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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Biblical Ethics & Homosexuality

by Robert Lawson Brawley

Standpoint: 0 Not yet classified

Genre(s): Academic writing, Ethics, 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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Bible, Gender, Sexuality

by James V. Brownson

Standpoint: 2 Moderately inclusive

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Church order and discipline, Homosexuality in the Bible, Same-sex relationships, and Scripture/tradition/reason

Especially suitable for: Academics and Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue

This thought-provoking book by James Brownson develops a broad, cross-cultural sexual ethic from Scripture, locates current debates over homosexuality in that wider context, and explores why the Bible speaks the way it does about same-sex relationships.

Fairly presenting both sides in this polarized debate — “traditional” and “revisionist” — Brownson conscientiously analyzes all of the pertinent biblical texts and helpfully identifies “stuck points” in the ongoing debate. In the process, he explores key concepts that inform our understanding of the biblical texts, including patriarchy, complementarity, purity and impurity, honor and shame. Central to his argument is the need to uncover the moral logic behind the text.

Written in order to serve and inform the ongoing debate in many denominations over the questions of homosexuality, Brownson’s in-depth study will prove a useful resource for Christians who want to form a considered opinion on this important issue.

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Imitating Jesus

by Richard A Burridge

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

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

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Biblical studies, Ethics, Homosexuality in the Bible, and Same-sex relationships

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

In contrast to many studies of New Testament ethics, which treat the New Testament in general and Paul in particular, this book focuses on the person of Jesus himself. Richard Burridge maintains that imitating Jesus means following both his words – which are very demanding ethical teachings – and his deeds and example of being inclusive and accepting of everyone.

Burridge carefully and systematically traces that combination of rigorous ethical instruction and inclusive community through the letters of Paul and the four Gospels, treating specific ethical issues pertaining to each part of Scripture. The book culminates with a chapter on apartheid as an ethical challenge to reading the New Testament; using South Africa as a contemporary case study enables Burridge to highlight and further apply his previous discussion and conclusions.

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Unashamed

by Amber Cantorna

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Advice – spiritual and practical and Spirituality

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Coming out, Inclusive Christianity, and Spirituality

Especially suitable for: Evangelicals

When LGBTQ Christians come out, they face unique challenges that are addressed in this helpful guide. It tackles tough subjects such as demolishing internalized homophobia/transphobia, finding an affirming faith community, reconnecting with your worth as a child of God, navigating difficult family conversations (especially where family members are church leaders), and coping with the “I love you BUT” attitude of faith-based conditional love. Unashamed encourages LGBTQ Christians to celebrate the diversity of God’s creation, including their own sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Sodomy

by Michael Carden

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Homosexuality in the Bible, and Scripture/tradition/reason

Especially suitable for: Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue

This book is a study of the reception of Genesis 19, Sodom and Gomorrah, together with the parallel story in Judges 19–21, the outrage at Gibeah, in both Christian and Jewish traditions from antiquity through to the Reformation period.

The book detoxifies the homophobic interpretation of Genesis 19, in which Sodom and Gomorrah serve as an archetypal story of divine antipathy towards same-sex love and desire, by showing it to be a Christian invention, emerging in the first few centuries of the Christian era.

In the Jewish traditions about Sodom and Gomorrah, the events are associated primarily with inhospitality, xenophobia and abuse of the poor. Together with the reception of the parallel Judges story, this Jewish understanding is used to highlight the inconsistencies and ethical problems in the anti-gay Christian reading.

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From Sin to Amazing Grace

by Patrick S Cheng

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Inclusive Christianity, Liberation Theology, and Queer theology

Especially suitable for: Academics

In From Sin to Amazing Grace, Cheng argues that people need to be liberated from the traditional thinking about sin as a violation of divine and natural laws in which grace is understood as the strength to refrain from violating such laws. He proposes a Christological model based upon the theologies of Irenaeus, Bonaventure, and Barth, in which sin and grace are defined in terms of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. This book will serve as a useful resource for all people who struggle to make sense of traditional Christian doctrines in the context of the twenty-first century.

