Bible condemns gay people and/or gay relationships.

– Just a little bit over the culture wars and wondering what fast food chain or cookie or television show is going to clutter your social media feed tomorrow.

– Incredibly concerned that the gay-vs-Christian debate is damaging relationships, ostracizing an entire generation, and actively pushing gay people away from knowing God.

Okay. I’m assuming you have an Amazon tab open now. No? Okay, HERE ya go. There are much better reviews than I could ever write…you know, from people who wrote them over a year ago when the book was first released. Here is one of my favorites:

From 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.” 

Justin, raised Southern Baptist and known as “God Boy” in his youth, realized around puberty that he was gay. He tried ignoring it as a phase he’d pass through. He dated girls. He explored ex-gay ministries to become straight. He remained celibate.

And for years, he struggled with loneliness, misunderstanding, mental anguish, and depression while trying to reconcile his faith with his sexuality.

Through it all, he never turned from God, and after much soul-searching and study, he found peace through God….and the Bible. Yeah. The same one most Christians use to condemn gay people. Now, he strives to provide a safe place for gay Christians to learn and grow from one another and to foster dialogue within the Christian community on how to better love gay people.

He offers practical tips and well-explained Biblical reasoning for his conclusions, but I think what makes this book most effective is that Justin simply shares his story. Vulnerable and honest, he narrates his journey in such a way that no matter your personal beliefs, you’re forced to put aside labels and come to know him as a person. An imperfect but beautiful child of God.

Christians, studies have shown that a vast majority of both believers and non-believers classify the church as “antihomosexual.” If you are a Christian, this should break your heart. God is not “anti-” people. Because as Justin writes, “Jesus wasn’t known for his disdain for people; he was known for his unconditional love for everyone…”

Again, I urge you to read this book. Especially if just reading this post made you uncomfortable. 😉 Feel free to come back and share your thoughts here.

 

 

 

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