Recommended Books List

The books are listed in alphabetical order of author’s surname, 25 books per page. It will soon be possible to search and filter the book list by author, genre, topic and so on. For a more basic list, all on one page, click here.

The ‘Especially suitable for’ line doesn’t include Christians, LGBT+ people or straight allies, as we assume that all the books will be suitable for those groups. And ‘especially‘ means just that – if, for example, a book is listed as ‘especially’ for Anglicans, that doesn’t mean it will be of no value or interest to non-Anglicans. Similarly, if a book is listed as especially suitable for academics it doesn’t mean that it’s too difficult for everyone else!

Click on the book titles for full details of each book.

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Going to Heaven

by Elizabeth Adams

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): History, Memoir/autobiography, and Spirituality

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Church order and discipline, Coming out, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Healing/growing into wholeness, Inclusive Christianity, Pastoral issues, Same-sex relationships, and Spirituality

Especially suitable for: Anglicans, Clergy, Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity, and Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue

Gene Robinson’s life is a compelling story of challenges overcome by hard work, intelligence, humour, love, and deep faith. It is also a story of one man’s journey into his own “otherness”; of courage found and integrity retained; and the emergence of a ministry that speaks to countless people who believe in a Gospel of love and inclusion, and want the church to reflect that vision.

Through a lively text based on extensive interviews with Bishop Robinson, his closest associates, family, colleagues, and observers, and illustrated with photographs from all phases of his life, this book paints a portrait of Bishop Robinson not as a symbol but a human being who is, as he puts it, “neither the angel nor the devil some would make me out to be.” It illuminates his life; his struggle with – and eventual acceptance of – his sexual orientation; his calling to become a priest and later a bishop.

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This Far by Grace

by J. Neil Alexander

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Memoir/autobiography and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Ethics, Inclusive Christianity, Pastoral issues, Same-sex relationships, and Scripture/tradition/reason

Especially suitable for: Anglicans

In this thoughtful and timely book, Bishop Alexander explores his journey through the theological, scriptural, and pastoral aspects of the questions surrounding homosexuality and the Christian faith. Writing in the weeks after the General Convention of The Episcopal Church approved the appointment of the church’s first openly gay bishop, Bishop Alexander offers a personal view of his changing outlook from exclusion to acceptance on this important issue. He also offers thought-provoking perspectives on scripture and tradition. This Far by Grace will prove a vital resource for discussion and reflection by individuals, parishes, and dioceses.

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Humour, Spirituality, and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Inclusive Christianity, Liberation Theology, and Spirituality

Especially suitable for: Academics and Catholics

This new book from James Alison has all the brilliance, wit and panache that have made him one of the most influential contemporary Catholic writers. Celebrated for his firm but gentle insistence on facing down current ecclesiastical teaching on homosexuality with the question, Yes, but is it true? , and his wry observations as the church flails around on gay issues, Alison is also admired and enjoyed for the freshness and verve of his interpretations of scripture, for his dazzling word play and teasing connections, surprises and reversals.

Alison develops the implications for theology and religion of the insights of the French literary critic and philosopher René Girard, which expose the violence hidden at the heart of our culture. He shows how Girard’s concepts of mimetic desire and the scapegoat mechanism both confirm and transform our understanding of Christianity.

 

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Faith Beyond Resentment

by James Alison

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Spirituality, and Theology

Topic(s): Inclusive Christianity

Especially suitable for: Academics and Catholics

A  re-imagining of the Catholic faith by one of the most lucid and exciting theologians writing in English today.  James Alison offers an account of Christianity that is moving, liberating, and deeply personal, yet rooted in Catholic tradition.This is not a book of gay theology but of Catholic theology from a gay perspective, addressing both those who are not gay and those who are not Catholic, ‘people of whatever background negotiating the world of faith in the time of the collapsing closet’.

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On Being Liked

by James Alison

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Spirituality, and Theology

Topic(s): Inclusive Christianity and Spirituality

Especially suitable for: Catholics and Enquirers about Christianity

With questions of religion and homosexuality on the front pages again, and debates raging about the nature of marriage and the ordination of priests, James Alison invites us into deep, lucid reflection about God, the wonder of creation, and the way that God not only loves but likes every one of us.

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Raising Abel

by James Alison

Standpoint: 0 Not yet classified

Genre(s): Academic writing, Spirituality, and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies and Spirituality

Raising Abel is a theological exploration of a huge change of mind: the change which the apostolic group underwent as a result of the Resurrection – and how that paradigm can transform the world today. Making use of the thought of René Girard, the author shows how the God who was revealed by Jesus subverted the violent language, imagery and expectations of the early Christians.

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Indecent Theology

by Marcella Althaus-Reid

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Liberation Theology and Queer theology

Especially suitable for: Academics

Indecent Theology brings liberation theology up to date by introducing the radical critical approaches of gender, postcolonial, and queer theory. Grounded in actual examples from Latin America, Marcella Althaus-Reid’s highly provocative but immaculately researched book reworks three distinct areas of theology: sexual, political and systematic. It exposes the connections between theology, sexuality and politics, whilst initiating a dramatic sexual rereading of systematic theology. Groundbreaking, intriguing and scholarly, Indecent Theology broadens the debate on sexuality and theology as never before.

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Liberation Theology and Sexuality

by Marcella Althaus-Reid

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Studies in Religion, and Theology

Topic(s): Liberation Theology and Queer theology

Especially suitable for: Academics

Liberation Theology and Sexuality is a book about ‘doing Liberation Theology in Latin America’ in the twenty-first century. The style of doing theology remains the same, but this book reflects the work of a new generation of liberation theologians developing a theology that offers a wider and more complex critique of reality, with new perspectives on issues of sexuality, race, gender, culture, globalization and new forms of popular religiosity.

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The Queer God

by Marcella Althaus-Reid

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Spirituality, and Theology

Topic(s): Liberation Theology, Queer theology, and Spirituality

Especially suitable for: Academics

The Queer God introduces a new theology from the margins of sexual deviance and economic exclusion. Its chapters on Bisexual Theology, Sadean holiness, gay worship in Brazil and Queer sainthood mark the search for a different face of God – the Queer God who challenges the oppressive powers of heterosexual orthodoxy, whiteness and global capitalism. Inspired by the transgressive spaces of Latin American spirituality, where the experiences of slum children merge with Queer interpretations of grace and holiness, The Queer God seeks to liberate God from the closet of traditional Christian thought, and to embrace God’s part in the lives of gays, lesbians and the poor. Only a theology that dares to be radical can show us the presence of God in our times. The Queer God creates a concept of holiness that overcomes sexual and colonial prejudices and shows how Queer Theology is ultimately the search for God’s own deliverance. Using Liberation Theology and Queer Theory, it exposes the sexual roots that underlie all theology, and takes the search for God to new depths of social and sexual exclusion.

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Trans/formations

by Marcella Althaus-Reid

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Studies in Religion, and Theology

Topic(s): Gender identity, Liberation Theology, Queer theology, and Transgender people

Especially suitable for: Academics, People of non-binary or fluid gender, and Transgender people

Trans/formations is controversial and challenging as well as highly original. The book makes visible a range of trans lived experience, offers theological reflection on these experiences, creates challenging theology from this experiential base, and provides a resource for churches and theology students not hitherto available. It includes an excellent range of contributors, including Elizabeth Stuart and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott. This is a valuable addition to reading lists of courses on religion, gender and the body.

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Easter

by Michael Arditti

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Fiction, and Humour

Topic(s): Coming out, Journeys towards acceptance, and Pastoral issues

Especially suitable for: Clergy

Fiction. The parish of St Mary-in-the-Vale. Hampstead is preparing for Easter. In his Palm Sunday sermon, the Vicar explains that Christ’s crucifixion and redemption are taking place every day. He little suspects that, before the week is out, he and his entire congregation will be caught up in a latter-day Passion story which will tear apart their lives.

