Carneal, George. From Queer to Christ: My Journey Into the Light, 2016
I saw a brief interview with the author and decided to buy the book, read it and review it.
Carneal grew up in the family of a Southern Baptist pastor in the southern United States. He had effeminate traits, such as carrying his books as girls do–cradled like a baby versus carrying them on the hip as boys do. As a young child he felt as attraction to boys and men. Yet Carneal was bullied. He wanted acceptance, yet he faced ostracism and hostility.
Written in an informal, conversational style, the book details Carneal’s coming of age and descent into a full fledged homosexual lifestyle. He lived as a “gay” man for nearly 25 years. Carneal describes his seeking acceptance from men through relationships and the gay bar scene.
Having made a profession of faith as a boy, he details his desire to come back to the Lord and reconnect with a local Bible believing church. It wasn’t an easy journey. There were Christians who presented homosexuality as the worst of sins. Carneal notes some sins that churches will overlook while condemning homosexuality in the strongest terms. Certainly, there are sins that have had a worse effect upon society such as no fault divorce and children who are born in fatherless homes.
Carneal notes that quite a few churches have ministries in divorce recovery, but virtually none have ministries for those seeking to leave the gay lifestyle. Some pastors counsel celibacy, which is good, but they fail to consider the loneliness experienced by many.
Carneal’s book is evangelistic, presenting the gospel and inviting people to receive Christ. He takes issue with those who force the Bible to fit their preconceived notion that homosexual practice is sanctioned by God. At the same time he balances his book with the need for believers in Jesus to be open and accepting to those who are struggling and seeking a relationship with Christ and his church.
I would recommend this book to pastors and believers who want to reach all people for Christ. The key idea of congregations looking at ministries to assist and reach people who are seeking to forsake the gay lifestyle is a wide open area that is being missed by most. This would be a good ministry consideration.