Reviewed by Urs Mattmann, author of Coming In – Gay and Lesbian people reclaiming the spiritual journey.
Happily in the past 45 years dozens of affirmative, liberating and inspiring Christian books have been written from different angles, debunking religious homophobia, urging the full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT people. This new book, The Gay Gospels by Keith Sharpe, makes another valuable contribution.
It makes is the point that the Good News of Jesus is also Good News for LGBT people and tries to emphasis what this practically means in practical terms. One is aware that it does this from an evangelical angle and tries to reach people with rather conservative understanding of the bible.
A first part called The Defensive Testament looks at the few passages in the Bible that have been misused to harm LGBT people and gay men in particular by the church and the societies it affected. There is little new to discover as this subject has been explored so many times, but it is helpful to have all the argument s gathered together in a concise and well structured form.
With many great books on this subject already written, the main unique contribution of the book is in its second part: Here in an more original, positively provocative way the author explores biblical texts where he sees a specific gay friendly narrative and message. Besides the already familiar examples like that of David & Jonathan, the narrative examines themes and stories that have been less or not at all highlighted in the past. For example, in chapters like Jesus was no family man or The Transgendered Christ stand out.
Much has been written lately about a special relationship of Jesus with Mary Magdalena which reflects our contemporary interest in sensationalism about historic figures. In The Gay Gospels, the author makes a very enlightening point with challenging implications about the relationship of Jesus with the Beloved Disciple as much more important.
The Good Retreat Guide can highly recommend The Gay Gospels as it offers a vision of the Christian Faith which is full of hope for LGBT people.