Beyond The Shades Of Gray, by Dean Bailey
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press in exchange for an honest review.]
In 2004, as a student at the Ambassador Bible Center, I felt moved to write in defense of brethren struggling against unwanted and immoral longings for morality for a magazine my church published at the time regarding Same-Sex Attraction. At times I write under my own name, and at times I, like most of the other writers for the magazine, wrote pseudonymously. From that time I have read and written on occasion about the subject . I found, as the author of this book did, that there is a satanic dialectic between some who preach hate and make people guilty of some sins feeling worse than the general lot of sinners, and between those who wish to attack God’s word in order to justify themselves. As someone who has faced the problem during life that most of my own longings for intimacy have been at best problematic and at worst contrary to the laws of God and man, this is a book whose tension and general biblical but gracious approach is one that I appreciated and could relate to all too well.
It should be noted, as may be obvious already, that this book has nothing to do with the book or the movie 50 Shades of Gray. The author writes as a “recovering” person with Same-Sex Attraction, and he writes in a very personal fashion about his own background and life experience. He also writes, happily for him, from the point of view of someone who is married with two daughters. Many readers will be able to identify with the writer’s discussion of a dysfunctional family background, with verbal abuse from his father, with a premature exposure to sexuality, with a certain tendency to struggle with self-defense against bullies, and with a broken family troubled by alcoholism. These lamentable matters are at the basis of the early childhood backgrounds of all too many people, and the author points out that they can result in a variety of struggles with intimacy where the proper longings for touch and affection become sexualized and where early experiences of rejection can become painfully skewed when we seek people to heal our brokenness that only God and Jesus Christ can restore to a proper state.
The contents of this book are pretty extensive and thorough, and the author admits to a lack of expertise where it is appropriate, as in his discussions on lesbianism and intersex. Where the author does have a great deal of personal experience, as in his discussion of homosexuality in the military, he speaks with confidence and clarity. At times in the roughly 35 or so chapters of this lengthy book, the author speaks with particular credibility as a staunch foe of the gay activist movement, although he writes with graciousness and a refusal to stoop to the level of those who would disagree with him. The contents of the book include a discussion on the origins of homosexual longings, the tendency for both heterosexual and homosexual longings for affection and intimacy to become overly sexualized, the refusal either to oppose the clear biblical discussion about the proper place of intimacy or to make people feel bad for whatever longings they struggle against, and a determination to be honest and candid about his own life and example. The result is a book that should be greatly appreciated by anyone who takes the Bible seriously and is fair-minded to others.
The author is to be commended for his willingness to deal with the thorny nature of the subject and with the controversy involved in sexuality within our contemporary culture. In particular, the author points out with some justice the shorter life span due to illness and psychological difficulties relating from homosexual behavior and longings, rather than to the issue of bullying, and also notes that the tendency to view same-sex affection among contemporary men as being signs of sexual deviancy has helped to create an environment of extreme touch deprivation among many people. This is a book that many people will find much to struggle with and wrestle with, and the author is to be praised for writing in such a way that even those who disagree with the author’s contentions and conclusions should recognize his fair-mindedness and desire that all should be saved.
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