I Resonate—and Disagree—with This Gay Christian

Rachel Gilson | October 6, 2017

I eagerly read Gregory Coles’s Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity as soon as I received it. In some respects, Coles and I have a lot in common: we’re both Christians who have a same-sex orientation but believe that we honor Jesus best by denying that desire. In other respects, our lives are incredibly different. He’s male; I’m female. He grew up in the church and overseas with a full-throttled, homeschooled evangelical upbringing; I grew up as an atheist in America. Later he lived in culturally conservative places in America, while I’ve always been enmeshed in bicoastal liberality.

Despite those differences, I deeply resonated with his description of his attractions: how natural they are, how unthinkable to change them. He uses a thought experiment for straight people that I’ve often employed with friends: Imagine being told by the church that you must feel sexually aroused by your best same-sex friend. It’s effective—it helps straight Christians understand how intractable orientation can feel.

Failed by Christians

Exercises like these are necessary because the church has often failed people struggling in this way—by encouraging revulsion toward gay people and suggesting they must become straight to fulfill God’s command. Coles has been mistreated by some Christians, and he describes what it was like to…

To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/book-review-single-gay-christian-gregory-coles.