To learn more about the United Church of Christ’s Open and Affirming movement, visit the UCC’s ONA website: INSERT  HERE.

To learn more about similar movements within other religious communities, consider the overview of XXXXXXX  in Wikipedia: INSERT  HERE.

The books and videos described below may provide you with additional useful information.

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs. Christians Debate, by Justin Lee
As a teenager and young man, Justin Lee felt deeply torn. Nicknamed “God Boy” by his peers, he knew that he was called to a life in the evangelical Christian ministry. But Lee harbored a secret: He also knew that he was gay. In this groundbreaking book, Lee recalls the events–his coming out to his parents, his experiences with the “ex-gay” movement, and his in-depth study of the Bible–that led him, eventually, to self-acceptance. Earnest and compelling, Lee’s writing is approachable, and he shows compassion for those on all sides of this debate.

The Good Book, by Peter Gomes
Reverend Gomes has written a book which addresses the issue of openness in a broad sense, including his thoughts about how sexual and gender orientation relate to Christianity. In The Good Book, Gomes says: “Nowhere in the Bible are we given to understand that by faithful study and good works, or even with a little bit of luck, we will be able to understand all that we need to know about the fundamental mystery of our relationship to God.” And he concludes, “(in writing this book) . . . I wanted black people, women, and homosexuals, among others, to see and to hear that the Bible was both for them and with them. I wanted them to know that the Bible was theirs by right and intention . . .

Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community, by Andrew Marin
Love is an Orientation is Andrew Marin’s attempt to build a bridge between the Christian community and the LGBT community, offering his own testimony of following Jesus’ example of incarnational relationship and ministry to those who are different from us, oppressed by society, and often condemned by the church at large. In doing so, Andrew has provided a path to a better way to engage.

“What the Bible Tells Me So”
95 min – Documentary – 5 October 2007 (USA). An exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community.

“Call Me Malcolm”
You can’t say the word transgender and people really know what you’re talking about. But anybody who says the word transgender means something different by it anyway, so it really is a story and not just a label. “Call Me Malcolm” is an amazing story of the human spirit and God’s spirit, and the liberating struggle to realize and express with confidence the marvelous gift of one’s truest sense of self. As Malcolm shares his own story and through the stories of others we meet, Call Me Malcolm offers us a glimpse into the real lives of real people who are transgender. But it is only a glimpse. There are many stories to be told and Malcolm helps us make connections to our own stories, encouraging us to share them. That can seem daunting in a culture which has done more to heap shame on persons who identify as transgender. The good news of Malcolm’s story is the way in which shame and fear are overcome by grace, compassion and knowledge. Viewers cannot help but come to a deeper understanding of faith, love, and gender identity, and by doing so, arrive at a deeper understanding of their own journey.

“Out in America”
“Out in America” is an uplifting collection of unique, transformative stories and inspiring personal narratives told through the lens of the country’s most prominent LGBT figures and pioneers, as well as many average, yet extraordinary, citizens from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities. The program weaves together diverse stories – from urban and rural America, from the heartland to New England, from San Francisco to Harlem. Deeply moving and often humorous, viewers will get a glimpse of awakenings, first crushes, unlikely soul mates, intimacy and liberation. While separated by circumstance and upbringing, the film’s subjects are all united in their shared experiences of self-discovery, coming out, pride and love as well as a triumph over adversity and a true sense of belonging. Against the backdrop of historical events, each also traces their own hopes, struggles, influences and contributions towards advancements in equality and broad social change.