Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America
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Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  415 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Until Christmans Eve 1991, Mel White was regarded by the leaders of the religious right as one of their most talented and productive supporters. He penned the speeches of Ollie North. He was a ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell, worked with Jim Bakker, flew in Pat Robertson's private jet, walked sandy beaches with Billy Graham. What these men didn't know was that Mel White—evan...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Plume (first published 1994)
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Mimi Lindborg Jove
For any Christian who struggles with the issue of homosexuality (especially if he/she wonders if people are born gay, or choose to be gay)...this book will help. Mel White grew up in a Strict Baptist home and knew he was different from a very young age. He fought it every way he knew how; prayer, confession, good deeds, penance, and electro-shock treatment. His final "fight" was his long term marriage. His ex-wife writes a moving forward in the book and they are today close friends. As someone w...more
Kate
Mel White has done amazing things for the LGBT community when it comes to faith justice. This book and his involvement in the MCC sort of "started it all" for him. He has now moved into the territory of civil disobedience with the aim of achieving equal rights for the LGBT community by founding "Soulforce." I have nothing but respect for him and his work.
Dave Swavely
I read this book recently as a part of a thoroughgoing attempt to understand the experience of Christians who identify themselves as gay, so I can be a better pastor and friend to people like that. I'm reading two books by men who believe that God made them gay and that lifestyle is compatible with Christianity (this one and Torn by Justin Lee) and two books by men who have always had same-sex attraction but don't believe they should act on it (Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill and Out of a Far...more
Jonathan
Mel White has quite the life story: A former ghost writer for the likes of Jerry Falwell and other conservative Christian honchos, he was married with two children and then came out as a gay man when in his 40s. This account starts with his childhood (as it should) and works up from there to his activism in the present. He is a good writer, but unfortunately this memoir sometimes gets bogged down in self-involvement. He really didn't need to delineate all of his relational-sexual exploits for th...more
Zigforas
Dec 06, 2009 Zigforas rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Evangelical Christians, and others
Recommended to Zigforas by: MSW program
I found reading this intensely powerful. It made me feel immense sorrow for the religiously-based beliefs I have held in the past about homosexuality and shock at the things I never knew about the people behind the people who encouraged and fostered these beliefs. Mel White's story is a powerful testimony for greater inclusion and love in the evangelical church for gays and lesbians.
Pablo  Rodriguez
This book changed my life. Mel White's struggle with being gay and Christian helped set me on a journey to reconcile my faith and sexual orientation. A fascinating biography.
Sarah
this book really shows the agony Christians go through when they're raising fundamentalist homes that teach them that they are inherently evil and beyond God's love. White struggled with feelings of inadequacy and what can only be described as spiritual torture because he believed his natural desires were evil. he went through ex-gay programs, counseling, even electroshock therapy, all in a vain attempt to make himself straight.It was very sad reading about his journey. However, at times, I got...more
Belenen
The story of a person who tried to please God and the people ze loved and admired by hiding part of zirself, until ze realized that not only did God love all of zir, but ze had a responsibility to speak out against the injustice done to LGBT people, especially by Christians. In places it was quite gripping, but overall, too repetitive and disorganized. I think it suffered from trying to be two things at once -- an honest, in-depth autobiography, and an explanation of how fundamentalists have irr...more
Jonathan
The auto-biography of Mel White, a conservative evangelical Christian who fought for 30 years to get rid of his homosexual impulses, before deciding that homosexuality was his God-given identity.

