I’ve encountered a large number of resources over the course of this project, yet I feel I’ve only seen a fraction of what is being produced. Not everything I encountered was of equal merit, so I offer, below a list of resources I DON’T recommend to you for your further study and reflection.
Books NOT Recommended
Sprinkle, Preston. Living in a Gray World: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Understanding Homosexuality. Zondervan, 08 Dec 2015.
I’m really upset that Preston Sprinkle’s Living in a Gray World is listed on Amazon as a #1 best seller in their “Teen & Young Adult Christian Social Issues” category. I can see why it’s popular; Preston Sprinkle adopts a hip, aware tone that at first glance seems free of hatred and condemnation. I’ll grant that it may be free of the usual hateful language but its condemnation is cloaked in a tone of concern for the well-being of Queer teens which makes it even more damaging to Queer teens and their allies who are hungry for a kind word. It wouldn’t surprise me if this book has caused a few teen suicides and a deepened sense of despair among LGBTQ teens who have been taught (in “kind” and “gentle” language) that they are accepted by God only if they remain celibate, marry someone of the opposite sex despite their orientation, or find some way to change. This is the sort of counsel which causes depression, self-harm, and suicides. Furthermore, would-be allies of the Queer community are encouraged to welcome Queer people while judging their same sex relationships as displeasing to God, putting a wedge not only between would-be allies and their Queer friends but also between them and affirming Christians. I’ve got a copy of this book and (even though I cannot bear to destroy a book) I dare not send it to a used bookstore lest it fall into the hands of someone it might do great harm.
Sprinkle, Preston. People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue. Zondervan, 08 Dec 2015.
Like Living in a Gray World, Sprinkle’s book for adults, People to Be Loved offers the same compassionate condemnation as an approach adults can take towards LGBTQ people. My first impulse is to consider this approach less dangerous than targeting this message to teens, but the question lingering behind this effort “What do I do when my child comes out as gay?” is followed by Sprinkle with the question, “How do I respond with truth and love?” Again, the truth as Sprinkle sees it must be offered, but not without a preliminary, surface acceptance of the person in question. The question I ask is, “what happens when the child insists on being affirmed as they are, or tries to change but is unable to?” The truth must be maintained. And then, the actions won’t be quite as loving-looking. It is generous and welcome of Sprinkle to suggest that the lives of LGBTQ people are more than an issue but, at some point, Sprinkle’s truth on the issue matters more than the lived experience of LGBTQ people and the witness of LGBTQ Christians can ever outweigh.