284 pages, $14.95, paper

David Morrison has written an eloquent, reasoned, and very personal book. He tells his own story, from his first forays into homosexual activity with a boy at camp to his conversion to Christianity; from his early Christian life as a gay activist to his deepening understanding of sexual attraction and his rejection of homosexual activity. Into this story, he weaves an empathetic debate with the gay community, reflections on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, to which he now belongs. He drives home his central concern with insight and compassion: "Christ's ennobling and terrifying message for people living with same-sex attraction is that we are created, loved, and responsible."Early in the book, he describes a key moment in his spiritual journey.Strangely, I cannot remember my first counselor's name, but I recall so much else about him. He wore his brown hair short, and the color of his little John Lennon glasses sort of matched it. I can never recall him in anything but jeans and a thick sweater with a collar that almost cradled his lean, long and inscrutable face. His voice, when he spoke at all, reminded me of the sound my feet made walking through dry leaves. During the first three 90-minute sessions, he didn't say anything except to ask, quietly in the first five minutes of the very first session, "So how can I help you?"He was the first person I told about the same-sex attraction in my life. "I think I'm a homosexual," I blurted at the beginning of the second session. There, I had said it. Silence. I looked up at him and he didn't say anything. His face registered neither approval nor disgust. Somewhere, deep in the building, I heard the furnace rumble to life."Well," he finally said, "Go on."My life's revolution started in that nondescript office, under the too-bright lamps, sitting on the edge of a tacky, uncomfortable chair. It began to dawn on me that no one cared if I lived with same-sex attraction. The huge, unbearable secret that I had carried, denied even to myself for many years, turned out to be no big deal when seen in the open. Now, years later, this is one of the only things upon which advocates for same-sex activity and I agree: life is far better outside the closet than in it. No, I am not suggesting that everyone needs to cry from the rooftops that they live with some degree of same-sex attraction. … But the power the attraction holds over life drops sharply when we first admit its existence to ourselves and then to at least one other person whom we trust and know loves and supports us.

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