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Radical Love

by Patrick S Cheng

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Liberation Theology and Queer theology

Especially suitable for: Academics

As Patrick Cheng insightfully argues, Jesus Christ can be understood by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as the embodiment of a love so extreme that it dissolves all existing boundaries. In discussing revelation, God, Trinity, creation, atonement, sin, grace, Holy Spirit, church, and sacraments, Patrick Cheng – a theologian, seminary professor, and ordained minister – provides a historical survey of how queer theology has developed from the 1950s to today, and then illuminates its themes using the ecumenical creeds as his guide. He discusses Jesus’s communion with all people – holy and profane. He explores Jesus’s crossing of all barriers – from divine to sexual. Above all, he reminds us that those barriers are societal, rather than religious, concepts.

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“For I Am Wonderfully Made”

by Misha Cherniak, Olga Gerassimenko, Michael Brinkschröder

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Church order and discipline, and Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people

Especially suitable for: Academics and Orthodox

In the midst of the culture wars of our broader society, LGBT people have become the focus of a spiritual battle within the Orthodox Church. The recognition of LGBT rights in the political sphere has triggered negative ecclesial responses. In the struggle to maintain traditional values and teachings, LGBT Orthodox are denied confession, communion or blessings. Many face exclusion from parish life, and some face physical violence.

Roughly half of the essays gathered in this book were first presented at a seminar entitled “Orthodox Theological Reflections on LGBT People,” held 20–23 August 2015 in Finland. The other half represent Orthodox theologians, clergy, scholars and activists writing over the past 20 years. Together they offer an affirming message, urging LGBT Orthodox to proclaim with the psalmist: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psalm 139:14)

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Equal Rites

by Kittredge Cherry, Zalmon O Sherwood

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Contemporary Christian practice and experience and Liturgy/worship

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Coming out, Healing/growing into wholeness, Journeys towards acceptance, Same-sex relationships, and Spirituality

Especially suitable for: Therapists and pastors

Equal Rites is a much-needed collection of worship services, ceremonies, and celebrations that is attuned to the unique needs of sexual minorities. The selections, written primarily by lesbians and gay men, include rites of spiritual beginnings, healing, blessings, holy communion, and pride and empowerment. Also included are funeral memorial services and seasonal and holiday rites for couples. More than a collection, Equal Rites can also serve as a reference book for creating unique and meaningful worship services that address significant aspects of lesbian and gay spirituality.

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Faithful Conversation

by James M Childs

Standpoint: 0 Not yet classified

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Church order and discipline, Ethics, Homosexuality in the Bible, and Sex and sexuality in Ancient Rome

Especially suitable for: Academics

Bitter battles over the churches’ stance toward its gay and lesbian members have tested the churches’ fundamental orientation and even threatened to split whole denominations apart. The blessing of homosexual unions and ordination of gays and lesbians have proven to be special flashpoints at both local and national levels.

Part of the widespread perplexity over the issues stems from their complexity. They involve questions not only of personal ethics and church polity but also of Christian history, conflicting readings of the biblical data, and uncertainty over basic anthropological frameworks, especially as driven by findings of the social sciences.

This volume is aimed at engendering real reflection and conversation by providing Christians with the basic tools to engage the many dimensions of this question for themselves and with each other.

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Transgender. Christian. Human.

by Alex Clare-Young

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Memoir/autobiography and Spirituality

Topic(s): Gender identity, Intersex people, Journeys towards acceptance, Spirituality, and Transgender people

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

Alex Clare-Young, the first out transgender minister in the United Reformed Church, says:

Transgender Christian Human is the story of my life as a transgender child and adult. Trans is an imperfect label but labels are, to some extent, necessary – especially when we choose them for ourselves. For me, being trans means moving towards a gender that varies from my sex assigned at birth. It also means moving between genders and critiquing the rigidity of gendered systems.

“Parts of this book are incredibly sad. Others are full of joy. Some are even pretty funny. I hope that the result is an honest and authentic reflection of being transgender, Christian and human. I have included resources and activities at the end of each chapter to encourage individuals and groups to explore the subject. I hope the book helps you to understand yourself and your friends, colleagues and family a little better – and that it acts as a mirror to reflect a different way of being.”

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Gay Theology without Apology

by Gary David Comstock

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Memoir/autobiography, and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Homosexuality in the Bible, Inclusive Christianity, Marriage and relationships, Queer theology, and Same-sex relationships

An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and a university professor, Comstock brings both sensitivity and intelligence to his subject. His is a forward-thinking and inclusive Christian theology which affirms that gay love and sexuality are not only compatible with the Christian walk, but that the Christian community as a whole is impoverished by the exclusion of self-affirming lesbians and gay men.

