Check out the top 35 LGBTQ Christian books of 2016 — including queer theology, Bible, history, memoir, fiction and church life for all ages.
The incredibly diverse list was announced today by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry on the Jesus in Love Blog at Qspirit.net.
“Transgender themes are the hottest trend this year,” she reported. “More transgender Christian books were published, their quality was high and readers snapped them up.”
Another exciting development is the addition of children’s books as a new category the first time this year. “Even little kids can now hear stories that affirm LGBTQ people of faith when their parents read out loud to them,” Cherry said.
A less welcome trend was rising prices. A growing number of academic publishers crossed the line and started charging more than $100 for a print book, despite reader protests.
Only English-language books are on the list. It purposely omits books that claim homosexuality is a sin, although publishers keep on churning those out too.
“There were so many great LGBTQ Christian books that I had to make the list longer than ever this year,” Cherry said.
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
1. “This Is My Body: Hearing the Theology of Transgender Christians” by Christina Beardsley and Michelle O’Brien (editors).
Transgender Christians speak for themselves in this collection. They give voice to faith and theology grounded in specific yet diverse experiences beyond the usual gender identity imposed by church tradition. The book brings hope, anger and grace, plus a review of the latest theological, cultural and scientific literature. Many contributors come from the Sibyls, a confidential spirituality group for transgender people and allies in the United Kingdom. Foreword by Susannah Cornwall. Beardsley is a Church of England priest, hospital chaplain and activist for trans inclusion in the church. Raised Anglican, O’Brien does advocacy, research, lecturing and writing on intersex and trans issues. Published by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd.
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
2. “Indecent Theologians: Marcella Althaus-Reid and the Next Generation of Postcolonial Activists” by Nicolas Panotto (editor).
Today’s queer theologians are building on the work of influential theology pioneer Marcella Althaus-Reid of Argentina and her subversive landmark book “Indecent Theology.” Diverse contributors come from the USA, Europe and a wide variety of Latin American countries. They include Susannah Cornwall, Leopoldo Cervantes-Ortiz, Adrian Emmanuel Hernandez-Acosta, Jorge Aquino, Gabriela González Ortuño, Nicolás Panotto, Emilce Cuda, Claudio Carvalhaes, Robyn Henderson-Espinoza and Oscar Cabrera. A Spanish translation is planned for 2017. Panotto is an Argentinean theologian from the IU ISEDET (Buenos Aires). Published by Borderless Press.
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
3. “Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation” by Jim Downs.
LGBT religious life is the “forgotten history” covered in the major new book “Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation” by Harvard history professor Jim Downs. “One of my goals in this book has been to shift the focus of discussion of gay culture from sex to religion, and from intimacy to community,” he writes. The second chapter is titled “The Gay Religious Movement” and tells about Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), Dignity, Integrity, and many other groups in the 1970s and ‘80s, plus lesbian and gay clergy such as Troy Perry, John McNeill and Ellen Barrett. The first chapter is about “The Largest Massacre of Gay People in American History,” which was the fire at the UpStairs Lounge, a bar / gay church that embodied the mixed identities of the age. Religion is woven throughout the book, which also looks at the role of bookstores, newspapers, theaters, and prisons. Published by Basic Books.
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
4. “Faithful Families” by Megan Rohrer.
This children’s book reminds kids that God loves them, no matter what their family looks like — even if they have two mommies or two daddies. It was inspired by the many families and children at the child care center of San Francisco’s Grace Lutheran Church, where the author is pastor. Rohrer co-wrote it with Pamela Ryan, director of the center for more than 30 years. It is illustrated by Ihnatovich Maryia and aimed at children up to 8 years old. Rohrer is the first openly transgender pastor ordained in the Lutheran Church. Published by Wilgefortis Press. For more info and a sample page, see First-ever LGBT religious children’s books published.
“Signs and Wonders: Theology After Modernity” by Ellen T. Armour.
Consecration of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson, prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, the right-to-die case of Terri Schiavo, and Hurricane Katrina are examined as the author lays the groundwork for a post-modern theology. Armour, professor of theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School, takes an original approach by drawing on Foucault and queer theory while using photographs and visual culture theory to explore the power dynamics and public perceptions of these disruptive events. Published by Columbia University Press.
“Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility” by Ashon T. Crawley.
