Why Can’t You Hear Me?

Why would Dr. Kim O’Reilly, a successful teacher, college professor, conflict resolution consultant and cross-cultural trainer who has her own consulting firm (www.Intercultural Solutions.net) wade into the the conflict surrounding Christain faith, Scriptures and homosexuality?

Maybe because she is so familiar with those waters and the folks who live on both sides of the conflict.  She knows the people, brings a strong set of skills, and she can write an extremely readable book.  And on top of all of that, she really believes, “… we [can] get beyond the disagreements, divisiveness, posturing, entrenchment, and polarization we see playing out in our society today.”  (p. 150-151 in We Love You, But You’re Going to Hell, 2018)

I hope she is right and not just a dreamer with blind hope.

In We Love You, But You’re Going to Hell: Christians and Homosexuality, Agree, Disagree, Take a Look she brings all skills to bear on the divide that exists between sincere Christians and homosexuals.

More than just a set of skills she comes to the divide having been raised as the daughter of a fundamentalist Christian missionary and preacher.  In chapter 2, “My Story,” she tells us she “was raised … to be conservative, to read the Bible, to have a personal relationship with God, and to attend church Sunday mornings and two evenings a week.” (p 10)  A little further in the chapter she tells us of the seven year process it took before she “came out” to herself as a lesbian and later to her family.

She knows both sides of the divide and brings to it a desire to see (and hear) true dialogue come about.  This book is her very personal offering to help that dialogue start.

Over 11 chapters she takes time to tell her story, to examine the scriptures used to condemn homosexuality, to discuss sexual orientation, stereotypes, marriage and why all this matters.

She writes in an easy to follow style, and has great skill in summarizing the many aspects and dimensions that are involved in this conflict.

In the last chapter, “What Can We Do?” she carefully describes the landscape of where dialogue can begin as we all move beyond stereotypes and name-calling.

She is very hopeful.  Given the firm lines that have been drawn by some in this “battle,” I have to admit I am not quite so hopeful.

Let me ask you a question.  If someone came to you and told you they had come to the realization they were gay and their church, which they very much wanted to be part of, was pushing they away, what you say to them?  Would you tell them to repent, get “really” saved and ask God to cure them; or would you tell them to turn their back on the church, their faith and their God and walk (maybe run) away from the Christian faith; or would help them find a congregation that would love them and help them grow as a disciple of Jesus?  I go with the third option.

Charles

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

 #WeLoveYouButYoureGoingToHell

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.


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