Good News for Bruised Reeds derives its title from Isaiah 42:3—“a bruised reed he will not break”. It seeks to encourage friends and family of those with same-sex attraction (SSA) who are seeking God and have likely faced more prejudice and rejection—and burdens of guilt—than most. At the same time, the book aims to “challenge the church to lend a listening ear and a helping and welcoming hand”.
While sex and sexuality are difficult topics for conservative-minded Christians, it is also a natural part of what makes us human, to be experienced and expressed in a multitude of ways. It is thus brave and difficult, but necessary, for the book’s editors and publisher to engage in the conversation about the intersection between Christianity and SSA.
The editors spell out their position in the introduction: “We will not advocate any particular expression as the only and best solution.” This book is thus not a guide to conversion therapy. “People do not choose to be gay,” writes one of the clerical contributors. We are reminded that there is no hierarchy of sin, and no one can stand in finger-pointing self-righteous condemnation of others—only someone without sin should cast the first stone (John 8:1).
The heartfelt and often painful stories of Christians with SSA, recounted in the first section of the book, shed light on their hurt and rejection. “It’s a lonely and difficult journey,” writes one, referring to the lack of a supportive church in their quest to find God. Another shares: “The weight of having SSA is a tremendous burden that many young people have to bear alone…and [they] often get lost in the confusion online.”
The second and third sections, written by friends and family of those who have experienced SSA and by members of the clergy respectively, remind readers that “if the church does not respond adequately to the issues of SSA, strugglers will look to the surrounding culture for answers”. It is therefore urgent for the church to be a safe space, where we bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2).
Sheri Goh is the editor of Methodist Message, the mother of a tween and a toddler, and the willing slave to a cat.
Book cover visual courtesy of Graceworks Publishing