A Gay Christian’s Guide to Unlearning Rejection and Experiencing God's Extravagant Love
by Eve Tushnet
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 19 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 14 Jan 2022
What would happen if gay Christians began to believe the truth about God—that he loves all people unconditionally?
In Tenderness, Catholic writer and speakerEve Tushnet says trusting God’s love would be the beginning of a transformation, not only in the lives of gay Christians but also in the Body of Christ itself. She offers hope and companionship to those who have been deeply hurt by their parishes, a wound that also damaged their relationship with God. Tushnet also offers practical guidance from her own journey as a celibate lesbian.
Tenderness explores scripture and history to find role models for gay Christians—including Jesus, King David, Ruth, St. John, Mary, poets, mystics, penitents, leaders, and ordinary gay people who have found unexpected paths of love. The book also offers guidance on living through or recovering from the painful experiences that are all too common in gay Christian life—from familial rejection and weaponized Christianity to ambivalence and doubt. Weaving her own story with resources, prayers, and practical actions that can help gay people trust that God loves them, Tushnet renews our understandings of kinship, friendship, celibacy and unmarried life, ordered love, personal integrity, solidarity with the marginalized, obedience, surrender, sanctification, and hope.
This book is primarily for gay Christians, but it also offers a window into their experiences and needs that will make it useful for anyone in pastoral care or who wants to be a better friend to the gay people they know.
A Note From the Publisher
Tushnet has written on the paths of love available to gay Christians for a wide range of publications, including America, American Conservative, Commonweal, and Christianity Today, and online for Atlantic, New York Times, and Washington Post. She has spoken at multiple conferences for LGBT Christians. She also writes and speaks on the arts.
“Prophetic insight, godly wisdom, humane sensitivity, and sheer good humor.”
Author of Spiritual Friendship
“Tenderness is essential reading. It’s also a brilliant piece of writing about the ups and downs of the spiritual life—brutally honest, painfully funny, and suffused with hope.”
Reporter for the Catholic Herald
“By turns hilarious, frank, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, it is an inspired, irresistible read that manages to instruct without injuring and makes us long to bring about the world Eve Tushnet can see so clearly.”
Editor at-large at Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
“Tenderness is a hope-filled message that has the potential to save lives and lead souls to Christ.
Author of Saint Dymphna's Playbook
"Eve Tushnet sheds light on obstacles that many non-straight Christians face in their lives while highlighting both the beauty and significance of faithful obedience to the Word of God. Although directed to traditionalist gay Christians themselves, anybody who wants to follow in the footsteps of Jesus will be encouraged by the testimony of our Father’s tender faithfulness that inspires this book.”
Author of All But Invisible
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
Tenderness by Eve Tushnet provides the reader with an introduction to the true God--the God of unfathomable love. While the book addresses the gay community, parents, siblings, and friends of those who are gay can benefit from it as well. Tushnet is perhaps at her most effective in dismissing the myth of God as an abusive boyfriend, ready to pounce at the least provocation. It is clear that Tushnet has discovered a God who is all-welcoming, all-loving, and all-inviting. Readers can benefit greatly from her courage and conviction.
I have mixed feelings about this book. It's a very hard topic to talk about. But Eve Tushnet did a great job. It bothered me a little a bit her approach, though. I didn't understand some points of view of the author. Despite that, it helped me to understand a lot LGBTQIA+ and what same-sex attractions peaople had been through. I looking forward to reading others Eve Tushnet's books. Thank you Netgalley and publisher for free ARC in exchange of honest review. All thoughs are my own.
Jesus said it best, in the epigraph to this book (taken from his words to Bl. Angela of Foligno): "I did not love you as a joke." This book will save lives. I am not exaggerating. Eve's questions are born of hope in its real, genuine, deep sense—not sunny optimism, but confidence in a project worth giving your life to: "What if gay people were *safer* in our churches than in the secular world? What if we could find *more* ways to give and receive love within the Church than we do outside it?" (xv) By starting here, and mixing lectio divina with real talk, practical advice, and lofty dreams along the way, this book manages to reckon with the pastoral crisis we're in while keeping us ever focused on the all-powerful, all-overcoming love of God. This book is first and foremost for gay Christians looking for community and longing for a whole kaleidoscope of futures, as it should be. But, while I don't wanna make this about ~the straights~, it's also for straight Christians who want to love gay Christians better... and straight Christians who know the secret that many of us see our sexualities as crosses, not gifts from and for God, too. This book will leave you loving the God who made us, and delighted to have gotten to know him better. I can't give a better review than that.
Reading Tenderness was like turning the pages of my heart. Eve Tushnet’s writing is prophetic, a cry for deliverance from the desert for lesbian and gay Christians and the Church. Eve writes what we, as gay Christians, hold in the silence of our hearts. As an author, Eve’s humility, and honesty about her own experience as a celibate lesbian expresses a naked vulnerability, holding the tension between gay sexual desire and theological truth—without shame, or hiding from the beauty and power of the human experience of sexuality. For gay, lesbian, or same sex attracted Christians, Eve’s book highlights the critical importance of understanding how our wounds were seeded within us. Many of us were deprived of our basic human needs for love, acceptance, and validation from our families and churches—battling to survive in a desert without water. We adopted coping strategies to stay alive, repressing our true selves, emotions, and desires. We dissociated, we avoided, we internalized homophobia and self-hatred to survive. We developed addictions (to pornography, or substances, or sex), we endured conversion therapy, exorcisms and chose marriage as an escape from a truthful experience of love. We chose fear instead of freedom. And yet, no matter how hard we battled to survive, what we endured, or the harm we caused ourselves and others—Eve’s book shows a path forward for those of us still longing for love, community, and a relationship with our God. Tenderness offers a wellspring of hope for its readers—which is a real miracle in the desert.