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Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,269 ratings  ·  305 reviews
"Gay," "Christian," and “celibate” don't often appear in the same sentence. Yet many who sit next to us in the pew at church fit that description, says author Wesley Hill. As a celibate gay Christian, Hill gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to wrestle firsthand with God's "No" to same-sex relationships. What does it mean for gay Christians to live faithful to God whi ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 27th 2010 by Zondervan (first published September 3rd 2010)
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May 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book as part of a church book group in which we are comparing Wes Hill's experience to that of Justin Lee in Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate. Justin and Wes are both gay Christian men. Our book group is made up of straight Christian women.

While I found Justin's book more compelling, the ultimate conclusions I've drawn from reading both of these perspectives are:

a. Figuring out the intended meaning behind many scriptural passages that appear to address t
Deeply personal and honest, Washed and Waiting is not an argumentative book. If you are looking for ammunition in the so-called culture wars, look elsewhere. Hill spends little time trying to convince anyone that the path he has chosen is the right one; instead, he writes to show other celibate gay Christians that they are not alone. The pain of the path he has chosen is laid bare, and there is no posturing.

Despite the harshness of the life Hill leads (or perhaps because of it), this is a kind b
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homosexuality
Is is possible to be "gay" and a Christian? "Yes!", answer the many Christians who openly practice their homosexuality and condemn conservative Christians as intolerant homo-phobiacs. Is it possible to be a Christian and wrestle with homosexual attractions, with no end in sight, no prospect of "healing"? Wesley Hill's painfully honest book, Washed and Waiting, shows that this is indeed a reality for many gay Christians.

Let me admit that I took some time to open up to Hill's perspective. I come
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: An updated narrative of a celibate, gay Christian man, including thoughts about the recovery of the place of celibacy and the importance of spiritual friendship.

Wesley Hill was one of the first to articulate a distinctive perspective in discussions on homosexuality and Christian faith. At a time when people on one side were simply advocating against same-sex intimacy, and for ministries helping gay and lesbian persons develop opposite sex attractions, and those on the other side were af
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Wesley Hill is gay. However, he has committed himself to celibacy because he accepts the demands of Scripture and two millennia of orthodox Church tradition. This is the story of his wrestling with Scripture and his situation. Despite the potential to slip into gloominess and despair, he gives gay Christians a vision of hope.

As a straight single guy, I picked up this book because I have been concerned that we as the Church have not been loving to our homosexual brothers and sisters. Any discussi
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of books in this vein (I was in a book club about faith and sexuality for about 6 months), and while I knew going in that I wouldn't agree with Hill's conclusions, this is cited often enough as a classic in this genre that I thought I should eventually read this. Specifically I had heard that just as Justin Lee had a gentle, story-based approach to the "Side A" position in Torn, Wesley Hill did the same in this book for the "Side B" position.

It was clear immediately that the book
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My full review can be read at Blogging Theologically:

There are few subjects touchier than the question of homosexuality and Christianity. In recent years, in order to shift the portrayal of Christians as vicious homophobes, many mainline denominations have fully embraced homosexual practice as compatible with Christianity, as have some in “post-evangelical” circles, such as Tony Jones. Given the enormous pressure to affirm and embrace homosexual practice, it can be really tempting to go along wi
Bob Hayton
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Homosexuality. The word stirs many reactions today. Many Christians who don't know homosexuals personally, remain puzzled and scared by this term. Many suspect the word does not picture a reality, only an intentional perversion of God's created order. Pat answers are easy, and when it comes to homosexuality a simple Bible-based condemnation seems all that is in order. It is easier and more convenient for us to file the word, and whatever reality it represents, away into a tidy corner -- far away ...more
Bethany Havener
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A helpful perspective from a man who struggles with same-sex attraction and is endeavoring to walk in obedience to the Scriptures. Asking myself, how can we better support these believers in our churches?
Carrie Kann
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This book was PHENOMENAL. First, it was a gentle, kind, thoughtful presentation of the challenges that face gay Christians, and I truly believe that I will be able to be even more compassionate and loving towards my LGBTQ friends because of having read it. But secondly, I did not expect this book to apply to me like it did - as the author described his feelings of loneliness surrounding his decision to live as a celebate gay man, I found myself in tears of understanding, having felt what he desc ...more
Joel Pinckney
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hill's treatment of Christianity and homosexuality is the best that I have read, particularly because it extends far beyond the realm of theory. Pastors and theologians have written exhaustively on the subject, many of which have been effective and helpful (Kevin DeYoung, for instance). However, the unfortunate reality is that the degree to which their words will be readily accepted by those questioning the issue within the church or those outside of the church is limited by their lack of direct ...more
Leah Good
I often struggle with how to shape my response to people with a homosexual orientation. Since it's not something I have needed to confront in a practical way on a daily basis, I typically shove it to a corner of my brain and move on with life. But this book has been on my mental to-read-list for a while and finally jumped to the top.

