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Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  785 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America is part memoir and part investigative analysis that explores the explosive and confusing intersection of faith, politics, and sexuality in Christian America.

The quest to find an answer is at the heart of Does Jesus Really Love Me?—a personal journey of belief, an investigation, and a portr
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Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Harper
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Logan Hey Nirel,

This book is going to address some of what you're mentioning, but it's more a collection of the author's interactions with people on…more
Hey Nirel,

This book is going to address some of what you're mentioning, but it's more a collection of the author's interactions with people on various sides of the gay vs Christian conversation. If you're looking for books that offer theological arguments for Christians to be gay and participate in romantic relationships, try out Changing our Minds by David Gushee or, if you want something a little more academic, Bible Gender Sexuality by Brownson.(less)
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4.09  · 
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 ·  785 ratings  ·  144 reviews


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Just A. Bean
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have a lot of thoughts about this book, and not all of them are completely coherent.

1. I felt that this book was aimed more at queers or allies trying to grapple with the church than for churched Christians trying to figure out what's up with The Gays. However, as a lesbian Christian, I might have a skewed look at that.

2. I think this book has taught me more about compassion than anything I've ever read. I really love how he travelled and talked to every one and listened to them. I know it's h
...more
Kelly Hager
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was such an incredibly powerful book, one that I think everyone should read. It's definitely aimed more at the specific "Gay Christian" niche, but I think that Christians who want to understand how it can feel to try and reconcile your sexuality and your faith would do well to read this book, too.

I wasn't interviewed for this book but so many of the stories resonated with me. I don't think people understand how hurtful they can be, and I have nothing but respect for Jeff Chu, because he tal
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Brandy
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
*I received a copy of this book via Goodreads giveaways! - Thank you!*

This is an incredible book. Growing up in rural central Pennsylvania, I didn't have much exposure to alternative lifestyles...or any liberalism, really. However, I managed to somehow become a liberal anyway (don't tell my family!). Even though I had previously thought about the morality of homosexuality (and decided that really, who are we to even begin to claim to know what God's got going on) I didn't look too deeply into it
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Sally Hanan
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jeff Chu has done a really good job with this one. While he seems to have been already pretty settled in his own mind as to what he believes about being both Christian and gay, he interviews enough people with differing views and beliefs to make the book a useful tool in understanding the thought processes of gays with faith.

Chu shares his own thought process along the way, and sits down with some people no one would ever desire to sit with, let alone talk to (Westboro baptists, for one). And th
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Paula Ackley
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a fairly new Christian I was interested in discovering with Jeff Chu whether Jesus did love gays. I have believed that God is a loving and forgiving Father. That has not changed. I never realised how gays are treated in the Christian Church. Mr. Chu's journey was long and disturbing at times. If I came away with any insight it's that I am not the one to judge people and God is loving, but some of his Churches are not.
Katie
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Atlas of American Protestantism in the Era of "The Gay Debate"

The title really does not do this book justice. It gave the impression that this was going to be another maudlin memoir, another journey of self-discovery filled with angst and complaining (however justly or unjustly) about one's parents. It is anything but that. Rather, this is a masterful work of contemporary journalism in which Chu turns over pretty much every stone in the garden surveying the contemporary Protestant world as it
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Jake
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
When author Jeff Chu finished speaking about his new book, I raised my hand and made the following request: "I'm curious to hear you describe your relationship with the Bible." This tends to be the first question I want to ask anyone who identifies as both homosexual and Christian. Perhaps, in terms of a person's walk with God, it is not the most important issue. Still, as a former Mormon Christian and a devout agnostic, it's the most pressing question in my mind. My decision to commit to an agn ...more
Jessica
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I surprised myself by bursting out crying when I started the second to last chapter of this book.

