All of our authors don’t necessarily endorse each resource below, but some of us have found value in these books, blogs, and podcasts relating to faith, homosexuality, and masculinity. We hope they can prove helpful for you in your journey!
Thomas Mark Zuniga
After an Eden’s upbringing in eastern Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Tom Zuniga’s world suddenly gave root to an alien existence of struggle. Initiated by an 800-mile move from the only home he’d ever known, he started warring in unforeseen ways: isolation at a Southern Baptist church and bullying at a Christian high school, all the while fiercely determined to conceal sexual secrets spanning his entire childhood. It wasn’t until after college with a fresh start in a new state and two pivotal summer excursions that a foreign thread of redemption started spinning among the struggle. Struggle Central tells the quarter-life quest of an introverted Christian’s desperate cross-country search for purpose and belonging, both inside the Church and out. Brimming with tears of heartache and euphoria alike, Zuniga’s candid collection of “messy memoirs” follows life’s arduous journey through endless valleys and perilous climbs, reveling in the breathtaking peaks to be discovered along the way.
This book is a wrestling match. It is about the precarious journey of many men in our time. A Bigger World Yet is about an ache and a longing in our culture for friendship and brotherhood. It is a book about emotional orphans with wounds and hungers of the heart. This book is about boys who needed connections to loving men and friends growing up, but instead received abuse and absence. This book is one man’s spiritual odyssey. These pages are for those who follow Christ and want to do something for men who struggle with sexualizing their own gender, rather than just passively debate over the matter. This is for men and women of God who want to get their hands dirty and not sit on the sidelines of a topic that is tearing the body of Christ in two. A Bigger World Yet is a song of hope. The paperback version is no longer on Amazon but can be found on Lulu; the digital version can be purchased on Smashwords.
“Gay,” “Christian,” and “celibate” don’t often appear in the same sentence. Yet many who sit next to us in the pew at church fit that description, says author Wesley Hill. As a celibate gay Christian, Hill gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to wrestle firsthand with God’s “No” to same-sex relationships. What does it mean for gay Christians to live faithful to God while struggling with the challenge of their homosexuality? What is God’s will for believers who experience same-sex desires? Those who choose celibacy are often left to deal with loneliness and the hunger for relationships. How can gay Christians experience God’s favor and blessing in the midst of a struggle that for many brings a crippling sense of shame and guilt? Weaving together reflections from his own life and the lives of other Christians, such as Henri Nouwen and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hill offers a fresh perspective on these questions. He advocates neither unqualified “healing” for those who struggle, nor their accommodation to temptation, but rather faithfulness in the midst of brokenness. “I hope this book may encourage other homosexual Christians to take the risky step of opening up their lives to others in the body of Christ,” Hill writes. “In so doing, they may find, as I have, by grace, that being known is spiritually healthier than remaining behind closed doors, that the light is better than the darkness.”
In an age where neither society nor the church knows what to do with gay Christians, Greg Coles tells his own story. Let’s make a deal, you and me. Let’s make promises to each other. I promise to tell you my story. The whole story. I’ll tell you about a boy in love with Jesus who, at the fateful onset of puberty, realized his sexual attractions were persistently and exclusively for other guys. I’ll tell you how I lay on my bed in the middle of the night and whispered to myself the words I’ve whispered a thousand times since: “I’m gay.” I’ll show you the world through my eyes. I’ll tell you what it’s like to belong nowhere. To know that much of my Christian family will forever consider me unnatural, dangerous, because of something that feels as involuntary as my eye color. And to know that much of the LGBTQ community that shares my experience as a sexual minority will disagree with the way I’ve chosen to interpret the call of Jesus, believing I’ve bought into a tragic, archaic ritual of self-hatred. But I promise my story won’t all be sadness and loneliness and struggle. I’ll tell you good things too, hopeful things, funny things, like the time I accidentally came out to my best friend during his bachelor party. I’ll tell you what it felt like the first time someone looked me in the eyes and said, “You are not a mistake.” I’ll tell you that joy and sorrow are not opposites, that my life has never been more beautiful than when it was most brokenhearted. If you’ll listen, I promise I’ll tell you everything, and you can decide for yourself what you want to believe about me.
Christians who are confused by the homosexuality debate raging in the US are looking for resources that are based solidly on a deep study of what Scripture says about the issue. In People to Be Loved, Preston Sprinkle challenges those on all sides of the debate to consider what the Bible says and how we should approach the topic of homosexuality in light of it.
