Gay Girl Good God - Book Commendation
Author Lance Phelps - 8 minute read
Few books capture my imagination from cover to cover. Sure a book can have moments where what I am reading ignites my inner eye and takes me on a journey, but that doesn’t seem to be that common. Even in fictional books. I love to read and I read often but many times the author has my attention not my imagination. Gay Girl Good God by Jackie Hill-Perry captured my imagination. And frequently it sparked prayers of prays to God. I suspect that this was due in part to the poetic style of the prose. But I believe that Jackie was able to do this because of her central focus. From the get go Jackie declares that she wishes to convey one thing through her writing: that God is good. Mission accomplished.
Gay Girl Good God is divided into three parts: Who I was, Who I Became, and Same-Sex Attraction And… In the first part Jackie writes about where she was before God got ahold of her. In the second part she writes of her transformation and conversion. And then she offers her take on the issue of Same-Sex attraction and the Christian community.
In the first part Jackie recounts the pains that she went through as a child and the things that shaped her. She writes about her same sex attraction at a young age:
“When I looked at the sky, I didn’t understand why it wasn’t the color of my hands, instead of looking like my teacher’s eyes. And why that one girl, who sat two desks over, made me feel weird. Or why my heart moved whenever she did. Or how, during recess, we’d end up in the corner of a Fisher-Price cabin, doing things we’d never seen, making sure our doing so remained as such.” - Chapter 2
She goes on to explain how she was abused as a child and how her father was absent. A point that struck me was a scene in which her father tells Jackie that he loves her then proceeds to tell her that he wouldn’t care if he didn’t see her again. Jackie write:
“I couldn’t understand how this man (my father) could tell me (his daughter) that any attempt at distancing myself from him would mean nothing. Do nothing. In fact, he would be able to continue his life, without me in it, as he’d been doing all along, with the steady peace of a man with no sins.” - Chapter 4
In the next part Jackie tells us of what the Father did to being her to him. The process was not simple and quick. God’s pulling Jackie towards her was fraught with the pain of having to leave her lesbian lifestyle and learn how to embrace her nature as a woman. One scene caught my ear that felt spectacular and mundane at the same time:
“I stood outside of Forever 21, irked as ever. The little adjustments made in secret were not to be compared to what came next. In this store, on the hangers, folded on shelves, tried on, bought and returned was more than fabric shaped into shirts; it was a new identity—a new way of introducing myself to the world. Girl after girl entered in, smiling wide, ready to spend and carry their femininity in bright yellow bags. There was a normalcy to their delight.” - Chapter 11
She then moves on to describes her rocky relationship with her now husband Preston. Her husband was the man that taught her how to see men as something other then impossibly selfish: they could actually love someone other then themselves.
Finally Jackie gives us her take on the issue of homosexuality and the gay community. Jackie comments:
“LGBT culture has done an excellent job of renewing or should I say, destroying, the mind of many, mainly by consistently using words as their greatest tool in their efforts to draw people into finding greater joy in identifying with their sin rather than their Creator.” Chapter 15
Her comments here are insightful. One of the major problems with this new cultures sin is that it explicitly tries to make the sin into a full identity. Not that we at one point didn’t attempt to do this. But at least it was not as blatant as it is now.
Jackie shows us of what we as a church can do to help those struggling with same sex attraction bare their cross and walk towards the king. We must not idolize marriage in the church and we must see singleness as the gift that it is. But most of all we must see God as our only joy and only hope.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It is powerful and well written. It was a joy to read and one I would like to share with you. Gay Girl Good God, in my opinion should be on your reading list.