When I noticed this book last year, it immediately stood out to me. In my sporadic efforts to deepen my perspective on the subject, I'd come to two conclusions. 1) I
Adam Shields
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Short review: This is a short book (only 160 pages) but I think it does more to describe a right understanding of Christian sexuality than most marriage and sex books I have read.

The first half of the book is biographical, describing how Hill became aware of his sexual orientation and then how he came to the place of understanding celibacy as the only option for him. I think the description of the struggle is important to his understanding. Many do not come to the same place, but I think he cle
Melissa Travis
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Enormously valuable insights from a Christian striving to be faithful to Christ while bearing the burden of same-sex attraction. A must-read.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: counseling, seminary
I found Wes Hill’s book Washed and Waiting incredibly compelling. He writes poignantly and with deep vulnerability. His voice is one we need to hear.

Yet, the way he talks about himself as a gay Christian could be interpreted as an overemphasis on sexual identity. Because homosexual attraction has been his exclusive experience so far (as opposed to heterosexual attraction) it colors everything about his life and makes him feel separate from those who are opposite-sex attracted. I suspect at the
John B. MacDonald
Mar 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wesley Hill (WH) is a Christian, a professor of biblical studies, and a homosexual.

WH presents the issue of his homosexuality in an autobiographical manner. Even though he grew up in a healthy Christian family and church environment, he explains his homosexuality in terms of life-long homo-erotic attraction. He describes his growing realization as a youth to his attraction and the accompanying confusion, fear, desires, isolation, and loneliness.

In the midst of this, WH states, “I do not think th
John Gardner
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
“Is there a place for celibate, gay Christians in the church?”

That is the question Wesley Hill, a self-described celibate, gay Christian, seeks to answer as he bares his soul in this deeply personal book, subtitled “Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.” Raised as a Christian in a conservative, fundamentalist church, Hill is convinced that the clear testimony of the Bible and the historical teaching of the Church – that homosexuality is contrary to the Creator’s sexual design,
Patrick Willis
I was given this book to read by a student of mine, who had to read it as a textbook for a class. It's not a long read and overall is pretty engaging! I appreciate what Wesley brings to the table with this little, but important, book. One of the biggest weaknesses recently in the church as a whole in balancing grace with truth when it comes to people with same-sex attraction, is that we don't do a good job of providing people who are same-sex attracted with the kind of community, compassion, and ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, recommended
For some time now I've wanted to read first person accounts about what it is like to have same sex attraction. So I picked this book up at my church, and also checked out Boy Erased: A Memoir . Two different people, two different experiences, two different outcomes. Wesley Hill is a young Christian man who realized at puberty that he was unlike his peers who were chasing girls: he had strong homoerotic desires. His story is honest, painful, and courageous. He shares intimately with his audience ...more
Tanner Hawk
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Honest, compelling, and hope-filled.

"'God created us physical-spiritual beings with deep longings for intimacy with other physical-spiritual beings. We're not meant to replace these longings with anything. We're meant to sanctify them'" (p. 130).