This innovative interdisciplinary book brings together queer theology, black studies, womanist theory and performance studies to examine alternative or “otherwise” ways of being. For example, Blackpentecostal music and worship styles create an aesthetics that makes it possible to resist and critique of normative, repressive culture. The author is assistant professor of Ethnic Studies at University of California, Riverside. Crawley grew up in a Blackpentecostal home where both his parents — and he himself — were clergy in the Church of God in Christ, the largest Blackpentecostal denomination. “I accepted my own queerness and began to, in earnest, interrogate theologies of sex and sexuality that were repressive and diminished folks’ capacities for flourishing and vitality,” he said in an interview about the book at The New Inquiry. Published by Fordham University Press.
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
“Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity” by Elizabeth M. Edman.
“Authentic Christianity is and must be queer,” asserts lesbian Episcopal priest Elizabeth Edman in a major new book that brings together queer ethics, Christian theology and her own spiritual journey. In one of the most highly anticipated books of the year, Christian faith calls believers to rupture or “queer” the false binaries of simplistic thinking. LGBTQ experience is celebrated as valuable, virtuous and sacred. The author invites Christians to learn from “queer virtue” — a path that involves identity, risk, touch, scandal, adoption (forming families), pride, coming out, authenticity and hospitality. “Queer Virtue” sparkles with a graceful writing style, provocative ideas, honest self-revelation, and up-to-date LGBTQ pop-culture references such as “Orange is the New Black” and “Fun Home.” The author has served as a hospital and university chaplain and marriage-equality strategist. Foreword by Michael Bronski. Published by Beacon Press.
“Reading the Body of Christ” by Saskia Wendel and Aurica Nutt (editors).
Essays include Gerald Loughlin on “Disordered Bodies and the Body of Christ,” Graham Ward on “’Nature in Inverted Commas,” Tina Beattie on “Acting Up” and more in English and German. Experts from the USA, Britain and Germany explore constructions of gender in relation to Body of Christ metaphors. Published by Ferdinand Schöningh, a German publisher founded in the 19th century.
“Liberating Sexuality: Justice Between the Sheets” by Miguel A. De La Torre.
An ethicist gives a liberating new Biblical look at sexuality — including androgynous Jesus, heterosexism, masturbation, and confronting racism in one’s sexual desires. Chapters have titles such as: “Why Does God Need a Penis?” and “Confessions of a Latino Macho: From Gay Basher to Gay Ally.” The intersections of religion with sexuality, gender, race, and class are explored in a highly readable book. Overcoming oppressive traditions of Biblical interpretation leads to healthy sex and discovering the goodness of our created, embodied selves. Born in Cuba and raised in the Catholic and Santeria traditions, the author is an ordained Southern Baptist minister who teaches Christian social ethics at Iliff School of Theology. Published by Chalice Press.
“The Bible and the Transgender Experience: How Scripture Supports Gender Variance” by Linda Tatro Herzer.
New book: “The Bible and the Transgender Experience: How Scripture Supports Gender Variance by Linda Tatro Herzer. This clear, easy-to-read book shows how the Bible affirms transgender, queer and intersex people. Individual chapters examine eunuchs, Leviticus, cross-dressing, Jesus, creation, choice, gender-variant people in the Bible, and gifts that gender-variant people bring. It includes a helpful discussion guide and advice on “how to make your congregation or group trans friendly.” The author is an active ally who pastored a predominantly LGBTQI church where 10 percent of congregants identified as trans men, trans women, cross-dressers, or genderqueer. Published by Pilgrim Press.
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
“Transgender, Intersex and Biblical Interpretation” by Teresa Hornsby and Deryn Guest.
Biblical affirmation for LGBTQI people is presented by two well-known Bible scholars. They show that in the Bible, gender identity and sexual orientation are always dynamic categories that do, and must, transition. The book examines familiar (e.g., Gen 1; Revelation) and less familiar (2 Sam 6; Jer 38) scriptures to reveal the bias that makes heterosexuality and a binary two-gender system seem divinely ordained. They critique how biblical texts are used in Christian positional statements on transsexuality and provide statistic on violence against trans persons. Teresa Hornsby is religious studies professor at Drury University, Springfield, Missouri. Deryn Guest is lecturer in Biblical hermeneutics at the University of Birmingham, England. Published by SBL Press (Society of Biblical Literature, founded 1880).
“UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality” by Colby Martin
“Unclobber” is part LGBTQ-affirming Bible study and part memoir of a millennial evangelical. Six “clobber passages” of scripture used to exclude LGBTQ people are examined in chapters that alternate with the author’s own story of being fired from an evangelical megachurch when they discovered his progressive stance on sexuality. In a highly readable style, Martin writes of how he went from being “oversaved” to affirming that scripture does not condemn loving, committed same-sex relationships. The author is co-pastor of Sojourn Grace Collective, a progressive Christian church in San Diego. Foreword by author Glennon Doyle Melton. Published by Westminster John Knox Press.
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
“Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church” by Preston Sprinkle (editor).
This book is a step forward for people who think there is only “one view” (against homosexuality) and shows the evolution of evangelical and conservative Christian thought. Prominent theologians and biblical scholars from both sides debate whether the Bible affirms homosexuality in a book with academic rigor and mutual respect. With reverence for scripture, they go beyond Bible exegesis to consider ethics and historical tradition. The “affirming” view is presented by William Loader, professor emeritus at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, and author of a five-volume series on sexuality in the ancient world, and Megan K. DeFranza, emerging leader in theological study of gender and sexuality. The “traditional” view is set forth by Wesley Hill, prominent evangelical scholar in the new celibate LGBT Christian movement and Bible professor at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA, and Stephen R. Holmes, systemic theology lecturer in at the University of St. Andrews Divinity School in Scotland. Each main essay is followed by responses from the other contributors. Published by Zondervan.
Memoir and biography
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
“The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice” by Patricia Bell-Scott.
Pauli Murray, an Episcopal priest who struggled as what she called “homosexual” or “pseudo-hermaphrodite,” is examined in a solid new biography. Murray is best known as an African American civil rights activist. The new biography draws on letters, diaries and interviews to present the first in-depth portrait of her friendship with Roosevelt, including Paul’s issues with sexual orientation and gender identity. Her role as a priest is also discussed. The author is women’s studies professor emerita at the University of Georgia. Published by Knopf.
“Space at the Table: Conversations Between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son” by Brad and Drew Harper.
Love overcomes condemnation in this memoir of how an evangelical pastor and his gay son struggled successfully to build a positive adult relationship. Their journey takes them from painful conversion therapy and the churches of Middle America to the penthouses of New York’s queer party scene and beyond. Brad Harper has been a theology professor at Multnomah University in Portland, OR. He also worked as a pastor and church planter at two evangelical churches in St. Louis, MO. Drew Stafford Harper is a journalist and actor. Published by Zeal Books through crowdfunding with more than 600 backers.
“To Drink from the Silver Cup: From Faith Through Exile and Beyond” by Anna Redsand.
A lesbian raised in the Navajo nation by Protestant missionary parents tells her 40-year spiritual journey inside, outside and back to the church in this finely crafted memoir. Redsand describes coming out in the 1960s and searching for a faith community that could accept her as a lesbian and a doubter committed to social justice. She crosses continents as she learns from various spiritual, religious and political traditions before finding a home at a progressive church in New Mexico. Her experience illuminates the intersection of sexuality and spirituality, Native American culture and Christian missionaries and more. Published by Terra Nova Books.
“In Defense of All God’s Children: The Life and Ministry of Bishop Christopher Senyonjo” by Christopher Senyonjo.
Uganda’s bishop who advocated for LGBTQ rights tells his life story in this readable autobiography. He is featured in the film “God Loves Uganda.” After his retirement as an Anglican bishop in 1998, Senyonjo started a counseling practice. His compassion and understanding of human sexuality soon attracted LGBTQ clients. His faith compelled him to speak out against Uganda’s proposed death penalty and other harsh policies for LGBTQ people, risking his life for justice. Now at age 83, he has written a memoir revealing the unlikely and inspiring path that led him to international activism for LGBTQ rights in Uganda, in the Anglican communion, and around the world. Foreword by Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary. Published by Morehouse, the official press of the Episcopal Church.
A popular singer-songwriter shares her dramatic life story, including her lesbian coming-out process and journey into Metropolitan Community Churches. In a lively, first-person style, Stevens-Pino tells how she became what experts call “the mother of contemporary Christian music” and “conservative Christianity’s worst nightmare: a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, God-fearing lesbian Christian.” At just 16, she wrote a song that went on to become one of the most widely recognized, and translated hymns in Christian circles: “For Those Tears I Died.” Published by CanyonWalker Press.