Easter offers both a challenging portrait of the contemporary Church of England and a reworking of the central myth of Western culture. Its rich gallery of characters range from a Holocaust survivor and an African princess to AIDS patients and Queen Elizabeth II. Shocking events unfold against a backdrop of religious services. High Church ritual, evangelical revivalism and the ancestor-worship of the English gentry all come under scrutiny in a radical fusion of the sacred and profane.

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Humane Christianity

by Alan Bartlett

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, History, Spirituality, and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Ethics, Gender identity, Inclusive Christianity, Pastoral issues, and Spirituality

Especially suitable for: Academics

Humane Christianity examines how the institutional church, which should be a shining example of God’s love in the world, has so often throughout history been the very opposite – corrupt, oppressive, abusive, and inhumane. In analysing why this has been so, Alan Bartlett shows the serious consequences of this inhumanity for Christian witness today.

In the journey of revealing a more humane Christianity the book ranges widely: from the problems caused by traditional language of ‘original sin’ to explorations of the Christology of Irenaeus, the love of Julian of Norwich, the passion of Martin Luther, the theological method of Richard Hooker, and the balanced spirituality of Jeremy Taylor. Humane Christianity suggests a way forward rooted in an open orthodoxy and a thoughtful, passionate commitment to the message of the gospels. The end result is a way of living as Christians that is more attractive, just, and above all, humane.

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A Church at War

by Stephen Bates

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): History and Studies in Religion

Topic(s): Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people and LGBT+ activism

Especially suitable for: Activists, Anglicans, and Church of England

A brilliant exposé of how a small cabal of conservative Evangelicals, a minority even within the Evangelical tradition in Anglicanism, have made homosexuality the defining issue in the Anglican Communion today. Bates ruthlessly exposes the media spin, American big-money backers, unbalanced extremists and double standards behind the anti-gay camp in Anglicanism.

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This Is My Body

by Christina Beardsley, Michelle O'Brien

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Memoir/autobiography, and Theology

Topic(s): Gender identity, Inclusive Christianity, Intersex people, and Transgender people

Especially suitable for: People of non-binary or fluid gender, Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity, Transgender people, Workers with young people, and Young people

Much has been said and written about trans people by theologians and Church leaders, while little has been heard from trans Christians themselves. As a step towards redressing the balance, This Is My Body offers a grounded reflection on people’s experience of gender dissonance that involves negotiating the boundaries between one’s identity and religious faith, as well as a review of the most up-to-date theological, cultural and scientific literature. The book has been compiled and edited by Christina Beardsley, a priest and hospital chaplain, writer and activist for trans inclusion in the Church, and Michelle O’Brien, who has been involved in advocacy, research, lecturing and writing about intersex and trans issues. It includes contributions from many people associated with the Sibyls, the UK-based confidential spirituality group for transgender people and their allies.

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Trans Affirming Churches

by Christina Beardsley, Chris Dowd

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Advice – spiritual and practical, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Memoir/autobiography, Spirituality, and Theology

Topic(s): Gender identity, Inclusive Christianity, Pastoral issues, Spirituality, and Transgender people

Especially suitable for: Clergy, People of non-binary or fluid gender, Therapists and pastors, and Transgender people

There remains a lack of knowledge and understanding about trans people in the church, and trans people who are religious can experience bias in their faith communities. With the help of their many years of experience working with trans people negotiating their relationships with religious institutions, the authors (one of whom is trans) have created this accessible, valuable guide that will educate and improve churches’ relationship with trans people.

Combining first-hand interviews, the authors’ own experiences and scripture analysis, this thought-provoking guide uses this combination of ancient and contemporary stories to outline a theology that welcomes and includes all people whatever their gender identity or sexual orientation. Written from this inclusive Christian perspective, the book answers questions about trans people that are specific to church communities.

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Undivided

by Vicky Beeching

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Contemporary Christian practice and experience and Memoir/autobiography

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Coming out, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Inclusive Christianity, and Journeys towards acceptance

Especially suitable for: Evangelicals, Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity, and Young people

“Arguably the most influential Christian of her generation” (The Guardian), Vicky Beeching chronicles her rise to the heights of Christian music and her brave decision to come out as gay – leading to self-acceptance and acknowledgement which changed her relationship with God and the practice of her faith.

