from My Recommended Reading List (Part 3 of 12)
One of my goals for this blog in 2013 is to spotlight my “Recommended Reading List”. “Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality” by Dr. Wesley Hill is the selection for March. To view the complete list of my favorite books on the subject of same-sex attractions, click this link: My List of Recommended Books
For each book “review” I will attempt to:
- Present a quick summary
- Summarize key insights and passages that resonated with me
- Share supplemental video and audio resources that feature the author and his work
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t agree with every single idea, concept or thesis discussed in every book on my list. But each selection contributes insight and understanding to the subject.
“Washed” and “waiting” (1 Corinthians 6:9 – 11; Romans 8:23 – 25) is Wesley Hill’s identity and struggle (page 50). In these two short videos, he previews the three battles that would evolve into this deeply personal and intense narrative.
“This book is neither about how to live faithfully as a practicing homosexual person nor about how to live faithfully as a fully healed or former homosexual man or woman . . .” (it is about) “how, practically, a nonpracticing but still-desiring homosexual Christian can ‘prove, live out, and celebrate’ the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in homosexual terms.”
“This book is written mainly for those gay Christians who are already convinced that their discipleship to Jesus necessarily commits them to the demanding, costly obedience of choosing not to nurture their homosexual desires, whether through private fantasies or physical relationships with other gay or lesbian people.” (pages 15, 16)
The non-fiction books I choose to study are usually for the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual investment in my personal growth. Not surprisingly, upon purchasing this book back in 2010, I had a very self-protective apprehension about reading it.
- Would the author’s story reveal truths about myself I didn’t want to admit?
- Will he unveil spiritual truths I didn’t want to acknowledge (or be reminded of)?
- To what extent will my beliefs and worldview be challenged?
- Will the “resolved” questions and issues of my life be uprooted and disrupted?
However, when God prunes (John 15:1 – 4) and disciplines (Hebrews 12:1 – 13), it is often painful and always purposeful. I knew I needed to avail myself to the opportunity. Accepting the invitation to experience the fear, my self-awareness and spiritual understanding has been enriched. Among the dozens of ministry books and resources I’ve studied over the years, “Washed and Waiting” is a shining volume that has far exceeded my expectations.
Key Insights & Passages
Dr. Hill grabs onto and wrestles with the frustrations that he and many LGBT individuals continuously agonize over . . .
- “Why doesn’t the gospel of love, hope and grace allow me to express my feelings and happiness? Emotional isolation is paralyzing; sexual abstinence seems ridiculous.”
- “Like anyone else, I need and want a relationship where I am cherished and adored by someone; to experience love, commitment and mutual desire. I don’t want to live my life alone and own my own.”
- “The church (my church) doesn’t understand me. They usually end up hurting me more than they help. The relationships in (and culture of) the church make my loneliness and insecurities worse.”
- “No matter what, I am convinced (at my deepest core) that I am unacceptable and displeasing to God.”
The author talks about four reasons why he chooses to abstain from homoerotic fantasy and behavior in chapter one. His masterful exposition of what is in the wisdom and power of the gospel story makes celibacy reasonable and rational.
In chapter 2, he elaborates on these insights . . .
- The pain of (and in) community is better than the pain in isolation.
- Human love is best experienced and communicated in church, not marriage.
- “Coping with loneliness as a homosexual Christian requires a profound theology of brokenness” which can evolve into “a theology of resurrection” (pages 118 – 120).
In chapter 3, Dr. Hill reminds us of the many New Testament affirmations of God (at the Second Coming of Christ) lavishing His faithful with praise, glory, and honor. Incessant shame doesn’t have to define our present reality nor our future destiny.
“God’s acceptance of us in the future, his being pleased with us, means that we may be pleased with ourselves in the here and now as we live our daily Christian lives; or, more precisely, we may be pleased that we are pleasing to God.” (page 141)
In a provocative conclusion for some readers, the author states that homosexuality is a gift we should thank God for. He observes “it provides us with a greater sense of our woundedness and therefore our dependence on God” (page 149).
Resources & Links:
Wesley Hill co-edits an excellent blog with Ron Belgau. Here’s the link and their mission statement:
“We embrace the traditional understanding that God created us male and female, and that His plan for sexual intimacy is only properly fulfilled in the union of husband and wife in marriage. However, this blog was born out of frustration with the prevailing narratives about homosexuality from those who embrace this traditionally Christian sexual ethic: an excessive focus on political issues, and the ubiquity of reparative therapy in one form or another. We want to see more discussion of celibacy, friendship, the value of the single life, and similar topics.”
Wesley Hill discusses his book in this 20-minute video:
Click Here To Go To This Book’s Amazon.com page:
Articles by Wesley Hill:
As Christians, we all have a seat in God’s waiting room. What are you waiting for? In what areas can you experience growth while you wait?
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2013.
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