The hypothetical battle between Christianity and homosexuality has recently been getting a lot of press, with several high-profile court cases in Britain ruling against conservative Christian attitudes. Add to this other ‘Christian’ far right groups dragging themselves into the forefront of the debate, and it seems there has never been a more pertinent time for examining two communities that appear to be sharply at odds with each other.
Darren Main sets out to do just that in his new book, Hearts & Minds. In the book he outlines some sound academic arguments against the Bible verses that are often used to bolster the persecution of homosexuals, and also takes the reader through a practical approach for engaging in the debate.
Main sets out the book with a logical, straightforward, and accessible agenda, starting with personal preparation, then introducing a contextual understanding of the Bible and Christian attitudes, through to the dissection and contextual interpretation of text and theories about what the Bible actually says about homosexuality. His style is informal, yet informed, meaning there is no air of condescension throughout and making the read comfortable and familiar. He also draws on his own experiences which makes the book rather personal and all the more engaging.
Also included is an appendix of personal stories of individuals who have risen above religious persecution and of those who have managed to consolidate their beliefs and sexuality. Their testimonies are as inspiring as they are interesting, especially as some of these experiences are from unique perspectives. Main also includes a list of helpful resources to further prepare the reader for the debate, but also as a springboard for anyone who is interested in deeper discussion.
As the book is written primarily for an American audience there are some references and stylistic approaches that may go over the heads of a European readership or feel a little awkward, but these, thankfully, are few. Also, some may find the suavity he places on yoga and meditation a little unorthodox, but whether or not the reader chooses to take onboard the importance of these practises, they definitely provide some food for thought.
Hearts & Minds is involving and thought-provoking and is a must for anyone with an interest in the debate or who would just like some guidance on how to engage with someone in a discussion on the subject; be it friends, family, or anyone else. The book is a practical resource to aid the debate rather than produce a dry academic analysis. What it doesn’t do is set out definitive ‘rights and wrongs’ for viewpoints, interpretations, or approaches, and Main makes this very clear that the arguments put forward in the book are open to interpretation but are approaches that he has personally found to work well.
Overall this is a helpful and enlightening resource that manages to engage and intrigue – a brilliantly executed and sound approach to what can be a dangerously impassioned topic.
Hearts & Minds (Talking to Christians About Homosexuality) is available from Amazon UK