Gifted by Otherness

Title: Gifted by Otherness
Author: L. William Countryman and M.R. Ritley
Publisher: Morehouse Publishing
Year: 2001

Few books fit in the "must read" category. This book is one of the must read books for gay Christians.

Many gay Christian books start with a long section defending the ability to be gay and Christian. In some cases, the Biblical defense is very complex, delving into Biblical Greek and Hebrew. Countryman and Ritley resist the temptation to give a theological defense for gay Christians. Defense, by nature, can be negative. This book is very positive and that makes the book very refreshing. Because the book does not concentrate on defending gay Christians, Countryman and Ritley are able to more quickly bring the reader to looking at how to live out the faith as a gay Christian.

Countryman and Ritley accept gay sexuality as a gift from God. They see the vocation of gay Christians as equal to other vocations. The authors present gay Christians as a tribe chosen by God, just as the tribes of ancient Israel were chosen by God. Because God calls gay people, gay Christians do not need to defend themselves to church. To Countryman and Ritley, gay Christians need to define themselves, instead of just waiting for straight Christians to decide the fate of gay Christians.

Grace in Gifted by Otherness is presented as a surprise. Surprising grace is an interesting way of seeing God's grace to humanity. The fact grace extends to gay people is probably a pleasant surprise to many gay people and a shocking surprise to many straight people.

Countryman and Ritley include moving and enjoyable stories in the book. The stories can help bring healing to those who are hurting. There are many powerful and profound lines in the book. People who underline and interact with their books may find they underline many pages and do a lot of writing in the margins of their copy of the book.

You will need to purchase the book and read it to get all of the discussion. This review will only give you a brief taste, to help you want to read the book. Gay Christians have many things they can offer the church. A few of those things that are discussed in Gifted by Otherness follow:

1. The courage to be who God wants Christians to be.

2. Finding vulnerablity as a spiritual freedom and a spiritual strength.

3. A wholeness to being both spiritual and sexual.

4. The willingness and courage to love, regardless of the cost.