This is a compelling read. It’s a short one, too. So I read it in one sitting,but it’s the kind of book you read back over. If you are like me, you go back and underline key concepts that stood out to you.
Washed and Waiting is the personal reflection of Wesley Hill, a Christian sexual minority. The subtitle of the book points in the direction Hill is living his own life: “Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.” In the book Hill shares his own experience asking the questions that so many Christian sexual minorities ask about their experiences of same-sex sexuality. For example, “Isn’t God setting gay and lesbian Christians up for a fall from the get-go?” This is but one of several meaningful, challenging questions that are germane to the life of the sexual minority that, for some people, are really best answered by faithful and devout sexual minorities.
Later in the book, Hill offers the following:
Perhaps one of the main challenges of living faithfully before God as a gay Christian is to believe, really believe, that God in Christ can make up for our sacrifice of homosexual partnerships not simply with hiw own desire and yearing for us but with his deaire and yearning mediated to us through the human faces and arms of those who are our fellow believers. (p. 112)
This quote ties into two observations I had about the book. One observation is that Hill writes openly about the support he received over the years from a handful of close friends. Their acceptance of him, and their willingness to live out a shared faith, provided a remarkable dimension to his story that is an important one for any Christian who has a friend or loved one who is navigating sexual identity issues.
The other observation is that Hill is quite comfortable referring to himself as a “gay Christian.” In Chapter 2 of my book, Homosexuality and the Christian, I discuss two competing scripts: a gay script and an “in Christ” script, that have emerged from some of the research I’ve been a part of over the years. I mentioned in the book how other scripts exist and many more many emerge over time. One such script is a “gay Christian” script. The web site gayChristian.net probably illustrates this as well as any other organization, but “gay Christian” can mean affirming same-sex relationships as a moral good for the Christian (Side A Christians on their web site), while “gay Christian” can also refer to Christians who experience same-sex attraction but view heterosexual marriage or celibacy as in line with God’s revealed will for genital sexual expression (Side B Christians). As I mentioned in Homosexuality and the Christian, I think younger Christians will be increasingly comfortable with a “gay Christian” designation, but that some will transform the meaning to reflect their beliefs and values.
In any case, I recommend Washed and Waiting. It is a first-hand account of the ways in which one Christian navigates the difficult intersection of religious and sexual identities.