Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Welcome to Sergius & Bacchus Book Club!

Hello, and welcome to Sergius & Bacchus book club.

This is a specialist site for discussion of books on all matters relating to faith and homosexuality. My own experience in first coming out as a gay man many years ago, was that reading of all kinds around matters of sexuality was immensely helpful in developing my own self-confidence. Later, when I returned to the practice of my Catholic faith, I struggled initially to reconcile the two issues: faith and sexuality. Again, I found reading helpful. To my surprise, I found that the traditional, familiar arguments against homosexuality were not nearly as clear as I had supposed. Modern scholars are offering new interpretations of Scripture, theologians are developing entirely new disciplines of gay & lesbian theology and of queer theology, and historians are discovering a previously hidden history of gay & lesbian saints & prominent clergy in the Christian Church.

As I explored books for myself, and started recommending my favourites on my main blog "Queering the Church", I found I was wanting to offer more detail than I could conveniently handle within the bounds of a general blog. So, I developed this specialist space. This site is entirely devoted to discussion of books: some are only about sexuality, some are only about matters of religious faith - but most are about some aspect of each in combination.

For each of the titles in my collection here, I aim to provide basic publication & cataloguing details; some idea of content and style (e.g. "academic" or "introductory"); extracts from and links to reliable reviews; and where possible links to where you can find reader reviews and if you wish, purchase the book.

I have not personally read every book in this collection, nor do I necessarily endorse the viewpoints expressed. I have, however, in every case at least read about every book, and have included only those which I at least believe to be respected by others, and have been recommended by people or sources I trust. I have deliberately excluded hostile books based on bad science or selective interpretations of Scripture. I have included books which endorse traditional Catholic teaching (which I personally dissent from), provided that they also respect the full teaching, which emphasises respect and dignity of the homosexual person, and provided that the books have been well regarded as important contributions to the debate.

Where I am able to make a personal recommendation, I state this as "QTC Recommendation". Where I would like to make a recommendation at second hand that I have not yet read but want to, I do so as "Widely recommended" .

Each book is discussed in a separate post. This makes it difficult to organise into thematic lists of grouped titles: the order as it stands is entirely arbitrary. I wil be exploring ways to improve navigation

If you want organised lists of recommendations, have a look at my original Book Club at Queering the Church, where you can find opinion and pages on all matters of faith and sexual orientation: LGBT Church history, (including popular sections on gay and transgendered saints); queer readings of Scripture and dealing with the infamous "clobber texts"; commentary on church teachings; the practice of spirituality and prayer from a gay/queer perspective; and snippets of LGBT religious news.

Happy reading.

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