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Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in Americaby Jeff Chu
Synopses & Reviews
In this timely work—part memoir, part investigative analysis—a prize-winning writer explores the explosive and confusing intersection of faith, politics, and sexuality in Christian America.
When Jeff Chu came out to his parents as a gay man, his devout Christian mother cried. And cried. Every time she looked at him. For months. As a journalist and a believer, Chu knew that he had to get to the heart of a question that had been haunting him for years: Does Jesus really love me?
The quest to find an answer propels Chu on a remarkable cross-country journey to discover the God “forbidden to him” because of his sexuality. Surveying the breadth of the political and theological spectrum, from the most conservative viewpoints to the most liberal, he tries to distill what the diverse followers of Christ believe about homosexuality and to understand how these people who purportedly follow the same God and the same Scriptures have come to hold such a wide range of opinions. Why does Pastor A believe that God hates me, especially because of my gayness? Why does Person B believe that God loves me, gayness and all?
From Brooklyn to Nashville to California, from Westboro Baptist Church and their god hates fags protest signs to the pioneering Episcopal bishop Mary Glasspool, who proclaims a message of liberation and divine love, Chu captures spiritual snapshots of Christian America at a remarkable moment, when tensions between both sides in the culture wars have rarely been higher. Both funny and heartbreaking, perplexing and wise, Does Jesus Really Love Me? is an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual pilgrimage that reveals a portrait of a faith and a nation at odds.
"Whether the Bible disavows or condones gay love takes up its own echelon of discourse in American religious life. In his compassionate, engaging first book, journalist Chu, a gay Christian who was raised Southern Baptist, spends a year interviewing Christians across America, 'asking the questions that have long frightened me.' What Chu finds is 'a country that deeply wants to love, but is conflicted on how to do so.' His interview subjects include Jennifer Knapp, a contemporary Christian music star who continues to perform religious music after coming out; and Kevin Olson, who has chosen a lifetime of celibacy and identifies himself as not gay but homosexually oriented. Marching purposefully into controversy, Chu meets disgraced pastor Ted Haggard, members of the 'ex-gay' movement, and members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Though Chu unflinchingly reveals the wrecked lives and suicide attempts that church-sponsored homophobia helped create, he acknowledges the religiosity of those who perpetrate it. Resisting easy answers, Chu deftly portrays the lived experience of Christians — mostly gay, though not all. The book's few shortcomings occur when Chu shuts down his inquiry, such as with an older lesbian who invites him to a 'healing exercise' that he dismisses as 'New Agey, hippy-dippy mumbo jumbo.' Overall, the book brings complexity and humanity to a discourse often lacking in both. Agent: Todd Schuster, Zachary Schuster Harmsworth." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America is part memoir and part investigative analysis that explores the explosive and confusing intersection of faith, politics, and sexuality in Christian America.
The quest to find an answer is at the heart of Does Jesus Really Love Me?—a personal journey of belief, an investigation, and a portrait of a faith and a nation at odds by award-winning reporter Jeff Chu.
From Brooklyn to Nashville to California, from Westboro Baptist Church and their “God Hates Fags” protest signs, to the pioneering Episcopalian bishop Mary Glasspool—who proclaims a message of liberation and divine love, Chu captures spiritual snapshots of Christian America at a remarkable moment, when tensions between both sides in the culture wars have rarely been higher.
Funny and heartbreaking, perplexing and wise, Does Jesus Really Love Me? is an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual pilgrimage that reveals a nation in crisis.
About the Author
Jeff Chu grew up in Berkeley, California, and Miami, Florida. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton, earned a masters degree from the London School of Economics, and received French-American Foundation and Harvard Divinity School fellowships. He has written for Time, Condé Nast Portfolio, the Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company, winning Deadline Club and German Marshall Fund awards for his work. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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