In a manner that appeals to a scholarly and lay-audience alike, Preston takes on difficult questions such as how should the church treat people struggling with same-sex attraction? Is same-sex attraction a product of biological or societal factors or both? How should the church think about larger cultural issues, such as gay marriage, gay pride, and whether intolerance over LGBT amounts to racism? How (or if) Christians should do business with LGBT persons and supportive companies?
Simply saying that the Bible condemns homosexuality is not accurate, nor is it enough to end the debate. Those holding a traditional view still struggle to reconcile the Bible’s prohibition of same-sex attraction with the message of radical, unconditional grace. This book meets that need.
Lead Them Home
Guiding Families of LGBT+ Loved Ones provides practical insights on how to honor God and radically love LGBT+ people in your life. This 150-page, interactive guide is a comprehensive resource that rapidly equips pastors, parents, and all who care. Great for: Christian parents, family members and relatives of LGBT+ loved ones; pastors and ministry teams seeking to enhance care for LGBT+ individuals; staff and faculty of Christian schools, universities and camps; executive leaders seeking to train and equip your ministry team; Christian counselors and pastoral care staff who often care for LGBT+ people and their families; small group study resource.
Guiding Families seeks to eliminate family rejection in this generation. Examples of content: understanding risks LGBT+ youth face (family rejection, bullying, suicidality, and homelessness); real life profiles from LGBT+ young people and their parents; powerful insights from our nationwide parent survey; practical tips for life stages and events (coming out, transitioning, partners, weddings, family gatherings); articles from Christian leaders specializing in LGBT+ relational and spiritual care; guidance on prayer and supplication to bless LGBT+ loved ones — and you.
Guiding Families also features a story excerpt from our YOB editor, Tom.
What does it mean to be gay … and a Christian? Beginning with how the Bible describes sex and gender in Genesis 1-2, author Nate Collins provides a theological framework for relating sexuality to gender identity. He unpacks biblical concepts like desire, lust, and temptation, and applies them to modern constructs like sexual attraction and orientation.
In addition, Collins explores the theme of identity, focusing on facets of personal identity that are central to the experience of Christian gender minorities. He looks at what the Scripture says about the formation and function of Christian identity, highlighting several theological and sociological tensions.
Finally, Collins helpfully outlines a theology of reconciliation that challenges the Church to examine the obstacles that inhibit Christian unity and calls straight and non-straight believers alike to patterns of Christian obedience that respect and honor their similarities and differences. He writes for believers who have a traditional sexual ethic and provides a compelling vision of gospel flourishing for gay and non-straight individuals.
Christopher Yuan & Angela Yuan
Christopher Yuan, the son of Chinese immigrants, discovered at an early age that he was different. He was attracted to other boys. As he grew into adulthood, his mother, Angela, hoped to control the situation. Instead, she found that her son and her life were spiraling out of control—and her own personal demons were determined to defeat her.
Years of heartbreak, confusion, and prayer followed before the Yuans found a place of complete surrender, which is God’s desire for all families. Their amazing story, told from the perspectives of both mother and son, offers hope for anyone affected by homosexuality.
God calls all who are lost to come home to him. Casting a compelling vision for holy sexuality, Out of a Far Country speaks to prodigals, parents of prodigals, and those wanting to minister to the gay community.
Mark A. Yarhouse
Few topics are more contested today than gender identity. In the fog of the culture war, complex issues like gender dysphoria are reduced to slogans and sound bites. And while the war rages over language, institutions and political allegiances, transgender individuals are the ones who end up being the casualties.
Mark Yarhouse, an expert in sexual identity and therapy, challenges the church to rise above the political hostilities and listen to people’s stories. In Understanding Gender Dysphoria, Yarhouse offers a Christian perspective on transgender issues that eschews simplistic answers and appreciates the psychological and theological complexity. The result is a book that engages the latest research while remaining pastorally sensitive to the experiences of each person.
In the midst of a tense political climate, Yarhouse calls Christians to come alongside those on the margins and stand with them as they resolve their questions and concerns about gender identity. Understanding Gender Dysphoria is the book we need to navigate these stormy cultural waters.
Check out the blogs and podcasts from our “other brothers” at The 4T’s and the Church. Touch, Time, Transparency, Teamwork: 4 ways males who are attracted to the same sex can experience intimacy with their male brothers within the church. Our YOB editor, Tom, joined host Richard for an episode on teamwork.