From a young age, Vicky Beeching loved to write songs and lead worship in church. In singing, she experienced the fullest expression of herself, what God had uniquely blessed her to do. After college, Vicky quickly achieved stardom, touring with some of Christian music’s biggest names. But Vicky’s success was threatened by a terrifying secret. She was gay. There was no room in evangelical Christian music for a gay worship leader. For ten years, Vicky rejected who she really was – a denial that damaged her in body and soul. After leaving music behind to enrol in a theology program at Oxford University, Vicky discovered that she could not worship God with a pure heart if she did not accept who she was.

When she courageously came out publicly in 2014, Vicky lost the support of her Christian community. But she gained much more: the truth had set her free. Focusing on her speaking and writing instead of music, Vicky leads worship in a new way now, emphasizing God’s inclusive love and faithfulness. Undivided is the story of her transformation, a joyous tale of God’s love, and a call for all Christians to worship God in authentic ways.

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Anything but Straight

by Wayne Besen

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): History, Humour, Investigative journalism, and Memoir/autobiography

Topic(s): 'Ex-gay' movement/ministries, Accepting one's sexuality, Conversion therapy/Reparative therapy, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Ethics, Journeys towards acceptance, LGBT+ activism, and Pastoral issues

Especially suitable for: Activists and Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity

An invaluable resource for debunking the specious claims of the ex-gay movement. As part of his exhaustive research for Anything But Straight Besen made numerous undercover visits to ex-gay meetings, attended ex-gay and right-wing conferences and interviewed many of the movement’s most powerful proponents.

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Contemporary Christian practice and experience, History, Memoir/autobiography, and Spirituality

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Coming out, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Healing/growing into wholeness, Journeys towards acceptance, Same-sex relationships, and Studies in Religion

Especially suitable for: Contemplatives and Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity

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Out on Holy Ground

by Donald L Boisvert

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Memoir/autobiography, Spirituality, and Studies in Religion

Topic(s): Inclusive Christianity, Queer theology, Same-sex relationships, Spirituality, and Studies in Religion

Especially suitable for: Academics

Is gay spirituality a genuine type of religious expression, or is it simply another example of identity politics? Since the onset of the AIDS epidemic that has disproportionately struck their community, gay men have published a wide range of materials, from autobiographies to theologies, that ask, What is gay spirituality as a religious expression in North America? The first book to weave together these various strands into an organized response, Out on Holy Ground culls information from diverse sources both within and outside religious institutions. Gay scholar Donald Boisvert presents his findings topically as theology, myths and symbols, rituals, and spiritual culture to paint a compelling portrait of gay spirituality as a serious cultural expression. Out on Holy Ground takes the conversation about gay spirituality to the next level so we can understand spirituality as a pivotal factor in the development of gay identity.

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Shameless

by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Memoir/autobiography, Spirituality, and Theology

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Biblical studies, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Ethics, Gender identity, Inclusive Christianity, Journeys towards acceptance, Same-sex relationships, Scripture/tradition/reason, Spirituality, and Transgender people

Especially suitable for: Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity, Workers with young people, and Young people

Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book offers a full-blown overhaul of our harmful and antiquated ideas about sex, gender, and our bodies. Christians are obsessed with sex. But not in a good way. For nearly two thousand years, this obsession has often turned destructive, inflicting pain, suffering, and guilt on countless people of all persuasions and backgrounds. In Shameless, Bolz-Weber calls for a reformation. To make her case, she offers experiences from her own life and stories from her parishioners alongside biblical theology to explore what the church has taught, and the harm those teachings have caused. Along the way, she re-examines patriarchy, sex, and power with candour but also with hope, because in her heart she believes “the Gospel is powerful enough, transgressive enough, and beautiful enough to heal not only the ones who have been hurt but also those who have done the hurting.” This is by far Bolz-Weber’s most personal book yet, revealing intimate and emotional details about her life while offering a reading experience that is as entertaining and affirming as it is intellectually robust and liberating. For anyone who has been harmed by the shaming sexual messages so prevalent in religion, this book is for you.

