stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Memories of, and reflections on the early years of the Metropolitan Community Church, and some of the people involved in it. Sylvia Pennington was straight, but (eventually) a staunch ally of the queer Christian community. The first section of the book deals with her own personal experiences, getting to know gay people and separating homophobia from faith. Some of that made rather painful reading, though I get the feeling that she must have been as embarrassed writing it as anybody reading it. The second section was a number of case studies, if you like - gay men (and one lesbian) and their journeys to reconciling sexuality and faith. Often moving; sometimes utterly devastating.

I will be honest and admit that the style didn't do much for me. Some of this is probably just down to different Christian and cultural backgrounds - I am not the arm-wavy type, and Pennington, by her own admission, was, so there were some assumptions and turns-of-phrase that felt very alien. The other thing that set my teeth on edge was the way that after each case study she would present the subject as a worthy example of 'God's gays'. And... I can sort of see where she is coming from, assuming an intended audience of devout and homophobic Christians, but it did feel terribly patronising.

I didn't learn anything new from this book, but then I didn't really expect to. Its two main messages - that it is perfectly possible to be simultaneously a person of sincere faith and actively other-than-straight, and that the Church can do its best to make it bloody difficult to practise that sincere faith - are ones that I have been hearing, repeating, and to some extent experiencing for a long time.


stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)

June 2013

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