By: Michael B. Regele
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 10/21/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars
A special thank you to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
A Father's Personal Journey through Science, Scripture, and Same-Sex Love with much controversy and debate of LGBT, and the Christian beliefs, Michael B. Regele courageously steps out and delivers personal insight, and well researched information.
With a deep understanding, Regele addresses all concerns and perspectives, intelligently with an easy to read format; from theological reflection, biblical, current medical, psychological, neurobiological, and sociological data on sexual orientation and identity, as well as pastoral insights and most importantly, the warm heart of a father who writes every page with his own daughter in mind.
Mike Regele begins his extraordinary book with an Episcopal prayer that includes these words: “Take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in the bonds of love." Very fitting.
There are so many detailed topics addressed within the book, and would recommend reading the book when you have the time to study and make notes; as found myself bookmarking so many pages, so hitting only a few of the highlights, I found important.
As Regele mentions, perhaps this awareness is the work of the Spirit. Today, tolerance for diversity has never been greater, at least in the most Western countries shaped by Christianity in one form or another over the past two thousand years.
What Must Change?
“To see our doors opened to the LGBT community and to see the church have a voice in calling them, like straight folk, to faithful discipleship, we must make some changes.”
• The first change: “Our discomfort is our discomfort.”
This issue is no different than the discomfort many Southerners felt when suddenly blacks were granted equal status. It is no different than the discomfort many of us felt as we recognized the need and necessity of granting women equal status in society and in the church. As Paul teaches us in Galatians 3:28.
• The second change: Willingly to redefine what Christian marriage means. Going back to the science that tells us that sexual orientation and attraction are rooted in biological processes requires us to rethink all of this.
• Third change: How we define Christian leadership. We have far too many people sitting in leadership who are not leaders, and there are those LGBT who love God and want to serve God whom we exclude from leadership unless they take a vow of celibacy. We should not continue to exclude gay or lesbians who are active in a committed partnership if they live in a state in which marriage is not yet legal, from serving the body of Christ as leaders.
Some important facts:
• Current science supports the idea that a person’s sexual orientation is an innate trait with which one is born. One does not choose to be heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual. One is born as one of these, or in some cases, intersexual.
• Attraction is attraction. At the biological and psychological level, it is a natural process that is established through processes that also determine a person’s orientation. Attraction serves the human community by bringing people together. All of us have need of healing and restoration of our sexuality, for all of us are broken in some way.
The book addresses three important areas:
• Sexual behavior
• Same sex marriage
• LGBT leadership in the church
For many conservatives, improper sexual behavior leads to the judgment of God and the prospect of spending eternity in hell. Within this conceptual world young people are taught sex is bad unless you are married and you are bad if you practice it before marriage. Consequently we have young people everywhere dropping out of our churches because their choice is between feeling guilty and condemned or turning away from God entirely.
The conclusion, being gay with same sex attraction is an innate reality. There is nothing biologically wrong with being gay. If there is nothing biologically wrong, then there is nothing wrong period any more than there is something wrong with all of us?
He asks the question is same sex marriage acceptable from a Christian standpoint? He states he does believe that the church ought to embrace same-sex marriage and regain the high moral ground by calling us all to love the other and therefore to promote life. He affirms both of these groups of people divorced and LGBT, regardless of their gender or marital experience, to qualify for leadership in the church.
Not surprisingly, a survey with the question: “Should the religious community embrace LGBT people by Christian affiliation?" The data demonstrates a progressive to conservative orientation, with Episcopalians at 61% are ready to accept than any other affiliation group. (The Quadrennium Project 2012 Mission Insite, LLC)
• The highest in agreement: Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians/Reformed.
• The groups with the higher percentage of disagreement were: Baptist, Non-denominational, and Pentecostal/Holiness.
• Out of the eight religious affiliation groups, 40% believe same-sex marriage should be legalized compared to 31% who disagree.
With new perspectives from scientific to scripture,presented with compassion and clarity—causing new reactions and awareness. A book for all ages, diversity, churches, leaders, and those of any sexual preference and religious belief; liberal or conservative—especially for those who have been clouded by narrow minded and ignorant thinking to age old beliefs.
It is sad, especially when parents, friends, family, and churches are turning their backs on gays and their lifestyles. What does this say about their behavior? I have many LGBT friends and have heard horror stories of their guilt, shame, condemnation, and judgments; primarily coming from family and the church—It is time for a change. A Must Needed Gift-Well Done!