There is a tendency to pit the forces of traditional religion against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) communities – particularly in the United States. Many, however, hold strong in their convictions that there is space for reconciliation between the two. Candace Chellew-Hodge, a former journalist, is a UCC pastor who runs the online magazine “Whosoever". In her book Bulletproof Faith,Chellew-Hodge recounts her experiences as a gay Christian seeking a life of integrity hateful opposition. The spiritual survival tips that conclude each chapter serve not only as summaries, but also as direct points of advice for LGBT persons coping with the inevitable conflict between their faith and their sexual orientation. She also includes brief meditation exercises.
Although life for LGBT people has changed drastically over the last few decades, many still struggle significantly to bridge the gaps between the traditional religion they love and their particular orientation. Chellew-Hodge offers a realistic voice of experience filled with compassion and love—not just for her intended audience but also for their attackers. Although some may find her impulse to forgive premature, Chellew-Hodge does not naïvely excuse, much less accept, the abusive language and behavior of antigay Christians.
This is not a book explaining relevant Bible passages and their interpretations, though Chellew-Hodge advocates biblical literacy beyond literalism. Instead, it is a confident, sensible approach to handling the opposition and self-doubt that can undermine a LGBT person's sense of worth and belonging as a Christian.
Bulletproof Faith has been commended by the likes of esteemed figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and should really be required reading for any individual hoping to enter into a conversation on the intersection of these two forces.