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And God Save Judy Garland: A gay Christian's journey Kindle Edition
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|Length: 354 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 11 - 18|
|Grade Level: 5 - 9|
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I would recommend this book for youth in high school (and older). I would also strongly encourage anyone who comes in contact with youth, regardless of that person's theological position on homosexuality, read "And God Save Judy Garland." Christian youth who are questioning, or who are sure of their same-sex attraction, need Christian principles imparted by caring Christian adults to guide their intimate/romantic lives just as much as straight youth do. Why should youth need to seek advice and answers in places such as gay bars and chance encounters with predatory men capitalizing on a young person's vulnerability? All people -- and, I would argue, especially young people -- need a safe place to explore their thoughts, worries, joys.
Randy's story is a poignant one. As a child, he clearly loved God AND his church community, an Assembly of God church. (Hope I'm not misrepresenting him here!) Sadly, he could not remain true to himself and remain within that Christian tradition. In his journey, he recognizes the importance of not dividing Christian brothers and sisters along gender and sexual lines. He emphasizes that the church he ministers at must be open to all, even us straight people (who have plenty of churches in which we can belong). In doing so, he has faced criticism from those within the LGBTQ community, adding to the already-intensive criticism he faces from those who should be fellow brothers & sisters in Christ. I admire his vision of Christians worshiping together, with Christ as the common bond.
Randy shares his life's journey from the perspective of where he was at that point in time. As a reader, I could sense his childhood joys (his sister making his favorite breakfast, hamburgers at the bowling alley), his budding and growing faith as he praised and adored Jesus, his inner struggle with his sexuality, his condemnation of himself in the face of others' condemnation, and at long last a growing confidence and joy in who God made him. The journey evoked strong emotions, but also provided moments of laughter. Thank you, Randy Eddy-McCain, for opening your life up to others, to guide, encourage and educate others.
In the interest of full disclosure, Randy is my pastor and his love for Jesus is visible as he ministers to his congregation. But more than that, I consider him my friend and brother.
In doing so, their lives have become a lie, for instance, marrying a person of the opposite gender, and living in denial of who God created them to be. Causing severe damage, not only to themselves, but countless others. Randy's words about the AIDS crisis and the part he, and folks like Dolly played in it moved me so much, and brought back many sad memories. I remember well the days Bob and I would visit the AIDS ward at our local hospital, where Bob would sing to the patients. We didn't see many visitors from local churches, however we saw the Face of Jesus in many who didn't identify as Christians. However, like Dolly, these folks were the hands of Jesus.
Randy and I must have read Tony Campolo's book, "Twenty Hot Potatoes That Christians are Afraid to Touch" at about the same time. As I too wrote to both Tony and Peggy to thank him for his words. Shortly after Bob and I had the pleasure to meet Peggy at a TEN conference in Phoenix. Where she sat on a panel with, Dave Ferrell, father of Todd Ferrell, President of TEN, and a friend of ours from Vancouver. It took a great deal of courage for Randy to bare his soul the way he has in this book, however in doing so he may save a life, or lives, of young GLBT folks who might head down the wrong path when they discover their orientation. Thank you Randy, for sharing your life with strangers, I look forward to reading the rest of your book.