This came after Chu's final e-mail exchange with a young man, a closeted gay Christian, whom he corresponded with throughout the writing of the book. The young man, Gideon, has so much faith in God and hope about life despite the toxically anti-gay environment he's in. He meets with a counselor who is every bad stereotype about Christians dealing with gay people -- calling it a lifestyle, asking Gide
...more
Hannah Notess
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writers-of-color
Solid reporting, lots of engaging interviews, and I think he really did a nice job with the sometimes-awkward blend of personal writing and reporting. But on a subject like this, no one's really neutral, especially when you have a big personal stake in the inclusion of LGBT people in the church. I really like how he positioned himself and his own experiences as the motivation for the journey to visit various churches and Christians around the country and ask them questions. I think it made the b ...more
Mary Lynn
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I heard this author interviewed by Jen Hatmaker, on her podcast, I wanted to know him more. He’s probably an excellent journalist because he engages people through compassion and a desire to understand. He’s a humble, lovable, young man on a duel journey to learn himself, and the variety of Christian views of(interactions with) gay people. I thought I had a pretty open mind to listening to people’s stories, but Jeff Chu’s interviews of others made me realize there is still a nasty habit to ...more
Nicole
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jeff Chu pulls off a remarkable feat: he writes about one of the most controversial and divisive issues in the Church with gentleness and truth. This is some of the best journalism I’ve ever read: curious instead of condemning, thoughtful without resorting to lightweight anecdotes, punchy yet extensive. The stories he tells of people he met pile on top of each other and make some sort of crazy, impossible structure. All I could do was just look up at it and try to figure it out and be okay with ...more
Dav
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I know the short answer to the question posed in the title is yes, absolutely. I have no doubt. But the problem is the short answer is never enough. This incredibly well-researched and superbly-told story of one man's quest to find some answers is crazy moving and beautiful and heartwrenching all at the same time. Loved it.
Mees
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is filled with compelling personal stories. This was written before Obergefell vs Hodges, so the landscape has changed a little, but I think many of the issues and feelings and theologies are still the same.
Jay Butler
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-work
Heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. A definite must-read on a divisive and sensitive topic in American Christianity. Chu’s writing style and prose are so digestible and effortless, too!
Jake
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*I received my copy of Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America by Jeff Chu through Goodreads First-Reads giveaways. Thank you!*

This book is a fascinating compilation of first-hand accounts at the intersection and reconciliation of the Christian faith with homosexuality, ranging from those who are strong in faith, to those who are not, to those who affirm an exclusively heterosexual lifestyle to those who do not. As a now-outsider to the Christian fait
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Jim Kahn
Jan 24, 2015 rated it liked it
My first foray into the genre of Gay Asian Christian literature. Chu relates his personal experience as growing up, coming out, and grappling with his faith as he spends a year traveling the country to learn the experiences of others.

Although Chu writes very well and this is an interesting and easy read, I found myself continuously frustrated because almost without exception, those he talks to (including himself) are Christian because they were raised in fundamentalist religious households, hav
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Eric
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Excellent tracking of how the church is responding to homosexual behavior in America. Chu has really done his research and the journey he was on was one of increasing his spiritual knowledge and true soul searching. He usually refrains from judging, save from one important instance when he fears that some of the very liberal churches - following whatever god they like, studying different religious traditions, etc. - are losing their christianity and are not following Christ. The stories are refl ...more
Bonnie McDaniel
This is an interesting book. It poses far more questions than it answers, and exposes more than a few churches and individuals to extremely unflattering lights. But, like all the best journalism, it merely lays out the facts and the author's impressions of the people he's talking to, and lets the readers draw their own conclusions.

