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An inside look at the young, diverse, progressive Christians who are transforming the evangelical movement   Most of what we think we know about evangelicals is wrong, or is well on its way to being outdated. Generational changes and the shifting racial make-up of evangelical Christians are changing what we think of as evangelical culture and politics. Today’s young evangeli An inside look at the young, diverse, progressive Christians who are transforming the evangelical movement   Most of what we think we know about evangelicals is wrong, or is well on its way to being outdated. Generational changes and the shifting racial make-up of evangelical Christians are changing what we think of as evangelical culture and politics. Today’s young evangelicals are more likely than their elders to accept same-sex marriage, more inclined to think of “pro-life” issues as being about support for the poor, and more accepting of equality between men and women. Those on the leading edge of progressive evangelicalism—white, black, Asian, and Hispanic, as well as straight and LGBTQ, believers—are working to change the substance of evangelicalism and to wrest power away from conservative Christians. In Rescuing Jesus, Deborah Jian Lee, a journalist and former evangelical, brings readers deep inside this progressive movement and tells the stories of the young women and men at the forefront of it. Given the clout that conservative evangelicals still hold in national politics, Lee argues, this movement is important not only for the future of evangelicalism but for the future of our country.


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An inside look at the young, diverse, progressive Christians who are transforming the evangelical movement   Most of what we think we know about evangelicals is wrong, or is well on its way to being outdated. Generational changes and the shifting racial make-up of evangelical Christians are changing what we think of as evangelical culture and politics. Today’s young evangeli An inside look at the young, diverse, progressive Christians who are transforming the evangelical movement   Most of what we think we know about evangelicals is wrong, or is well on its way to being outdated. Generational changes and the shifting racial make-up of evangelical Christians are changing what we think of as evangelical culture and politics. Today’s young evangelicals are more likely than their elders to accept same-sex marriage, more inclined to think of “pro-life” issues as being about support for the poor, and more accepting of equality between men and women. Those on the leading edge of progressive evangelicalism—white, black, Asian, and Hispanic, as well as straight and LGBTQ, believers—are working to change the substance of evangelicalism and to wrest power away from conservative Christians. In Rescuing Jesus, Deborah Jian Lee, a journalist and former evangelical, brings readers deep inside this progressive movement and tells the stories of the young women and men at the forefront of it. Given the clout that conservative evangelicals still hold in national politics, Lee argues, this movement is important not only for the future of evangelicalism but for the future of our country.

30 review for Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: An account of how three marginalized groups within American evangelicalism are finding increasing acceptance, and the struggles they have faced along the way. Deborah Jian Lee writes as a journalist who has been on the inside of much of what she is covering. Raised in an Asian American family, she came to an evangelical Christian faith as a teenager, became involved as a participant and leader of a collegiate fellowship during her college years, experiencing painful encounters around iss Summary: An account of how three marginalized groups within American evangelicalism are finding increasing acceptance, and the struggles they have faced along the way. Deborah Jian Lee writes as a journalist who has been on the inside of much of what she is covering. Raised in an Asian American family, she came to an evangelical Christian faith as a teenager, became involved as a participant and leader of a collegiate fellowship during her college years, experiencing painful encounters around issues of race, the role of women, and LGBTQ issues, which led to her distancing herself and becoming one of an increasing number of religious "nones", still spiritual, but no longer identifying with a particular faith community. In this book, she recounts the efforts of three marginalized groups to gain a place of their own at the evangelical table. She does this by focusing on the stories of several representative figures. Lisa Sharon Harper, an activist working with Sojourrners, represents the struggle of ethnic minorities to be accepted on their own terms rather than assimilating into white Christianity. Jennifer Crumpton represents the awakening of many evangelical women from being subordinated to men in church, marriage, and public life to discover her own identity and exercise her own gifts in ministry as a woman. Tasha, Will, and Jason were core leaders of the Biola Queer Underground and represent the many youth coming from evangelical homes who struggle to authentically acknowledge and live out their sexual orientations and gender identities and yet find acceptance within the evangelical community. The book is divided into three parts, describing a journey from conformity to evangelical norms, to skepticism and questioning, and finally to what would seem a "radical" but honest expression of what it means to be an ethnic minority, a feminist, or an LGBTQ person yet an evangelical. The narrative of these central figures journeys is interspersed with a historical account of evangelicalism around issues of race, feminism, and engagement with LGBTQ or "queer" persons, the self-identifier most often used in the book. At various point, Deborah Jian Lee interjects her own narrative as well as her personal interactions with the central characters as well as other evangelical leaders including Soong-chan Rah, Letha Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty, Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network, as well as senior figures like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Richard Cizik whose views on the place and inclusion of these marginalized groups changed over the course of their lives. This was a hard, and yet illumining book for me to read. I am a white male, straight, boomer generation person working in the collegiate ministry world that is the scene of both Deborah Jian Lee's personal narrative, and significant in the wider narrative. Reading surfaced memories of stereotypes, and incidents where I grieved individuals in each of the marginalized groups she describes, and my own continuing journey of repentance. Recent years and interactions have shown me how much I don't know, and how much I need to listen and learn from people in each of these groups. The book also chronicles how hard and complicated this journey can be. There are some other things I wrestled with as well. One is that this was one of about ten examples of recent books with the idea of "rescuing Jesus" in the title. I'm pretty sure that it is not Jesus who needs rescuing, but rather his followers who wander into various captivities. The second is with the word "reclaim" in the subtitle. I think it is more accurate to say that each of these marginalized groups and their allies are attempting to "reframe" evangelicalism in a way that includes and affirms them for who they are. This leads to a third, and to my mind, far more significant question. Particularly around questions of gender roles and sexual identity and acceptable practice, there are significant differences around how the Bible is to be read, or if the Bible should even be relevant to the practice of the Christian community. Biblical authority, or, what I think a more negative term, biblicism, has been considered one of the defining marks of the evangelical movement. There are some who would be just as happy to see this go, but the question is whether what is left is still definably evangelical. Lee is conscious of these tensions within evangelicalism, but evidences a desire that it would move toward a type of progressive inclusiveness that may not be so far from her own status as a spiritual "none." This is in no way to denigrate her own beliefs or journey. But I do think it will lead others, for example Wesley Hill, who she only mentions in passing, to conclude this too great a price to pay and choose the challenging road that seeks to hold together loving the marginalized and biblical faithfulness. At the same time, Reclaiming Jesus is a good indicator of what is happening in the Christian movement of a Millenial generation in which people of color are becoming a majority, where women are finding their voice, and LGBTQ persons have won significant battles for civil equality. The majority of white evangelicals may have played a key role in electing the next president, but are hemorrhaging members among Millenials. This book can help them understand why, and what they must address while there is still time. _______________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher via LibraryThing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If you are curious about what is happening post 2000s in Evangelicalism from these perspectives, read this book. Lee's journalism is incredible as she records the strides and setbacks of women, POC, and queer Christians. She is straightforward, clear, and kind while not withholding any truth. This will be an important book for the future of Evangelicalism.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Isaac Harris

    this book forced me to question and query so many areas of thinking that i hadn't before, and my brain is tired from it. but i wouldn't have it any other way.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    I will add a quotation when this book is published in November. My family has roots in mainline Christianity. However, my two brothers and sister all moved away from Lutheranism and two of them ended up in more non-denominational, fundamentalist churches. I have never quite figured out why this happened. So books about that part of Christianity have fascinated me. I don’t want to be an evangelical fundamentalist, but I want to understand them. In this book, Lee is not writing about most evangelic I will add a quotation when this book is published in November. My family has roots in mainline Christianity. However, my two brothers and sister all moved away from Lutheranism and two of them ended up in more non-denominational, fundamentalist churches. I have never quite figured out why this happened. So books about that part of Christianity have fascinated me. I don’t want to be an evangelical fundamentalist, but I want to understand them. In this book, Lee is not writing about most evangelicals. She has encountered a number of fundamentalist Christians who are trying to get the right wing of the Christian church to examine how they view what I would call issues of social justice such as how the church treats women, minorities and LGBT people. This is the wing of the Christian faith that the media sees as “Christianity” and I personally see as misguided. I know this is my bias and I am very grateful to Lee for giving me a way of seeing fundamentalist Christians as individuals rather than as a monolith. If I understand Lee correctly, she was not well treated by the evangelical culture. Given that Lee had been a member of this part of our faith; this book must have been hard to write. I believe this is a very important book. First of all, other evangelicals who may be thinking about their faith need to know that others are looking at similar issues. Secondly, the media and people who are left of center see evangelical Christianity as a large organization that is slow to change. They see the believers of that faith as uniform in character. If at least some of them would read Lee’s book they might find their opinions changing. I know she has changed many of my perceptions of this part of my faith. They are my sisters and brothers, but I could not wrap my head around how we could ever break bread together. I am grateful to be reminded that if I am willing to listen to people I might find we have something in common. I know that Jesus was willing to deal with people who were not exactly like him. I recommend this book to all people who are willing to examine their own beliefs and consider changing their opinions of others. Thank you to Beacon Press and Edelweiss for sharing this book with me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kat Coffin

