Reluctant Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith from Homophobia to Christian Love (1997)
Author(s): George Hopper
Amazon UK: Reluctant Journey
Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming
Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Healing/growing into wholeness, Journeys towards acceptance, and Pastoral issues
Especially suitable for: Evangelicals and Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue
The author is a retired scientist/engineer, local preacher and inclusive Christian. In 1992 he went from being anti-gay to a simple ministry of friendship, support and Christian love, for lesbian and gay Christians especially.
“In nine chapters Hopper first explains how the book came to be written. Next he moves to ask ‘What is homosexuality and how does it come about?’. In answer he refers to published material of the time (late 1990s). There are no pet theories here: looking for answers he went in search of people. There follows a chapter that calls for compassion – ‘Standing in their shoes’. Only then is Hopper ready to turn to the Bible.
The Bible study covers five chapters, with a whole chapter on Leviticus, and one on New Testament references. One by one all of the so-called proof texts against homosexuality are questioned, and found to be unlike they once appeared. The reader who engages with Hopper will find him a reliable, if challenging companion.
Hopper’s style is straightforward and easy to follow; he writes with an engaging humility. One is in no doubt he met the Lord on his pilgrimage: found him anew in scriptures freed from anti-gay construction. Reluctant Journey is a life-affirming book that can be gloriously enjoyed at one sitting, or read and re-read reflectively over time.
Conversations about sexuality and the church have come a long way in the 20-odd years since Hopper wrote. His book has generally stood up well to the passage of time. Some comments may jar; for instance sexuality is now widely thought of more as a continuum than Hopper’s ‘no homosexual leanings … 100% heterosexual’ version. It is no criticism therefore to encourage modern readers to look beyond this work once its propositions have been grasped to consider later thinking on sexuality, and the pressing issue of equal marriage.” — HGRolls
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