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Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  442 ratings  ·  105 reviews
In an age where neither society nor the church knows what to do with gay Christians, Greg Coles tells his own story. Let's make a deal, you and me. Let's make promises to each other. I promise to tell you my story. The whole story. I'll tell you about a boy in love with Jesus who, at the fateful onset of puberty, realized his sexual attractions were persistently and exclus ...more
Published July 1st 2017 by IVP Books
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Jordan Lombard Kindle books don't have page numbers. They have "locations" which I've never used for anything. It's because with an ebook you can change the font siz…moreKindle books don't have page numbers. They have "locations" which I've never used for anything. It's because with an ebook you can change the font size, which then "changes" the length of the book. (less)
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Peter Jones
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This type of book is becoming more common: a professing Christian struggles with gay/homosexual desires, etc. He comes to realize after some study that gay sex is wrong (for them), but gay desires are not. They chose to remain celibate, but admit that others might disagree and pursue homosexual/lesbian relationships and even marriage in some cases.

Several things stuck out as I read.

First, gay, celibate Christians regularly discount the homosexual agenda in the world as not worth worrying about
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, sexuality
Summary: An autobiographical narrative of a young Christian who becomes aware of his attraction to other men, his struggles against this within a Christian context, his experiences of "coming out," and how he has decided to follow Christ through all of this.

This book had me at the first page. Ordinarily, I wouldn't quote so extensively, but I know nothing better to give you a sense of Gregory Cole's story, and of his exquisite writing:

"Let's make a deal, you and me. Let's make promises to each o
Will Turner
As much as I appreciate Gregory's story there is a deep-seated danger with this book. The root question which we need to ask is this: is homosexuality a sin? And we need to answer that from Scripture. Coles believes that homosexuality (at least practiced) is sinful, but at the same time ultimately argues that it is innate, unchangeable and therefore acceptable. This is what makes the book so dangerous. Ultimately it allows for a shallow view of sin which in turn leads to a cheap view of grace.

I'm not sure what to think of this book. Gregory is a gifted writer and candid about his life experiences thus far. I'm interested in being more understanding and in being faithful to God's Word. I am encouraging my husband to read it so we can discuss it together.

2018 A book I didn't think I'd like.
Makes me long for and want to follow Jesus, which is the highest praise I could ever give.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I’m the guy you thought you could never be: a guy who’s gay and loves Jesus and isn’t ashamed to admit either of those things."

This bold statement, in a line from a letter addressed to himself that concludes Greg's book, is at the heart of the story he shares with us in it. And all throughout "Single, Gay, Christian," Greg consistently seeks to occupy that sometimes-awkward, always admirable, thoroughly beautiful "third space" between the two default camps when it comes to the question of a gay
Sarah Michel
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“If we truly love Scripture, we have to love it enough to let it prove us wrong.
And at the same time, we have to love it enough to let it tell us what we don’t want to hear.”

It seems like these days most of the discussions about LGBT people in the church comes from the “Open and Affirming” stance, or the testimony of the “Ex-Gay,” i.e. someone who was once attracted to the same sex but has successfully overcome said attractions. What we don’t hear about is a third experience - one where an indi
Jonathan Marks
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sitting down to review this book, I don’t quite know where to begin. Cut me some slack. I've never done this before.

I first met Greg four years ago while studying chemical engineering at Penn State. What immediately struck me was how… happy he seemed. To be honest, it was kind of suspicious. People who smile as much as Greg will invariably try to sell you a Ponzi scheme or a ShamWow. You following me, camera guy!?

But amazingly, the better I got to know him, the more un-crackable his carefree per
Christopher Lawson
"I am Not a Mistake."

I happened to spot this little book at our local library. I was pretty sure what the theme would be, but I was completely, 100% in error. This book is not at all what I thought it would be.

SINGLE, GAY, CHRISTIAN is the story of a young man struggling to learn how he can be a faithful Christian--a sincere follower of Jesus, who has the "wrong" feelings. The author makes it clearn that =he didn't ask to be gay. In fact, he admits he desperately did NOT want to be gay. The auth
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What got me reading this book was not only a provocative title, but also a positive review from Don Carson, a reliable Reformed Evangelical theologian. "This book needs to be thoughtfully read by straight people and by gay people, by unbelievers and by Christians. It is not to be read with a condescending smirk, but with humility", – he said. And I tried to.

First of all, let me say it's not a theology book, but a personal testimony of a young Christian man who struggles to worship God in the mid
Kelly McGill
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently had the pleasure of reading Greg Cole’s book, Single, Gay, Christian. Having known Greg in real life, I hear his voice throughout his work. I hear his intelligent vocabulary used in a comical yet honest, and deep fashion as he tells me his story. I’ve always been a proponent of gay rights in politics, but when I became a Christian I was confused and tousled with the very ideas Greg speaks about on such a personal level. It’s worth noting that in front of my college church, while discu ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am deeply grateful for Greg Coles and his new book Single, Gay, Christian. This is not a book about a controversial topic. This is a story—one man’s honest and vulnerable story.
The current climate among people who disagree about important political, social, and religious issues is volatile, and often feels unsafe. We tend to stake out territory and defend positions rather than listen and potentially learn something from “the other side.” Many of us lack the willingness to be exposed to new id
Jason Killian
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gregory Coles begins Single, Gay, Christian with a promise: that he will show us the world through his eyes. This sets the tone for this intimate work; it's a book full of personal anecdotes: some funny, some sad, some awkward, and some moving. Coles throws in his philosophical musings, theological lessons, and practical conclusions amongst these tails in a way that makes them feel easy to digest and not all too academic.

