Where is Your Affection? image

Where is Your Affection?

OK, you’ve had a couple of days to recover from Andrew’s Books of the Year list and the annual sense of shock, disbelief, or inadequacy that overcame you at his prodigious reading. Really, you shouldn't have been surprised: he posts this kind of thing every year – you knew it was coming! Anyway, here’s a recommendation for another book you might want to add to your Christmas list, A Change of Affection, by Becket Cook.

As the sexual revolution continues to gather pace there is a corresponding increase in books written by those who have left a gay lifestyle behind following an encounter with Jesus. Cook’s book is one such and interesting simply for that. But it is made more interesting by his backstory: a gay man living in West Hollywood, working in the fashion industry, and present at all the coolest parties with some of the biggest names. An extraordinary encounter with Jesus one Sunday through an unexpected encounter with a Christian in a coffee shop caused Cook to totally reorient his life, join a church, attend a seminary, and pursue a ministry of teaching the gospel. His affections were utterly changed.

This story is compellingly told – it feels like a 2010s version of the 1960s classic The Cross and the Switchblade. Different issues, but equally gripping and surprising.

That’s just the first half of the book though; the second explores the kinds of questions people ask of someone like Cook and gives some practical suggestions about how pastors and parents can interact with gay parishioners or children who come out as gay. The tone is full of grace, but Cook doesn’t pull any punches:

Being true to yourself is nothing short of idolatry. Oh, and isn’t a child molester just being true to himself? A rapist? A thief? A greedy person? And on it goes. So no thank you. I don’t want to be true to myself. I want to be true to God and his Word…I would never call myself a gay Christian, because the label “gay” is part of my old self, which the apostle Paul told us to get rid of.

I’d recommend this book to a gay friend struggling with the claims and demands of Christianity. I’d recommend it if you are beginning to go a bit ‘wobbly’ on the church’s historically held, biblically faithful, understanding of sexuality. I’d recommend it if simply you are trying to work out how to think and respond to the current sexual tides. It’s a really helpful book. I expect it will be on Andrew’s 2020 list – he’s just been a bit slow in 2019!


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