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I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  3,330 ratings  ·  427 reviews
In the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist, and I’m Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul‑searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, sensitive black man in a world that constantly tries to deride and diminish your humanity.

It hasn’t been easy being Michael Arceneaux.

Equality for LGBT
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 24th 2018 by Atria Books
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BMR, LCSW Because Jesus is very busy in heaven.

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 ·  3,330 ratings  ·  427 reviews

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Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are stories that simply demand to be told and Michael Arceneaux’s is one such story. In I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé, Arceneaux writes from his life as a black gay man with an uncanny strength of conviction and such fine wit. The essays collected here reveal Arceneaux at his finest, as he grapples with the very things that shape our lives--faith, family, and finding a way into the world he wants to be a part of. Whether he is w ...more
Larry H
3.5 stars here.

"It's often said that knowing who you are, or at the very least possessing a sneaking suspicion of such early in life, is a blessing. The people who share this sentiment need to write it on a piece of paper, ball it up, and then proceed to pour barbecue sauce all over it as they eat it. Early self-awareness is a blessing only if who you are comes with a support system and an education. If you don't have those, it's easy to find yourself feeling stuck and sullen. I learned a certai
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw the title of this book, before even reading the synopsis, I knew i had to read it. Anyone who can think up a title like I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé deserves to have their book read. I'd never heard of Michael Arceneaux prior to this book, and so I wasn't familiar with his writing. He's hysterical! I really enjoyed reading this memoir; his sarcastic and dry humor made this a very fun memoir to read. A couple of times, I go ...more
I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé is a collection of essays written by Michael Arceneaux. Although Arceneaux is a seasoned writer, this is his first published book and it is filled with life experiences related to family, race, sexuality, religion, politics, culture, LGBTQ community...and yes, even Beyoncé. From childhood to adulthood, it's there. Honest, funny, sensitive, heartbreaking, perspective-altering, and unapologetically in your ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Contender for fave memoir title of 2018

Although not familiar with the work of Michael Arceneaux, I was intrigued to explore this collection of memoir essays. Even though this book didn't have me rolling on the floor with belly laughs, I enjoyed the feel of the book. As if, Michael Arceneaux, was sitting across from me in a cafe and pouring out his perspectives on the Catholic faith, his struggles with coming out to family and friends, thoughts on dating/marriage, American politics, and his lov
Patrick Hackett
Honestly, this book read like a cross between a long-winded gchat conversation and a celebrity memoir. Being that the author is both not famous and not my friend, I really struggled to get through this one. Can’t recommend.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook-owned
4/4.5 stars- The perspective of this memoir is one that I think is much needed and I would love to see more of: what does it look like to reckon with people and institutions that on some level don't want you, even when you have lingering love or affection from them? Michael Arceneaux grapples with these questions very thoughtfully on many levels: as a "recovering Catholic," as a gay child of a religious mother, as an adult child of an alcoholic and abusive father, as a black gay man in a white d ...more
Michael Arceneaux was raised Catholic, and he has spent much of his life trying to reconcile his identity as a gay man with the faith of his childhood. He’s also an incisive cultural commentator when it comes to issues of race and class. This is a person who thinks deeply, who has analyzed his life and in this book offers up some of the conclusions he’s drawn and the steps he’s still taking to understand himself and his family. I love collections like this--personal essays that make you laugh an ...more
Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)
You need not be black, gay, or a man to enjoy the keen observations noted in Michael Arceneaux's book. However, if you are either or all three of these attributes, the better the ride.

In his memoir, he digs into the daily nuances, joys, and hypocrisies granted in one's life as those attributes add spice. He knocks down hypersexual stereotypes placed upon gay men of color. He embraces his obsession with Beyonce. He faces the challenge of a religion that refuses to acknowledge his existence, even
chantel nouseforaname
Hilarious. Michael Arceneaux made me laugh out loud and feel those sad points with him where necessary. His writing style is hilarious and relatable. Thanks for putting me on to the term “Beytheist”- I now have a term for crazy people who don’t believe in our shared God!

Sometimes, it was a little too much at points - where it came to talking about the rashes etc etc - like I didn’t need to know that shit, but overall I Can’t Date Jesus was pretty funny and is well-worth the read.

I can see youn
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt, poc-authored
In Michael Arceneaux's debut book "I Can't Date Jesus," he tackles topics ranging from dating to sex to family, race, and religion. In each instance, his conversations on these topics follow lines of thinking that are relevant to contemporary readers - queer and straight alike - and he, in many cases, make important contributions to queer writing on these topics.

However, in almost every essay in this collection, Arceneaux's own writing style gets in his way. Some have classified his writing as "
I love a book with a great title, even when it is a little blasphemous. I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race and other Reasons I've Put My Faith In Beyoncé by Michael Arceneaux is a timely, relevant collection of essays that demands to be read.

I was not familiar with Michael Arceneaux before picking up this book but in reading this book I felt like I got to know him a lot. This book, while it can be funny, tackles some uncomfortable topics- that being religion. Arceneaux coming out stor
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recently I got back my ACT scores for the December national test. I had a subscription to this online prep website where student can take prep exams and practice questions in the categories they are weak at. There was also a public message board where everyone from all over the country could write messages that everyone can see and respond to. They could be questions, tips, advice, etc. There was one conversation that REALLY popped out. It went like this:
person 1- why can't women get testicular
Kayla Brunson
Thank you Atria Books for providing me with a copy for an honest review.

I haven’t read anything by Michael Arceneaux before, but when I heard he was from Houston like me and saw the title I knew I wanted to read it. This was compared toYou Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain and I loved that book last year.