Via these short portraits of Coles's life and intermingled thoughts, he mak
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I saw the power of the stories we tell, how one person's machete-hewn journey through the briars can become someone else's highway to hope. I found myself believing that, as long as it continues to be told, no story is ever wasted" (Coles, p.88).

Gregory Coles' story is one that needs to be told. It is a story of faith, self-discovery, suffering, and hope. It is a story that must be listened to with compassion by the Evangelical church. It is a story that could probably be told by countless Chri
Rachel Laing
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good writer, good detail, thought-provoking, diplomatic, relatable, at times funny. Coles' journey and conclusion is nuanced and complicated. Many instances of good prose including this excerpt from chapter 8 which I feel is somewhat of a summation of the book to a degree (aside from the author's conclusion that remaining celibate was the only way for him to reconcile his same-sex attraction and his Christian faith): "It was strangely democratizing, standing in a roomful of self-professed wretch ...more
Laura Icardi
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot recommend it enough. Excellent commentary on being gay in the church. I think no matter where you stand on this issue, the author does a great job of letting you see inside his struggles and understand various “sides” of this sensitive topic. It has so many bits that I want to quote, so I may go back and pull those out. It’s also a very quick read - I finished it in 2 days. Read it!
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My teacher bought this book for me as we were discussing topics on sexuality. I’m so glad I read this!
Trevor Atwood
An absolute gem in the category of understanding the perspective of a Christian realizing he is gay.

Highly recommend.
Karen Cartwright
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Youth workers, pastors
I can't say I enjoyed this book; enjoyed isn't the word to use when the subject matter is difficult or emotive as is the case with Single, Gay Christian. However, I'm very glad I read it and have already recommended it to several people, and passed on my print copy. (I think my family are probably fed up of me talking about it!) Gregory writes openly about his struggle with his sexuality and although I sometimes found his honesty and vulnerability challenging reading, ultimately I found it to be ...more
Lori Neff
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As others have said, I could NOT put this book down. It was a delightful, insightful memoir and I loved it. Highly recommended - no matter where you currently stand on this issue.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book an important read. I loved how Greg describes his wrestling with being gay and all that means as a celibate Christian. I think he has an important voice in the current theological discussion. It was encouraging and challenging.
3.5 stars. I always appreciate the opportunity to hear someone else's story. It did feel, as Greg himself says, like a long journal entry that didn't really plunge into the depths. But compassionate and honest.

The greatest challenge to me (and probably to others!) was this quote: "There are a few things I know for sure about showing love to gay people, and one of them is this: If you really want to love us, you have to respect us enough to make our own decisions. Even if you think we might get
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-written, grace filled book. It's accessible and a quick read chronicling the Greg's story: the story of realizing, wrestling with, and ultimately accepting his life as a single gay Christian. The book is written in a way that explains and humanizes his experiences -- it is descriptive, and not prescriptive. I appreciated Greg's tone candor and the depth of his conviction to remain single and celibate while being empathetic and open to dialogue. This book is a great resource for pe ...more
Jacob Swanson
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Greg is part of a small, unique, and incredible group of people who find themselves to be gay and the sort of Christian that believes that marriage ought to be between a man and a woman. This is a voice that is often misunderstood and shouted over in what five years ago we might've called the "gay debate," and for those who haven't encountered it, it's an interesting (and strangely beautiful and often hearbreaking) point of view. If you haven't yet met someone with such a viewpoint, especially i ...more
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greg Coles has written a tender, funny, and thoughtful memoir of his coming out story - his journey towards a grace- and truth-filled acceptance of his sexual identity. In addition to the skill with which he humanizes a
subject often beset by heated rhetoric, the book is superbly written - that is, once I got going with the story, I couldn't relax until I'd finished it. My one critique of this book is that he doesn't spend a great deal of time exploring and responding to the counter-narratives of
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: embrace
Sexual identity is so often viewed as an issue to debate rather than an invitation to hear someone's story. This enlightening book provides just such an opportunity.
Meg Hunter-Kilmer
Brave and beautiful and such an important read for Christians of any denomination, gay or straight, single or married.
Sep 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to review. On the one hand, Gregory Coles is a brilliant writer. This memoir is a captivating, well-written page-turner. By the time you read the last page you’ll feel as if you really know the author. And that’s a good thing, since this is a man made in the image of God who is bearing his soul in the pages of this book. It’s also a good thing because many evangelicals (including myself) don’t have a lot of experience with fellow Christians who experience same-sex attraction ...more
Jonathan Yee
Thoughtful and honest, Greg gives us a view into his world as he wades through a journey of sexual identity and faith. I think the book is excellent and effective on several levels:
1. It forces the reader to enter into the world of an LGBTQ+ person and confront the pain that is experienced in this area of life.
2. It paints a hopeful picture as an LGBTQ+ Christian.
3. Greg is funny. He bares his soul to us. Vulnerable story is followed by witty commentary and laughter. Sometimes, the two collide
Charles Canon
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me tell you a story about Greg Coles. I was rehearsing Hamlet's famous soliloquy in the library for Oral interpretation class at our College. Greg heard me and joined along and we completed the entire thing. I had the words printed out in front of me, Greg did not and yet he was far more articulate and continued even after I had stumbled over the words and decided to let him finish the final phrases by himself. I tell you this as a brief view into the mind, personality and character of Greg ...more
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Gregory Coles (PhD, Penn State University) is a writer, speaker, and worship leader. He is the author of No Longer Strangers: Finding Belonging in a World of Alienation (InterVarsity Press, 2021) and Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity (InterVarsity Press, 2017). His writing has been published by venues as diverse as Penguin Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcou ...more

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