G I V E A W A Y
I had the privilege of hearing Jackie Hill Perry speak this year as she travelled to share with a group of college students I get to do life with. I was unfamiliar with Jackie and her work but very quickly taken aback by her craft. She is extremely gifted in creatively wielding words to communicate a beautiful message. I found this talent to be all the more evident in the pages of her book. (Hearing her speak though, I was a little distracted by my concern that she would give birth at any second, but we made it through.)
Gay Girl, Good God. This title captured my attention, knowing Jackie’s story in part, but knowing all the more how often I sit across the table in restaurants and coffee shops from students in my ministry who face a similar battle. I shared with a friend recently that I am not quite sure why, but I have found myself to be a common confidant for those who are attracted to the same sex. While this has never been a part of my story, I have found it an incredible honor to hold these precious people’s stories, hearts, wrestlings, fears, and frustrations. While I hold this privilege, I have also held a lack of resources. To know me well is to have been recommended a book by me, and I found this topic of Christianity and homosexuality to be limited in its scope of resources and all the more limited in individuals who would speak out about it. And along came Jackie.
Breaking the mold of other books I had read which took an empirical approach, presenting data and family systems patterns from their research, Perry’s work simply reveals her own story. She shares with great rawness the realities of same sex attraction, gender identity, body distortion, and sexual assault. Amidst her rawness, I was consistently taken back by the beauty of her poetic word choice and language, presenting the power of nonfiction with the presentational beauty of a fictional work.
“I found my power to resist sin as feeble as a toddler trying to hold back a hurricane.”
Laced with vivd word pictures and humorous descriptions, Perry’s Gay Girl, Good God illuminates real parts of the balancing act of same sex attraction and Christianity. She speaks of the fear of leaving the gay community, unsure of a true sense of family and identity she would find elsewhere. Perry speaks boldly in the direction of Christian culture’s disservice both to same sex attracted individuals and singles as the Church often worships heterosexual marriage more than God and His true calling. Perry boldly charges the Church to stop ostracizing these people, admit the reality of their struggles, show them community, accept marriage may not be their end goal, and do not let them settle for loneliness.
“I had believed when God looked at me, He was first looking to see a wife and then a disciple.”
Perry reveals in Gay Girl, Good God, that her earnest conviction is the sinfulness of homosexuality. Thus, her surrender experience led to her abandoning a homosexual lifestyle and over time eventually marrying a man. This conviction is one which greatly polarizes evangelicals sometimes leading us to incredible conversations and sometimes to extremely hurtful ones.
No matter one’s view on Christianity and homosexuality, Perry’s presentation of the reality of her experience is not to be overlooked. Furthermore, her experience of coming to know Christ and eventually entering a heterosexual marriage is not to be the goal for all who experience same-sex attraction. Many of those individuals, should they choose to forgo a homosexual lifestyle, will enter a life of singleness, of which the Church must rise to the occasion to minister to.
Perry’s work is real, raw, compelling, honest, and a great launching point for the Church to enter significantly more honest conversations regarding same sex attraction, specifically in conservative Christian circles.