Archives For Homosexuality


Re-examining our assumptions about Sexuality

A Feature Review of

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships
James Brownson

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Paul Chaplin.


“The church needs this book,” begins the foreword by former general secretary of the RCA, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson. It’s hard to disagree. Debate around same-sex relationships, both within and across denominations, is commonly characterised by marked hostility and frequent attacks on participants’ respect for received scripture. For far too many this question marks a “line in the sand” for authentic or inauthentic Christian faith. In this very challenging climate, James Brownson (who, in addition to being Professor of NT at WTS holds the interesting title – unique to the RCA – of “General Synod Professor of Theology”) makes a timely and valuable contribution.

Brownson’s goal in the book is to press the rewind and then slow-motion buttons on debate regarding same-sex relationships, asking us to take a long, hard, honest look at the assumptions we carry in to our arguments. So much evangelical discourse on this issue takes certain basic premises as given and essentially irrefutable. Brownson asks us to take a step back, re-examine these assumptions, and see if we find ourselves in the same place afterwards.

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Writer Timothy Kurek was on ABC’s The View today discussing his new book:

The Cross in the Closet.
Timothy Kurek
Paperback: BlueHead Publishing, 2012.
Buy now:   [ Amazon
[ Kindle – Only $4.99! ]

This book details Kurek’s one-year experiment of pretending to be a gay man.  In the clip below, he likens his endeavor to John Howard Griffin’s classic book Black Like Me. Watch the clip below and discuss in the comments below.  Is this project helpful in the light it sheds on the gay experience? Exploitative?  Both?

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A Brief Review of

Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self and Society.
Jay Bakker.
Hardback: FaithWords, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon – Hardback ] [ Amazon- Kindle ]

Reviewed by Bryan Berghoef.

Fall to Grace by Jay Bakker is a book about the most basic of Christian doctrines:  grace.  But don’t let that fool you.  Jay allows the idea that God accepts us, no matter who we are or what we’ve done, to push us to places some of us have been unwilling to go.  Using his own story, as well as the writings of the Apostle Paul, Bakker takes us on a new and ancient journey through the implications of grace.  Grace is not yesterday’s news.  It matters today.  Deeply.

His is not the typical story of faith.  Here was a kid supposedly steeped in this doctrine of grace from birth, with famous parents of a flourishing Christian television ministry (Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker).  Yet somehow the message never got through.  After his parents were unceremoniously humiliated over one failing after the other, he was ready to walk away from God.

Walk away he did – and who could blame him?

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888144: Putting Away Childish Things A Brief Review of

Putting Away Childish Things:
A Tale of Modern Faith.

By Marcus J. Borg.
Hardback: HarperOne, 2010.

Buy now: [ ]

Reviewed By William Mills.

If you are interested in progressive Christianity and a how to live a life of faith in Jesus that is authentic and modern then look no farther than Putting Away Childish Things by Marcus Borg. Borg is professor emeritus in the department of philosophy at Oregon State University where he held the Hundere Chair in Religion and Culture. In addition to his teaching career, Borg is a prolific author and has published seventeen books, most recently Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, and The Last Week of Jesus.  While Borg is most known for his academic and scholarly work on the historical Jesus and early Christian studies, Putting Away Childish Things is his first book of fiction. As Borg says in the preface, Putting Away Childish Things is the result of a life-long search for an authentic faith in Jesus that is free from false piety and religion and is the culmination of his thirty years teaching, preaching and writing.

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Two Recent Books on Gardening.

Like most of my American friends, I did not grow up a gardener. Unlike them, I grew up in God’s own garden, a shadowy and solemn rainforest cathedral choired by birds of paradise and guarded by poisonous vines, stink bugs, and death adders. Power chainsaws have desecrated most of the world’s rainforest temples during my own short youth, opening earth-wounds upon which farmers or palm oil companies smear the fertilizers and pesticides of agroscience, hoping to scab off fuel or a little food, survival or bio-profits, before the hard red clay puckers into dusty, sterile scars. Though many of my friends and acquaintances in Manila and Jakarta were exposed to third-eye levels of farming chemicals in childhood, few are interested in sacrificing the enticements of quick ‘n easy flower boxes for the perilous joy of a garden.


In the midst of a concrete jungle, Tim Stark and Robert Pogue Harrison have been helpful guides as I begin to discover the relationships between my dinner table, my soul, and the soil. Harrison, a professor of Italian literature at Stanford, has written the philosophical Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition. Stark, a failed freelance writer from New York City, has penned Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer, a juicily written tale of his mad affair with the tomato.

