Book Review: Torn - Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-Vs-Christians Debate
Justin Lee

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians DebateAs my own theological and personal spiritual journey brought me to open affirmation of my LGBTQ sisters and brothers during the last decade, I have been increasingly frustrated and disappointed by the lack of written material speaking with affirmation to the issues of sexuality and the church - particularly from an Evangelical standpoint.

There are countless books now (thankfully) that effectively articulate a liberal mainline approach to affirming diverse sexuality, and Queer Theology is a nascent but rapidly growing iteration of liberation theology...

But again and again, when my Evangelical friends have asked me for recommendations to tackle this subject from a "non traditional" (read: non-conservative) standpoint, I haven't had anything that speaks "their language."

In "Torn," Justin Lee is so gracious and so gentle, that at times, I couldn't help wondering if I was about to get duped: is he going to surprise me and say, "just kidding, you can't really be gay and Christian!"?

That's not where Lee lands, but in his gentle approach, the strength of the book is also it's weakness. He takes two thirds of the book to "come out" and clearly articulate what he believes. It can be frustrating if you're looking for a quick answer. This, however, is clearly by design. Lee wants you to know who he is, where he comes from, and demonstrate relationally that he "gets" your perspective (if you're a conservative Evangelical). I know from experience, it's hard to trust someone's testimony or thesis if they don't share your worldview.

In the last third of the book, Lee provides the most well-articulated Biblical and faith-based argument for supporting and affirming LGBTQ people I have yet encountered. Some would argue that shouldn't be necessary in the first place - that basic human rights and common sense make their own case self-evident. But those folks aren't the ones who need convincing.

If the worse you can say about Lee is that he's "too gentle," and too gracious with anti-gay voices in the church, I'd say that's an impressive platform for him to speak from as a gay man.

I'm thrilled I can recommend this to friends who have been waiting for a BETTER theological argument than "well, we don't take the Bible LITERALLY."

Thanks Justin.

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