This book was recommended to me by a friend in the business of recommending good books, and once again, her recommendation has turned out to be one of the most important books I’ve read this year.
Washed and Waiting is, at its most basic level, a spiritual memoir of a gay Christian who does not believe the Bible’s prohibition of homoerotic sex is outmoded or culturally bound—he believes homoerotic sex is a sin. At the same time, however, Hill’s experience as a homosexual Christian does not jive with the metanarrative from other theologically conservative Christians that same-sex attraction is a choice that can be changed.* Hill, therefore, practices celibacy.
Here are the reasons I found Washed and Waiting so important:
- Understanding. Conservative Christians are generally told homosexuality is a choice that can be changed or a coping mechanism that can be healed. While this is true for some, it is not true for all or even most people who experience unwanted same-sex attraction. It’s time we stop being so one-dimensional, which generally leads to a lack of understanding and therefore a certain lack of empathy.
- Empathy. As a spiritual memoir of sorts, Washed and Waiting provides heterosexuals the human super power of walking in an other’s shoes. Even for those who can skip number one on this list, the glimpse of the immense and unrelenting loneliness and frustration Hill experiences is invaluable.
- Relief. For those with similar stories to the author’s, Hill’s brave telling of his story is an affirmation and encouragement, if nothing else, that they are not alone.
- Challenge. Washed and Waiting ends with an afterword from Kathryn Greene-McCreight who challenges the church: “Can we [heterosexual Christians] continue to ignore the isolation these brothers and sisters experience within the body of Christ?” The answer, of course, is no.
For a well organized and more in-depth review of Washed and Waiting, click here.
*Neither of these points is up for debate in this post, the goal of which is simply to point to one book; anything else would be beyond the scope and therefore counterproductive here.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)