Once in a while you read a book that alters your perspective on the world around you. Of course, my perspective on humanity is eternally altered due to my belief in the Holy Bible, but it appears to me that I remain prejudice in some areas and make special mental arrangements for some classes of people. Wesley Hill’s Washed Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness & Homosexuality caused me to regret some of the thoughts and prejudices I may have been harboring.
The question he asks is a simple one: what should the churches response be to CELIBATE gay Christians? In my discussing this book with many, I have heard more than once that there can be no such thing as a gay Christian, but Hill’s book causes one to ask if that tag celibate means nothing.
This book is not a treatise for the church to change or delete scripture that condemns homosexual acts. It is the polar opposite. Hill wastes no time in his book before identifying the words of God that condemn homosexual sexual relationships, no justification added. No, this book simply is asking how the church should identify with and treat the person who comes into a church, says they are attracted to the same sex, no longer wants to feed that lust, and wants to live and worship amongst a body of believers. What would Jesus want us to do?
Hill attempts to make no new doctrine or revelation regarding this issue. Hill’s beliefs that satisfying homosexual urges is sinful remains paramount throughout this book. At the same time, Hill also has no scientific breakthrough as to the roots of his attraction to the same sex. Neither do you though. Hill classifies his desires as unnatural and wants no one to think any differently (a very brave touch to this book). At the same time, that brave touch leaves Hill hanging I guess where he is trying to tell the reader he has felt all along: somewhere in the middle between liberal and conservative thoughts. Isn’t that where the N.T. church hung out?
I did not like Hill’s drawing so much of his inspiration from priests who have taken man made vows of celibacy. To this reader, those are much cheaper than Hill’s desire to not fulfill his lusts because of his recognition of the gospel message. That is what is hidden in this book and that many will miss because they will not desire to be seen with this book. Hill’s story of how his loneliness, anger, frustration, pain, and sadness only makes him love Jesus more is remarkable. I stood repentant as I read this book due to the ease with which I am blown off course while this young man struggles to remain celibate in a sex-driven culture.
Does this book have many answers to the questions posed? Not really. I think that’s the point of the book though. Hill wants the reader to feel the confusion that he feels and ask why it is that the church looks upon homosexuality as a worse sin than your fowl language, your gossiping, your cheating on your wife, your stealing, etc… In the eyes of God, it is not, yet, the church openly welcomes the worse of those offenders. Think about the bragging that was done when Ted Bundy, the serial killer repented and accepted Jesus Christ. Yet, few will rejoice with Wesley Hill.
Let me reiterate, this is not a book about changing the Bible verses addressing homosexuality. This is not a book about changing church teaching on the sin of homosexual sex. This is a book about loneliness and a growing class of people who, for whatever reason, are realizing the sinfulness of their desires and want to repent and worship the savior. If said person walks into your church, living room, or office tomorrow, what will your response be? If your answer is one that you know would turn one away from the church and Christ, you need to read this book. I would in fact recommend this book to any Christian, especially church leaders. Allow yourself and man made convictions to be challenged. Buy Washed and Waiting!