BOOK REVIEW "Unconditional" by Justin Lee

Justin Lee is an LGBT+ activist and evangelical Christian who works towards peace-building between Christians with differing views. He set up the Gay Christian Network in the USA as a space for both traditional and progressive LGBT+ Christians, famously calling these differing views “Side A” and “Side B” so that neither are belittled.

In this book he writes about his experience growing up gay in the conservative Christian world of Southern USA. He speaks of his struggles alone in the closet and the pain of ex-gay therapy, but also of his rekindling faith and the kindness he experienced. His writing is both gentle and filled with warmth as he vulnerably offers his story. At the end he writes briefly of the insights into faith he has gained: The law begins and ends with love. 

Content Notes: 

Includes personal story of suicidal ideation and traumatic experience of conversion therapy.

What did you find most helpful about this book?

As a young gay Christian from a conservative setting in Northern Ireland, this book was so precious to me. It was the first time I discovered that other gay Christians like me existed! Justin Lee’s story was the first time I realised that I was not alone. And reading this book made me feel that perhaps the Christian faith was actually good news after all.

Who would benefit from this book?

I always recommend this book to friends and family of someone who is gay and Christian, as a well written insight into what being a gay Christian can be like. Would be excellent for anyone working as a Christian youth worker especially in evangelical churches. Also life-giving for those young gay Christians who – like me – may be in need of knowing that they are not alone.

Favourite quote:

“Whatever commandment there may be, are summed up in this one command: love your neighbour as yourself… love is the fulfilment of the law.” (quoted from Romans) “Whether I was right or wrong in my interpretation of Scripture about gay marriage, one thing was clear: we Christians were failing to show grace to the gay community the way Jesus would. At the very least, Christians ought to be listening to their gay friends, seeking to understand them, their joys, and their struggles. If we couldn’t do that much, how could we hope to be vessels for God’s lavish grace and unconditional love?”

David is a member of the DC19 community.