Comstock incorporates both revealing autobiographical passages and incisive scholarly work into his explorations of several biblical texts. He also has an admirable sense of humility; in his introduction he notes that he does not claim to have constructed a definitive pro-gay Christian theology. Rather, he writes, “My intention is not to speak for others, but to add my voice to others’ and to encourage others to speak.”

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Gender identity, Intersex people, and Queer theology

Especially suitable for: Intersex people

Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ provides the first full-length examination of the theological implications of physical intersex conditions and their medical treatment. Mainstream Christian theology has valued the integrity of the body and the goodness of God reflected in creation, but has also set much store by the “complementarity” of “normal” male and female physiology.

But theologies which value incarnation and bodiliness must speak with stigmatised or marginal bodies too: the Body of Christ is comprised of human members, and each member thereby changes the Body’s definition of itself.

Accepting the non-pathology of intersexed and otherwise atypical bodies necessitates a re-examination of discourses about sex, marriage, sexuality, perfection, healing and the resurrection body. Informed by existing theologies from three marginal areas (transexualism, disability and queer theology), this beginning of a theology from intersex demonstrates the necessity of resisting erotic domination in defining bodies.

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Advice – spiritual and practical, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Humour, Liturgy/worship, Poetry, Spirituality, and Theology

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Ethics, Gender identity, Healing/growing into wholeness, Journeys towards acceptance, Marriage and relationships, Pastoral issues, and Spirituality

Especially suitable for: Contemplatives, Enquirers about Christianity, Therapists and pastors, and Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity

In his Introduction to Pleasure, Pain & Passion Jim Cotter writes: “To write about sexuality is foolish enough, to write about spirituality equally so: there is mystery here, and energy, and confusion, and vulnerability. It is difficult to write clearly about either; to see how they might be connected seems impossible. But I am compelled to try, because it is so exhausting and destructive keeping them apart.”

Foolish or not, Jim Cotter explores these difficult but vital human themes with great spiritual wisdom and insight. Topics include Making connections; Welcoming the flesh; Desiring affirmation; Hating the flesh; Recovering tenderness; Discovering pleasure; Learning the language of touch; Being transfigured; and Becoming pain-bearers. The book concludes with some worship resources and meditations.

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Homosexuality in the Bible, Same-sex relationships, and Scripture/tradition/reason

Especially suitable for: Theological educators and Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue

The Bible, the Church and Homosexuality is intended to reach those who believe that the issues in human sexuality involve a straight choice between faithfulness to Scripture or conforming to liberal conscience, and that Scripture must prevail even if their heart and experience tug them in a different direction. The collection explores a variety of fundamental Christian themes and shows that a change in the Church’s approach to homosexuality would be both consistent with the Church’s understanding of Scripture and with the Church’s traditional ways of working with doctrine. The contributors include Marilyn McCord Adams, Robert Merrihew Adams, John Drury, Christopher Rowland, Jane Shaw and Margaret Bedggood.

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Dirt, Greed and Sex

by L William Countryman

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

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

Topic(s): Biblical studies and Ethics

Especially suitable for: Academics and Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue

This 2001 revised edition of the landmark 1988 text includes updated text and notes throughout, taking advantage of recent studies of sexual ethics and, where appropriate, criticising them. A new chapter engages the presumed ‘ethic of creation’ that has become a major theme among more conservative thinkers and writers in biblical ethics. A concluding chapter on sex is thoroughly rewritten and offers a positive statement of a New Testament sexual ethic.

[I have seen a later revision referred to, dated 2007, but have not been able to find the details; it may simply be a reprint. — Phil Gardner]

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Gifted by Otherness

by L William Countryman, M R Ritley

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

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

Topic(s): Accepting one's sexuality, Biblical studies, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Healing/growing into wholeness, Journeys towards acceptance, Pastoral issues, Same-sex relationships, and Spirituality

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

Countryman and Ritley explore what it means to affirm, not merely accept, being gay or lesbian as well as Christian. Writing primarily for the LGB community, and for their families and communities, they explore the ways in which the LGB community can appropriate and re-tell the biblical story, and find confidence in their unique spiritual journey and gifts.

The authors conclude that being gay or lesbian is not actually a problem at all; rather it is a vocation, and, in fact, a gift to today’s church. As ‘outsiders’ gay men and lesbians challenge the church to be inclusive of all God’s children – the central message of the gospel.

