February 05, 2009

"Bulletproof Faith"

Here is a link to an interview with Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, the author of "Bulletproof Faith: A Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians." Chellew-Hodge is the founder and editor of the Internet magazine "Whosoever," a bi-monthly gathering of essays edifying and teaching GLBT Christians. She is also the associate pastor at Garden of Grace UCC in Columbia, SC, hardly a hotbed of affirmation for gay & lesbian people.

Here is an excerpt from the interview on religion dispatches:

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about your topic?

The biggest misconception is the media driven meme that there are no LGBT Christians. Most media stories turn on the idea of “gays vs. God” and pit the LGBT community against the religious community. There are many people of faith who are also gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender and this book is an attempt to change this perception and give LGBT believers a ways to reclaim their voice and become part of the larger conversation.

Did you have a specific audience in mind when writing?

My specific audience is the LGBT community as well as their straight allies who are hoping to understand the hatred and vitriol that their LGBT friends and family face on a daily basis from anti-gay people of faith. Again, the scope of material in the book can be applicable to people who are not gay or not religious. Anyone who finds their position challenged can find valuable tools on how to respond to opponents while maintaining their own integrity.

Are you hoping to just inform readers? Give them pleasure? Piss them off?

My aim is twofold. I hope to arm readers with the information and tools they need to neutralize attacks on their faith. At the same time, I’m hoping to help readers move out of the usual “what the Bible says about homosexuality” arguments to find more and more areas of common ground with those who have historically been our “enemies.” I’m hoping that when LGBT believers are empowered to live authentically as the people God has created them to be, then they can confidently begin to dialogue with those who oppose acceptance of LGBT people within both church and society. Only after we’ve settled the argument within our own hearts and minds can we hope to reach out to our opponents and help them change their hearts and minds about LGBT people.

After reading the book myself, I find it worth mentioning that it is intentionally not a justification or reconciliation of the GLBT community and Christianity. The author refers readers to several other books covering that material. Chellew-Hodge's goal is to take that knowledge and teach GLBT people how to protect themselves and to love their "opponents" and "enemies" who would tear down their faith. She uses those words too often for my taste, but I grant that I haven't been on the receiving end of hatred from these people like she has.

This is a book that I think would benefit a GLBT Christian, especially a new one. Her words will strengthen the confidence and assuredness that you can be right even when people are screaming at you that you will go to hell because of who you are.

At least GLBT people have good company in this regard--Jesus had to endure the same trials during his time on earth.

You can click here to read the rest of the interview from religion dispatches.

You can purchase Bulletproof Faith at Amazon.com.

1 comment: