In Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach Between the Church and the LGBT Community, Kathy Baldock constructs a narrative timeline, including fascinating stories and personal testimonies, detailing the historical and current social, medical, cultural, and religious discrimination which have impacted the gay and transgender communities, with particular focus on the intersection of the conservative political and religious right beginning in the late 1970s.
Baldock examines the layers through which people often view the gay and transgender communities. Topics covered include the cultural history of human sexuality, same-sex behavior and homosexuality, as well as the reason homosexuality has been seen as a mental illness, the subsequent evolution, impact, and decline of conversion reparative therapy ideology, the beginnings of the HIV virus in Africa in 1921 and its eventual spread to America, the science of sex, gender, and sexual orientation, a critical analysis of biblical passages on same-sex behavior, the social history of marriage and a biblical case for LGBT marriage, the start of the gay activist and gay Christian movements, stories of LGBT Christian youth and parents, and finally, ways in which allies and advocates might engage in productive dialogue for inclusion.
Walking the Bridgeless Canyon is relevant for several target audiences: those who are striving to understand how the LGBT community has become a target of cultural and religious discrimination, students of civil rights, and social and political history, conservative Christians seeking to find a more informed, civil and gracious way to engage their own gay or transgender family and friends and the LGBT community in general, and progressive Christians who strive to rise above biblical disagreements and engage in a more informed and broad conversation for inclusion of LGBT Christians in faith communities.
We each evaluate events, people, and even Bible verses though personal filters fashioned from our life experiences, interactions, education, and even the way we process knowledge. Add to this the societal events that came before us, over which we have no control but which have been layered, on atop another, as the foundation of what we understand today. Then, add to all that a spiritual layer, unique to each of us, shaped by our theology, the biblical teachings we’ve been exposed to, and our personal relationship with and views of God. It is no surprise, then, that we can arrive at diverse assumptions and conclusions in the intersection of faith and sexual orientation and gender identity.
Walking the Bridgeless Canyon is a highly accessible book meticulously researched with almost 500 footnotes which ultimately challenges readers to assess and remove their own flawed or ill-informed lenses through which they view the LGBT community.
Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: A Discussion Guide for Personal, Group & Bible Study Use is now available as well. A team reviewed the manuscript to ensure the discussion questions and text were accessible, gracious, and moved people along understanding with a good balance of push and kindness.
The Guide will also be a great tool for those who are already affirming. But the ultimate market, is Christians who are undecided and/or uneducated about sexual orientation and gender identity at the intersection of faith.
If you want to read through the Foreword so that you can get a feel for the tone of the guide, you can read that here: WTBC Study Guide Foreword.
Nine week discussion outline:
WEEK ONE: Opening thoughts and discussion questions–Using the discussion guide, gathering as a group, or not.
WEEK TWO: Early understanding of same-sex behavior and gays in the American culture until the 1960s–The beginnings of psychotherapy on homosexuality in America, gay Americans in the culture from the 1940s through the 1970s.
WEEK THREE: Moving toward social, medical, cultural, governmental, and legal freedom, then into religious oppression–The roots of Fundamentalism and the merger of conservative religion and politics.
WEEK FOUR: The origin and and politics of HIV/AIDS and sex, gender, and sexual orientation
WEEK FIVE: Same-sex behavior and the Bible–Sodom and Gomorrah, Leviticus, Romans, 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, Deuteronomy 22:5
WEEK SIX: Civil marriage and biblical marriage–the definition of marriage in American shifts, biblical marriage.
WEEK SEVEN: Some bad effects of misused Scripture: reparative therapy and mixed-orientation marriages
WEEK EIGHT: The gay Christian movement, LGBT youth and their parents–Rev. Troy Perry, Lonnie Frisbee, Marsha Carter, the next generation of gay and transgender Christians
WEEK NINE: Making the Christian church safe and welcoming for LGBT Christians
DIRECT ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS BELOW
The nine session study can be done alone or in a group. I strongly suggestion that LGBT people, or parents of LGBT children, should be included for broader perspective. Relationship and education — my mantra.
The first week is an introductory meeting, preferably meeting over a meal while discussing five questions. Each session, participants are assigned between 25-80 pages of reading from Walking the Bridgeless Canyon. The corresponding section of the Discussion Guide includes a five to six page summary of the reading, and on average, nine related questions. Participants should plan on each session lasting one and a half hours.
Anyone can lead the study. Just make a space available and follow the guide. Though the material is challenging, often quite challenging, the structure is done for you.
I suggest the last session as another meal and discussion meeting.
The Discussion Guide is also available discounted and direct, soon on Canyonwalker Press, but in the short term, here on the blog site. Also on Amazon.
Use the Paypal link on the sidebar or below and place your order in the notes.
Prices includes postage:
[These direct prices reflect about 6% to 8% discount from Amazon Prime]
1 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $32.00
2 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $62.00
3 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $93.00
4—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $123.00
5—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $154.00
6—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $185.00
7 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $216.00
8—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $247.00
9 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $279.00
10—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon & Discussion Guide $312.00
For any odd combinations, add the totals and make notation on the order.
[These direct prices reflect about 6% to 8% discount from Amazon Prime]
1 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $23.95
2 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $47.95
3 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $70.95
4—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $89.95
5—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $112.95
6—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $134.95
7 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $157.95
8—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $179.95
9 —Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $202.95
10—Walking the Bridgeless Canyon $224.95
1—Discussion Guide $11.00
2—Discussion Guide $18.95
3—Discussion Guide $26.95
4—Discussion Guide $34.95
5—Discussion Guide $43.95
6—Discussion Guide $51.95
7—Discussion Guide $59.95
8—Discussion Guide $67.95
9—Discussion Guide $76.95
10—Discussion Guide $84.95