One of the most common questions I hear from conservatives who are just entering into conversations about nonstraight orientations centers on the phrase "gay Christian," and specifically on whether or not it's an ok way to describe Christians who have persistent same-sex attractions. A common objection is that we don't go around referring to our brothers and sisters in the faith on the basis of a particular pattern of sin (e.g., "adulterous Christian" or "prideful Christian). On the one hand, one of the major goals of All But Invisible was to provide an extensive answer to this question, although I did so without actually using the phrase at all at any point in the book—I wanted to avoid as many distractions as possible. But I think it might be helpful to share a few thoughts that summarize some key ideas from the book.

First, the way the word "gay" is mostly commonly used today is to refer to an orientation identity, and not to a specific pattern of behavior that Christians would think of as sinful. In other words, when most people hear the word "gay", they don't think of actual behavior, but instead a pattern of desire. I would say that these desires are inevitably experienced at some point as fallen desires, but that the sanctifying work of Christ can redeem some of them (the nonsexual ones). By analogy, nonstraight orientations are like a disability... in other words, the phrase "gay Christian" is more like the phrase "blind Christian" than "prideful Christian."

Second, gay people are a minority in our culture today. For Christians, it can be hard to understand this because they have access to some extremely influential sources of power in our society. Gay people are taking Christians to courts and pressuring congress to legislate their morality for the rest of the country. I get that. But they are also a traumatized people who carry a history of hurt and pain with them. And much of this hurt and pain has been caused by Christians, sometimes (unintentionally) even in the name of Christ. In other words, the phrase "gay Christian" is more like the phrase "black Christian" in the United States than "prideful Christian."

These two key points are actually the main ideas behind Part II and Part III of All But Invisible, so if either of them intrigues you go ahead and pick up the book!