It has been a long time since I have felt able to spend any money on new books, so I was delighted over the last few weeks to find that I have been able to stock up, in two batches. These are my new acquisitions, from which I will be selecting my holiday reading:
Bernadette Brooten: Love Between Women.
I was delighted to find this on the shelves of Foyle’s yesterday, as it has long been on my wanted list. John Boswell and many other of the best known writers have a clear male bias, for which Brooten is often quoted as a female balance. However, she is also much more than just the female counterpart: she has a formidable reputation for the quality of her scholarship. Her book appeared well after Boswell’s, and quickly established itself as an equal classic. I look forward to reading her work for myself.
Chris Glaser: Coming Out as Sacrament
I have already had a quick read of this, and quoted from it here, but I definitely want to have another look and to digest it more slowly.
Marcella Althaus-Reid: The Queer God
This writer has intrigued me, ever since I read of her work in Elisabeth Stuart’s helpful guide, Gay & Lesbian Theologies. I am expecting this book, which comes out of a starting point of Latin American liberation theology and queer theology, to be radically different, provocative and challenging. I do not expect to completely agree with her, but do fully expect to have my mental boundaries heavily pushed.
Gary David Comstock: Unrepentant, Self-Affirming, Practicing.
Unlike the other two, this is one about which I know little other than the title – which I love. It is also academic in style, from the perspective of the sociology of religion, and appears to be largely based on primary sociological field research.
Donald G Hanway: A Theology of Lesbian and Gay Inclusion – Love Letters to the Church This is likely to be easier reading – definitely not academic in style, and much shorter, this is pastoral in tone, written by a minister of religion as a series of testimonies rooted in real lives.
Thomas Stevenson: Sons of the Church– The Witnessing of Gay Catholic Men
This is also about personal testimony, this time specifically from Catholic men. Unusually for me, this is one about which I bought without any prior knowledge at all – but as it too is short and easy to read, and as I believe firmly in the value of personal stories, I was happy to give it a try.
L William Countryman & M R Ritley: Gifted by Otherness
Countryman’s “Dirt Greed & Sex” was one of the books that most helped me when I started reading on these subjects a few years back, so when I came across an encouraging review of this book a short while back, I had no hesitation in sharing in sharing it here. When I saw it on the shelves at Gay’s the Word, I knew I had to get it. Moving well beyond the defensive approach in Dirt Greed and sex of explaining away the clobber texts, this book moves on to a more spiritual emphasis on not just accepting, but positively affirming, the “gift” of sexual otherness. This is a theme that I warm to more and more. Toby Johnson: Gay Perspective Johnson is one of those writers whose name I regularly encounter, either on lists of recommended books himself, or as a writer about other people’s work. Yet I have not yet read any of his work for myself. Johnson declares that his journey parallels that of the famous Thomas Merton- starting as a Catholic monk. later adjusting to a Buddhist path. That alone will give his book a perspective on gay spirituality that will be new to me.
Urs Mattman: Coming In
Previously, I have encountered Urs Mattman’s name as a retreat director, rather than as a writer. This practical orientation comes through in teh format of this book, which is structured as a series of chapters, each followed by practical suggestions for application in mediation and other exercises, from a range of spiritual and mystical traditions. This, and Johnson’s book, could well be useful balances against the heavy academic work I will need to get through Brooten, Althaus- Reid and Comstock.
I have no illusions that I will get through all of these – but I will certainly explore many of them, and complete some. I have already posted third party information for many of these on Sergius & Bacchus Books: I look forward to being able to share with you later some more personal responses.