Thursday, May 29, 2014

‘Loves God, Likes Girls’ (Book Review)

I was ecstatic the day that I scanned the 2013 Pepperdine Bible Lectureship catalog and saw that a woman named Sally Gary would be speaking on homosexuality. Like many other churches, the independent Churches of Christ tend to limit discussion on this controversial topic to a few pronouncements against it, never addressing the problems many congregations face: how to reach out to homosexual non-Christians, and how to encourage fellow Christians struggling with “same-sex attraction.”

Coming clean about her own situation, Gary opened the door wide for church-of-christers to have open and honest discussions about these issues. Her book Loves God, Likes Girls: A Memoir (Leafwood, 2013), released in time for the lectures, is an introduction to what most Christians would see as a completely foreign world of homosexual desire, even if they’ve experienced many of the same sorts of things that apparently drove Gary in that direction: a male-oriented church, a father who despised any signs of weakness or femininity, a learned sense of shame about one’s female sex organs and menstruation, etc.

In Gary’s childhood world, men were abusive and incompetent, yet got all the perks in life. To make it worse, as a maturing young woman, she believed herself ugly, undesirable to the opposite sex, and unable to succeed at “womanly” things. As Gary notes, sometimes it’s easier to live a “masculine persona” than to fail miserably at being a girl. Her fantasy of a perfect life took shape: life would be better if she could just be a boy. However, Gary has concluded that an active homosexual lifestyle is not the direction in which God wants her to go. So she aims to live virtuously even while continuing to struggle with loneliness and “same-sex attraction.”

Gary is not dogmatic. She doesn’t try to present her experience as the “typical” one. Nor does she recommend any “quick fix” solutions. (She admits to hot having them.) She merely wants to share her story and, through her ministry CenterPeace, create opportunities for discussion and community. Many people face the same temptations she has. Families and churches are continually being torn apart over homosexuality. While Loves God, Likes Girls: A Memoir isn’t the smoothest read – Gary is a better speaker, in my opinion – the book has cleared the way for more confession and greater acceptance in the churches of Christ.

Center Peace Promo from CenterPeace on Vimeo.