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Affirming: A Memoir of Faith, Sexuality, and Staying in the Church

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What is it like to discover that something you’ve believed all your life might be wrong?   Sally Gary knew since her early adulthood that she was attracted to women. But as a devoted Christian, she felt there was no way to fully embrace this aspect of her identity while remaining faithful. Now, as she prepares to marry the love of her life, she’s ready to speak out about w What is it like to discover that something you’ve believed all your life might be wrong?   Sally Gary knew since her early adulthood that she was attracted to women. But as a devoted Christian, she felt there was no way to fully embrace this aspect of her identity while remaining faithful. Now, as she prepares to marry the love of her life, she’s ready to speak out about why—and how—her perspective changed.   In this deeply personal memoir, Sally traces the experiences, conversations, and scriptural reading that culminated in her seeing her sexuality as something that made sense within the context of her faith—not outside of it or in opposition to it. Along the way, she addresses specific aspects of her journey that will resonate with many other gay Christians: the loneliness and isolation of her previously celibate life, the futile attempts she made to resist or even “change” her sexual orientation, and the fear of intimacy that followed a lifetime of believing same-sex relationships were sinful.   Sally’s story—one of heritage, learning, courage, and love—is written especially for the generations of LGBTQ Christians after her who are questioning whether they can stay part of the church they call home. It’s a resounding reminder that, just like Sally’s own heart, things can change, and sometimes, when we earnestly search for the truth, we find it in the most unexpected places.


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What is it like to discover that something you’ve believed all your life might be wrong?   Sally Gary knew since her early adulthood that she was attracted to women. But as a devoted Christian, she felt there was no way to fully embrace this aspect of her identity while remaining faithful. Now, as she prepares to marry the love of her life, she’s ready to speak out about w What is it like to discover that something you’ve believed all your life might be wrong?   Sally Gary knew since her early adulthood that she was attracted to women. But as a devoted Christian, she felt there was no way to fully embrace this aspect of her identity while remaining faithful. Now, as she prepares to marry the love of her life, she’s ready to speak out about why—and how—her perspective changed.   In this deeply personal memoir, Sally traces the experiences, conversations, and scriptural reading that culminated in her seeing her sexuality as something that made sense within the context of her faith—not outside of it or in opposition to it. Along the way, she addresses specific aspects of her journey that will resonate with many other gay Christians: the loneliness and isolation of her previously celibate life, the futile attempts she made to resist or even “change” her sexual orientation, and the fear of intimacy that followed a lifetime of believing same-sex relationships were sinful.   Sally’s story—one of heritage, learning, courage, and love—is written especially for the generations of LGBTQ Christians after her who are questioning whether they can stay part of the church they call home. It’s a resounding reminder that, just like Sally’s own heart, things can change, and sometimes, when we earnestly search for the truth, we find it in the most unexpected places.

30 review for Affirming: A Memoir of Faith, Sexuality, and Staying in the Church

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Gilliland

    An absolutely breathtaking memoir. So thankful for this brilliant, grounded and generous work.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Reducing a human to an “issue” is .... dehumanizing. In your church history, in conversations about LGBTQ “issues”, how many of these conversations included LGBTQ people? In this memoir, Sally asks the critical question: “What if our churches that had been an integral part of our lives hadn’t been shrouded in fear of this topic, but had embraced it, and us, rather than perpetuating decades of secrecy and shame?” This is an important book and a must-read for church leaders and for any of us, reall Reducing a human to an “issue” is .... dehumanizing. In your church history, in conversations about LGBTQ “issues”, how many of these conversations included LGBTQ people? In this memoir, Sally asks the critical question: “What if our churches that had been an integral part of our lives hadn’t been shrouded in fear of this topic, but had embraced it, and us, rather than perpetuating decades of secrecy and shame?” This is an important book and a must-read for church leaders and for any of us, really, for whom “love matters more”.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Lynne

