Does Jesus Love You? Books About Gays and Religion

By Christopher Rudolph

Originally published on Advocate.com December 20 2012 4:32 AM ET

Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground With the Religious by Chris Stedman (Beacon Press, $24.95)
“There and Back Again” may be a subtitle to The Hobbit, but it could also be applied to Chris Stedman’s new book about his journey from born-again Christian to openly gay atheist. In his book he discusses how some atheists have demonized religion and how he hopes to enlighten believers and nonbelievers with his view from both sides of faith. (BeaconPress.org)

Does Jesus Really Love Me? by Jeff Chu (HarperCollins, $26.99)
One’s definition of love may not be the same as the next person’s, and that is never more apparent than in Jeff Chu’s religious pilgrimage across America. The confusion Christians experience trying to balance their contemporary belief systems with following the Bible is at an all-time high, and Chu’s quest shows America’s identity crisis in a blinding light. (HarperCollins.com)

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel From the Gays vs. Christians Debate by Justin Lee (Jericho Books, $21.99)
Much as in the Natalie Imbruglia song of the same name, Christians today are torn — about how to love their Bible and their gay family members or friends. As someone who felt he was called to the evangelical Christian ministry at a young age, even though he is gay, Justin Lee explores how gay Christians can be the peacemakers for their conflicted fellow believers. (JerichoBooks.com)

Pray the Gay Away by Bernadette Barton (NYU Press, $27.95)
Aside from the occasional visit to Dollywood, the Bible Belt is usually not a top tourist destination for gays and lesbians, but author Bernadette Barton goes “behind enemy lines” with this in-depth look at LGBT life in America's most fundamentalist corners, places where many are still fighting for their rights. (NYUPress.org)

How to Be Secular by Jacques Berlinerblau (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26)
While secularists can get the side eye from the religious right and atheists alike, Jacques Berlinerblau brings to light the history of secularism and how to tell if you just may be a secularist and not even realize it. (HMHbooks.com)

Enlightenment for Nitwits by Shepherd Hoodwin (Summerjoy Press, $14.95)
This "guide" is essentially a Chicken Soup for the Lazy Person's Soul. Author Shepherd Hoodwin offers insight into everything from sex and office jobs to crop circles, and proves you don't have to be an overachiever to lead an enlightened life. (Summerjoy.com)

Above All Things by Shari Johnson (Changing Lives Press, $18.99)
When Shari Johnson's daughter came out to her, Johnson, an evangelical Christian, cried and begged God to turn her daughter straight. What followed was her own awakening, in which she learned to love God and her gay daughter with the same heart. A compelling book in part because Johnson's daughter is Cholene Espinoza, a former embedded war journalist whose wife, Ellen Ratner, is a Fox News correspondent. (ChangingLivesPress.com)
 
Ready to Answer by Reverend Marilyn Bowens (AuthorHouse, $19.99)
For those readers who have a religious background and are seeking guidance from someone well versed in the Holy Word, then this book by lesbian Christian minister Marilyn Bowens may be up your spiritual alley. The author dives head first into the age-old biblical arguments and their effect on gay Christians. (AuthorHouse.com)
 
Biblical Sex by Walter Lamp (Running Light Publishing Company, $14.99) 
With Fifty Shades of Grey, it seems everyone is reading pornography these days, so feel no shame in reading Biblical Sex while on your next subway ride. While it may not be an erotic tale of seduction, it is a guide to everything involving sex (including homosexuality and marriage) in the Bible. One plus: The unbiased author talks about the fact that King James (you know, the guy one version of the Bible is named after) had a relationship with another man. (Amazon.com)
 
The Christwire Handbook by Jack Gould, Tyson Bowers III, and the Christwire Flock (Citadel Press, $14.95)
The satirical website Christwire finally compiles the best of its many hilarious faux articles for one easy reading pleasure. This religious "handbook" promises to save you from satanic video games, YouTube cross-dressers, and, most important, the gays. The chapter "The Homogay Agenda" is worth the price of the book alone, and while this book is hilarious, you may want to opt out of bringing it to your next church book club. (KensingtonBooks.com)
 

 
You Got to Be Kidding!: The Cultural Arsonist's Literal Reading of the Bible by Joe Wenke
(Trans Uber, $9.99)
Born the oldest of 11 children in a strict Catholic household, comedian Joe Wenke, a self-proclaimed "trisexual," dissects the Bible and asks questions that many never thought or dared to ask. Example: If the Wise Men were so wise, why did they get lost? How big was Noah's Ark and who cleaned up after the animals? A radically funny book that examines how ludicrous parts of the Bible are when taken literally. Bonus, his partner, transgender model Gisele, graces the cover. (JoeWenke.org)