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Coming Out Spiritually

by Christian De la Huerta

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Advice – spiritual and practical, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Spirituality, and Studies in Religion

Topic(s): Coming out, Inclusive Christianity, Journeys towards acceptance, Spirituality, and Studies in Religion

Especially suitable for: Academics and Contemplatives

Coming Out Spiritually is structured by author Christian de la Huerta’s idea that gay people have traditionally assumed ten spiritual roles or archetypes, and continue to assume them today.

These include, among others, ‘creator of beauty’, ‘mediator’, ‘shaman’, and ‘healer’. This understanding of gay people’s spirituality draws on a number of religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Sufism, and Taoism. After establishing his theoretical understanding of gay spirituality, de la Huerta suggests spiritual practices (ranging from meditation to healing to Sufi dancing) that can help readers achieve greater spiritual integrity.

Perhaps the most interesting passages in the book consider how sex itself can express spiritual devotion. “When we learn to reunite sex and Spirit in our lives, we will experience change and healing beyond our wildest dreams”, de la Huerta writes.

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An Acceptable Sacrifice?

by Duncan Dormor, Jeremy N Morris

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Church order and discipline, Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Intersex people, Pastoral issues, and Same-sex relationships

Especially suitable for: Anglicans, Church of England, and Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue

‘“An Acceptable Sacrifice?” The answer is simple: No. It is not acceptable for us to discriminate against our brothers and sisters on the basis of sexual orientation just as it was not acceptable for discrimination to exist on the basis of skin colour under Apartheid.’ — Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

This book attempts to make a real contribution to debate through an honest exploration of some of the difficulties posed for Christianity by the issue of homosexuality. The authors attempt to exemplify a way of doing theology in the face of profound difference that is marked by scholarship and generosity. This is not then primarily a book about ‘winning the argument’ so much as providing an example of how Anglicans should approach this most controversial issue.

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Sexuality and the Black Church

by Kelly Brown Douglas

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing and Theology

Topic(s): Discrimination against and hostility towards LGBT+ people, Feminism/Womanism, and Gender identity

Especially suitable for: Academics, Americans, and African-Americans

This book tackles the “taboo” subject of sexuality that has long been avoided by the Black church and community. Douglas argues that this view of Black sexuality has interfered with constructive responses to the AIDS crisis and teenage pregnancies, fostered intolerance of sexual diversity, frustrated healthy male/female relationship, and rendered black and womanist theologians silent on sexual issues.

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Transfaith

by Chris Dowd, Christina Beardsley

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Advice – spiritual and practical, Liturgy/worship, and Theology

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

Especially suitable for: Clergy and Transgender people

A resource for ministers and congregations who want to begin to understand and/or welcome transgender people into their congregations. The book has the following aims: to give the results of the first research-based project into the experiences of trans Christians in the UK; to provide a theological and biblical framework in which ministers and congregations can begin to understand the insights and issues transgender people bring; to provide a series of insights that inform the pastoral care of transgender people, their families and friends; to provide resources in the form of liturgies and Bible studies that can be used by ministers and congregations exploring and/or experiencing these issues.

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Courage to Love

by Geoffrey Duncan

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Liturgy/worship, Memoir/autobiography, Poetry, and Spirituality

Topic(s): Inclusive Christianity and Spirituality

Courage to Love is an anthology of worship materials which allow gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender men and women to affirm their sexuality. Poems, prayers, stories, litanies, same-sex blessings, marriage ceremonies, celebratory material and eucharistic and baptismal liturgies are all represented. The pieces engage with a whole range of relevant experiences including peer group pressure, prejudice, abuse (physical and emotional) and the silence of the church. This is a resource for public worship and private devotion in the journey towards total acceptance of men and women regardless of their sexual orientation. The contributors are from all over the world, and include Richard Kirker, James Alison, Chris Glaser and Bill Kirkpatrick.

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Queer Virtue

by Elizabeth M Edman

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Advice – spiritual and practical, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Spirituality, and Theology

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

Especially suitable for: Academics

LGBTQ people are a gift to the Church and have the potential to revitalize Christianity. In Queer Virtue, Edman posits that Christianity, at its scriptural core, incessantly challenges its adherents to rupture false binaries, to ‘queer’ lines that pit people against one another. Thus, Edman asserts that Christianity, far from being hostile to queer people, is itself inherently queer.

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