Read the full review:

Robert Pogue Harrision.

Hardcover: U of Chicago Press, 2008.
Buy Now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]


Tim Stark.
Hardcover: Broadway Books, 2008.
Buy Now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]

Music Critic Andy Whitman
Reflects on David Dark’s New Book
The Sacredness of Questioning Everything.

I write that, and quote from several sources at length, only to say that David Dark’s latest book, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything, ought to be required reading for human beings, regardless of their religious or political stripes. David Dark is one of my favorite Christian thinkers, and his earlier books Everyday Apocalypse and The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-Blessed, Christ-Haunted Idea have, respectively, outlined the in-breaking of truth in popular culture, and our national overconfidence in our own righteousness. For his third book, Dark pulls out all the stops, and surveys the stories that we hear on a daily basis, stories about God and religion, our nation and its history, our self-defined passions, our sacred cows, our morality. We hear these stories in a thousand places; in television broadcasts, in classrooms, in the books we read, in our choice of friends and the viewpoints we are willing to take in, in the magazines we subscribe to, the music we listen to, the web sites we frequent. To a large extent, they define our identity.

Read the full piece:

The Sacredness of Questioning Everything.
David Dark.

Paperback: Zondervan, 2009.
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Books $13 ] [ Amazon ]

Scott McKnight Briefly Reviews
Andrew Marin’s Love is An Orientation.

Andrew Marin has earned the right to be heard about gays and the Church. Why? His book, Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation With the Gay Community , tells the story. That subtitle is what is needed next, and I think it’s the Third Way.

Some are wearied by this discussion.
Some are worked into passionate pronouncements.
Few are willing to sort out the issues, both biblical and relational, and then move into genuine Christian engagement. Andrew Marin does the latter.

Read the full review:

Love Is an Orientation:
Elevating the Conversation With the Gay Community.

Andrew Marin.

Paperback: IVP Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Books $13 ]  [ Amazon ]


The Faith of the Cross
and The Virtue of Dialogue

A Review of
Reasoning Together:
A Conversation on Homosexuality.
by Ted Grimsrud and Mark Nation.

By Chris Smith.


Reasoning Together:
A Conversation on Homosexuality.
by Ted Grimsrud and Mark Nation.

Paperback: Herald Press, 2008.
Buy now from:
[ Doulos Christou Books $16 ] [ Amazon ]


“[T]he kingdom of God is… in the faith of the cross
and in the virtue of dialogue.”

– St. Cyprian (c. 200-258) 


Here at Englewood Christian Church, one of the Christian practices that has been most formational for our life together is dialogue.  For the last thirteen years or so, since we nixed our Sunday evening service and began to circle up chairs and to talk together about the nature of our faith, conversation has become increasingly important in our relationships with one another and in our relationships with others outside our church.  Sometimes we reach the point of intense disagreements in our conversations, but in these times we are reminded that the uniting work of the Spirit is stronger than the forces of our disagreements.  I was therefore very excited when I heard about Herald Press’s release of Reasoning Together: A Conversation on Homosexuality, and its promise of dialogue on one of the most emotional and divisive issues in the Church today.  My experience has been that calm, thoughtful and respectful dialogue on this issue is almost non-existent.  Reasoning Together is an excellent book that captures the conversations between two Mennonite scholars: Ted Grimsrud, a professor of theology and peace studies at Eastern Mennonite University and Mark Thiessen Nation, a professor of theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.  Over the course of the book, Nation argues for the “restrictive” position, which extends a loving welcome to all regardless of sexual orientation, but restricts “the church participation of gay and lesbian Christians who are in intimate relationships” (21).  On the other hand, Grimsrud defends the “inclusive” position, which makes no restrictions based solely on a person’s homosexuality; however, Grimsrud does believe that in order to maintain full participation in the church community, a practicing homosexual needs to be in a committed marriage-type relationship.  The authors therefore agree that within the Church, the only place for sexual intercourse is within such a covenanted relationship.  As a result of this shared boundary, readers will find that many contentious questions about sexual identity, practice and politics are outside the scope of this conversation.

            The conversation unfolds over the course of the book in the following format: an introductory essay by each scholar, a lengthy essay from both authors defending their position with response and counter-response, followed by two rounds of questions from each author with responses by the other author, and the conversation concludes with a chapter describes the “common ground” that the authors share.  I will not recount for you here all the twists and turns that this dialogue takes, but perhaps it will be beneficial to summarize the authors’ points of agreement, as named in the final chapter, because these points provide a framework for the shape of this conversation: Continue Reading…