    An incredibly illuminating and inspiring look at the history of Evangelicalism, social justice, and how we're to move forward with both. I no longer identify as an Evangelical, but boy, did this book light a fire in my bones and remind me why I'm still a Christian and how I want to live my life. Lee is methodical and thorough, she divides her book into three sections exploring racism and the Evangelical church, women and the Evangelical church, and LGBTQ Christians and the Evangelical church. Le An incredibly illuminating and inspiring look at the history of Evangelicalism, social justice, and how we're to move forward with both. I no longer identify as an Evangelical, but boy, did this book light a fire in my bones and remind me why I'm still a Christian and how I want to live my life. Lee is methodical and thorough, she divides her book into three sections exploring racism and the Evangelical church, women and the Evangelical church, and LGBTQ Christians and the Evangelical church. Lee masterfully weaves personal testimonies, exhaustive research, and historical context through each section. Everyone who identifies as a Christian should read this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    I loved the stories in this book and it's a good combination of history, research and narrative based on interviews. However, I think the author struggles a bit with the book format and connecting the different pieces in a long narrative arc. I also was a bit troubled by the assumption that women, queers and POC were by definition progressive and that that lined up with Democratic politics. I wish there was more theology in the book and more unpacking of what it means to have the identity listed I loved the stories in this book and it's a good combination of history, research and narrative based on interviews. However, I think the author struggles a bit with the book format and connecting the different pieces in a long narrative arc. I also was a bit troubled by the assumption that women, queers and POC were by definition progressive and that that lined up with Democratic politics. I wish there was more theology in the book and more unpacking of what it means to have the identity listed and to be part of the church. However, this book draws together a couple of important narratives and is a good introduction to issues of gender, race and sexuality in evangelicalism.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Youval

    This book was incredible, there were sections of this book that encouraged me as a woman of faith, but there were also sections that challenged me as a white woman to ensure that my practice of faith and feminism is inclusive to all people, not just other white women. I encourage anyone who considers themselves an evangelical (also those who don't consider themselves an evangelical because of the connotation it often comes along with) to read this and think deeply about the institutions of relig This book was incredible, there were sections of this book that encouraged me as a woman of faith, but there were also sections that challenged me as a white woman to ensure that my practice of faith and feminism is inclusive to all people, not just other white women. I encourage anyone who considers themselves an evangelical (also those who don't consider themselves an evangelical because of the connotation it often comes along with) to read this and think deeply about the institutions of religion that we are a part of. I already want to reread it to catch all of the things I missed the first time through.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meepelous

    While the overall structure of the book left something to be desired, the personal narratives presented in this book are extremely instructive and insightful to what it means to be a minority in pre-Trump evangelicalism. Not a book for the yet sceptical of all things social justice, I feel like this book is most useful for persons who are already onside for one or more of these progressive topics but are still not wholly convinced of all of them. Or if you're like me, someone who left evangelical While the overall structure of the book left something to be desired, the personal narratives presented in this book are extremely instructive and insightful to what it means to be a minority in pre-Trump evangelicalism. Not a book for the yet sceptical of all things social justice, I feel like this book is most useful for persons who are already onside for one or more of these progressive topics but are still not wholly convinced of all of them. Or if you're like me, someone who left evangelicalism for some of these very reasons and is curious how people who stayed are making out. It certainly expanded my own imagination when it comes to what Evangelicalism can look like, which is nice.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    For a generation, what it means to be a Christian in this country has been defined mainly by a small group of conservative evangelicals--but that is finally starting to change. This book is the story of that change, and it's fascinating, infuriating, moving (I cried), and inspiring. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand how movements are built, how the political landscape in America is changing--or how a person's identity affects and is affected by their faith.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cara Meredith

    I cannot say enough good things about this book. A journalistic memoir, it's a fascinating read especially in light of this week's election.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*

    It's hard to explain why I didn't enjoy this book like I thought I would. It's a decent book. And I would probably have given it 2.5 or 3 stars except that I was so darn disappointed with it. As a church worker, I'm always on the lookout for books like this one-- which seem to be proclaiming a way forward, a path toward unity. I want to find books I can give my liberal congregation members AND my conservative congregation members, so they can read together, talk together, and move forward (whatev It's hard to explain why I didn't enjoy this book like I thought I would. It's a decent book. And I would probably have given it 2.5 or 3 stars except that I was so darn disappointed with it. As a church worker, I'm always on the lookout for books like this one-- which seem to be proclaiming a way forward, a path toward unity. I want to find books I can give my liberal congregation members AND my conservative congregation members, so they can read together, talk together, and move forward (whatever that means for them) together. Unfortunately, this book offers little to nothing (in my opinion) on the journey ahead. It is a retrospective, peppered by multiple memoirs, and chronicles the very recent history (considering it does not delve any deeper into history than maybe about the 1900s) of three oppressed minorities in the evangelical world: people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ folk. I won't take issue with the histories provided. I won't take issue with the memoirs (though I wonder about the implied universality of the presented memoirs). But I do definitely take issue with the lack of forward movement! "What next??" I found myself saying in frustration at the end of every section. When the subtitle of your book is about a reclamation in present tense ("are reclaiming"-- as in, right now! As in, on the move as we speak), you have to talk about the future, even if it's just the very near future. And there has to be something of a call to action. How can I get involved? If I were to get my church folk to read this book (which I won't), how could they get involved? And more than that, how can conservatives dialogue with the types of people interviewed for this book? And how can liberals learn to approach these kinds of hotbutton issues without self-righteousness? If a reclamation is happening (which, by the way, this book didn't convince me it is), you're going to need our help. This book just didn't offer me anything I need to be a part of the revolution. 2 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joel Wentz

    I was surprised at how much I loved reading this book. Deborah Lee blends, with a journalistic economy of language, deeply personal stories with well-researched historical summaries. The end result is a book that draws you in with powerful accounts of how individuals have been harmed by conservative American evangelical Christianity, and also educates you on how the history of the movement has shaped it to marginalize certain people groups. While a lot of the historical information won't be "new I was surprised at how much I loved reading this book. Deborah Lee blends, with a journalistic economy of language, deeply personal stories with well-researched historical summaries. The end result is a book that draws you in with powerful accounts of how individuals have been harmed by conservative American evangelical Christianity, and also educates you on how the history of the movement has shaped it to marginalize certain people groups. While a lot of the historical information won't be "new" to anyone who has done their homework already, Lee weaves it into the narrative in an impressive way, and it's all enjoyable (and convicting) to read. Those on the conservative end of the spectrum will probably be uncomfortable with the author's more-progressive predilections (especially regarding the LGBT chapters), but I would still recommend this to anyone. Particularly if you are (like me) a white, straight, guy who has been able to navigate American evangelicalism pretty easily, this book will challenge, provoke, and hopefully convict you to re-evaluate the movement you are part of.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Mendez

    This work was incredibly life giving and meaningful. Throughout this work there were many examples of difference in thought and theology and how for the church to grow and flourish folks of color, queer folks, and feminists need to be seen as beloved members of the church. Often this change did not happen without individuals speaking out against injustices within the church. Healing and growth require genuine engagement and recognition of identities and systemic inequities. As a progressive Chri This work was incredibly life giving and meaningful. Throughout this work there were many examples of difference in thought and theology and how for the church to grow and flourish folks of color, queer folks, and feminists need to be seen as beloved members of the church. Often this change did not happen without individuals speaking out against injustices within the church. Healing and growth require genuine engagement and recognition of identities and systemic inequities. As a progressive Christian there were many times I struggled with not fitting into contexts where the majority of folks I engaged with identified as Christian and conservative, and often saw God and faith from a different perspective. This work provides many examples of individuals learning and changing to become more inclusive and oriented toward a church with open doors for a more just and equitable evangelicalism. I highly recommend this work.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vee

    This is a book I have been waiting for my whole life and it absolutely delivered.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Henk-Jan van der Klis

    Stereotyped as single subculture in American Christianity, Evangelicals show many faces. They are often characterized by their belief in four main tenets of the faith: the authority of the Bible, salvation through Jesus Christ, the importance of a personal relationship with God, and the imperative to share the Gospel. Upon this foundation different spiritual buildings were made. Looking at denominations and their policies, church order or official standpoints don't tell the whole story. Many ide Stereotyped as single subculture in American Christianity, Evangelicals show many faces. They are often characterized by their belief in four main tenets of the faith: the authority of the Bible, salvation through Jesus Christ, the importance of a personal relationship with God, and the imperative to share the Gospel. Upon this foundation different spiritual buildings were made. Looking at denominations and their policies, church order or official standpoints don't tell the whole story. Many identify as nondenominational or postdenominational. One of Evangelicalism's pitfalls is to claim exclusive rights to the truth and the true version of a Christian life. For a journalist and drifting evangelical, Deborah Jian Lee there were more than enough personal and professional reasons to delve into the changes challenging strongholds in the evangelical culture and politics. Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism is the result. The book takes touches the still sensitive topics of being Democrate or Republican, racism and gender discrimination. Social conditions influence the church, and vice versa. The same goes for the role of women in churches, ministries and schools. Is there really freedom in Christ and acknowledge that both men and women are made in God's image? Will you follow David Platt's position that God barrs women from leadership? Do you identify with Saddleback Sam? Discover the roots of Religious Right, learn how Christian Universities and churches deal with birth control, homosexuality, keeping their IRS tax-exempt status, poverty and social injustice. Lee interviewed a bunch of young people, white, black, Asian, and Hispanic, as well as straight and LGBTQ, believers and their struggles to accept themselves, feel truly loved and accepted by fellow believers and seek truth in God's Word, whether it's on homosexuality, celibacy, interracial community building or politics. The typical evangelical church seems to have more members of the NRA than people advocating for immigration reform. How biblical is that? Is the homogeneous unity, likeminded flock together in their kind of church, sustainable? Or will the changes the new generation of evangelical believers foresee gain enough substance to awaken the Church at large and reform it from within, without getting trapped in the same pitfalls this book so clearly identifies of the established American Evangelical churches?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bryan D.

    For me, the key to this book is the verb tense in the title. By using the Present Progressive (or Present Continuous), the title indicates an on-going effort, not something that has been achieved. Certainly the efforts of those heroes in the book fighting against the homophobia, racism and misogyny in the evangelical church are waging an uphill battle, albeit one that may be won through attrition as the elder, straight, white men currently leading the evangelical church die off. In this report f For me, the key to this book is the verb tense in the title. By using the Present Progressive (or Present Continuous), the title indicates an on-going effort, not something that has been achieved. Certainly the efforts of those heroes in the book fighting against the homophobia, racism and misogyny in the evangelical church are waging an uphill battle, albeit one that may be won through attrition as the elder, straight, white men currently leading the evangelical church die off. In this report from the front, as it were, Deborah Jian Lee tells the stories of a remarkable group of people who, despite their own battering by church authorities have found ways to remain active members and warriors, doing their part to "rescue Jesus" and hold onto their faith. I am reminded of the words Frederick Rolfe puts in the mouth of his protagonist George Rose in his novel Hadrian VII. In answer to the archbishop's question if Rose has lost patience with the faith, Rose responds "Not with the faith, but with the faithful." This was indeed my response as I lost patience with those who surrounded me in the faith I was raised with, and where I finally dropped out to preserve my own sanity and integrity, the people that Debbie Lee follows have not. An important work that I recommend highly to any and all concerned with the fate of the church in America and the political response the church is making to today's most pressing civil problems.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristin-Leigh

    Despite the off-putting title this was an interesting, enlightening read - that said, it feels like a "first book" and has some issues with structure/content. The good: - a historical look at the formation of the "Religious Right" as political voting bloc. - an overview of present-day progressive evangelical groups and activism efforts. The bad: - meanders; rather than presenting each set of interviews in its own section (evangelical racial justice advocates, feminists, and LGBT advocates), the Despite the off-putting title this was an interesting, enlightening read - that said, it feels like a "first book" and has some issues with structure/content. The good: - a historical look at the formation of the "Religious Right" as political voting bloc. - an overview of present-day progressive evangelical groups and activism efforts. The bad: - meanders; rather than presenting each set of interviews in its own section (evangelical racial justice advocates, feminists, and LGBT advocates), the author has chosen to jump between the three almost at random. - not a lot of insight into the theological arguments these activists use; the book is written as though it's a foregone conclusion that the readership agrees with the author's religious beliefs and political viewpoints (and sees both as complimentary already). I hesitate to use the phrase "preaching to the choir" in a review for a religious book, but it fits! - it's light; the most interesting sections to me are the historical ones, but the author never really goes into real depth there. Same with the present-day activism and communities pieces - unfortunately the bulk of the book is spent on a few individuals' stories and personal journeys of discovery and self-acceptance, rather than anything that speaks to the evangelical church as a whole. The topic is really interesting - I'd like to see something meatier on it in the future.

  18. 5 out of 5

    James

    Deborah Jian Lee is a journalist and a former Evangelical. As a college student, she struggled with the way her InterVarsity chapter failed to address the issues of race, gender, and sexuality. By the time she graduated from college, she graduated from Evangelicalism, moving theologically in a different direction. But Rescuing Jesus is not primarily her story but the story people of color, women and queer Christians reclaiming Evangelicalism and changing it from the inside. She weaves together t Deborah Jian Lee is a journalist and a former Evangelical. As a college student, she struggled with the way her InterVarsity chapter failed to address the issues of race, gender, and sexuality. By the time she graduated from college, she graduated from Evangelicalism, moving theologically in a different direction. But Rescuing Jesus is not primarily her story but the story people of color, women and queer Christians reclaiming Evangelicalism and changing it from the inside. She weaves together the stories of Lisa Sharon Harper (of Sojourners), Reverend Jennnifer Crumpton (a feminist minister and author of Femmengelical) and Will Haggerty and Tasha Magness (who founded a Queer Student group at Biola). She tells how they each wrestled with the hostility they found in evangelicalism (related to race, feminism and LGBTQ rights), how they came to question the dominant narrative and resist. This isn't a dispassionate tale, Lee weaves her own journey with evangelicalism into her tale and also interacts with other evangelical leaders (i.e. Soong-Chan Rah, The Gay Christian Network, various Evangelical feminists). This is a journalistic account of people's stories, not a treatise on evangelical theology and practice. Lee tells stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J. Ewbank

    This book by Jian Lee shook up my thinking. It was not a pleasant read but one that should be read by Christians to help them understand issues that we may very well have not faced or thought deeply about. The question is, if all people are created by God, if all people are children of God, if all people are made in the image of God - these people (LGBTQ), which I could not have told you what the letters stood for before, are also created by God, are children of God, and are made in the image of This book by Jian Lee shook up my thinking. It was not a pleasant read but one that should be read by Christians to help them understand issues that we may very well have not faced or thought deeply about. The question is, if all people are created by God, if all people are children of God, if all people are made in the image of God - these people (LGBTQ), which I could not have told you what the letters stood for before, are also created by God, are children of God, and are made in the image of God. And, if you have gone this far a series of deep questions we must ask ourselves and the answers to these questions may determine how we profess and act on our Christianity in the future. I can't say I enjoyed the book, but it is well worth the read even for those who disagree. J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" "To Whoml It May Concern" and "Tell Me About the United Methodist Church"

  20. 4 out of 5

    Danni Green

    I appreciated learning more about the political and cultural experiences of people from underprivileged groups and identities within evangelical Christianity. However, what I was really hoping for from this book was more theological and spiritual perspectives. I felt like the book mostly confirmed things that I already knew or suspected about what it’s like to be marginalized within evangelical Christianity, and it wasn’t clear to me who exactly was the intended audience of this book. I’m glad I I appreciated learning more about the political and cultural experiences of people from underprivileged groups and identities within evangelical Christianity. However, what I was really hoping for from this book was more theological and spiritual perspectives. I felt like the book mostly confirmed things that I already knew or suspected about what it’s like to be marginalized within evangelical Christianity, and it wasn’t clear to me who exactly was the intended audience of this book. I’m glad I read it, but I feel like there was a different book that I was hoping this book would be, and I still really want to read THAT book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Reeter

    I would say this is required reading for all straight white Christians. As someone who has been hurt by evangelicalism, I can think of a few people who need to read this book. Whether or not they'll actually read it, absorb it, and actually change is debatable. Some stories are hard to read, especially since many deal with racism, homophobia, misogyny, and victim blaming, but it's worth it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sunjay Hauntingston

