I encourage you to read with an open mind, read critically and prayerfully,
and be willing to grow and change as God's Spirit directs.
What Christians Think About Homosexuality by L R Holben, Bibal Press, 1999.
This is an important foundational book and I suggest that it be one of the first books you read. The author summarizes six representative viewpoints which cover the spectrum of current Christian thought on homosexuality. He does not try to convince you that any one viewpoint is correct, but presents the arguments for each in an unbiased manner, shows how it has been criticized, and explains how the proponents of that viewpoint answer their critics. The author's stated goal is to "synthesize and popularize the extensive scholarly and theological work that has been done on the question of Christian faith and the homosexual person and to render the complexity and breadth of that material accessible to others who, for pastoral or personal reasons, seek to move beyond polemics and absolutist pronouncements to a thoughtful consideration of the scope of Christian thinking on this issue."
Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches, Walter Wink, ed., Fortress Press, 1999.
This resource presents short pieces from church leaders - women and men, Protestant and Catholic, mainline and evangelical - who address fundamental moral imperatives about homosexuality. Through personal testimony, factual clarification and moral suasion they invite the reader to open his or her heart to the Spirit and to Gospel values. The preface states: "Today churches are undergoing fratricide over the issue of homosexuality, and the irony is that not just gays and lesbians, but the churches themselves, are likely to become victims. The level of pure hatred, bitterness, closedmindedness and disrespect is staggering, going beyond any form of acrimony I have witnessed over any issue since the struggle against racial segregation."
Homosexuality, Science and the "Plain Sense" of Scripture. David Balch, ed., Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000.
Ten essays that elucidate the pros and cons of current Christian discussion on the issue of homosexuality by major scholars on both sides of the topic who care enough for the church to engage each other in a real dialogue about a very explosive topic. Well-reasoned and highly competent, these essays are not likely to solve the debate, let alone make it go away, for they demonstrate how intractable many of the issues remain, but they will challenge partisans on both sides to rethink their positions once more. They provide a stirring model of how the church can disagree with itself publicly and responsibly, passionately and respectfully. Analyses parallels with current Jewish debate on the topic.
Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture. Robert L Brawley, ed., Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
What are the most important biblical texts for modern Christians to read in order to arrive at responsible decision regarding the ethics of human sexual behavior? How should the Bible be used in this enterprise? How should those texts be translated for today's reader? The contributors to this book, all noted biblical scholars, confront these questions as they deal with issues surrounding the ethics of sexual behavior. . .They provide for the reader a deeper understanding of the Bible, its intentions and its variety. This book offers a challenge to the church to give heed to the multiplicity of voices that are engaged in biblically responsible and constructive debates about the volatile issues regarding sexual behavior.
Homosexuality and Christian Community. Choon-Leong Seow, ed., Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
Contributors to this book, all members of the Princeton Theological Seminary faculty, address the various exegetical, interpretive, and practical issues pertaining to the issue of homosexuality in the church. As theological educators, ministers, and committed Christians, they ask, What do the scriptures say about homosexuality and related issues? How should the scriptures inform our theological reflection? How do we live faithfully in regard to this matter? Like the Christian community at large, the contributors are not of one mind on any of these issues; many times they are in considerable disagreement. This book will help the reader think more clearly about this important issue.
Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality; Explode the Myths, Heal the Church, Jack Rogers, Westminster John Knox Press, 2006
Moderator of the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Professor of Theology Emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary, Rogers says he has "gone through a change in [his] mind and heart... from being a silent spectator to actively working for change." This book describes his journey in understanding and was written because he is "a Christian who cares deeply about Christ's church." He sees the church "being torn apart by controversy" over the issue of homosexuality and wants "the church to be healed of this great wound in the body of Christ."
The Loyal Opposition: Struggling With the Church on Homosexuality. Tex Sample and Amy E DeLong, eds., Abingdon Press, 2000.
No issue more polarizes American Protestants today than the church's stance on homosexuality. A number of denominations have engaged in prolonged and divisive debate on the subject in recent years, and it appears that it will occupy their attention for some time to come. While numerous attempts have been made to change these denominations' official stance on the issue, most have failed to do so. This leaves those who favor full inclusion of persons of gay and lesbian orientation into the life of the church with difficult choices. Should they remain within their denomination and keep silent, or should they leave it in protest? The answer, say contributors to this book, is neither. Those whose conscience leads them to disagree with their church must continue to work for change, forming a "loyal opposition" within the denomination. The authors call for a principled and disciplined response to the official condemnations of homosexuals, one that is serious in its commitment to the difficult process of reconciliation and forgiveness. Faithfulness to the gospel, they remind us, requires nothing less than that we be committed to the full inclusion of all persons in the Body of Christ - not least of all those who disagree with us.
Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? by Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Mollenkott, Harper Collins, 1994
A classic work calling Christians to love and acceptance, it was first published in 1978 and has been revised to reflect more current and crucial issues. Looking at homosexuality from scientific, psychological and biblical perspectives, this book is both informative, compassionate and a helpful resource for Christians struggling with this sensitive issue. It focuses particularly on the painful experience of gays and lesbians in relation to a church which has, in the authors' view, violated the gospel imperative of inclusive love by rejecting and demonizing them.
What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D., Alamo Square Press, 1994.
Does the Bible really condemn homosexuals? Father Helminiak, who received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, holds two PhDs and currently teaches at State University of West Georgia, believes that, just as the Bible has been used to justify slavery, inquisitions, apartheid and the subjugation of women, it is faulty translation and poor interpretation that leads many to perceive biblical passages as condemning homosexuality.
Wrestling With God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition by Rabbi Steven Greenberg, The University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.
Greenberg, the first openly gay Orthodox Jewish rabbi, writes from that tradition for gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews who are struggling to reconcile their faith with their sexuality. It is a useful book for Christians who wish to take their Hebrew scriptures seriously, as well.
The Good Book: Reading the Bible With Mind and Heart by Peter J. Gomes, William Morrow & Co., 1996
Peter Gomes, the minister of Harvard's Memorial Chapel since 1970, says the theme of this book is the risk and the joy of the Bible; risk in that we might get it wrong, and joy in the discovery of the living Word becoming flesh. Around this theme he formulates three basic questions which the thoughtful reader brings to the Bible: What is it? How is it used? and What does it have to say to me? In the second section of the book he shows that the Bible is undeniably inclusive if it is read with the mind and heart and discusses those biblical texts used by those who wish to alienate others from the Bible - texts that have been used to justify prejudice against race, women, homosexuals and Jews.
Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality by John Boswell, University of Chicago Press, 1980
A basic text for those who affirm committed gay/lesbian relationships. Winner of the 1981 American Book Award for History, Boswell's work is seen by many as being both objective and scholarly. Of particular interest are his exhaustive word studies on specific disputed terms.
The Church and the Homosexual by John J McNeill; Sheed, Andrews and McMeel, Inc., 1976
McNeill, a Jesuit priest at the time the book was published, articulates his view from the perspective of traditional Roman Catholic moral theology. This work, for which he was expelled from his order, has had wide influence. McNeill was one of the founders of Dignity, the national organization for gay and lesbian Catholics.
The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships by Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley, Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, 2002.
Challenges the traditional understanding that the Bible condemns homosexuality.
THE CHURCH AND HOMOSEXUALITY
More Than Welcome: Learning to Embrace Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Persons in the Church by Maurine C Waun, Chalice Press, 1999
The author presents a viewpoint not often heard in the current cacophony of Christian debate over the place of people with alternative sexuality. She writes to a religious audience struggling to get beyond the sin model, which views non-heterosexuals as "evil" due to freely made choices. She opposes the illness model, which connotes a psychological problem needing to be "fixed" or "cured." She presents poignant vignettes of people from various parts of the gay/lesbian community and chronicles her own evolution from ignorance, to visceral avoidance, to active advocacy.
20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid to Touch by Tony Campolo, Word Publishing, 1988
See Chapter 9, "Does Christianity have any good news for homosexuals?"
Is Jesus a Republican or a Democrat? by Tony Campolo, Word Publishing, 1995
See Chapter 3, "Do Christians promote gay-bashing?"
Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-controlled Church Neutered the Gospel by Brian D McLaren and Tony Campolo, Zondervan, 2003
See chapter on homosexuality.
What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey, Zondervan, 1997
The chapter "Grace-Healed Eyes," chronicles the author's friendship with Mel White, a former pastor, a teacher at Fuller Seminary and a ghostwriter for such evangelical leaders as Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Francis Schaeffer, Oliver North and Jerry Falwell. When Mel finally admitted his lifelong struggles with homosexuality, many of these former colleagues distanced themselves from him, but Yancy remained his friend, even though disagreeing with his choices.
Congregations Talking About Homosexuality: Dialogue on a Difficult Issue, Beth Anne Gaede, ed., Alban Institute Publication, 1998
"Christians and Homosexuality: Dancing Toward the Light", Dee Dee Fisher & Douglas Davidson, ed. The Other Side, Special Issue: 1994. (300 West Apsley Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144)
"Things We Don't Talk About, II" Insight, December 5, 1992.
