Justin’s Lee’s captivating book Torncombines autobiography, history, culture, and faith to address the schism between the gay community and the Christian community in a very personable way.
The book begins by following self-proclaimed “God Boy” Justin through his teen years as he slowly discovers he is a gay man. As a faithful, prayer Christian and a gay man, Justin finds himself in a “unique position to bring peace”. I found this book to be an insightful read for Christian readers, gay readers, and especially gay Christian readers struggling with their “torn” identities.
Lee provides a welcoming space where all viewpoints (even ones that differ from his own) can be heard, respected, and even celebrated. The book addresses several topics, including the following:
Defining what it means to be “gay”
Why people are gay?
The options for gay Christians when it comes to living with their:
The balancing act between
Honoring God’s Truth
Loving one another
Coining New Terms: “Side A” and “Side B” gay Christians
A personal study on bible passages referencing homosexuality
Agape and what it means to love without conditions
A 7-point plan of how to create a better world among the combined gay and Christian communities.
Dual Perspective Lee’s dual perspective allows him to write eloquently and from experience. He values the Christian community, faith, and spiritual health within the LGBT community in a way that inspires the reader to do the same. Several times while writing this blog post, I had to stop myself from picking up the phone to try to call the author. I had the feeling, upon finishing the book, that Mr. Lee was my friend!
Justin Lee with Caleb Matthews in 2017 at the Gay Christian Network in Pittsberg, PA.
Author Justin Lee Justin Lee is a gay Christian who was currently the founder and head of the Gay Christian Network (GCN), which holds a conference every year. UPDATE: GCN recently changed its name to Q Christian Fellowship.
“This book helped foster empathic ideals that I had not previously recognized.”
Lee’s references in Torn span from solemn Bible passages and parables to humorous commercial and South Park references. Lee provides a relatable space that is easy-to-read and hard to put down. Many times while reading I found myself nodding along or writing comments in the margins. Lee’s coverage of the material is thorough and succinct. He prioritizes distinguishing his personal perspectives from facts throughout the entire novel.
This book helped me personally to foster empathetic ideals that I had not previously developed. It was a great read and I would highly recommend it , especially for those interested in the Human Empathy Project. It is no surprise that much of Lee’s "Seven-Point Plan" includes fostering empathetic conversations among diverse individuals, which is the cornerstone purpose of the Human Empathy Project.
Caleb Matthews, M.A. is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate (Supervised by: Marshall Lyles, LMFT-S) specializing in couples and family issues, as well as LGBT issues. Caleb is currently the Board Secretary for the Human Empathy Project.