Sometimes when I read a book, I fall in love. Sometimes it's a character. Sometimes it's a premise, but I find myself reading the last page with a little regret that I am leaving the literary home and the friends that I met there in the past few days. It is with such regret that I finished reading Coming Out, Coming to Faith, Coming to the Table.
Here is the first thing that you should know about Ms. Green's book: it is a work of joy.
I have straddled both sides of the theological divide in the modern church. I was born to a conservative, Irish Catholic family in South Ozone Park and the nuns taught me the mass in Latin, and a few weeks later, the mass in English, and I lived by the catechism, sang in choir and went to just about the most Catholic school I could get to: Notre Dame. When I came out of the closet, I got angry about the Catholic teachings about the gays, and in anger I defied every teaching that the Church had given me, throwing out the baby with the baptismal water. As years passed, and as I raised my own children, I came to embrace my Christian values again, and realized that I could only change the Church from the inside, not the outside.
I found myself wishing that Ms. Green's book had been published thirty years earlier, it would saved me much grief. Here is what is great about her book: it is not preachy. It does not take sides. This book explores different belief systems within the Christian faith, and gently nudges the reader into looking at the other person's perspective.
She tells the stories of eight persons, liberal and conservative, who gather together to find the common table that is the Christian faith. It is underscored by her own rich and poetic words.
Here are the people who should read this book:
1. Gays and lesbians who have struggled with reconciling their faith to their identity
2. Old church Christians who see the world changing and want a little insight from both sides of the ideological divide.
3. Doubting Thomases like myself who fixate over each and every miracle, wondering how they all fit into the cosmic pattern.
4. Pastors and preachers and imans and rabbis and clergymen who all see the value of a "spirited" debate.
5. You the reader, who wonder what others think of the everyday mysteries.
Rarely have I read a book that has opened me up to so many perspectives.
I thank the author for the courage that it took to bring this experience into print.
Author of A Song for Lost Angels