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Book Reviews: Called Out

CALLED OUT: The Voices and Gifts of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Presbyterians
Edited by Jane Adams Spahr, Kathryn Poethig, Selisse Berry, and Melinda V. McLain
Paperback, ISBN: 1-888493-00-3
$17.95 each, six or more copies for $15.25 each.

A long-awaited book wherein 39 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Presbyterians tell their stories about their lives in -- and out -- of the Presbyterian Church. People from both the old northern and southern churches, and the reunited Presbyterian Church (USA), from all over the United States, tell their stories here with candor, wit, and faith. An important book for all who either are Lesbian or Gay or would seek to understand Gay people of faith, regardless of their religion. -Second Printing-

Reviews by Others

The powerful personal stories of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered Presbyterians who have been called to come out, speak out, and continue to serve. Kathryn Poethig and Selisse Berry suggest that "the personal stories of this theology offer the church a corporate portrait of those who have lived with secrets that suffocated their faith and worked through the pain of self-honesty into new life." from The Other Side, March and April 1999 issue.

"The Presbyterian Church has inflicted hurt beyond belief on those who tell their stories here, about an institution acting harshly rather than healingly. Hope does not come from the judicatories, but from brave individuals banding together, who persist in going against the stream, in asking difficult questions, in bearing costly witness, and, with great integrity, calling the church to live redemptively rather than destructively. Readers must become part of that gradually swelling chorus." The late Robert McAfee Brown, when he wrote these words Professor Emeritus of Theology and Ethics, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA, and Sydney Thomson Brown, Director, Northern California Interfaith Council on Economic Justice, Oakland, CA.

"It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry that a church so terrified by the complex dynamics of human sexuality that it tries to keep it at arms length should call forth so many passionately seeking, faithful women and men who long for better things from their church. May the day come when the Presbyterian Church will finally come of age theologically and morally." Beverly Wildung Harrison, Professor of Christian Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, New York City, NY.

"Hallelujah for these faithful, gutsy sisters and brothers who, in the holiest of spirits, are shaking the foundations of the church. God bless them one and all, and every gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Christian for whom they bear such powerfully loving and courageous witness here." Carter Heyward, Howard Chandler Robbins Professor of Theology, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA. "A proud chapter of church history is being written before our eyes. How lucky the Presbyterian Church is, whether it realizes it or not, to have such talented, generous people in its midst. Called OUT means that the whole community can benefit from what might have been lost but is found everywhere: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered, unafraid to be faithful with style." Mary E. Hunt, Co-Director, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, Silver Spring, MD.

"This collection of histories, witnessing to the injustice inflicted on gay and lesbian members of the Presbyterian Church who were refused the right to exercise the ministry to which God called them, powerfully compels the church once again to face a choice between acting justly to its gay and lesbian members, or seriously damaging its ability as an institution to be an instrument of God's spirit in our world today." John J. McNeill, Author of The Church and the Homosexual; Taking a Chance on God, and many other books.

"No wonder the Presbyterian Church is in danger of more light breaking forth! It has been full of Light and Spirit for some time! The witness of those who have struggled with this church institution for twenty-five years is a powerful testimony of pain, courage, and hope!" Letty M. Russell, Professor of Theology, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT.

"Presbyterians should read Called OUT within the year. Here are authentic firsthand accounts of the lives of women and men who have felt the call of God to service within the Presbyterian Church (USA). Here are detailed the frustration, pain, and loss they have experienced because of their honesty regarding their sexual orientation. These voices are essential to validate the current study of the Church's policies on this matter. Since they are impossible to hear inmost local situations, the availability of this readable volume makes it possible for all to hear." William S. Thompson, former Stated Clerk, United Presbyterian Church (USA), La Grange Park, IL.

"With anguish, pain, and courage the women and men in Called OUT tell a powerful and moving story. This book reveals the terrible loss the church experiences when it ignores the presence and talents of homosexual Christians. Called OUT is a gift to those who struggle against homophobia in church and society. A must read for anyone concerned about justice in the church and world!" Delores Williams, Professor of Theology and Culture, Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY.

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