"Perhaps one of the main challenges of living faithfully before God as a gay Christian is to believe, really believe, that God in Christ can make up for our sacrifice of gay partnerships not simply with his own desire and yearning for us but with his des
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. This book, Wes' story, spoke to me in a profound way. First, he reminds the body of Christ that all believers struggle to live faithfully to His Word. And it is our duty to provide the support, friendship, fellowship and relationships we all desire and need. We are a community of believers that should so be bound by love that we "weep with those that weep." Second, Wes' reminds us that we can honor Christ even in our loneliness and that our struggles to remain faithful in a world that a ...more
Charlotte Ng
Sep 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
a raw and painfully true journey, to which i personally felt understood, and human, in the universal experience of loneliness. when you know with full well the call for holiness and understand your deepest desire to please God/be pleasant, but also fight with every fibre and bone against our fleshly desires. i admire Hill’s honesty, vulnerability, transparency and zeal.

“the New Testament views the church—rather than marriage—as the primary place where human love is best expressed and experience
Teri Pardue
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book to gain insight into one man’s experience as a gay Christian. It’s been on my to-read list for years - ever since I first heard about it and also realized I remembered seeing Wes Hill at Wheaton from time to time during the years my husband was studying there.

What I didn’t expect was to get a book that hit me at my core about what it means to belong to God, and also what Christian friendship should look like. These were two theological issues, independent of homosexuality, that
Steve Coombs
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Moving and challenging. I'd heard of Wesley Hill for years and read several of his blog posts, but I didn't know what I was missing out on by not reading this book. It's far more than just a book about his personal journey (though he does share that) - Wes digs deep into the theology of suffering, sanctification, and our identity in God. He does this not just wish scripture (though he brings a fresh perspective on many passages previously overlooked), but also with beautiful poetry, biography, a ...more
i've been really trying to only read books on this topic by actual lgbt people, as a lot of the time they can come across very disconnected/downright cruel when they aren't. and this one was very good, and very well done. i really appreciate how he comments on how he couldn't just mind over matter himself straight. also, his talks about loneliness was really relatable-i'm not gay, but i'm an older single christian, and his talks on that was actually really encouraging. really really recommend wh ...more
Jordan J. Andlovec
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't know if there is any other book quote like this. It's equal parts courageous witness and gripping vulnerability, written from someone who has skin in the game. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to understand the call to Christian faithfulness that is not easy or trite, but full of the grace and candor of one who has "tasted and seen." ...more
In Washed and Waiting, Wesley Hill reflects on his life as a celibate gay Christian. The book this not focus on providing theological arguments about same-sex marriage, though Hill definitely has strong biblical arguments which he outlines in his chapter in Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church. Instead, the focus is on Hill's struggles to understand his life and his desires.
This book is not only a strong reflection on Christianity and homosexuality, it is also a really good Chri
Glenn Wishnew III
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I take it to be axiomatic that a community is dependent on persons who live the truth the community exists for — that is, Jesus Christ sends saints to witness to the truthfulness & power of God’s love for us — and one such saint is Wesley Hill.
Brad Hough
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
5.0 // A wonderful book, full of both heartache and hope. Helpful for same-sex attracted/gay and lesbian believers and important for the rest of the church as well. I would especially recommend the afterward on the expanded edition for pastors looking to ensure their church is a place of flourishing for celibate believers (same-sex attracted or otherwise).
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for every Christian on this issue. Hill's story is compelling, his theology sound, and his thoughts on friendship in the church necessary for us to hear. Highly recommend! ...more
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Wesley Hill (PhD, University of Durham) is assistant professor of biblical studies at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, and author of the much-discussed book Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. He is on the editorial board of and is a columnist for Christianity Today. He also contributes to Books & Culture and First Things.

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  As the summer comes to a close and the days grow shorter, it's natural that we're drawn to what hides in the shadows. Mystery stories are...
55 likes · 19 comments
“I once faced a temptation that was so persistent and so overwhelming that I literally believed my whole world would go dark if I refused to give in to it," he said. "All I could do was scream to the Holy Spirit to keep me from it.” 10 likes
“One of the most striking things about the New Testament teaching on homosexuality is that, right on the heels of the passages that condemn homosexual activity, there are, without exception, resounding affirmations of God's extravagant mercy and redemption. God condemns homosexual behavior and amazingly, profligately, at great cost to himself, lavishes his love on homosexual persons.” 6 likes
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