Does Jesus Really Love Me by Jeff Chu

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Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in AmericaDoes Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America by Jeff Chu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeff Chu comes from a family of Chinese Baptist pastors. When he came out as gay to his family his mother cried and cried. He no longer felt welcome in his church so he set off to find out what it means to be gay and Christian in America.

His story is told through interviews with people on all branches of the Protestant faith from the most liberal to the conservative. He visited Westboro Baptist Church to understand why they hate gay people so much. He met with gay students at the very conservative Harding University after they decided to publish the Harding University Queer Press.

After visiting ex-gay ministries and talking to former leaders of the movement who have left, he talked to a heterosexual woman who knowlingly married a homosexual man so they are able to be in Christian ministry. He interviewed gay people who have chosen celibacy and those who are active in ministry but closeted from their congregations.

I found the discussion of a church that was removed from its denomination interesting. They were removed for ordaining a gay person. Now their denomination has approved ordination of gay people and they are invited back. Should they go back or stay independent?

He finishes the book with stories of churches who are incorporating gay people into their congregations. From the gay-centered Metropolitan Community Churches to Highland Church in Denver, these churches don’t look down on people for their sexuality. But he wonders if sometimes they go too far.

If you are interested in religion and culture then this is a very enlightening read.  He questions why a faith that says that all sins are equal always lists homosexuality as one of the very worst sins that can be committed.