This guy is hilarious as hell and he kept me laughing while reading. The style of the book feels as if we are having dinner and he’s telling me about his life. It’s v
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Some parts of my life are sad, but I am not a sad spirit.” So reads a line from the epilogue to I Can’t Date Jesus, a touching, honest, and highly entertaining collection of reflections from Michael Arceneaux, one of my favorite culture writers. I completed this book quite quickly as I was devouring it similarly to the way I often do writings by Arceneaux: with many an internal head nod, several audible chuckles, and constant reminders that despite being my opposite in so many ways, Michael Arc ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
I love that he is telling the stories of his life - and I wanted to 5 star it for the fact that we NEED more black gay writers to tell the truths of their lives. Ultimately though, I just couldn't love the book even while I love the existence of the book. Conversational tone and tangent-based storytelling aside (hi! that's my style too!), it felt clunkily constructed and I never fully engaged with the way he told his story. Looking forward to seeing where he goes next, though, as a writer. ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
LOVED this book. Another unique and necessary voice to add to the LGBTQ+ canon of literature.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bri (
I really thought I was going to go through all of 2018 only reading books written by women, but Michael Arcenaux's debut I Can't Date Jesus sounded too intriguing to ignore. Despite not reading any of Arceneaux's work before, I really enjoyed reading his memoir essays. He's a big shot in the journalism world, particularly known for writing from the gay and black POV, but you don't need to know his previous work to dive into this! Arceneaux brilliantly writes about the tensions between his family ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really cute! Don’t take it too seriously, and you should have a fun time with this one.

I’m trying to stay brief, so I’ll keep my introduction to a sentence: Michael Arceneaux is witty, wordy, and weary of the foolishness he’s encountered outside of his native Houston, Texas.

I say “wordy” since he often tries harder than he should with the run-on humor, and these attempts land too heavily. However, for every “okay, I get the joke” moment, there were three where he genuinely had me crack
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I wanted to love this book (here for all the black gay voices — more of them, more of their stories, now please!). I didn’t, and that’s tough to write. Reasons:
1) I listened to it as an audiobook narrated by Arceneaux himself, expecting that to be the best way to hear his stories. It wasn’t — it sounded like he was just reading somebody else’s words out loud. Obviously he’s not a trained narrator or voice actor, but the lackluster delivery took away from the substance.
2) Too ma
Kate Kaput
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arceneaux, a comedy writer, tells of growing up Black and gay in a religious Texas home. Though he knew from a young age that he was gay, he knew, too, that he couldn't reveal it to his family. At one point, his priest even suggested he enter the priesthood - but eventually, Michael fell away from the faith, moving to bigger cities, pursuing a writing career, & exploring both race, sexuality, & other elements of his identity in ways both poignant & hilarious. ...more
Lauren (runningonwords)
I think there's a great message here, but its a bit raunchy for what I was expecting to read. I appreciate Arceneaux's storytelling (such a compelling title), but not a huge fan of his voice as an author.
Michael Arceneaux must have a great publicist. That, and a recommendation I do remember reading from Janet Mock (evidently a close friend of his), are the only reasons I can think of that this book even entered my consciousness. It occupies an awkward blind spot in subject matter: nothing to do with my life, nor so foreign that I have a lot to learn from it. To be sure, I think there are southern gay black men who were raised Christian who could blow my mind and/or make me feel like we have tons ...more
Emilee Hone (Emilee Reads)
3.5/5 - Full review at emileereads:

I am neither gay, a man, or black, so much of this book I couldn’t understand personally. But that’s why I’m glad I read it, because Arceneaux was very open with his experiences.

My favorite part was the beginning where he focused on his relationship with religion. I grew up Baptist, not Catholic, but I found myself nodding along with a lot of it. Honestly the only thing that kept this from being a 5 star read was that al
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a little bit of time to get really into this, but once I did, I devoured it. I enjoy reading personal essays, and definitely laughed out loud reading a many. This is a great book to read if you are interested in the intersection of being black and gay, because I think it explains a lot to those who are unknowing. Frankly, that’s why everyone should read this book.

And also because he calls people who don’t love Beyoncé “beytheists,” and honestly, they deserve a name bc they deserve not
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book. It’s equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking and I barreled through it all in one sitting. Michael has a way of telling a story that makes you feel like you’re talking to a friend, and not being talked at- or worse- reading a Very Important Serious Thing. Reading I Can’t Date Jesus felt like stumbling into a serious conversation with a close friend over a bottle of wine that stretches into the wee hours. Read it! You’ll love it too.
Picked this up for the catchy title. Stayed for the bold and honest personal stories. Journalist/essayist Michael Arceneaux unapologetically writes about self discovery, social issues, and coming out; specifically his very religious mother’s reaction. He’s a gifted, and often hilarious, storyteller. Loved the casually tossed in pop culture references. Solid author-read audiobook.
Jacqueline Ellis
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author has an original and confident voice and point of view. There’s a deceptive lightness to his tone that helps magnify some complex issues. I plan on assigning the book in my upcoming Gender, Sexuality, and Culture course
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Arceneaux describes himself as David Sedaris if Sedaris' dad had gold teeth. I laughed so hard at much of his writing and loved how honest he was about himself. I will read all of his essays online. Mr. Arceneaux, can I buy you drinks next time you're in Houston? ...more
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Michael is the New York Times bestselling author of I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé.

Additionally, he is a regular contributor to Esquire, Elle, Essence, NBC News’ THINK, MTV News, among others. He’s also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, Complex, Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Wired, BuzzFeed, The Gua

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