In this compelling book, Clare Herbert provides a timely and potent case for the claim that LGBT relationships expand, renew and enrich Christian understandings of Marriage. Herbert balances genuine theological engagement with actual human stories. She gathers out of the fragments and promises of human lives fresh conceptions of hallowed relationships. A book for everyone - queer and straight - who longs to escape humbug and artificial holiness, and who wants to know more about how God blesses our lives and longings.
Clare Herbert's study of the lives of gay and lesbian Christian couples in civil partnerships is an example of qualitative research and practical theology at its best. Committed, honest and searching, it shines a light on the struggles but also the courage and faithfulness of LGBT couples in the church and thus reveals movingly the goodness, the very holiness, of these lives. And it is beautifully written in intelligent, accessible prose. Herbert brings the witness of her interviewees into dialogue with her own life story, the policies of the church and with queer theology in a creative interplay which is both insightful and challenging. Every single priest, bishop, pastoral carer and theological educator in the Church of England should read it.
It is a strange truth that it is when the Church is talking about loving relationships that it tries to be most controlling. Those who do not fit its acceptable categories quickly learn shame, anger, fear and, whilst wanting to be faithful Christians, know they are being seen as protesting radicals - which is the last thing they can feel inside. Who can open the window and let some fresh air in to this unhealthy and often hypocritical state of affairs? Well, Clare Herbert does in this excellent new book. With a heart that has come close to cracking but which has been resuscitated by her partnership, she draws on the experience of those who want to love God and love their loved one with truth, integrity and hope. The result is an inspiriting, theologically informed and pastorally sensitive contribution to a conversation that needs all the help it can get. She shows in this project that by being heard, you hear yourself and, with love on your side, can hear the voice of God calling you to the better place.