FAMILIES OF HOMOSEXUALS
Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together by Robert A Bernstein. Thunder's Mouth Press, NY, 1995.
The author is a retired lawyer, law professor and the former national vice president of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. He tells the moving story of coming to terms with his daughter's homosexuality, along with the stories of many other parents. He preaches the message that parents must show their gay and lesbian children unconditional love and acceptance.
Coming Out As Parents by David K Switzer, Westminster John Knox Press. 1996.
This book is for parents of gay or lesbian children, as well as for pastoral counselors and clergy engaged in family outreach. Children, too, can benefit from understanding their parents' struggles with this issue. It helps parents understand their feelings and reactions when they discover that their child is gay or lesbian and clarifies what it means to be homosexual. The author, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, explores recent scientific, social, and biblical information about homosexuality, emphasizes the need for reconciliation, and deals with common parental responses to a child's disclosure. A listing of additional resources is provided.
Pastoral Care of Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families by David Switzer, Fortress Press, 1999
When Husbands Come Out of the Closet by Jean Schaar Gochros, Ph.D., Harrington Park Press, 1989
A look into the closet of isolation occupied by the wives of gay or bisexual men, women whose lives have been shattered and rebuilt. Practical suggestions for dealing with their feelings of confusion, stigma and loss. Based on Dr. Gochros' research in this area.
Where Does a Mother Go to Resign? by Barbara Johnson, Bethany Publishing House, 1979
A classic story of a mother who discovers her son is gay. Barbara had already lived through her husband's life-threatening accident and the death of their two oldest sons, but it was finding gay literature in the bedroom of her third son that put her in bed for six months with severe depression. Barbara has gone on to become a best-selling author and popular public speaker who has brought comfort to thousands.
A Father's Story by Edmund Hansen.
A poignant personal experience. Order from the author at 2413 Nantucket Field Way, Sun City Center, FL 33573. Send check or money order for $12.70.
The Family Heart: A Memoir of When Our Son Came Out by Robb Forman Dew, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1994
What happens when a mother finds out her son is gay? Robb Forman Dew's account of that moment in her life, and of the subsequent journey she makes with her family from confusion to a clear and powerful commitment is an extraordinarily honest examination of maternal, family, and community attitudes toward homosexuality. The author wrestles with her own mistakes and dreams, and moves us to reflect on the American attitude in general.
Prayers for Bobby by Leroy Aarons, Harper Collins, 1995
Bobby Griffith was an all-American boy. . .and he was gay. Faced with an irresolvable conflict - for both his family and his religion taught him that being gay was "wrong" - Bobby chose to take his life. This is the story of the emotional journey that led him to this tragic conclusion. And it is also the story of Bobby's mother, a fearful churchgoer, who first prayed that her son would be "healed," then anguished over his suicide, and ultimately transformed herself into a national crusader for gay and lesbian youth.
The Slow Miracle of Transformation by Mary Lou Wallner, TEACH Ministries, 2003.
Late at night on February 28, 1997 Anna, the 29-year-old daughter of Mary Lou Wallner, hung herself in her closet, using her dog's chain leash. In this book, Mary Lou courageously shares the painful lessons she has learned in the wake of this tragedy. "I am moved and disturbed by Mary Lou's story. In this polarizing issue, she occupies an important middle ground that both sides - and all of us in between - desperately need to hear," says Philip Yancy, well-know evangelical author.
From Wounded Hearts, Roberta Showalter Kreider, Ed., Chi Rho Press, 1998
Subtitled "Faith Stories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered People and Those Who Love Them," these 50 stories are divided into two sections: the first 31 are by GLBT people, and the last 29 are by "those who love them." The forward is written by Peggy Campolo. The editor, Roberta Kreider, says, "I pray that all who read this book can know that I truly am seeking to follow God in the way Jesus modeled. I want every reader to know that even if you do not agree with me, I trust that you also are sincerely seeking to follow God's way. None of us has all the right answers. My hope is that we can keep searching for the truth together and trusting that God will guide us all.
Friends & Family: True Stories of Gay America's Straight Allies by Dan Woog, Alyson Books, 1999
"Virginia Cason - More Than a Daughter" by Katie Tonn-Oliver, Women of Spirit, Winter, 1996.
"More Love than Ever" by Debbie Hallinsky, Guideposts, January, 1999
Accepting Ourselves and Others: A Journey into Recovery from Addictive and Compulsive Behaviors for Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals by Sheppard B Kominars and Kathryn D Kominars, Hazeldon, 1996
In the United States at least one person in ten suffers from some form of dependency or addictive/compulsive behavior. But in the gay/lesbian community this ratio leaps to one in three! This book helps to meet the tremendous need for insightful and current information that will speed their recovery process. Because recovery from any form of addiction is different for them, special attention and sensitivity is required in the approach used to treat them.