“I Love to Tell the Story: 100+ Stories of Justice, Inclusion, and Hope” by Nancy Wilson.
This collection of true stories from the LGBTQ faith community will bring laughter, tears, insight and hope. Sections cover love and marriage equality, pastoring, death and funerals, hate and violence, laughter, portraits, kids and angels, MCC’s first decade, earthquakes and MCC buildings, sexuality and ecumenical adventures, and White House encounters. She draws on four decades of ministry and activism and ministry in MCC for motivational, educational stories of pastors and porn stars, presidents and persons with AIDS, and many more. This looks like an LGBTQ Christian version of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Cute story titles include “And a Little Dog Shall Lead Them” and “A Queer Christmas Dinner.” Wilson is retiring this year as Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. Published by CreateSpace.
Same-sex weddings were performed in the 1500s at one of Rome’s major churches — and surprisingly detailed historical records remain. This new book exposes the history, using original sources such as the trial transcript of a group of men executed in Rome in 1578 for conducting the same-sex weddings, their wills, and the travel journal of the French essayist Michel de Montaigne. The author reveals not only the men’s names, but also their jobs, friends and even details about their sex lives. He goes on to argue that same-sex unions are part of the complex history of marriage. The author is professor of French at the University of Virginia. Published by Cornell University Press.
“Mother Juana de la Cruz, 1481-1534: Visionary Sermons” by Jessica A. Boon and Ronald E. Surtz (editors).
Sermons by genderbending Spanish mystic Madre Juana de la Cruz are available in English for the first time in this book. She emphasizes gender equality in God’s creation and envisions Christ sharing marriage beds with both male and female saints. Madre Juana insisted that God changed her gender in the womb, transforming her from male to female. She disguised herself as a man when she ran away to escape heterosexual marriage and had visionary experiences in which she spoke in a deep voice that identified itself as Christ. This volume is edited by Jessica A. Boon, religion professor at the University of North Carolina, and Ronald E. Surtz, Spanish language and culture professor at Princeton. Boon writes an insightful introduction to Madre Juana’s life, thought and context. Published by Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS).
A scholarly book examines a medieval ritual that has been seen as an ancient same-sex wedding. Gay historian John Boswell said that adelphopoiesis was a church rite for blessing same-sex unions in pre-modern Europe. This comprehensive study presents evidence on how the brother-making rite is different from marriage. For example, it offers more equality than heterosexual marriage. The author says the rite was “not created for the purpose of sanctioning and sanctifying homosexual relationships… although… this evaluation of the historical evidence does in no way undermine the legitimacy of seeking recognition for same-sex partnerships in current societies.” She is professor of Byzantine studies at the University of Vienna in Austria. From Oxford University Press.
Church and society
“The Good News about Conflict: Transforming Religious Struggle Over Sexuality” by Jenell Paris.
New ways to face church conflict over homosexuality and LGBTQ issues are presented with depth and sensitivity by an anthropology professor from Messiah College in Pennsylvania. She suggests peacemaking practices that will ease the stalemate by cultivating maturity. Foreword by Doug McConnell, provost of Fuller Seminary. Endorsed by theologian Megan DeFranza and many evangelical LGBTQ-affirming authorities, including Alan Manning Chambers and Samantha Curley of Level Ground. Published by Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf and Stock.
“Christianity and Controversies Over Homosexuality in Contemporary Africa” by Adriaan Van Klinken and Ezra Chitando (editors).
This scholarly collection investigates the complex role of Christianity in political debate about homosexuality in Africa. Contributors present case studies from countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cameroon and Zambia, focusing on Pentecostal, Catholic and mainline Protestant churches. They examine theologies that perpetuate homophobia and discrimination, but they also discuss emerging alternative Christian theologies that embrace sexual diversity, social justice and human rights. This is the most expensive book that I’ve ever promoted ($120 on Kindle), but it’s an important topic and you can get a lot out of using the free “Look Inside” feature to read the table of contents. The editors are professors of religion at the University of Zimbabwe (Chitando) and the University of Leeds (van Kinken). Published by Routledge.
