I love the story of the prodigal son, the way his father ran towards him with open arms, ready to welcome him back after his years of wasted opportunity. No rebuke, no questions asked, just pure love and acceptance. And that’s exactly what God did for me four years ago, just before my 49th birthday. After years of rebellion and destructive behaviour, God welcomed me back into his family.
Jackie Hill Perry’s background as a poet and rapper is clearly reflected in the pages of her book Gay Girl, Good God, with her poetic and striking use of language to portray both her joy in God and the struggles and sorrow that she has experienced. The book is presented in three parts: the first Perry calls ‘Who I was’ and it shares her story of fully embracing a gay and masculine identity. The second section, ‘Who I Became’, is Perry’s testimony of a real and powerful encounter with God and how she was made new by His grace.
In his classic 17th century defence of freedom of speech and expression - Areopagitica - John Milton wrote these words:
“Since therefore the knowledge of and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the region of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason? And this is the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read.”
Song of Songs is a rather mysterious book to have in our Bibles. Maybe it’s just that I am not very inspired by poetic images, but I think it’s giving a picture of a love relationship that expresses the thrill of intimacy with God.
Written by American mental-health counsellor and ordained minister Jay Stringer. The book explores the processes of how we begin to “understand our lust”, seeing our present-day sexual fantasies and behaviours as road maps that can help us to understand our unresolved experiences from the past.