I was struck by a number of things when I first read Living it Out; the first was the sheer diversity of the contributors. As I had contributed myself, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was amazed, looking at the list spanning four pages at the front of the book, to see how many of the contributors are not L/G/B themselves, but are our allies. A 25 year old Anglican with gay friends, parents of L/G/B Christians, themselves of various denominations, even a vicar explaining honestly and frankly his work to include us in his worship.
There was nothing in the book that was negative; the experiences of the contributors were beautifully handled within the text to emphasise the healing and growth within their story. It is often easier for us, as people who have been hurt, to condemn those who disagree with us out of hand and subsequently to cause ourselves more bitterness and pain. It is wonderful to read stories that don't allow the reader to take that easy route. There is no anger here.
The title, also, reflects a core value of the book. Through the stories, Bible studies and reflections it becomes apparent that we are still called to live our faith authentically. That love is the most faithful witness of all, and that the example of those who stand unafraid to be themselves can inspire others to do the same.
Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.I've also been looking at the reviews in the last couple of days, and I found this review, which I was really pleased by. As someone from an Evangelical Anglican background (and, incidentally, raised in High Wycombe!), it's a joy to me to know that there are people in the church prepared to listen and disagree in love.
There's a prayer in the book that sums up what I want to encourage people to do after reading the book;
Emmanuel, God with us, you came to share our life. We pray that you would join us as we join together, sharing our laughter and tears, arguments and struggles, secrets and celebrations. Amen.