Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Being Gay Being Christian: You Can Be Both

Being Gay Being Christian: You Can Be Both
By Dr Stuart Edser Published by Exisle Press $39.99 distributed by HarperCollins.

This is an interesting read.  Edser himself lived a church focussed life for many years, attempting to ignore that for him home base is as a gay man.  Brought up a catholic he sought his faith in Protestant and Fundamentalist churches as well before he realised he needed to be free of the hypocrisy of such institutions.  He now works as a Counselling and Health Psychologist in New South Wales.  In Being Gay Being Christian he takes his own experience and grounds it in scientific reality.  This is a book that will help anyone working through then issues of being a Gay Christian.  Is such a thing possible?  What does the bible say?  What do churches say?  Is there a sensible response?

The crux of this book is your personal experience.  Christians are brought up as Christian from the moment they are born where a baptism and participation on a Church community begins.  Edser shows us that science has confirmed that our nature as a gay person is fixed from before we are born.  The reconciliation of these two realities can cause problems.

If you are frustrated at the use of parts of the bible by fundamentalist Christians to attack gay people, you will appreciate Edser’s careful scrutiny of these passages and the context in which they are written.  He is very thorough in scrutinising the source of these scriptures.  He also helps you to think through whether the bible is the Word of God or words about god.

This book summarises much of what the scientific community has proved and disproved with regards to sexuality.  The initial Kinsey studies and their latter refinements, the American Psychiatric Association and its official lists of disorders and my favourite study showing that the number of older brothers can influence the likelihood of being Gay.

So yes there is a sensible response to being Gay and Christian.  This is a dense read but will be worthwhile if you are seeking a resolution to Dr Edser’s question.  He is very focussed on the Roman Catholic approach to this question.  With examples from history and issues other than sexuality he will demonstrate to you that you can be both.  The institutions of Christianity have the problem, not you.

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