One of the biggest issues that currently divides the Church is how we respond to sexuality and the LGBT community. There are those who affirm the LGBT community along with their practices, and there are those who do not.
The rhetoric surrounding this issues is one of polar extremes, people seem to either love or hate, affirm or condemn. This is fuelled by people saying that those who are not affirming of this community are bigots, but it’s also fuelled by preachers standing and proclaiming nothing but hellfire and judgement.
One of the misconceptions is that to love someone means to affirm and encourage everything that they do. However, if you truly love someone then you wouldn’t hesitate to tell them the truth in a kind and loving way even if it isn’t what they want to hear. That is the kind of honesty that should fill our pulpits! An honesty that warns people of all sin, not just sexual immorality, and it’s consequences but also in a way that displays the beauty of the gospel and of Jesus Christ.
That honesty isn’t always easy 1) to proclaim and 2) for people to hear.
Jackie Hill Perry is someone who proclaims the truth about homosexuality whilst upholding the beauty of the gospel. I don’t see how someone could read this book and not walk away praising God for His work in Jackie’s life. Gay Girl, Good God is such a good book!
Jackie’s book is in three parts; the first two being more biographical, telling how she began to live out her same-sex attraction, how she became a Christian and the transformation that took place in her life. In the last part of the book she dives into Scripture to shed light on sin and the discussion on sexuality and identity.
I found his book so challenging and helpful.
Challenging because it made me think about how I, as a preacher, approach the topic of sexuality. Do I preach the do not’s and judgement without declaring the beauty of God’s good design for sex? Do I preach get sorted then come to God or do I preach the gospel and let God do His work?
Helpful because Jackie explained how she felt as she was living out her attraction, how she struggled with sin and how her story is unedited and honest.
So many Christians today seem to preach a ‘get right and then come to God’ kind of gospel, but Jackie rightly says that
“God was not calling me to be straight; He was calling me to Himself. The choice to lay aside sin and take hold of holiness was not synonymous with heterosexuality.”
She goes on to explain how her life was transformed and how she didn’t become a ‘gay Christian’, but she says that her whole identity changed. The decision that followed that change in identity was one of self-denial and an ongoing battle with temptation.
Jackie didn’t stop being attracted to women when she became a Christian, but she became a woman who loved God more than anything. Jackie’s testimony is Colossians 3:1-17, lived out! Because of her new identity in Christ she was putting to death her earthly nature and putting on her new self that is being renewed into the image of Jesus.
Jackie is a famous poet and her book is so melodic, she writes with a style that I haven’t come across before. She is a gifted woman who was and is being transformed by a Good God and this book is a testimony to that transformation.
The last section of the book is described as a resource to help people who have same-sex attraction or people who are walking together with them. The ‘resource part’ is so helpful! She says
“Following Jesus not only meant eternal life but also a crucified one… the crucified life is a life set on enduring until the end when once and for all, the cross is replaced with a crown.”
Obviously this is true for every person and with every temptation, but it’s often talked about wrongly when it comes to sexuality.
This book is filled, and I mean filled, with tremendous quotes and practical advice, it is soaked in Scripture and it is exactly what she wanted it to be…
“This book is a lifted hand, a glad praise, a necessary hymn, a hallelujah overheard and not kept quiet. This work is my worship unto God that, with prayer, I hope will leave you saying, “God is so good!”
I seriously can’t say enough how much I recommend this book!