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Coming Out to Parents

by Mary V Borhek

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Advice – spiritual and practical

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Coming out, Healing/growing into wholeness, Journeys towards acceptance, and Parents of LGBT+ children

Especially suitable for: Parents of LGBT+ children, Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity, Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue, and Young people

Listed by American Bookseller as “among the most important gay and lesbian books that should be represented in any general bookstore”, Borhek’s original edition of this book (1983) has also been praised as “sound, sympathetic, and helpful” (St. Luke’s Journal of Theology). In this thorough revision, Borhek brings an additional decade of personal knowledge and experience to bear on the subject of coming out.

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and History

Topic(s): Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Homosexuality in the Bible, Sex and sexuality in Ancient Rome, and Studies in Religion

Especially suitable for: Academics

John Boswell’s National Book Award-winning study of the history of attitudes toward homosexuality in the early Christian West was a groundbreaking work that challenged preconceptions about the Church’s past relationship to its gay members – among them priests, bishops, and even saints – when it was first published in 1980.
The historical breadth of Boswell’s research (from the Ancient Greeks to Aquinas) and the variety of sources consulted make this one of the most extensive treatments of any single aspect of Western social history. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality helped form the disciplines of gay and gender studies, and it continues to illuminate the origins and operations of intolerance as a social force.
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Biblical Ethics & Homosexuality

by Robert Lawson Brawley

Standpoint: 0 Not yet classified

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Ethics, Homosexuality in the Bible, and Translation issues

Especially suitable for: Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity and Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue

What are the most important texts for modern Christians to read in order to arrive at responsible decisions regarding the ethics of human sexual behaviour? How should those texts be translated for today’s reader? How should the Bible be used in this enterprise? Contributors to this book, all notable biblical scholars, confront these questions as they deal with issues surrounding the ethics of sexual behaviour, in general, and the divisive issue of gay/lesbian ordination, in particular. They provide an amazing amount of information about biblical ideas of sexuality as they put forth a deeper understanding of the Bible, its intentions, and its variety.

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Love Between Women

by Bernadette J Brooten

Standpoint: 0 Not yet classified

Genre(s): Academic writing and History

Topic(s): Same-sex relationships and Sex and sexuality in Ancient Rome

Especially suitable for: Academics and Lesbians

Love Between Women examines female homoeroticism and the role of women in the ancient Roman world. Employing an unparalleled range of cultural sources, Brooten finds evidence of marriages between women and establishes that condemnations of female homoerotic practices were based on widespread awareness of love between women.

Standpoint: 0 Not yet classified

Genre(s): Academic writing, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, History, Studies in Religion, and Theology

Topic(s): African Christianity, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Politics, Same-sex relationships, and Studies in Religion

Especially suitable for: Academics and Anglicans

Leading Anglican writers from around the world challenge the assumption that the communion is split between a liberal ‘north’ and an orthodox ‘south’. Anglican churches worldwide are sharply divided on homosexuality. The dominant stereotype is that of a ‘global south’ unanimously lined up against homosexuality as immoral and sinful, and of a liberal and decadent global north. The differences between the two sides are seen as fundamental and irreconcilable. Nothing is further from the truth: homosexual behaviour exists across the whole Anglican Communion, whether it is openly celebrated or quietly integrated into local churches and cultures. In this extraordinary book, in development for several years, this is exposed as a myth. Christians throughout Africa, Asia, and the developing world – bishops, priests and religious, academics and lay writers – open up dramatic new perspectives on familiar arguments and debates. Topics include biblical interpretation, sexuality and doctrine, local history, sexuality and personhood, the influence of other faiths, issues of colonialism and post-colonialism, homophobia, and the place of homosexual persons in the church. Other Voices, Other Worlds reveals the rich historical and cross-cultural complexity to same-sex relationships, and injects dramatic new perspectives into a debate that has become stale and predictable.

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