If you are new to the LGBTQ+ Christian conversation and you have no idea where to go or where to turn, you are not alone in that. This page has some of my favorite books and resources to help you find community, good stories, and some good teaching when it comes to faith, sexuality, and culture. I’ll be updating it as I read more, and I hope that this helps you in your own journey. Take a peak! (Click on the images to be taken to the Amazon pages.)
Progressive and Inclusive Theology:
Gives a really REALLY good intro to talking about progressive and inclusive theology. This is the book I recommend most to people who are starting out their journey in this. It gives the basics as well as includes a good bit of personal narrative. Very accessible to the everyday Christian.
A great first read for people. It’s highly narrative driven, which for me is huge. Nothing changes hearts and minds like someone’s story. For me, it had a LOT of “me too” moments. I felt heard, known, and seen. I gave it to some of my family as well, which helped a lot with advancing the conversation. HIGHLY recommend this for individuals or family members who may not be as affirming. It’s a great first read.
Bible, Gender, Sexuality: reframing the Church’s debate on same-sex relationships by Dr. James V. Brownson
This one is DENSE. It reads like a text book, but is arguably the best exegesis on this topic. If you are someone who wants a deep understanding of scripture in relation to it’s context and how we live in that today, this is a great resource.
Walking the Bridgeless Canyon by Kathy Baldock
One of the best resources for looking at the historical, cultural, psychological, medical, social and religious contexts of the LGBTQ+ Christian conversation. Kathy is a fierce ally and gives such a compelling case for inclusion and affirmation. This one is also very dense, but has INCREDIBLE resources. There’s a study guide coming out soon too!
Unclobber: rethinking our misuse of the bible on homosexuality by Colby Martin
When Colby Martin announced shared with his church elders that he was affirming of LGBT people and in favor of same-sex marriage, he promptly lost everything. In Unclobber, he takes a look at what led him to an affirming stance using a heart-breaking narrative that lead to something better while addressing the 6 traditional verses that are typically used to oppress and marginalized queer individuals.
I’d recommend this for any straight pastor who is currently struggling with their own position on how to love their LGBT parishioners or is actually secretly affirming, OR maybe you want to give this to your pastor who isn’t affirming and needs to read a different take.
These are the books that I love that have helped give me a language to the big topics of racial justice. If you’re new to the conversation surrounding race, I think these would be good places to begin.
Trouble I’ve Seen by Drew G.I. Hart
One of the most accessible books out there on race that asks a big question: What if racial reconciliation doesn’t look the way you thought it did? Written with heart and story driven, I think this a book that can wake even the most slumber prone white person.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Wrote just about the time Obama was elected, this book dispels the weak fantasy that just because we had a black president, racism ended. This book addresses issues surrounding mass incarceration, as well as other issues of laws that target and disenfranchise people of color. One might say that this should be required reading for the movement.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This book is also required reading and won ALL OF THE AWARDS. The book is powerful and addresses some very powerful questions: What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? If you want your world shook up, and you should want that, read this.
Faith and Figuring It Out:
These are the books on faith and life that are about doubt and belief and the space in between.
Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans
Ever feel like you’re at this point of loving God but hating all God’s followers? You know you love Jesus but the climate of the Church in America is nothing like the Jesus you read about in the Bible? Follow the journey of Rachel Held Evans on her journey of loving, leaving, and finding the Church again.
If a pastor has tattoos, cusses, and enjoys a good beer, I trust them nearly implicitly. Nadia is no exception. In this book, she tells the story of finding God in the people she gets annoyed by, who she can’t stand, and those she’s hesitant to serve, and how despite being an ass, God still uses her.
Losing faith is a painful thing. In this memoir-esque book, Mike (who I had on the first episode of my Podcast) tells the story of how his faith disolved into atheism when struck with personal crisis, and how a mystical experience compelled him to take another look at faith. Surprisingly, he doesn’t rediscover in traditional scriptures or Christian subculture, but through science. One of my favorite books in a long while.
For someone who has walked through my own quarter-life crisis, I wish I had this book years ago. In this book, Rob paints the picture of how to actually figure out what you want out of life and gives practical steps to moving from surviving to thriving, into your calling and purpose in this life.
What is the Bible? by Rob Bell
Yes, I know that I’m doubling up on Rob, but it’s so good. If you’re working thru deconstructing what you think about faith, the Bible, Christianity, etc… I think that this will be a very good book to read. It really takes the Bible out of the realm of unquestionable authority and gives permission to all of us to ask deeper questions.
The Divine Dance by Father Richard Rohr
Truly one of those books that makes your head explode. Not light reading at all. Each page is full of heavy and delicious truth, talking about how we are invited into a communion with God in a way that I’ve not seen in another book.