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MY ALMOST CERTAINLY REAL IMAGINARY JESUS: Kelly Barth
About the Book
Heartbreakingly honest and hilarious, My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus shows just how easy it can be for a young homosexual to fall headlong into fundamentalism, venturing into the very heart of enemy territory and the church's false promises of altar calls and sexual cures. In the spirit of Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies, this debut memoir is plainspoken, speaking with candor and insight. Barth particularly addresses the disconnect between the radical and very human Jesus of history and the church's supernatural savior. She asks the question to all in the closet—both closet Christians and closet
homosexuals: Which is more difficult, admitting to being Christian or admitting to being gay?
Praise for My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus
This charming memoir, Barth's first book, is an exemplary coming-out story as well as a wholesale indictment of the hypocrisy and false promises of many archconservative Christian congregations about sexualitythat love, when it happens between two members of the same sex, is a manifestation of broken "machinery in need of parts and service." Barth's recovery from self-loathing and anxiety is a very near thing, but this witty volume leaves her happily partnered and churched. VERDICT A lovely volume for readers who can't get enough Anne Lamott or Mary Karr, Barth's book is both revelatory and amusing.
—The Libraray Journal
...it is often just as unpopular to be a person of faith in the queer community as it is to be a queer person in most religious communities. In this, her timely and important debut memoir, Barth challenges her beloved community: are we to accept the old faithful tactic of oppression which seeks to have us control the community from within or are we to stand with a brave face and claim our right to a multi-faceted identity? If you lean toward the latter, this book is required reading.
—The Seattle Lesbian
...a joyous, raw, wry story about how Kelly Barth found her identity as a Christian-believing member of humanity in partnership with the world. Her truth-telling as a lesbian is a ground truthing as a human being in search of faith through the transcendent landscapes of love and spirit. This memoir is more than timely, it is a radical and conservative reckoning of prejudice transformed into peace.
—Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds
...a beautiful memoir of a young Christian woman's determined but hopeless battle with her sexuality, and
Barth's narration is wise, honest, and frequently hilarious. Her struggle and triumph, so engagingly rendered, should resonate with anyone who has taken the long way to thoughtful self-reliance.
—Laura Moriarty, The Center of Everything, While I'm Falling, and The Chaperone
Funny. Poignant. Heartbreaking. Barth takes us through a world of religious dogma that can be harsh and frightening and emerges into a Christian spirituality we recognize—one of love and tolerance and wisdom. Her nuanced
story will be exotic to those of us who have never personally experienced evangelical religion, even as its central humanity remains deeply familiar.
—Sharman Apt Russell, Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist
Kelly Barth's heartfelt, funny, and wrenching book is testimony to Jesus's steadfast love. Her faith, tested and tried, looks beyond the failings of religion to claim that love for all.
—Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread and Jesus Freak