FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
QUESTIONS ABOUT ME
Who are you?
Hi! My name is Justin Lee. I’m an author, speaker, and executive director of the Gay Christian Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building bridges between Christians and the LGBT community.
Uh… “LGBT”? Is that a sandwich?
It stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Either that, or it’s a BLT with guacamole.
Who should read this blog?
Anyone! But I write especially for compassionate Christians who like thinking deeply about challenging issues and who also have a sense of humor.
Are you a Christian?
Yes. I grew up in a Southern Baptist home, accepted Christ at a young age, and have been doing ministry work my entire adult life. These days, I’d describe myself as an evangelical who likes asking difficult questions and isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo.
Are you gay?
Yes, and that’s something that took me many years to admit to myself.
Wait, wait, wait. Gay AND Christian? You know that’s a contradiction, right?
Growing up, I was very outspoken about my belief that being gay was a sinful choice. I didn’t believe that anyone was “born gay.” But when I hit puberty and all my male friends were becoming attracted to girls for the first time, I wasn’t. I was becoming attracted to guys. I didn’t want to be, and for years I refused to believe that I was gay. I considered myself straight, dated girls, prayed about it, and trusted that my same-sex attractions were a phase I’d grow out of. But after many years of prayer and trying to become attracted to women, I was still attracted only to other guys, and I didn’t know why.
At 18, I finally grew to realize that there was a word for guys who are only attracted to guys, and that that word was “gay.” I looked into therapy to change my attractions, but discovered that it didn’t work. That started me on a journey of trying to figure out what God wanted for my life. Should I marry a woman I had no attraction to? Should I pursue a relationship with a guy? (Marriage? Non-sexual romance? Something else?) Should I commit myself to lifelong celibacy? What did the Bible say? Would my Christian friends and family understand my struggles?
In my experience, we Christians haven’t always done a very good job of helping people wrestle with these questions. But as I began talking publicly about what I was going through, I met literally thousands of others in the same boat. Some of us came to one conclusion, others to other conclusions. All of us struggled and wished the rest of the church understood us better. I wrote about my experiences and how we as Christians can improve our handling of this issue in my new book, TORN, and a lot of the conversation on this blog has grown out of that.
I’m still trying to understand how you can call yourself both gay and Christian. Is there somewhere I can learn more about your views, besides your book?
Certainly! One of the best summaries of who I am and what I believe is an interview I did on Rachel Held Evans’ blog before the book came out. That should answer most of your questions.
QUESTIONS ABOUT MY BOOK
So… you wrote a book?
Why, yes! Yes I did! It’s called TORN: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate. It’s published by Jericho Books and has gotten amazing reviews from conservatives and progressives alike.
What is TORN about?
In recent years, I’ve watched the “gay debate” tear apart families, friends, and churches. I believe we need to be able to love each other even when we disagree. TORN is about my own journey on the issue, from a self-righteous “God Boy,” to an outcast with a lot of questions, to a ministry leader with friends on both sides of the divide. It’s about the mistakes we Christians often make when talking about sexuality, the true stories of people with very different views, and practical advice for talking to the people we don’t agree with.
Oh, and you’ll also find pop culture, humor, and unexpected twists along the way.
What does the title mean?
Is this book more for conservatives, or more for liberals?
Both, actually! I’ve gotten endorsements from gays and Christians, conservatives and liberals, people who support same-sex marriage and those who oppose it. When Brian McLaren, Rachel Held Evans, Tony Campolo, Andrew Marin, Jennifer Knapp, and the Archbishop of Canterbury can all agree to recommend the same book, I think I’ve done a good job of offering a little something for everyone.
Whether you agree or disagree with my ultimate conclusions, I think you’ll find the journey enlightening.
Is it available in hardcover? Paperback? Kindle? Nook? iBook?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. You can get it in your local bookstore and all the major online book retailers as well.
What about an audiobook?
Yes! The audiobook version is now available from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. I got to read it myself, and I had a lot of fun doing it. Buy the audio version and listen to me tell you my story, with voices and all!
Why is the European title/cover different from the North American one?
Yup, in Europe, TORN is known as Unconditional: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate.
That’s because the book is being handled by two different publishers. The North American publisher is Jericho Books, and the UK publisher is Hodder Faith. Both are affiliated with the same parent company, but they make different marketing decisions based on their different markets. The books are mostly the same, but we did make a few minor textual changes for the European market.
QUESTIONS ABOUT MY BLOG
What’s this “Side A” and “Side B” I keep seeing on your blog?
Years ago, a group called Bridges Across the Divide came up with these terms as a way of talking about the gay debate in our society. Side A refers to the view that gay relationships are morally equivalent to straight relationships, while Side B refers to the view that sex is designed for male-female marriage only.
In other words, Side A supports gay marriage, and Side B opposes it.
Why is that one “A” and the other one “B”? Why isn’t the more traditional view “A”?
To be honest, I have no idea why Bridges Across the Divide chose to label them the way they did. I wasn’t there. I only use the terms now because they’ve become so widespread in the years since.
So, is this a Side A blog or a Side B blog?
I have readers on both sides, and my organization serves Christians on both sides. Over the years, my personal view shifted from B to A, but my goal is to speak fairly to people on both sides and talk about ways we can agree to show love and respect to one another, even though we disagree.
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Um, I don’t know that.
I didn’t think so.
I have more questions you didn’t answer here!
I’d love for you to ask them! You can use the “Ask Justin" link at the top of my blog to pose questions, or post your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of each post. Keep in mind that anything you send via "Ask Justin" is public and will be answered publicly, so if you have private questions to pose, you can look me up on Facebook. :)