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As a freshman in college, Rachel Murr found herself trying to decide which campus social group to join: the gay and lesbian advocacy group or the campus Christian fellowship. She knew it couldn't be both. For the next fifteen years she held onto the belief that she couldn't be both gay and Christian. When the pain involved in trying not to be lesbian called for a change in theology, she came out to her evangelical church. Conflict ensued. Unnatural is a collection of stories--not only of the harm religiously-inspired negative messages about homosexuality inflict, but also of redemption. Rachel uses her own story as well as personal interviews with ten other queer women and one female-to-male transgender man to tell how they were judged, lectured, kicked out of homes and families, subjected to reparative therapies, and even assaulted. Some faced homelessness, depression, suicide attempts, and pervasive shame. Still, they fought to keep their faith alive. Each demonstrated an Unnatural ability to forgive, love, believe, advocate, and heal. ""Rarely, if ever, does one have an opportunity to read unguarded, confessional stories by members of the LGBT community about the triumph of their Christian faith over the daunting rejection, and sometimes outright flagrant oppression, directed at them by other Christians. This book gives every one of us that precise opportunity . . . though, of course, each of us must first have the courage to dare to take it."" --Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence ""Unnatural skillfully and courageously weaves stories from the author's research to 'unpack' the complexities of religious and sexual identity development, how each powerfully impacts the other. They illuminate the developmental nature of all relationships and of faith in general, demonstrating how faith communities, parents, and a variety of social messages all contribute to these experiences. While giving voice to pain, loss, and grieving, these are also stories of transformation, healing, and possibility."" --Mari Ann Graham, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN ""With the skill and care of a seasoned storyteller, Rachel Murr pulls back the curtain on the lives and experiences of queer Christian women, whose joys, heartaches, questions, and hopes come to life in their own words. . . . Impeccably researched and beautifully written, Unnatural is a must read, not only for LGBT Christians, but for anyone who longs for a more inclusive and loving church. Let those with ears, hear."" --Rachel Held Evans, author of Faith Unraveled Rachel Murr published ""'I Became Proud of Being Gay and Proud of Being Christian': Faith Experiences of Queer Christian Women,"" as part of her MSW degree at St. Thomas University and the University of St. Catherine. She is a therapist at the Working Well Mental Health Clinic and a mental health practitioner at a trauma-informed treatment center for women with mental illnesses. She lives in St. Paul, MN.
Jennifer Knapp is a highly acclaimed singer-songwriter who got her start in Christian Contemporary Music (CCM). Knapp exited CCM in 2002 at the height of her professional music career. On her return in 2010, she publicly confirmed that she was gay. Today, she performs and tours extensively and actively engages in advocacy work alongside religious communities and leaders that seek to create an open and affirming spiritual home for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of faith.