Sexuality, Struggle and Saintliness

by Savitri Hensman

The question of Christians affirming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continues to be challenging for some in the churches – while onlookers are baffled or angry at what seems to be the persistence of religious prejudice and bigotry. In this book, Savi Hensman, who has long wrestled with these questions practically and theologically, seeks to demonstrate that the central resources of the Christian tradition make change possible, desirable and indeed necessary. Sexuality, Struggle and Saintliness examines the major shift in thinking on sexuality among Christians that has taken place over the past hundred years. It explores the groundbreaking work of theologians, church historians and other writers. Delving beneath the surface of recent ecclesiastical conflicts, the book looks at how churches can, and do, live with disagreement. It proposes a positive way forward in handling divisions over sexuality.

Savitri Hensman is a writer and commentator on Christianity, sexuality and social justice. She works in the care and equalities sector, and was born in Sri Lanka.

December 2015, PB, 272pp, 229 x 152 mm
£12.99, US$19.99, €17.99, CAN$25.00, AUS$25.00

USA: Barnes & Noble /
Canada: !ndigo
UK: Abe Books / / Bertrams / Blackwell / Foyles / Waterstones
Australia/New Zealand: Booktopia / Fishpond

Rachel Mann, priest and poet, writes in her foreword:

Reconciliation and remembrance are at the heart of Savitri Hensman’s new book. Sexuality, Struggle and Saintliness gathers together wisdom on matters of sexuality and church polity collected over an extensive career. At a time when debate over the Christian faith’s position on LGBT people and our relationships has profound charge and is extraordinarily divisive, Hensman’s approach is welcome.

The former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, notes:

God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realise that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion. In God’s family, there are no outsiders, no enemies. Black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight – all belong.

Simon Barrow, co-director of Ekklesia, writes:

Savi Hensman invites the churches towards a change of heart and mind on matters of human sexuality and same-sex love. But she does so on strong theological grounds, not simply to compromise with fashion. Like much of Ekklesia’s work, this book rejects simple ‘liberal versus conservative’ dichotomies, challenging us to costly, imaginative transformation.