This is the first book I've ever read by a gay Christian. Understanding his perspective is invaluable to me. Especially the early years of how his feelings expressed themselves and the internal battle he fought gave me a better understanding of what gay Christians go through. The fact that Mel White was...more
Shawn
A highly recommended and must read for any pastor, priest, minister or other clergy and lay people alike. I personally know Mel White and have heard him preach. He is one of the finest preachers and prophets of our generation. Speaking boldly and bravely for the rights of God's gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered children both in the world at large and in the church. There are no strangers in God's family and the unity of Christ's church cannot be based on the exclusion of any of God's children....more
Alise
Mar 23, 2010 Alise rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Alise by: Tina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard
Moving autobiography...some of the political material is now dated but it's still eye opening to see how far we've come in less than two decades. I admire his forthrightness about his struggles and failures attempting to keep his marriage together. It took guts to write this. I would say that while I feel I know Mel White very well after reading this, the other primary characters in the story-his wife, his children, even his partner Gary are still strangers. I don't really have a grasp on why Ly...more
Brian M.
This book in part talks about how old friends among evangelical leaders cut him off when he made it known that he was gay. Interestingly, his wife was more understanding that his ex-friends.
Chantal
Very powerful and moving book. While some parts were a little tedious or repetitive, those parts rarely went on for more than a paragraph, let alone a page; most of the story was engaging and easy to relate to. It's an inspiring account of White's struggle to find out who he was and what he believed -- a struggle many people, young and old, find themselves in today. Regardless of one's religious beliefs, I think that this is a very important read in this day and age; hopefully, this book can ope...more
Maegan Roper
I wasn't quite sure how I felt about his view on the subject of homosexulaity & Christianity. It definately was eye- opening to learn the difficulties that most proclaimed Christians endure when discovering that they're attracted to the same sex, then trying to evaluate what that means for them spiritually. I do have a great deal of respect for the author and his boldness to share his story. If you're struggling with this subject, no matter what your sexual orienation, I encourage you to dee...more
Kristin
If you are gay and were raised in an evangelical Christian home, this book needs to be on your shelf. As Mel described his thoughts and feelings during his journey of coming to terms with who he is, I frequently found myself nodding along in complete understanding. This book reminded me that so many of us, who have suffered for years because of the many messages we heard growing up from our churches, our families, and members of the Religious Right, share very similar stories.

Perhaps, by readin...more
Anna
Heartbreaking.....yet another read in my journey to love and understand those different from me. This book was brutally honest at the depths of despair that happen in the life of a person who feels unloved even by God. Powerful book, even if I don't necessarily come to the same conclusion he does. I am struck by his calm commitment to helping others who may be struggling with what he did for so many years.
Sandy
This is Soulforce founder Mel White's memoir of living as a closeted, married, gay evangelical through coming out. As a former ghost writer for numerous religious conservatives (Falwell, Robertson, for example), White has an intriguing story and a special insight into that world.
Veronica
Wonderful book - really made me think about what it means to be gay and growing up in America. Or, at least, doing that in the late 50's/60's. I am hopeful that todays youth will have a very different, and much more healthy environment in which to grow up.
Dan
This is a fascinating book about a Christian leader from the 60's and his journey into a homosexual lifestyle. It illustrates how much of a "god" homosexuality can be, as he obviously warps and distorts his theology to fit his behavioral choices.
Christina
a little sentimental and apologetic, but still an interesting read: a gay baptist minister who's in with the religious right- and comes out anyway.

It is flawed like all memoirs, but it manages to get out without seeming pretentious.
Jimmy
Mel White's memoirs are thoughtful and poignant. Sometimes, White ventures into the realm of the dramatic with his narrative, but his story is important reading in the 21st century's hot-button issue of LGBT rights.
Julie
This is a most profound and moving book. I know a book is good if I'm still thinking about it weeks later and have trouble engaging with my next book. This is such a book. Compelling to read and life giving.
Michael
This book made me realize that it truly is acceptable to be gay and Christian. So many Christian churches make gays feel that they have to choose one or the other, but not both. That is a lie!
Brian
I read this several years ago, but it's a great story of someone struggling with his inner demon (pretend faith) to Come Out and live in the light and Unconditional Love of God.
Rob
I have read this book a number of times. Mel White has an awesome testimony for all Christians to read and be open to learning about Christians and homomsexuality.
Aaron
A radical story of a man heavily involved with the far right... and his journey out from under it, as well as his journey out of self-denial.
Sam
Mel White's harrowing account of his own self deception and the encouragement he received from the Christian community to maintain it.
Todd
I read this years ago when I was beginning my journey out of the closet. It was such a blessing to me. A very powerful book.
Dina
have to say that his experiences in coming out and being christian mirror my own, except about a decade earlier....
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