The writer, Jeff Chu, goes on a year-long personal and spiritual journey trying to reconcile what he views as two conflicting aspects of his personality: "gay" and "Ch
...more
Joel Wentz
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have read many books/articles/essays on the intersection of sexuality & faith in our culture, but I haven't yet read anything quite like this work. Chu is a journalist - who also happens to be both gay and Christian - who decided to travel across America for a year and record as many personal stories (totaling over 300) of religious, LGBT individuals as he could. The result is a deeply moving compilation of testimonies across a wide swath of experience: young teenagers who are struggling w ...more
Lizzie
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I heard Jeff Chu speak at the National Book Festival. He is an excellent speaker and I was motivated to go out and read his book. I was a little disappointed. While the book does an admirable job of exploring the complexities of homosexuality and religion, I found it was a little slow and a bit repetitive. The most compelling parts for me, was when Jeff explored his own family and his own religion. Given the seriousness of this topic as well, it was difficult to read depressing anecdote after de ...more
Dave McNeely
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a compendium of theological arguments related to homosexuality and Christianity, you won't find it here. If, however, you're looking for stories of individuals and groups who have been navigating this tense issue, you couldn't find a better collection of stories than Chu's. Chu, a homosexual Christian journalist, sets out on a quest across the United States to explore the different approaches of Christians to homosexuality, ranging from vitriolic opposition (Westboro Baptis ...more
Pam
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
I was very interested in the idea of Jeff Chu's pilgrimage across America visiting various churches and hoping to find reconciliation between Christianity and his homosexuality. Unfortunately the reality was that the various churches he visited blurred together and his thoughts did not seem to develop or change with time. The brief biographies of other people he met, who faced similar challenges, seemed much like repeats of his own story. I wondered as I read along that if Chu had injected some ...more
Kristen Lauderdale
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Interesting portrayals of a wide variety of gay Christians, but I think I would have liked it more if it focused more on the churches rather than zeroing in on so many individuals, many of whom weren't particularly distinguishable from each other. But it did have its moments and it's impressive how many conversations he was able to capture with people. Kind of a slog, overall.
Lisa Cullen
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jeff Chu's dazzling debut proves being a gay Christian is no oxymoron--but it's far from easy. Wielding his reporter's tenacity and Scriptural chops, Chu travels the country to conduct fascinating interviews with other gay Christians, and those who condemn them. You will emerge from this book changed, for you will know Jeff Chu.
Leigh Kramer
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jeff Chu may have been the perfect person to write this book. His story blends well with his journalistic approach as he traveled across the country hearing stories and perspectives about the intersection of faith and homosexuality. Well written and filled with grace.
Aogu Fujihashi
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, favorites
Devastating.

A journalist's deeply personal survey of the church's failure to express Jesus' love to the gay and (struggling) faithful.

Highly recommended.
Albert Hong
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Remarkably evenhanded (miraculously so given the range of theologies that are represented).
Penny
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-on-kindle
This book really struck a chord with me. First, it has made me realize that while my church, Fernwood Baptist in Spartanburg SC, has struggled the last few years over homosexuality; in truth, they are far beyond many churches. And I believe that we are moving ahead at a fast pace. There were so many spots I highlighted in this book; this one in particular reminds me of Fernwood:

“There is no Biblical and theological consensus in this church on homosexuality ... but where there is consensus is on
...more
Aaron
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is difficult to read and difficult to process, but overall a challenging and adventurous read as Jeff travels the country exploring the different expressions of faith and sexuality.

If you hold to a traditional view of biblical sexuality, you will not be swayed here. The conversations of sexuality Chu has with dozens of individuals are challenging, heartbreaking and often befuddeling. However, as with many conversations with affirming churches/individuals, personal experience is eleva
...more
Whitney
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This is Chu-the-reporter’s first actual book and it kinda shows. He repeats himself and writes this like an extended article. It’s more journalism than narrative, which makes for a quick read, but a distanced one. Also he has this really kind of amusing stylistic quirk. (He uses lots of parenthetical expressions.) This book could easily have been titled ‘Conversations I Had With Other Gay Christians’. There’s no real continuation from one chapter to the next and definitely no narrative thread (i ...more
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Jeff Chu is an award-winning editor at Fast Company. Formerly a writer and editor at Time and Conde Nast Portfolio. His eclectic portfolio includes stories on megahit-making Swedish songwriters (a piece for which he went clubbing in Stockholm); James Bond (for which he stood on a Spanish beach and watched Halle Berry emerge from the waves over and over and over); undercover missionaries in the Ara ...more
“Words are bricks, which, depending on how you use them, can pave pathways or build walls.” 4 likes
“It’s as if we have all Hinduized our Christianity—is your god more a god of bellicosity and war, or does he look more like the god of prosperity, or perhaps the god of social justice? At least the Hindus aim for clarity by calling them by different names, yet we insist on using the same word—God—and identifying our priorities as his. We have taken a God of many names and hand-selected our favorite few. A vast and mysterious yet intimate and personal God has been reduced into something small and manageable and comprehensible. Whereas the Scripture says that we were created in God’s image, we have remade him in ours.” 0 likes
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