    A++ Does a great job providing historical context alongside individual stories. Great piece of journalism. I learned a lot. Had a lot of feels as a QPOC who grew up Southern Baptist.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This book is divided into three sections that I would loosely describe as before, during, and after. The book follows personal stories of women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals as they struggle through finding their place in the church. The first section sets up the status quo for the individuals, the second looks at the processes/work that they are doing to change/challenge the status quo, and the last looks at how they are continuing to work today and what realizations have been made ab This book is divided into three sections that I would loosely describe as before, during, and after. The book follows personal stories of women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals as they struggle through finding their place in the church. The first section sets up the status quo for the individuals, the second looks at the processes/work that they are doing to change/challenge the status quo, and the last looks at how they are continuing to work today and what realizations have been made about being a part of the larger evangelical church body. What I most appreciated about this book was the way it looked back on the church's relationship with each demographic across history in the first section. I had never learned the history of women's rights within the context of the evangelical church or even the church in general and I found it eye opening. I also appreciated how Deborah Jian Lee looked at universities such as my alma mater to show how young people have been shifting the focus and dialog within the denominations. Another part of this book I appreciated was all the research that she did to create a very full picture of the state of these demographics with in the church. I went through many chapters with my computer close by so I could look up events, people, and organizations that I had never heard of before. She does a good job interviewing people and lining up the lessons with the challenges. I think more than anything this book opened my eyes to see the depth and breathe of believers' experiences in the church. I think it is an important read for all evangelicals - we have to know each other's struggles. I will probably re-read this book because it took me so long to read it the first time and I know I will keep learning from it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tessa Elyse

    This book is incredibly moving. For Christians who are a part of marginalized groups, this book brings healing and hope for the future of Christianity. For individuals who have not been affected by the racism, sexism, and queerphobia that runs deep within the church, this book brings a startling and honest awakening. The author documents her personal interactions with faith alongside many stories from women, people of color, and queer individuals. The stories shared are both heartbreaking and em This book is incredibly moving. For Christians who are a part of marginalized groups, this book brings healing and hope for the future of Christianity. For individuals who have not been affected by the racism, sexism, and queerphobia that runs deep within the church, this book brings a startling and honest awakening. The author documents her personal interactions with faith alongside many stories from women, people of color, and queer individuals. The stories shared are both heartbreaking and empowering. This book showcases the beautiful resilience marginalized Christians have. The author documents stories eloquently and in an unbiased way. Her writing simply tells the harsh reality many Christians face - while church is supposed to be a safe haven from the world, for many it is a source of pain. Below is a quote from the book: “I have witnessed profound grace and beauty and strength among marginalized believers, who in the face of hostile exclusion, have held on to their faith and changed their communities. Their lives have remind me that God is so much bigger than the limitations set by the far Right or by anyone else.”

  25. 5 out of 5

    latinabooklover

    I could not appreciate more the work that Deborah Jian Lee did in this book. As a Latinx Christian, I identify with the intersectionality of all of these issues - ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and faith. I love how she uses more than just textbook research. She pulls from her life experience and truly embeds herself in the subject matter she’s studying through relationship and action. From interviews with powerful people of color, to attending conferences for women’s rights, to passing I could not appreciate more the work that Deborah Jian Lee did in this book. As a Latinx Christian, I identify with the intersectionality of all of these issues - ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and faith. I love how she uses more than just textbook research. She pulls from her life experience and truly embeds herself in the subject matter she’s studying through relationship and action. From interviews with powerful people of color, to attending conferences for women’s rights, to passing out positive LGBT propaganda - all within the evangelical scope. Lee is able to give a truly 3D aspect of the complexity of these issues, not only as single issues, but in conjunction with and overlapping one another. Throughout, she challenges the reader to question, “What does it mean to truly have faith outside of the heteronormative, patriarchal, and Anglo mainstream perception of faith? One where God unconditionally loves, accepts, and demands unity in diversity?” The answer involves relationship, love, and social action. Now that’s a faith, and a God, I can truly believe in.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Phelps

    For me, this was a fairly healing book. I've been searching for a way to reckon my identity as a politically progressive individual with my past as a former Evangelical and member of the Religious Right. Deborah Jian Lee follows three main stories, pulling from research and interviews to deepen our understanding of the bubbling progressive underground in the evangelical church. The format is easy-to-follow, stories are compelling, and the statistics appear to be from reliable sources. I was most For me, this was a fairly healing book. I've been searching for a way to reckon my identity as a politically progressive individual with my past as a former Evangelical and member of the Religious Right. Deborah Jian Lee follows three main stories, pulling from research and interviews to deepen our understanding of the bubbling progressive underground in the evangelical church. The format is easy-to-follow, stories are compelling, and the statistics appear to be from reliable sources. I was most compelled by the chapters on Queer Christians, which focused largely on the Queer Underground at the conservative Christian Biola University. I also thoroughly enjoyed the chapter that examined Evangelicals in the Ferguson protests. I was a little disappointed that the issue of intersectionality did not come up more often, but Lee addresses that issue briefly towards the end of the book, and she seems to share my concern. Overall, this is a wonderful read. I'm adding it to my favorites list because it felt nice to have a sort of fellowship again, even if with people I've never met.

