God Comes Out! A Queer Homiletic

Title: God Comes Out! A Queer Homiletic
Author: Olive Hinnant
Publisher: Pilgrim Press, Cleveland
Year: 2007
Available: Amazon.com

Olive Hinnant believes the goal of preaching is to bring God out of our spiritual closets. Queer and queer-affirming sermons bring God out of the closet, and into the world, while they celebrate God-given sexuality, and Godís love in people. God Comes Out! compares the sermons of straight, gay, and closeted gay Christians. Written sermons are presented, along with an analysis of the sermons.

Rarely do books with written sermons capture the attention of this reviewer. They tend to lack the passion, conviction, and love heard in the voice of a talented speaker. Because one does not know the pastor, there is no chance to see how the faith is being lived out beyond the sermon. There is no sense that one is gaining glimpses into the life and spirituality of a person with whom one is building a long-term spiritual relationship.

This book succeeds where many books of sermons, or about sermons fail, because the sermons are outstanding, the analysis profound, and the sermons are woven into themes of the book. The sermons are parts of chapters that look at coming out, and the Bible, theology, preaching, and God coming out.

God Comes Out! demonstrates sermons by sexual minorities, and sermons prepared to affirm sexual minorities are anointed. God can and does speak as powerfully through the voices of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-identified pastors as God does through the sermons of straight pastors.

This reviewer has spoken in churches representing six denominations, and three different cultures. The same basic sermon theme can be used in different denominations, and in different cultures. To bring God out of the closet and into the lives of the community, one needs to express the theme in a way that is relevant to the faith tradition, and to the culture. An ethic or racial minority community needs to hear God speaking to the realities of being their minority.

This book was purchased in a hope to better understand how to craft sermons that can touch the heart of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified members and adherents. God Comes Out! does not directly teach how to compose sermons that speak to the needs of the queer community. While the book did not outline a specific approach to composing messages for queer congregations, the book more than met personal expectations. Many sections are underlined or highlighted. The margins of many pages have notes pointing out important ideas. This book is worth purchasing.