The author of the recently released book "Gay Christian 101," Rick Brentlinger, was kind enough to send me this superb book to read and review, and I have been extraordinarily pleased to do both. Indeed, this book is less a "book," and more an "encyclopedia" of 390 pages, including an eclectic and copious bibliography.
All Christians, Gay and Straight, as well as others who are at all interested in the relationship between the Bible, Christianity and homosexuality, owe it to themselves to read this book, and make it a permanent part of their libraries. It is a book to which you will often want to refer.
Rev. Brentlinger, whose website is located here, has shown himself to be not only an excellent, lucid, writer, but also a first rate scholar in the area of Christianity, the Bible, and homosexuality. Using many varied and eclectic references, he lays out for the reader all the possible interpretations of the relevant Hebrew and Greek words that have been for far too long erroneously used to condemn Gay people, and in a systematic, logical, way he discusses "the clobber passages," as well as ancient writers' understandings of those passages, and the contexts and behaviors to which those passages are addressed and in which they were written.
He exhibits an eclectic approach to the discussion of this topic, citing such known and relatively unknown works, philosophers, and theologians as "The Babylonian Talmud"; "Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856"; Clement of Alexandria; Pericles; Aristotle; Josephus; Dionysius of Halacirnassus; Philo of Alexandria; Thucydides; Eupolis; Plato; Plutarch; the "Digest of Justinian"; Ulpian, the Roman legal expert, and a host of other ancient and also contemporary commentators on the words, contexts, and passages of the Bible that have been erroneously used to condemn Gay people, and exclude them from full fellowship in all too many churches.
He unequivocally and conclusively shows that same-sex loving couples have never been condemned in Scripture or in any of the works of the ancient writers who lived in the time frame, and within the context, in which the "offending" words, ideas, and Bible passages were written and interpreted. He also unequivocally and conclusively shows how those passages have been re-defined, often by relatively recent self-styled "conservative" Christians, to mean what was undoubtedly never in the minds of the writers of the Old and New Testaments.
Moreover, he is intellectually honest to the point where he details all the possible assorted interpretations of the various Bible passages (Such as in his discussion of the Greek term, "Malakoi," to which is attributed myriad meanings in the 45 Bible versions he examines.), and through logic and careful analysis of his and other Bible authorities and ancient writers shows how no one could ethically and logically deduce that Jesus, the Apostle Paul, or any other figure in the Bible could have affirmed the homophobic attitudes of those who profess that the Bible says that homosexuality as we understand the term is a sin.
In addition, Rev. Brentlinger shows himself to be a first-rate Bible scholar! He takes passages that have been used to vilify and condemn Gay people, and dissects them, discusses the meaning of the Greek words and terms, shows the context in which and to which the passages were directed, and gives alternate and competing scenarios regarding those passages, and then logically and systematically shows how those passages couldn't possibly be directed against same-sex loving people.
I can't do sufficient justice to this superb book! As I mentioned, it is less a "book" than it is an "encyclopedia," and is simply outstanding, easily readable, logically and systematically written, so that everyone from a lay person to a theologian can easily read and comprehend it.
This book will definitely greatly enhance and inform your view on this subject, and finally lay to rest any lingering doubts the reader might have concerning the fact that God made His Gay children too, and that the Adam and Eve style marriage was never considered by the writers of the Old Testament and the New Testament, or by Jesus Himself, to be applicable to those who were and are "...eunuchs which were so born from their mother's womb...." (Matthew 19:12)
Buy this book! Believe me, you won't be disappointed!