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Suggested Reading

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. 

THEOLOGICAL ISSUES

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 ChurchesWalter 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 ScriptureDavid 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 CommunityChoon-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 ChurchJack 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.