Justin’s Lee’s Torn in my opinion is nothing short of brilliant. It combines 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, Justine is in a “unique position to bring peace and change minds”. This book is 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, and faith and spiritual health within the LGBT community, in a way that welcomes 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 is currently the founder and head of the Gay Christian Network (GCN). The GCN holds an annual conference that I will have the pleasure of attending this January. Please click here (link to Caleb’s GCN article) to read about my experience at the conference.
“This book helped foster empathic ideals that I had not previously recognized.”
Lee’s references 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 agreements 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 foster empathic ideals that I had not previously recognized. It is a great read and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the aforementioned topics, especially those considering the Human Empathy Project. It is no surprise that much of Lee’s 7-point plan discusses how to foster empathic conversation, the cornerstone and purpose of the Human Empathy Project.
While Lee focuses strictly on the rift between the LGBT community and Christianity, it is a future goal of the Human Empathy Project to reach all denominations of the faith-based community and their relations with the LGBT community.
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.