“Religious Freedom and Gay Rights: Emerging Conflicts in North America and Europe” by Jack Friedman, Timothy Shah and Thomas Farr (editors).
Diverse international voices examine the tension between religious freedom and LGBT rights in this collection. They analyze current controversies such as marriage equality and forecast how expanding LGBT rights will impact freedom of religion. Most of the authors are law professors, although the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow also contributes a chapter. The primary focus is on Christianity. Published by Oxford University Press. More info
“Justice Calls: Sermons of Welcome and Affirmation,” edited by Phil Snider.
This collection presents 26 LGBTQ-affirming sermons by a diverse speakers, mostly pastors and seminary professors. Four sections focus on equality, liberation, hospitality and transformation. Contributors includes Rita Nakashima Brock, Danny Cortez, Barbara Lundblad, Scott Haldemann, David Lose, Alton Pollard, Mona West, Irene Monroe and many more. As editor, Snider brings his perspective as senior minister of Brentwood Christian Church in Springfield, MO. Published by Cascade Books / Wipf and Stock.
Art and culture
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
“Holy Women Icons Contemplative Coloring Book” by Angela Yarber.
Lively line drawings include LGBTQ Christian favorites in the new “Holy Women Icons Contemplative Coloring Book” by Angela Yarber. Color your way toward calmness with queer icons, including same-sex paired saints Perpetua and Felicity, civil rights activist / queer priest Pauli Murray, radical lesbian philosopher Mary Daly, and the Shulamite from Song of Songs. Even Sappho is portrayed — along with various incarnations of the Virgin Mary and a wide range of other historical, Biblical, literary and mythological women and goddesses from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The author is a minister and professional artist.. The coloring book is based on the folk feminist icons in her 2014 book “Holy Women Icons.” A brief description of each holy woman, along with a small image of her painting, is found at the back of the coloring book. Published by Parson’s Porch. More info
“Scags at 30” by Deborah Emin.
A woman falls in love with an ex-nun in this new lesbian spiritual romance novel set in New York City in 1981. The story is told through letters written by Scags, an everywoman character who faces big decisions about her life before she turns 30. Her awakening unfolds against current events such as the early AIDS crisis, Reagan’s inauguration and the murder of John Lennon. The book is the third installment in an ongoing series that began with Scags at the ages of 7 and 18. The author is owner/publisher of Sullivan Street Press, an environmentally sound ebook-only company. Published by Sullivan Street Press.
“Speak Its Name” by Kathleen Jowitt.
Faith, love and politics mix and explode as lesbian and bisexual students fall in love with each other on campus in this novel about being queer and Christian at a British university. Lydia, the main character, tries to balance her studies with her responsibilities as an officer for the Christian Fellowship while hiding her attraction to women. She discovers that there are more ways to be Christian – and to be herself – when she encounters out-and-proud bisexual Methodist Colette in an eccentric ecumenical household. Controversy erupts when a disgruntled member of the conservative Catholic Society raises questions. Male novelists have explored young gay men’s struggles with Christianity, but this breaks new ground with a female perspective. The author is a bisexual Christian in Cambridge, England. Self published.
“Only Say the Word” by Scott D. Pomfret.
An openly gay man is wounded in an assassination attempt when he rejoins the Catholic church after a long estrangement in this gripping novel. He heals others but gets injured by an abused former altar boy. Only his atheist boyfriend and a single disgraced priest can save him from catastrophic injuries. The story unfolds in Boston during the battle for marriage equality, AIDS activism, the scandal of pedophile priests, culture wars and political corruption. The Massachusetts author has written a variety of books, including “Since My Last Confession: A Gay Catholic Memoir.” Published by Ninestar Press.
“The Prince’s Psalm” by Eric Shaw Quinn.
Epic same-sex love between Biblical figures David and Jonathan is fleshed out in a historical novel by a New York Times-bestselling author. Beginning with young David slaying Goliath, the book shows how he won the heart of Prince Jonathan, heir to the throne of Israel. The star-crossed warrior-lovers face conflicts with King Saul and others as the Biblical story unfolds and David grows to become a king himself. The author uses artistry and restraint to present sex scenes between David and Jonathan (and each man with his own wife). With meticulous research and dynamic storytelling skills, he brings alive the dramatic same-sex love story at the core of religious tradition. The author is a celebrity ghostwriter who wrote novelizations of the TV series “Queer as Folk.” Published by DSP Publications.
“Two Natures” by Jendi Reiter.
A gay fashion photographer who was raised Southern Baptist moves to New York City for a sexual and spiritual odyssey during the AIDS crisis of the early 1990s in “Two Natures.” This stylish debut novel from a gifted poet is a rare combination of erotic romance and intelligent reflection on Christian faith. Narrator Julian Selkirk seeks glamor and often-fleeting romance to replace the religion that rejected him. Experience teaches him to see beyond shame, surface attractions and short-term desires. Based in Massachusetts, Reiter is the author of several poetry books and co-founder of WinningWriters.com. Published by Saddle Road Press. Fore more info, see “Two Natures” explores sexuality and spirituality during AIDS crisis by Kittredge Cherry.
BESTSELLER AT JESUS IN LOVE / Q SPIRIT
“Mr. Grumpy Christian” by Megan Rohrer.
“Mr. Grumpy Christian” is a kids’ book for LGBTQ families, but adults love it too. The rhyming book affirms:
When a grumpy Christian ruins your day,
“Remember God’s love is here to stay.”
It was written for LGBTQ families to read if they hear Christians telling them that God cannot love them. In the true spirit of Christ, the book goes on to add, “But remember that God’s love extends to grumpy Christians too.” Rohrer wrote the book after meeting a 7-year old-boy who tried to kill himself because a pastor threatened him with hell. It is written for children ages 5 to 10. The author is pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and the first openly transgender pastor ordained in the Lutheran Church. Published by Wilgefortis Press. For more info and a sample page, see First-ever LGBT religious children’s books published.
“Transgender Children of God” by Megan Rohrer.
Even a child can understand transgender identity with this heartwarming book aimed at kids ages 2 to 8. “Transgender children of God play with both dolls and trucks. No matter what you play with, God will love you,” it begins. The books goes on to proclaim God’s love regardless of what you wear, how you look or how you mix male and female. It also affirms transgender parents, although it can be read by any progressive family of faith. The author is pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and the first openly transgender pastor ordained in the Lutheran Church. Published by Wilgefortis/Lulu Press. Available in both paperback and e-book versions. For more info and a sample page, see First-ever LGBT religious children’s books published.
“Is It a Boy, a Girl, or Both?” by Megan Rohrer.
Animals have amazing gender diversity created by God and revealed in this new children’s book. It opens with the line, “How do I know who is a boy and who is a girl? God created diverse people and animals.” The rest is a fun safari through the different gender expressions in creation, including pictures of birds, bunnies, koalas, penguins, sea horses, hyenas, chimps, deer, banana slugs, fish and of course people. It ends with an affirmation: “God will love you no matter what. And so will I.” Geared for kids age 8 and up, it is one of the most popular books in the Good News Childrens’ Books series. The author is pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and the first openly transgender pastor ordained in the Lutheran Church. Published by Wilgefortis Press. For more info and a sample page, see First-ever LGBT religious children’s books published. More info
How did I miss these?!
(Last updated Dec. 23, 2016)
“The Secret Love Letters of Saint Paul” by Bern Callahan.
Same-sex romance blossoms between the Apostles Paul and Timothy of the New Testament in a daring and suspenseful novel. The gay historical romance switches between their love affair soon after the death of Christ and a story set in the near future, when young priest Finn McDonagh finds the secret love letters from Paul to Timothy. The discovery of the letters leads to intrigue in the in the homophobic corridors of the Vatican. The fictional format allows for exploration of Paul’s inner contradictions as a charismatic preacher with a reputation for being sex-negative as he opened up the Roman Empire to Christianity. The author brings a rare insider/outsider viewpoint as a former Roman Catholic priest who embraced Buddhism and became a meditation teacher. He lives in Vancouver, Canada with his partner. Published by Booklocker.com.
“Letters from Samaria: The Prose and Poetry of Louie Clay, 1974-2014” by Louie Crew Clay.
Forty years of dynamic writing by gay Episcopal pioneer Louie Crew Clay is gathered in this collection. His frank, witty and transformative poetry and prose is divided into four sections: growing up gay, founding the Episcopal/Anglican LGBTQ organization Integrity, justice for all and transforming the church. The author, professor emeritus at Rutgers University, co-founded Integrity in 1974. Afterword by Mary Glasspool, first openly lesbian Episcopal bishop. Published by Morehouse.
