Gifted by Otherness

Gay and Lesbian Christians in the Church

M. R. Ritley, L. William Countryman

Aug/2001, 176 Pages, Paperback, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819218865

$21.95

$21.95

Proactive and self-affirming book provides new hope for those who feel that it is impossible to be both gay or lesbian, as well as Christian.

Gay and lesbian Christians are in the awkward position of trying to explain themselves to two mutually hostile audiences. On the one side, the gay-lesbian community is often deeply suspicious of anyone connected with Christianity. On the other side sits the church, which often wishes that gays and lesbians would go away, or at least disappear into the woodwork quietly. But the gay and lesbian community has a unique vocation in today’s church, one of challenging the church’s to be inclusive of all God’s children—the central message of the Gospel.

Based on retreats they have presented to churches and seminaries, authors L. William Countryman and M. R. Ritley explore what it means to affirm, not merely accept, being gay and lesbian, as well as being Christian. This pro-active and self-affirming book provides new hope for the LGBT community, their families, and confidently appropriating and retelling the Biblical story of this unique and gifted minority’s spiritual journey.

“[A] powerful Magna Carta for gay and lesbian Christians and a compelling call to the church not to stand in the way of Jesus’s unconditional love.”—Malcolm Boyd, author of Are You Running with Me, Jesus?

The late M. R. Ritley, was an Episcopal priest, a teacher, writer, and historian with a deep interest in spiritual narrative and the ways story shapes our inner lives.

L. William Countryman is a retired professor of New Testament from Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He has authored numerous books for scholars and laity, including How Can Anyone Read the Bible?: A Little Book of Guidance,Calling on the Spirit in Unsettling Times, and Living on the Border of the Holy: Renewing the Priesthood of All. He lives in Berkeley, California.

"Ritley and Countryman have written a thoughtful and provocative book for anyone who has struggled with what it means when gays are a part of the church."--Publishers Weekly"A powerful Magna Carta for gay and lesbian Christians and a compelling call to the church not to stand in the way of Jesus Christ's unconditional love."--Malcolm Boyd, poet/writer-in-residence, Cathedral Center of St. Paul, Los Angeles"With wit and candor and hard-won depth of insight, Countryman and Ritley help the gay and godly (but often church-damaged) recognize and reclaim the holy ground that belongs to them!"--Marilyn McCord Adams, Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor of Historical Theology, Yale Divinity School and Religious Studies Department"Gifted By Otherness is written with the authority of lesbian and gay disciples who happen also to be articulate theologians and priests. They do not seek to justify lesbigay spirituality, but rather manifest it and encourage the spirituality of everyone, straight and gay. Any church unsafe for these two bright canaries is a coal mine unsafe for any pilgrim." -- Louie Crew, Founder of Integrity, Member of Executive Council of the Episcopal Church"This warm, intelligent series of essays by two gay Episcopal priests, a woman and a man, frankly and compassionately examines the peculiar, difficult, yet vital relationship between the Christian church and its gay parishioners over the centuries....From cover to cover, their voices are friendly, engaging, quirky, occasionally humorous, and always thought-provoking."--Fearlessbooks.com"Gifted by Otherness is a source of both encouragement and empowerment for those traveling a difficult and usually lonely road, and it offers lessons to the broader Christian community."--Joseph Wakelee-Lynch, Crossings"Those who want to rehash old arguments will doubtless need to look elsewhere. The authors consistently refuse to engage them. But those who want to pause in wonder at the utter strangeness of God's summons will be delighted to find a book that finally speaks to and for them." - Charles Allen, Anglican Theological Review"...Countryman and Ritley explore what it means to affirm, not merely accept, being gay or lesbian, as well as Christian. Writing primarily for the lesbigay community, and for their families and communities, they explore the ways in which the gay and lesbian community can appropriate and re-tell the biblical story, and find confidence in their unique spiritual journey and gifts. This proactive and self-affirming book provides new hope for those who feel that it is impossible to be both gay or lesbian, as well as Christian" - Cokesbury Good Books catalog"If you are a spiritual director looking for a book that gives you a faithful and sometimes humorous look at our subculture, this book is for you. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered directee currently involved in a faith community."--Rev Dr. Rich Rossiter for Presence"This book is intended as a guide for a 'gay spiritual understructure' to affirm sexual orientation as a 'God-given gift'." - Philadelphia Gay News, Jan. 4-10, 2002"...Countryman and Ritley have done to perfection what they set out to do. They have depicted lesbian and gay otherness as 'windows through which God's working in the world is glimpsed,' as role models of courage to be what God intended us to be, of vulnerability as freedom and spiritual strength, of the wholeness of being both sexual and spiritual, and of the willingness to go on loving no mater what the cost. And for those gifts, thanks be to God."- Virginia Mollenkott for The Witness"Gay and Lesbian Christians are in the awkward position of trying to explain themselves to two mutually hostile audiences. On the one side, the gay-lesbian community is often deeply suspicious of anyone connected with Christianity. On the other side sits the church, which often wishes that gays and lesbians would go away, or at least disappear into the woodwork quietly. But the gay and lesbian community has a unique vocation in today's church, one of challenging the church to be inclusive of all Gods' Children - the central message of the Gospel....Countryman and M. R. Ritley explore what it means to affirm, not merely accept, being gay or lesbian, as well as Christian." - Out Front Colorado"...Gifted by Otherness is a springboard to generate discussion and action in today's Christian communities." - Echo

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