Undivided: Coming out, becoming whole and living free from shame
As a group of bloggers, we believed that this book would be a great one for us all to read and discuss as it would no doubt provoke mixed reactions from those within the Christian and the LGBTQ+ communities. We also hoped that people outside of these 2 communities would read the book with an open and compassionate mind.
After passing the book around, we were unanimous that we wanted to write about it and share why we encouraged others to read it. Notice we have not used the word ‘review’. When someone shares their personal experiences, struggles and thoughts then how do you review that and decide whether it was right or wrong? Well you can’t and more importantly you shouldn’t.
Vicky is also clear on this as there are many parts of her story where she informs us that she has expressed her own thoughts on the Bible and her understanding of what passages mean in relation to same-sex relationships. The religious members of our group were committed to being open to reading her interpretations and also to learning a new perspective which they hadn’t known or considered.
Here are our reasons for recommending this book to friends and family outside of our group of bloggers.
Evangelism/ Christianity/ Religion: Throughout all our beliefs, the one thing we agree on is that at the basis of all religions is love and kindness. Therefore, we were shocked and horrified by the lack of those in the response to Vicky and countless others who identify as LGBTQ+ or who are judged unworthy of God’s love. If you read this as a Christian then you may find yourself questioning how you and your Church treat LGBTQ+ members of your congregation and others treated as outsiders. One of the questions we discussed after reading was ‘how can the Bible be used to justify hate towards others when it should be promoting a compassionate way of life?’
LGBTQ+ community: Some of our bloggers identify as LGBTQ+ and there are many allies amongst us. We have therefore experienced or heard about similar experiences of growing up feeling different to those in our families or friendship groups, coming out stories and other’s reactions to that. Every person’s experience is unique in the sense that it happens to an individual and therefore their understanding of it and how they felt about it also belongs to them and their interpretation. All we can do is hear and witness their story. This memoir is therefore something that teachers, faith leaders and parents should read so that they can be aware of what happens and how LGBTQ+ youth may feel. We all have a responsibility to acknowledge others and to support them whether we are LGBTQ+ or not as we are after all human beings.
Health: The health issues Vicky experiences can also be a reason for reading the book as there is a lot of detail in relation to the problems she had and her diagnosis. Anyone with similar health issues or wanting to support others with them can gain something from reading this book. It encourages living our truth and not hiding anything from others which is a key message for everyone.
Living in 2 countries: If you have lived in a different country to your family and friends for any length of time then you will certainly understand Vicky’s feeling of not belonging to either country. She offers a great way of explaining how travel and living across 2 continents can affect you and this is something a lot of our bloggers could relate to even if they couldn’t relate to the other themes within the book.
There are other reasons for reading this book/memoir, however those above should be enough to encourage you. Let us know how you get on and what you think and please remain open no matter what your beliefs are as here is someone’s own story.