It’s complicated. It really is. Trying to navigate our culture and the LGBTQ+ issue is not always as easy or as simple as we want it to be. There are people we know and love who see things differently than we do. Many of us are trying to be faithful to the biblical witness on human sexuality and marriage and do what the Apostle Paul tells us to do when he says, “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Then there is the hyper-contested public square where more and more people feel afraid to speak their minds for fear of reprisal.
But an issue being complicated is not the same thing as there being no good answers to the concerns, or no such thing as “the truth of the matter.” As a pastor, I think it is important for me to pay attention to the problems that occupy our culture and congregations and do my best to make sense of what is true, good, and honoring to God. As such, I have spent a good deal of time reading, listening, and talking about the issues involved. And I have heard from several Christians who want good resources to help them think through how to handle these things.
Trust me – there are a lot of unreliable voices out there. Here are some of the voices I have learned a lot from and who, I believe, faithfully present the issue with truth and love.
These are not listed in any particular order of importance, but I have rated each with 1-5 stars representing how easy each is to read, with 1 being the easiest, and likely the ones you will want to buy and give to friends.
Becket Cook lived a life in Hollywood that many would consider to be the dream life. He succeeded in “the business”, knew the beautiful and influential people, and lived through it all as a homosexual. Then, over a period of a few months, God pursued him, and he had a radical encounter with Christ. His life, including his homosexual lifestyle, completely changed. A Change of Affection tells his story and includes reflection on how God changed his life.
This is a wonderful book, easy to read, and a great idea for a book to buy friends.
You can watch my interview with Becket Cook here.
A few years ago I bought this book to help me think through what was then a burgeoning issue in the culture and the church. Since then, the need has been so great for a resource like this one, a second edition has appeared. God and the Transgender Debate not only deals with the issue in a biblically and philosophically robust way, it answers several of the practical questions individuals and churches may have about what to do and how to treat people. I highly recommend it not only as an individual resource, but something a church might consider reading through with its leadership.
Nancy Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality ***
Nancy Pearcey applies her considerable analytical skills to the question of why God created us male and female, and what kinds of consequences our biology has for our moral, spiritual, and psychological development. Pearcey includes several stories of individual struggles with the issues of biology, sexuality and identity, and does a magnificent job of answering the issues. If you are looking for a read that may be a stretch – but a good stretch – for you, this will be a great book for your shelf. Like me, I imagine you will return to it again over time.
Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement ***
This book is so good, Amazon won’t sell it. No kidding. Ryan Anderson’s contribution to the transgender issue is so compelling, people who disagree with him have managed to try and cancel the book. Nevertheless, it is a well-informed, fact based and compelling case. Anderson is never heavy-handed, but he is unflinching in his critique of the transgender movement. To many, parts of the book may feel a little “thick” to read, but the further you go down the path of working through these issues, the more you understand the necessity of this book.
As soon as this book showed up, critics were hailing it as one of the most important works of our time. It will likely be a book that not only endures the test of time but will act as a launching pad for more theological, sociological, and philosophical work on the complexities of our age. Though it is not focused specifically on the LGBTQ+ movement, he does say the work was prompted by a statement that we hear all the time but, as he puts it, his grandfather would have found incoherent: “I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body.”
If you do not feel up to working through 407 pages of text, Truman has written a smaller version of the same argument in his, Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution.
Rosaria Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert **
The more I pay attention to Rosaria Butterfield, the more I enjoy and appreciate the way she handles these issues. Like Becket Cook, she lived as a homosexual for years, finding success and tenure as a Women’s Studies professor at a major university in New York. Through the combination of a couple of cultural movements, her desire to understand and report on these strange evangelicals, and hospitable neighbors who happened to be a pastor and his wife, God changed her life. This book, and a couple of others of hers, detail the journey and her strong biblical convictions about human sexuality.
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