“Out of the Ordinary: A Life of Gender and Spiritual Transitions” by Michael Dillon/Lobzang Jivaka.
Memoir by the first female-to-male post-operative transsexual, who also transitioned from Anglican to Buddhist faith. Michael Dillon/Lobzang Jivaka (1915-62) was an Oxford-educated English physician who became a Buddhist monastic novice. This landmark publication is edited by Jacob Lau and Cameron Partridge, with a foreword by Susan Stryker. Published by Fordham University Press.
“The Church of Whosoever: Extra Grace Required” by Robert Hill.
Diversity is celebrated in a novel about the intersecting lives of LGBT Christians coping with the aftermath of their pastor’s heart attack. Congregants include a single grandmother, a lesbian couple, an African American female impersonator, a dual-gendered person and many others. The author is a retired Army officer who has been a church member in many different denominations. Published by Mockingbird Lane Press.
“When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality” by Stephen Morris.
Evidence is presented that Byzantine Christianity did not forbid man-to-man relationships, but even had rites akin to marriage to sanctify them. He argues that the adelphopoiesis rite is a precedent for same-sex marriage. Convincing canonical, legal, homiletic, and liturgical proof is unearthed. A former priest, the author served as the Eastern Orthodox chaplain at Columbia University. Published by McFarland.
“Journeys in Grace and Truth: Revisiting Scripture and Sexuality” by Jayne Ozanne (editor).
Leading evangelicals in the Church of England conclude here that it is possible to be biblically rooted while affirming same-sex relationships and LGBTQI people. They write about their personal experiences, scriptural study and soul searching. Contributors include the Anglican bishops of Liverpool and Dorcheste, the dean of St Paul’s and former pop star and British broadcaster Cindy Kent. Ozanne made headlines in 2015 when she came out publicly. An evangelical herself, she is a founding member of the Archbishops’ Council for the Church of England and a current member of General Synod. Published by Ekklesia.
“St Sergius and St Bacchus: Patrons of Homosexuality” cufflinks and pendants
Early Christian saints Sergius and Bacchus appear as “patrons of homosexuality” on handsome handmade cufflinks from artist Shoushan of Artisan Courtyard. Sergius and Bacchus were 3rd-century Roman soldiers who loved each other. A classic example of paired saints, the close bond between the men has been emphasized since the earliest accounts. The oldest record of their martyrdom describes them as erastai (Greek for “lovers”). Scholars believe that they may have been united in the rite of adelphopoiesis, a kind of early Christian same-sex marriage. Saints Sergius and Bacchus pendants are available too.
“St Perpetua and St Felicitas: Patrons of Women’s Rights” pendants, ear rings, candles and incense
Early Christian saints Perpetua and Felicitas, sometimes considered a lesbian couple, share a single halo as “patrons of women’s rights” on elegant pendants from artist Shoushan of Artisan Courtyard. They were North African woman friends and martyrs who died together in the 3rd century. They are named together in the Roman Catholic Mass and their lives demonstrate the power of love between two women. Perpetua and Felicity ear rings, candles and incense are also available.
Coming in 2017 and available for pre-order
Jan. 12, 2017
“The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion, Sexuality and Gender” by Donald L. Boisvert and Carly Daniel-Hughes (editors). Published by Bloomsbury.
Jan. 19, 2017
“Queering Richard Rolle: Mystical Theology and the Hermit in Fourteenth-Century England” by Christopher M. Roman. Published by Palgrave.
Jan. 23, 2017
“Tantric Jesus: The Erotic Heart of Early Christianity” by James Hughes Reho with a foreword by Matthew Fox. Published by Destiny Books.
Queer Theology book list (from Patrick Cheng)
Image credit: LGBTQ Christian books with rainbow flag logo by Andrew Craig William
Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
Qspirit.net presents the Jesus in Love Blog on LGBTQ spirituality.
Latest posts by Kittredge Cherry (see all)
- John Boswell: Historian of gays and lesbians in Christianity - March 19, 2017
- Gay centurion: Jesus heals a soldier’s boyfriend in the Bible - March 15, 2017
- Perpetua and Felicity: Patron saints of same-sex couples - March 7, 2017