“What Some of You Were” Book review
"What Some of You Were" is a book to help you think through the topic of homosexuality from a Biblical perspective.
To purchase the book on-line, click here.
Below is a review of the book by one of our congregational members:
The title of the book is taken from 1 Corinthians 6, which speaks about people who have offended God turning back to Him and receiving forgiveness.
In line with these verses, the book has quite a restorative and compassionate approach. It is a collection of first hand experiences told by 13 gay, lesbian, or transgender people – or people from their immediate families – who I assume have engaged with Liberty Ministries. There are also 4 appendices, including one with a NT focus that I thought was very compelling.
I found the approach of What Some of You Were to be refreshing. The book is upfront and apologetic about the unhelpful ways the church has related – or failed to relate – to gay people and the first hand story telling of the writers was very engaging. It’s also very real, people tell their stories frankly and are honest about where they are with their struggles – for some the issues they write about are in the past and resolved, and for others they’re still very current and for some we are left with the impression that there is no resolution coming.
There are a few things that I think are worth being aware of if you read this book.
Liberty Ministries - which is a ministry around same sex attraction and LGBTI issues – and is behind the book – is quite upfront on their website that they take the position that people are not “born gay” as they feel this hasn’t been proven, and one of the appendices to the book goes through reasons for this view. This felt to me to be a bit of an implied theme throughout the book and I would warn you that it could be offensive to some people, so I would recommend that you read the whole book before lending it to a friend. The stories in the book also tend to infer a causal relationship between same sex attraction and a dysfunctional family, upbringing, or traumatic event, often absent parents and/or sexual abuse – so if lending this book to a friend I suggest you think about your own views on this and sensitivities your friend might feel about this controversial view. In the same way I would note that the book tends to draw on the stories of people who have been involved in destructive subcultures within the gay community. The book doesn’t try to generalise these subcultures as applying to all gay relationships, and I think we should be careful not to do so either.
I would also say that this is probably not the book to go to if you have questions about the gay marriage debate, because it’s not what this book is about and you probably won’t find much help in it on that issue.
The strongest point of the book is that it jumps right in to dealing with people as people, who have messy lives, regrets, and struggles, and is very clear and intentional about treating every person with compassion and grace, and with practical, helpful tips for those who want to walk away from a lifestyle or practice they no longer want to be actively involved in. But most of all it encourages people, particularly in the appendices, to return to God.
For this reason, I think reading this book is a good idea. I would recommend it if:
- you struggle with same sex attraction or gender identification and don’t know how to talk about that – reading the stories of people who have been in the same place might be a good way to start
- you know someone who is struggling with these issues but you aren’t sure how to support them – the frank storytelling might give you some insights that will help you work out how to talk to your friend – although I would caution about what I mentioned earlier about jumping to conclusions that everyone who has these attractions had deficient parents or suffered abuse
- you haven’t had much exposure to these issues and you want to know a bit more so you can pray in an informed way for people who are very much struggling with their sexuality or for their families and want to find out information in a safe way without the exposure to some of the unhelpful material you would probably come across if googling for this type of information
I would recommend it for you to lend to a friend, but I would strongly suggest that you read it first – as with anything you lend – so that you are aware of the position the editor takes on some of the issues.