    I read this in one setting and so did my conservative mom. I think it's so important to have conversations about how the church is treating lgbtq people and teens. Are we being welcoming and loving, or is our reputation such that gay/same sex attracted people feel they can't even come be part of the body? This is more of a memoir than a theological deep dive. It's well written, and it spoke to me. I read this in one setting and so did my conservative mom. I think it's so important to have conversations about how the church is treating lgbtq people and teens. Are we being welcoming and loving, or is our reputation such that gay/same sex attracted people feel they can't even come be part of the body? This is more of a memoir than a theological deep dive. It's well written, and it spoke to me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kim Martin

    This is a commendable book, and it is of great value to anyone who is part of a conservative tradition of scriptural interpretation such as Gary’s “Tribe” (her term), with their history of exclusion of those outside a narrow path of faith practice, of which I am and have always been a member, though often dissenting. I am not sure how helpful it will be for anyone who has not been a part of this faith tradition, or who has found peace in leaving it for more tolerant and open-minded acceptance. ( This is a commendable book, and it is of great value to anyone who is part of a conservative tradition of scriptural interpretation such as Gary’s “Tribe” (her term), with their history of exclusion of those outside a narrow path of faith practice, of which I am and have always been a member, though often dissenting. I am not sure how helpful it will be for anyone who has not been a part of this faith tradition, or who has found peace in leaving it for more tolerant and open-minded acceptance. (There are many in my cohort, and I precede her by a bit.)She is dedicated to the brotherhood of her upbringing and seems to hint that nowhere else can one find the same level of love, support, fellowship, and scriptural truth. She spends a bit of time laying out some alternate ideas of how to read key scriptures, but mostly she leaves that to her “Recommendations for Further Reading”, as she should, since she is no biblical scholar. I hope many will heed her call for a more affirming and embracing church, and more importantly, that it may give comfort to those who have longed for the church of their childhood to once again be “restored” to following Jesus.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lori Lynn Tucker

    This book feels like a balm. While I do not identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, I am an ally. And I’m a Christian. I have spent much of my adulthood wrestling and deconstructing and reconstructing so many issues in regard to my faith. While I still identify as a Christian, I have left the church tradition of my youth. This author is part of the church tradition of my youth, and has given me a glimmer of hope as she shares her story as a queer woman who deeply loves God. Highly recommend. T This book feels like a balm. While I do not identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, I am an ally. And I’m a Christian. I have spent much of my adulthood wrestling and deconstructing and reconstructing so many issues in regard to my faith. While I still identify as a Christian, I have left the church tradition of my youth. This author is part of the church tradition of my youth, and has given me a glimmer of hope as she shares her story as a queer woman who deeply loves God. Highly recommend. Thank you, NetGalley, for this advance reader copy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hall

    My good friend Sally does a wonderful job of painting the picture of her life for others to follow those breadcrumbs to a healthier place. She helps us ask important questions about our faith and what we've been taught. She revives in us the hope of a loving Savior. She reminds us of why we need community around us. My good friend Sally does a wonderful job of painting the picture of her life for others to follow those breadcrumbs to a healthier place. She helps us ask important questions about our faith and what we've been taught. She revives in us the hope of a loving Savior. She reminds us of why we need community around us.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Howard

    I recommend this book for anyone wishing to understand the journey of what it means to be a gay Christian woman, how to be more loving to ALL people, and how to understand what the journey feels like for those with gay family members. It is extremely well written. Highly recommend!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lady Brainsample

    4.5 stars This resonated with me so much, and I cried more than once. So powerful to read her earlier Side B memoir from years ago and then read about her journey to becoming Side A in this book (fully affirming of LGBTQ).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dee Dee

    If your spirit needs comfort read this book. It’s like sitting down for coffee with a dear friend for an hour but afterwards realizing 4 hours have gone by.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Wonderful advice to families and friends and churches!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Holly Racca

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marla Finley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paul Mathis

  14. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julia Clark

  16. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Koctar

  17. 4 out of 5

    Openly Bookish

  18. 5 out of 5

    Scott Watters

  19. 4 out of 5

    Esgagu

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brent Roe-Hall

  21. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah J

  24. 4 out of 5

    Evan Richardson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah A. Brumit

  26. 5 out of 5

    Annette White

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dom

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ty

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brad Fullerton

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarahbeth Caplin

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