Culture -

This book requires us all to listen —

By Lane Moss

I’ve had the privilege of working with Jackie Hill-Perry on a number of projects over the past six years and I’ve come to know her as quiet – almost shy at times.

While that may seem a counter-intuitive description for someone who speaks for a living, Jackie never comes off as quiet because she lacks words, but rather because she knows that words carry weight.

As such, she’s the kind of person who doesn’t speak often … but when she does, everyone listens.



Listen. That would be my advice to anyone who picks up Jackie’s book, “Gay Girl, Good God” in which she recounts her story with relentless grace and candid vulnerability. As the title would suggest, Jackie spent her early life and much of her adolescence as a same-sex attracted female trying to reconcile her feelings with the sermons she “always heard, and never believed.” Through vivid metaphors and elaborate word pictures, Jackie tells a tale, equal parts memoir and theological exposition, of a girl who is confronted by God’s relentless pursuit of her. Hers is a story of grace, redemption, struggle and relearning the true heart of a good God.



In truth, it’s all of our stories. The title may as well read “Us, Good God” – because while Jackie and I couldn’t be more different in most ways, I couldn’t help but find myself in her story as I read her book. The “quiet internal war” to which Jackie refers is all-too-familiar to me. The fully-delivered-yet-still-tempted tug-of-war that kept her awake at night has been the cause of more than a few sleepless nights for myself, as well. But as I read – and listened – I heard a word rumbling just below the surface of every page like bubbling magma: Hope.

 

That’s the “Good God” part of this book. The good news is about a God who frees us from that which has, for so long, enslaved us.

 

“When the Spirit of God takes back the body that He created for Himself, He sets it free from the pathetic master that once held it captive.”

 

This book is for the sinner, the straight, the gay, the righteous, the hopeless, the curious, the angry and the indifferent. This book is for all of us. Everyone I know would be better for taking the time to listen to Jackie’s words and join her in pondering the intentionality of the metaphor of Jesus taking the time to fold the linens that once covered his lifeless face and place them neatly on the surface that once held his lifeless body. So that “all who enter the tomb might see that Jesus never leaves any place the same way it was when he entered it.”

 

CIY2017-Color-60.jpgLane Moss is a director of MOVE for Christ In Youth. His email is lane.moss@ciy.com.