There Is Nothing Neat Or Unified
The book titled If God Is Love, Don’t Be A Jerk is the most recent offering from the minister championing the LGBTQ cause, John Pavlovitz. On some levels, it was a great read and on others, it was a disappointment.
I came across John’s online presence this last year and was intrigued. I identified with his frustrations, particularly with regard to the same-sex marriage debate so I was really looking forward to this book. He was a prominent voice with the dubious distinction of having been ousted by the religious community promoting intolerance for sexual orientation issues and I was hoping he could offer arguments and rationale that hadn’t been thought of yet.
Unfortunately, his arguments weren’t that fresh. In fact, same-sex issues weren’t the main theme and when mentioned, were usually lumped together with other issues which in the end only minimized the topic. The other issues are important also but I was looking for something different.
What surprised me most was his ideas emerged from a very different perspective than the one in which he’d spent much of his ministry labors.
I grew up in fundamental evangelical circles, much like the one John was ousted from, but, like John and many others, have grown concerned about Christian obsessions over political issues and personalities. I didn’t vote for Trump in either election and I’ve known professing Christians who were far worse than the same-sex-oriented folks they decry.
John was an interesting breath of fresh air. He writes on many political/cultural/social issues on his blog and he often hits home. Many people don’t like him or his remarks but that might be because many of the arguments stem from the very words of Jesus and that makes them hard to refute.
I was hoping the book followed the same line of reasoning and was focused specifically on issues revolving around sexual orientation. It wasn’t.
I don’t say this in a mean-spirited way but I think John speaks to/from both sides of the aisle, Bible-believing and Bible rejecting. I wondered at several points in the book who his target audience was. I’m still not sure.
That’s not a criticism. It’s just an observation. People ask me the same question about the books I’ve published and, to be honest, I’m always tempted to say, everyone.
But I was motivated to read his book because I knew there had to be something better than full-on intolerance toward same-sex issues and I was hoping John could offer something to bridge the gap to a better place. Unfortunately, there was no bridge. It seems John simply leapt the gap and now wants everyone else to do the same. [Read more…] about Review: If God Is Love, Don’t Be A Jerk