Gifted by Otherness: Gay and Lesbian Christians in the Church

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9780819218865: Gifted by Otherness: Gay and Lesbian Christians in the Church

As “outsiders,” gay men and lesbians challenge the church to be inclusive of all God’s children―the central message of the gospel. “God has drawn us to this difficult place,” they write, “in order to reveal God’s grace to us and in us and through us.” Basing their book on retreats they have presented to churches and seminaries, Countryman and Ritley explore what it means to affirm, not merely accept, being gay or lesbian, as well as Christian. Writing primarily for the lesbigay community, and for their families and communities, they explore the ways in which the gay and lesbian community can appropriate and re-tell the biblical story, and find confidence in their unique spiritual journey and gifts. This proactive and self-affirming book provides new hope for those who feel that it is impossible to be both gay or lesbian, as well as Christian.

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About the Author:

L. William Countryman is an Episcopal priest, professor of New Testament at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, and author of Forgiven and Forgiving, The Good News of Jesus, Living on the Border of the Holy: Renewing the Priesthood of All, and other titles available from Morehouse Publishing and Trinity Press International.

M. R. Ritley is an Episcopal priest in San Francisco and has taught courses on gay spirituality at a variety of seminaries and churches.

From Publishers Weekly:

Without apology and with an honest chutzpah, Countryman, a New Testament professor, and Ritley, an Episcopal priest, explore the vocation and journey gay Christians have in the church. The writers see themselves as ministering to the church; they clarify that their task is not to justify the presence of gays there. That presence is simply a fact. But they also note that it is normal and healthy for the church to struggle with homosexuality, since the church is not a monolithic entity of likeminded people but a richly textured community of contradictory and diverse individuals. The authors declare that gay Christians have specific gifts to offer the church; they can serve the priesthood of believers as "icons," which the authors describe as windows that show a facet of God. In particular, gays who have experienced "wilderness times" in coming out and living as homosexual Christians can teach others about God's sustaining grace. And while the church is often afraid to face death, the AIDS epidemic has taught the gay community to deal with it as a part of life. On a lighter note, the authors say that the church needs the campiness of gay humor, since Christians forget too often that humor is a gift from God. Ritley and Countryman have written a thoughtful and provocative book for anyone who has struggled with what it means when gays are a part of the church.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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