Single, Gay, Christian
Let's make a deal, you and me. Let's make promises to each other.
I promise to tell you my story. The whole story. I'll tell you about a boy in love with Jesus who, at the fateful onset of puberty, realized his sexual attractions were persistently and exclusively for other guys. I'll tell you how I lay on my bed in the middle of the night and whispered to myself the words I've whispered a thousand times since:
I'll show you the world through my eyes. I'll tell you what it's like to belong nowhere. To know that much of my Christian family will forever consider me unnatural, dangerous, because of something that feels as involuntary as my eye color. And to know that much of the LGBTQ community that shares my experience as a sexual minority will disagree with the way I've chosen to interpret the call of Jesus, believing I've bought into a tragic, archaic ritual of self-hatred.
But I promise my story won't all be sadness and loneliness and struggle. I'll tell you good things too, hopeful things, funny things, like the time I accidentally came out to my best friend during his bachelor party. I'll tell you what it felt like the first time someone looked me in the eyes and said, "You are not a mistake." I'll tell you that joy and sorrow are not opposites, that my life has never been more beautiful than when it was most brokenhearted.
If you'll listen, I promise I'll tell you everything, and you can decide for yourself what you want to believe about me.
"Simply fabulous. Wonderfully honest. Superbly written. Deeply inspiring in its powerful portrayal of one person's struggle to choose Jesus above all. I learned so much from this fantastic story of Greg's both agonizing and exhilarating journey in faith. This is a book every Christian—especially heterosexual evangelicals—must read if we are to learn to love our LGBTQ neighbors, friends, and Christian brothers and sisters the way Jesus does."
"To say this book is important is a painful understatement. It is the candid, moving, intensely personal story of a gay young man who wants to live his life under the authority of King Jesus and who refuses to accept the comforting answers proffered by different parts of the culture. Superbly written, this book stands athwart the shibboleths of our day and reminds us what submission to King Jesus looks like, what it feels like. This book needs to be thoughtfully read by straight people and by gay people, by unbelievers and by Christians. It is not to be read with a condescending smirk, but with humility."
"Before we can speak, we must listen. Especially to those who have been marginalized, pushed aside, and undervalued. This book serves as an opportunity to do just that. To hear from a man who knows and loves Jesus and wrestles honestly with himself and God. Listen to him. Hear his story. Enter into another perspective, a narrative that is often untold."
"Greg has written a book that is a delight to read both because of the beauty of his writing and his main message: that our good God made no mistakes in either making him the way that he is or asking him to live life the way that he is."
"I found Greg's poignant autobiography not just to be intellectually and theologically honest, but also to be a poetic and wonderfully human book. Single, Gay, Christian is nourishment for the soul of anyone who seeks to love Jesus in our times. It captured my heart as I am sure it will yours. I loved it!"
"Greg Coles has poured himself out beautifully in this transparent account of his life with Christ as a young gay man. He asks whether the Bible leaves room for monogamous same-sex relationships and agonizes over how the church will treat singleness and sexual minorities. His answers are not easy. Especially for him. If you want to be inspired by one man's deep and unfailing love of Jesus, read this book. If you or someone you love is a follower of Jesus who happens to be gay, this is a must-read."
"I couldn't put it down. The blend of experience, wisdom, and beautiful prose grabbed hold of my heart and sent me on an adventure. Thank you, Greg, for challenging so much of what I thought I knew about the topic (and people!) of faith and sexuality. I cannot more highly recommend this book."
"Endearing, raw, and honest. A heartfelt contribution to the growing literature on openly gay lives of fruitful obedience in the traditional churches."
"Single, Gay, Christian is a great read for anybody, but especially those interested in questions of marriage, sexuality, and relationships in general in the context of the church. Coles is thoughtful, intelligent and thorough in his treatment of an important subject."
"Coles's work will raise questions for those involved in the debates about Christianity and sexuality because it pushes for a third way between discarding tradition and ignoring identity."
"Coles has told an engaging, humble, grounded story that pushes us to develop a workable theology of singleness while thinking rigorously about better ways to love and respect gay people—inside and outside the church."
2. Almost Straight
3. Debating the Divine
4. What God Called Good
Interlude: A Song for the Unknowing
5. Stranger Incognito
6. To Know as I Am Known
7. Nature Abhors a Vacuum
8. Quo Vadis?
Postlude: A Letter to Myself at Age Twelve