Mission Friends for Inclusion

Book Review: Embracing Love: My Journey to Hugging a Man in His Underwear by Nathan Albert

This is an excellent book for both traditionalist and progressive Christians and church study groups to use for early forays into the conversation about the relationship between churches and the LGBTQ community. Albert’s writing style is easily understandable, is filled with self-deprecating humor, and contains a large number of personal anecdotes. His sections on terminology and problematic phrases will be helpful to all. The six main Bible verses causing so much contention are presented with a short overview and then a balanced summary of each side’s interpretation. Albert’s goal is to unite Christians who are struggling with and against each other over this important topic. Given the recent tragedy in Orlando, the themes that relationships matter, that the Gospel is good news, and that reconciliation is hard but necessary work we are called to do—resonate even more deeply. I underlined many parts, but the one line that struck me the most was, “Why could the Church I loved so dearly not welcome the friends I loved so dearly? Why could the friends whom I loved so much detest the Church I loved so much?” There is thoughtful and helpful advice at the end of the book for pastors, for parents and families of LGBTQ individuals, and for LGBTQ individuals. You may not change your mind by the time you are done reading this book, but you will perhaps have opened your heart to the important challenge of living Christ’s radical love with those you disagree with and with those whom the Church has marginalized.

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