I recently borrowed a book from the library, because it had been recommended reading by Pastor Dave. I wasn't sure how TORN: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-Vs.-Christians Debate, by Justin Lee, was going to go down my mostly-conservative gullet, but I can now say without any equivocation that I am abundantly glad I read it.
The problem is, it's the kind of book that you really need to read all of, because taking a few paragraphs out of context or trying to summarize any kind of "bottom line" message will not do justice to the author's intent.
However, I will share these heart-breaking words from the first chapter, and hope they encourage you to digest the whole book:
A 2007 study by the Barna Group, a Christian research firm, asked 16- to 29-year-olds to choose words and phrases to describe present-day Christianity. Among the many choices available to them were positive terms like "offers hope" and "has good values" along with negative terms like "judgmental" and "hypocritical."
Out of all of it - good and bad - the most popular choice was "antihomosexual." Not only did 91 percent of the non-Christians describe the church this way, but 80 percent of churchgoers did as well.
In the book unChristian, Barna Group researchers David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons describe the results of their three-year study of young Americans' views of the church:
In our research, the perception that Christians are "against" gays and lesbians...has reached critical mass....Outsiders say our hostility toward gays - not just opposition to homosexual politics and behaviors but disdain for gay individuals - has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith.
Truth is...the idea of the church being characterized by what she is against is saddening. And the idea of people who call themselves Christians disdaining particular members of the human race for whom Jesus died is appalling. This book can help stop the accusations and start a meaningful dialogue.