  27. 4 out of 5

    K

    This book wasn’t what I hoped it would be, I thought it would be more theological. As I move beyond the chains of evangelicalism, and try to figure out just where I stand theologically, I thought perhaps this book would help. It did, but not in that way. Like the author, I’m ready to move beyond evangelical’s hold on what it means to be Christian, even as I’ve never considered myself evangelical. The stories of the people she interviewed for the book were compelling and heartening. I felt I had a This book wasn’t what I hoped it would be, I thought it would be more theological. As I move beyond the chains of evangelicalism, and try to figure out just where I stand theologically, I thought perhaps this book would help. It did, but not in that way. Like the author, I’m ready to move beyond evangelical’s hold on what it means to be Christian, even as I’ve never considered myself evangelical. The stories of the people she interviewed for the book were compelling and heartening. I felt I had a lot in common with them. I’m just not willing to stick out something that I never considered mine to begin with. I hope the church moves in the same hopeful direction of the book, which was published in 2015. Unfortunately, the election of 2016 proved that evangelicals are willing to double down on the worst of their faith and saving them may not be in the best interest of anyone featured in this book. White, American Christianity can be said to have failed and it’s time to move past it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    "'...we have all been handed something that we call Christianity, or evangelicalism, that is very much a brand. The rules that people in charge set, we call that biblicalism'... by anointing Christian beliefs based on Western individualism as universal, orthodox theology while shelving beliefs that call for corporate responsibility..." This was a good read. Not without it's flaws, but challenging in an excellent and informed way. As a (quite) liberal Christian, I often feel caught between two wo "'...we have all been handed something that we call Christianity, or evangelicalism, that is very much a brand. The rules that people in charge set, we call that biblicalism'... by anointing Christian beliefs based on Western individualism as universal, orthodox theology while shelving beliefs that call for corporate responsibility..." This was a good read. Not without it's flaws, but challenging in an excellent and informed way. As a (quite) liberal Christian, I often feel caught between two worlds and wholly welcome in neither. Turns out I'm not alone and perhaps it's time to speak some change into the church. Conservatism does not equal Christianity.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    Before I read this book, I thought it would be circa-2015 wishful thinking, but after reading it, it seemed like a pretty well-researched account. This book follows the stories of several evangelicals who, for reasons of race, gender, or sexual orientation, did not feel like their experiences fully matched what they were told to believe. Rather than leave, they have decided to work to change beliefs and practices that had harmed them. The stories were engaging and thought-provoking. While I’m no Before I read this book, I thought it would be circa-2015 wishful thinking, but after reading it, it seemed like a pretty well-researched account. This book follows the stories of several evangelicals who, for reasons of race, gender, or sexual orientation, did not feel like their experiences fully matched what they were told to believe. Rather than leave, they have decided to work to change beliefs and practices that had harmed them. The stories were engaging and thought-provoking. While I’m not an evangelical, the book did make me think about whether a series of similar voices have shaped the beliefs of my own tradition in ways that may be exclusive.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I've never considered myself Evangelical, but this book was a breath of hope for me after watching my own church vote against its LGBT+ members recently. It's been a hard two weeks since the United Methodist Church General Conference voted against its LGBT+ members, and this along with the pastors I grew up with always affirming love and openness to everyone made me feel a bit better. I would strongly suggest this book for anyone who is white, male, straight, or cisgender. There are ways we can b I've never considered myself Evangelical, but this book was a breath of hope for me after watching my own church vote against its LGBT+ members recently. It's been a hard two weeks since the United Methodist Church General Conference voted against its LGBT+ members, and this along with the pastors I grew up with always affirming love and openness to everyone made me feel a bit better. I would strongly suggest this book for anyone who is white, male, straight, or cisgender. There are ways we can be supportive of other communities through their own struggles either in faith or not so that they know they can find a safe place even if their church as a whole hasn't welcomed them yet.

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