Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill
A Book Review by Sue Bliese
If you are like me, through life’s tests and trials you have become convinced that the Bible is true and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have all the answers to life, the universe, and everything, one way or another. You see the way people are blindly following worldly wisdom regarding sex and sexuality, and you know they are inviting hell into their lives. You also see shallow, judgmental responses of fellow believers and know there has to be another way. So you read articles, books, and blogs like Dr. Ongley’s in order to build a strong platform from which to engage with depth, love, and truth.
Here’s another book that will help: Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality, published in 2010. It offers the unique insight of an evangelical seminary professor who struggles with same-sex attraction.
Hill wrote Washed and Waiting for others like himself: “I may be able to offer a helpful perspective for others like me who know without a doubt that they want to follow Jesus and who at the same time struggle day in and day out with homosexual desires” (p. 18). He found a literary paucity for those like him who believe “homosexual practice” goes against God’s will and who have not found healing for their same-sex attraction. He wanted to fill that gap by recounting his own struggle to remain faithful to Jesus and find an open, welcoming place in the body of Christ.
Hill had a typical evangelical upbringing that eventually led him to Wheaton College. Hill’s struggle to understand his same-sex attraction in regard to his faith led him to explore orthodox and liberal stances on homosexuality. Hill does not circumvent Christian arguments for homosexual behavior but thoughtfully and courageously responds, not necessarily with a factual retort but from a different worldview:
What keeps me on the path I’ve chosen is not so much individual proof texts from Scripture or the sheer weight of the church’s traditional teaching against homosexual practice. Instead, it is, I think, those texts and traditions and teachings as I see them from within the true story of what God has done in Jesus Christ – and the whole perspective on life and the world that flows from that story…the Bible and the church’s no to homosexual behavior make sense to me – it has the ring of truth…when I look at it as one piece within the larger Christian narrative. (p.61)
However, his conclusion comes with personal cost. He shares his struggles with loneliness and shame. But in what seems to be true to his character, Hill thoroughly thinks through his struggles from a biblical perspective and shares what he has learned in a way that teaches, ministers to, and motivates the Christian to be faithful to the commands of Christ.
This book left me feeling empathetic toward those with a similar struggle. It gave me tools to face our current culture, and also ministered to my own struggles with loneliness and shame.
This book is a pretty easy read – his personal accounts and evangelical worldview make it easily relatable. In fact there are times when it is so open and relatable that one wants to have a conversation with him.
Despite its approachability, I would not read this book too fast, however. It has nuances and depth that are worth sitting in and contemplating for a while. For those who struggle relating to or feeling empathy for homosexuals, or for those who want to strengthen their Biblical theology regarding homosexuality, this is a great read.