In Search of Gay America: Women and Men in a Time of Change, by Neil Miller, The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989
Reporter Neil Miller spent a year and a half traveling through small towns, rural areas, midsize cities, suburbs and large urban centers in search of what it meant - and what it was like - to be gay in the America of the late 1980's. He explored the themes that make up the lives of most gay people - roots, relationships and sexuality, family and parenthood, work, religion, politics, the impact of AIDS - in a variety of geographic, social and cultural settings. By recording the stories of a wide range of people in differing parts of the country, he offers a modest glimpse into the lives of some gay men and women twenty years after the beginning of the gay liberation movement and shares the astonishing richness of their individual lives.
Stranger at the Gate: to be Gay and Christian in America by Mel White, Simon & Schuster, 1994
Mel White was born into a conservative Christian home and educated in conservative Christian schools. There he met his wife and together they raised their children to believe in God and follow a Christian lifestyle. He worked within the church as a seminary professor, pastor, filmmaker and writer, and eventually became a ghostwriter of books, autobiographies and speeches for many noted figures of the religious right. But all that time Mel had a secret. He was gay. This book, an eloquent and moving personal story of his long, difficult struggle to deny and overcome his sexual desires, also courageously and forthrightly tells the truth about the campaign of hatred and fear being waged against homosexuals by the religious right, as he experienced it.
House and Home by Steve Gunderson and Rob Morris, Dutton, 1996
This is the story of a traditional mid-western Republican congressman from a middle-class family. He represented a rural Wisconsin district in the House of Representatives from 1981 to 1996. He is a fiscal conservative, a moderate on social issues, and a devout, churchgoing Lutheran. He has worked closely with Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole. The only thing that might be considered unusual about Congressman Steve Gunderson is that he is openly, unapologetically gay. Written with his partner, Rob Morris, this is the story of his growing up gay, his refusal for many years to accept his sexuality, and his reluctance to publicly acknowledge it until well into a successful political career. It chronicles both the pain and the liberation of coming out, of opting for wholeness and integrity.
SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men & Women by Anne Moir & David Jessel, Carol Publishing Group, 1991.
Backed by careful research, this book explains why male and female brains are different. The hormones present in the womb during gestation, influenced by fetus' chromosomal makeup, lay down neural pathways that wire the brain to be male or female and, at puberty, to be receptive to the production of the appropriate male or female hormones. Abnormal variations in the hormonal environment during gestation can cause the brain to be "wired" abnormally. Chapter 8 discusses how this can result in homosexual orientation, and why the chances of this happening are much higher in males.
Gender, Nature, and Nurture by Richard A. Lippa, Lawrence Erlbaum Asso., Publishers, 2002.
Written by one of the foremost authorities in the field, this engaging text presents the latest scientific findings on gender differences, gender similarities, and gender variations. The impact of nature and nurture on gender is examined from the perspectives of genetics, molecular biology, evolutionary theory, neuroanatomy, anthropology, sociology and psychology. The result is a balanced, fair-minded synthesis of diverse points of view. The work is scholarly, yet accessible.
As Nature Made Him: the boy who was raised as a girl by John Colapinto, HarperCollins Publishing, 2000.
The riveting true story of the famous identical twins case (Joan/John) which for many years was cited as proof that sexuality was determined by nurture rather than nature.
What You Can Change. . .and What You Can't by Martin E P Seligman, Ph.D., Fawcett Books, 1993.
Meticulous research by a distinguished psychologist pinpoints the techniques and therapies that work best for various conditions. Particularly relevant are chapters 11, 14 and 15.
Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl, Ph.D., St. Martins Press, 1999
This scholarly work gives scientific documentation for the amazing variety of homosexual expression in the animal kingdom, including non-reproductive sexual behavior, same-sex courtship, pair-bonding and co-parenting. From grizzly bears, chimpanzees and elephants to flamingos, geese and bower birds, over 450 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects have been subjects of zoological research. This books brings research spanning more than two centuries together for the first time in an accurate and comprehensive account of the subject.
"The Brain and Sexuality" by Dr. Arlene Taylor..
Audio cassette tape that summarizes research data related to sexual identity and partner preference. Describes the effects of maternal hormone levels on the developing fetus. Comes with a companion tape, "The Brain and Compatibility." Order from Realizations, Inc., PO Box 2554, Napa, CA 94558-0255.