Is God at work in societal change? In her debut, Turnbull asserts that the answer is a definitive yes.
The founding pastor of Glory Tabernacle Christian Center in Long Beach, Calif., mixes personal history, social analysis and biblical scholarship to make a case for accepting LGBT members into Christian churches. For the most part, her approach is nothing new; bookstore shelves are full of personal stories of coming out gay and Christian, and examinations of biblical and historical contexts surrounding same-sex desires and practices have become routine since historian John Boswell’s groundbreaking research in the early 1980s. Turnbull’s book is notable, however, in that she’s less interested in parsing Hebrew words or sharing her autobiography than she is in reimagining God’s role in the world. Her central claim is that the social acceptance of gays and lesbians, including the quickly spreading endorsement of same-sex marriage, isn’t evidence of moral decay or of the abandonment of Christian values, as some conservative voices claim. Instead, she sees God as the force behind those changes, and she drives this point home by using the Christian understanding of the Holy Spirit as God active in the world. She also highlights the Jewish and Christian belief that God abhors injustice and works through history to reveal truth. She asserts that God has chosen to reveal his “gay agenda”—that gays and lesbians have as much right to justice and love as anyone else and that they may contribute to the church in unique, enriching ways. She writes from within the evangelical Christian movement and targets the book specifically to religious families who are struggling with issues surrounding sexuality. The book may help them accept LGBT family members, but it’s unlikely to convince determined moral conservatives.
An engaging, impassioned argument for acceptance from a Christian perspective.