Saturday, 28 July 2012
Review: A Life of Unlearning – a journey to find the truth’
A Life of Unlearning – a journey to find the truth’ by Anthony Venn-Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Writing this review a long time (about a month) after I finished reading the actual book, although on the other hand, I'm also writing this review after a week at the UCA Assembly, where we discussed various issues relating to what ended up being called "same-gender relationships/marriage". I kind of don't want to discuss the ins and outs of that debate in this review, but I will say this: I really am glad that I've finally read Venn-Brown's book.
I remember when this book was first released. Venn-Brown's situation had garnered a little press, the book got a hell of a lot more. It was a thing - naturally: a clergy-person from a conservative Christian group not only coming out, but coming RIGHT out. But reading this book in light of the UCA Assembly coming up, that kind of wasn't what I was focusing on.
I found Venn-Brown's dismissal of mainline (to borrow a term from the US Christian bloggers) denominations hurtful (as a member of one and adherant of another, technically), although I entirely understand that's where he comes from. (Doesn't make it less annoying, to be honest.) I found his lack of knowledge of mainline denominations throughout the book infuriating, but again, that's because of his subject position and mine. Which are significantly different.
I could have done with a trigger warning in the early stages of this book (damn specific triggers) and I know that doesn't form part of the standard marketing etc: I really do find it difficult. I acknowledge the honesty of Venn-Brown's writing, as much as it hurt me in myriad ways. I appreciate the perspective of a gay male, and particularly a gay male Christian who is willing to write about these things. I still think, however, that the "letter to all denominations" at the end shows an ignorance of the position of the Uniting Church, which although it is far from where I believe we ought to be as a church, is still far beyond where Venn-Brown seems to think any church is at all.
It was a valuable read, and I'm glad to have finally finished it.
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