Single Gay Christian

single gay christian

Let me start by saying that this book is probably my favourite book I have read so far this year.  It is insightful, thought-provoking, challenging, and vulnerable, and it brings a unique perspective to one of the topics most likely to spark a heated discussion among Christians.

It’s easy to debate the “issue” of homosexuality and to forget that we are actually talking about people- people made in God’s image, each unique and with their own story to tell.  We need to hear the voices of these people- to listen and to seek to understand, and in this book, Gregory Coles bravely shares his story of being a single gay Christian.

He makes no claim to have all the answers:

“I’m not a story with a moral, I’m just a half-written story, untidy and full of tangents, everything up for grabs.  I’m just a human being.”

Instead he describes his journey and his struggle in wrestling with the question of what it means to identify both as gay and as Christian.

His account is sprinkled with wisdom gained, often painfully, along the way as he tries to walk this difficult path, frequently feeling that he belongs nowhere: judged by many Christians for something that feels involuntary, and misunderstood by much of the LGBTQ community because of his choice to interpret the teaching of the Bible as a call to celibacy.

I hope you will read the book for yourself as it shares a perspective that needs to be heard, but I am going to share some of my favourite quotes to whet your appetite.

On reading the Bible and accepting its authority:

single gay christian 1

On the cost of Christian obedience and the suggestion that celibacy is too costly a calling:

“Obedience is supposed to be costly.  When Jesus told his followers to take up their crosses and follow him, he wasn’t just calling them to place heftier checks in the offering plate or to put up with the occasional irritation at work.  He was calling them to blood and sorrow and unspeakable agony.  He was calling them to death.”

On his struggle with Christians who want to pray repeatedly that God will change his sexual orientation:

“I do believe orientation change is possible, just like I believe in parting seas and multiplying bread and water turned to wine.  But it’s irresponsible for us to treat miracles like everyday occurrences.  If we do, the miracles lose their wonder when they come, and we shatter thousands of fragile hearts as we promise miracles in vain.”

On the lack of understanding he faces from some Christians:

“When a straight Christian says to a celibate gay Christian, “Forget labels- we all have to resist sexual temptation,” it feels a bit like a person on a diet telling a diabetic, “I know what it’s like to avoid sugar.”

On how his calling to gay celibacy has deepened his relationship with God:

“The calling of gay celibacy is a calling to longing.  It’s an admission that our deepest sexual desires can wait for another world, for another life, for another kind of fulfilment… And someday, when I look into the face of my Saviour, I will taste the fulfilment of intimacy a thousand times sweeter than any pale earthly imitation.”

There are no easy answers and Christians will continue to have a range of different views over homosexuality and sexual identity, but surely we have to listen to those directly affected- to make space for them to share their stories and to come with an openness to listen, to learn, and to understand.

single gay christian 2

You can find out more about the book here or order on Amazon here.  (Not affiliate links, just provided for your convenience.)

If you are interested in exploring the topic of faith and sexual identity some more, I would also recommend reading The Way Of Hope by Melissa Fisher.  You can read my review here.

I’m grateful to InterVarsity Press and Netgalley for access to an advance digital copy of this book.  I only share books here that I believe will genuinely be beneficial to my readers.

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44 thoughts on “Single Gay Christian

  1. Perhaps we need to cultivate greater depth and recklessness (I love that word!) in our love for the Lord and others, and open our eyes and hearts to the same in them. Stereotypes are Satan’s fiery darts to separate us from each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lesley, thank you for reviewing this book. It sounds powerful. I love His quotes, especially the last meme. It’s such a tough topic, and I think it’s one that only those who have wrestled with it can really write about it. Our best ministry comes out of our own pain. I’m visiting from the #gritupandgo link. ~Andy

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  3. BRAVO!! Thank you for going “there.” Sexuality is such a huge part of God’s creation. I’m so glad you chose to do this review. I’m putting it on my must-read list. You’ve delivered a thoughtful and grace-filled blog Lesley! I’m so glad you shared.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary. I’m glad the post made you think- the book certainly did the same for me! Yes, summer was good thanks. It seems to have gone so quickly! Hope you are well and that everything went ok with your move.

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  4. Lesley,
    I had the pleasure of hearing Gregory speak in church. What a testimony and I applaud his determination to follow scripture as he understands it to speak to him. I found him to be real, honest, and having a sincere love of God and His precepts. A lot of Christians could learn a lot from him. Great book review.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Bev. That must have been amazing to hear him speak. Yes, I really appreciated his honesty and his love for God certainly shines through in the book. Glad you liked the review.

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    1. Thanks, Meg! It’s definitely easy to make assumptions- it makes a big difference if we take time to listen to people’s stories and perspectives. I’m glad you found it thought-provoking.

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  5. I have many gay friends. Some of them are believers. I love each of them. Interesting perspective here. Especially the call to “gay celibacy.” I appreciate his vulnerability and dependence on God. Thanks for sharing this challenging post. It definitely has me thinking.

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  6. The quotes you selected are all so good. It’s a complex issue, or at least an issue we like to complicate. I do so love the last quote. It applies to so many areas of life. This topic is timely and important. Thank you, Lesley.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Debby! It was hard to choose the quotes- there were so many others that I really liked too. Yes, that last quote definitely applies generally too- if we as Christians put our energy into loving God rather than trying to prove our point things would be quite different.

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  7. Lesley, thank you for sharing this post. This book sounds like a thought-provoking read. It sounds like Gregory Coles has given a lot of thought to Scripture and his walk with Jesus. I loved the quotes you shared here, especially the first one. It is toooo easy to read God’s word with predetermined filters and miss the message God wants to speak to our hearts.

    This is an important issue (for lack of a better word) to consider for all of us parenting children in today’s world. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jeanne. It is a really thoughtful book and he shares some great insights- the quotes are just a few highlights! It is important to come to the Bible with an open mind, really seeking to listen to God, as it is far too easy to come with our own fixed ideas. Glad to share about the book!

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  8. That quote on letting Scripture prove us wrong is powerful. Understanding those that struggle with same-sex attraction is an issue I need to wrestle with a little more. He’s sharing a perspective that needs to be considered. Thanks for sharing.
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This sounds likes a really good book, that goes where few people want to go. Defiantly need to read this.
    Thanks for sharing at LMM Link up, hope to see you again next week.
    Have a great week.
    Connie

    Liked by 1 person

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