Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality

by Wesley Hill

Paperback, 2016

Status

Available

Call number

248.8

SELECT gtw_rank, gtw_work, gtw_genre FROM genre_to_work WHERE gtw_work IN ( 10428492 )

Publication

Zondervan (2016), Edition: Enlarged, 224 pages

Description

This is a book written primarily for gay Christians and those who love them. Part memoir, part pastoral-theological reflection, this book wrestles with three main areas of struggle that many gay Christians face: (1) What is God's will for sexuality? (2) If the historic Christian tradition is right and same-sex behavior is ruled out, how should gay Christians deal with their resulting loneliness? (3) How can gay Christians come to an experience of grace that rescues them from crippling feelings of shame and guilt? Author Wesley Hill is not advocating that it is possible for every gay Christian to become straight, nor is he saying that God affirms homosexuality. Instead, Hill comes alongside gay Christians and says, "You are not alone. Here is my experience; it's like yours. And God is with us. We can share in God's grace." While some authors profess a deep faith in Christ and claim a powerful experience of the Holy Spirit precisely in and through their homosexual practice, Hill's own story, by contrast, is a story of feeling spiritually hindered, rather than helped, by his homosexuality. His story testifies that homosexuality was not God's original creative intention for humanity-that it is, on the contrary, a tragic sign of human nature and relationships being fractured by sin-and therefore that homosexual practice goes against God's express will for all human beings, especially those who trust in Christ. This book is written mainly for those homosexual Christians who are trying to walk the narrow path of celibacy and are convinced that their discipleship to Jesus necessarily commits them to the demanding, costly obedience of choosing not to nurture their homosexual desires. With reflections from the lives of Henri Nouwen and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Wesley Hill encourages and challenges Christians with homosexual desires to live faithful to God's plan for human sexuality.… (more)

Language

Original language

English

Physical description

224 p.; 7.1 inches

ISBN

0310534194 / 9780310534198

User reviews

LibraryThing member teamredd
After reading several reviews, I was very interested to pick up a copy of Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill. The topic of homosexuality is certainly a relevant one in our culture, but I was especially intrigued by Hill’s struggle with being
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a “gay Christian.” Usually, those who use such terminology view homosexuality as perfectly compatible with Christian faith and practice. But as an evangelical, Hill affirms the biblical prohibition against homosexual practices. Yet, despite this affirmation, he still struggles with same-sex attraction. As such, he has concluded that the only biblically faithful course of action for a “gay Christian” is to remain celibate.

Washed and Waiting is largely memoir, and as such is both readable and engaging. Hill does devote some space defending the traditional Christian prohibition against homosexuality, especially against recent claims to the contrary. But the book largely explores Hill’s own challenge to be a faithful Christian despite his own inclinations. Especially poignant are his descriptions of his own fears about telling fellow Christians about his struggles. I think too often, evangelical Christians think of homosexuality as a problem that exists outside the church: that is, if homosexuals would just come to Jesus, God would remove their same-sex attractions and it would cease to be an issue. And as Hill notes, sometimes this does happen. But other times, like in his own case, he has not yet been delivered from those sinful desires. I think many Christians would benefit from reading this book to get a better perspective on fellow Christians - possibly within their own congregations - who live under the oppressive weight of knowing the reality of their own sin yet finding no relief; worse yet, they feel that the stigma of their sin is too great to share their burden with fellow believers.

Despite its specific focus, I felt Hill’s book spoke to many broader issues as well. All Christians struggle with the persistence of sin in their own lives, and parts of the book could easily have substituted a host of other sins for homosexuality. Hill does a good job explaining how Christians have been “washed” from guilt for their sins by Jesus’ sacrifice, and yet they still live a life “waiting” for God to completely remove sin from their lives. It is in this interim period that God’s strength is made manifest in our weakness. The book also had some great reflections on Christians and loneliness, and how we find our fulfillment ultimately in Christ (with assistance from His Body). While Hill’s own experience of profound loneliness is in many ways linked to his life as a celibate gay Christian, his reflections on the matter speak to a more fundamental need for acceptance common to all people.

All in all, Washed and Waiting is well worth the read. It’s actually a short book, but provides much food for thought, not only on the specific questions of homosexuality and Christian faithfulness, but also on the larger issue of how Christ’s people can best glorify Him in the midst of a fallen world.

(Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for writing a review, with no obligation to provide a positive assessment.)
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LibraryThing member aevaughn
This is largely not a theological work, but a story of one person's experiences (among a few others) wrestling with homosexuality. I learned a good deal from this work. In particular that Henri Nouwen (a well-known Catholic theologian) was a homosexual, who had chosen a celibate lifestyle. This
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books certainly doesn't settle anything, but it does open one's mind to other possibilities.
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LibraryThing member homeschoolmimzi
For some time now I've wanted to read first person accounts about what it is like to have same sex attraction. So I picked this book up at my church, and also checked out Boy Erased: A Memoir . Two different people, two different experiences, two different outcomes. Wesley Hill is a young
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Christian man who realized at puberty that he was unlike his peers who were chasing girls: he had strong homoerotic desires. His story is honest, painful, and courageous. He shares intimately with his audience without being crude. Hill's conflict is that he wants to live a Christian life, and yet he has strong homosexual desires and believes that these two truths about himself are incompatible. He makes note of his options: 1) to live as a celibate Christian, 2) to seek out homosexual relationships and give up his Christian beliefs, 3) to adjust his beliefs and seek out same sex relationships. He makes reference to religious people in history who share his conflict , and tells how he finds encouragement in reading their stories. He finds strength in Scripture and the close fellowship of close friends. And his readings. And yet Hill is clear about one thing: his life is one of tremendous struggle and battle.
Garrard Conley's story is also a difficult battle, one of terrible spiritual abuse, and is also very painful to read. His story is one of suffering, misunderstanding and guilt. Conley in the end chooses a different path from Hill. I highly recommend reading Hill's book, as well as Conley's. It's important to learn both sides, and, I think, imperative for Christians to listen well to those who have same sex attraction and not shrink away from relationships with people who think differently from us.
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LibraryThing member wbc3
he book is a self-exploration of Wesley Hill’s homosexuality in light of his Christian faith. He details his life and his decision to live as a Christian, celibate homosexual. Hill does not pretend that the decision was an easy one nor that living such a life is simple or without struggles.
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Instead, he openly and honestly shares of his life, both failures and triumphs. I recommend this book to anyone looking to better understand the lives and choices facing homosexual Christians.
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