Modern Kinship

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Modern Kinship: A Queer Guide to Christian Marriage by David and Constantino Khalaf is a combination memoir/ handbook to LGBTQ marriage. Included in the text are references to and interviews with religious authors such as Rachel Held Evans and Brene Brown and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman. The Khalafs also include interviews with a trans man (blogger and author Austin Hartke) and an interfaith/interracial couple. However, the majority of the book follows the personal stories and evolution of David and Constantino into a Christian couple without shame. At times, the transition between who is speaking seems a little unwieldly with "I" statements and in parentheses David or Constantino identified as the speaker, resulting in a confused narrative. Still the book is helpful in covering topics such as shame, family abandonment, dating difficulties, relationships between a closeted and an "out", emotional baggage as well as infidelity. There are few books on the topic so although it may seem a little rambling, this will serve to inform and empower LGBTQ individuals and their allies.
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As an ally, I really enjoy reading the perspective of the LGBT population and their strugles in life. I want to lean to be a better ally by listening to their stories.
Gay couple David and Constantino Khalaf foudn themselves in situation that non heterosecuals don't have to deal with when it comes to relationship and marriage. Without a guide on how to proceed, the two wrote Modern Kinship to help other couples through theese hoops. The book goes into how marriage, all mariiage, is a testment to God and the authors try to to make thei relationship reflect that.
The couple take turns writing sharing their stories and their struggles. Nontarditional couples can learn a lot from their experiences and see they are not alone. But because this book cenetrs on God as teh cneter of a marriage, any couple can learn rom their tips on marriage.
An eye opening look into marriage and a pratical discussion of queer raltionships, Moern Kinship is enlightening and egaging.
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What a necessary and timely book. LGBT Christians lack resources for their lives in the faith and are purposely excluded from a lot of mainstream Christian literature and resources.
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Easily one of the best books I’ve read in a long-time.  Whether LGBTQ or straight identified, this book provides a clear and practical guide of navigating relationship in a modern world where gay-affirming relationships are still being defined.  The story of how the authors met and fell in love is heart-warming and authentic.  The sharing of their real experience allows the reader to gain insight into the challenges faced by LGBTQ people; especially the added challenges to build healthy relationship.  It dealt honestly with internal shame sometimes experienced when culture and tradition don’t always measure up in acceptance of gay relationship and marriage.  I really enjoyed their explanation of kinship as the combining of two people into one family with the honor and commitment of building relationship and community.  I found it very interesting to read how the co-authors each brought their different perspectives into their dating relationship and spoke beautifully on how important it is to consider each person’s background and ways of relating.  At a time when the world still struggles with racism, sexism, and discrimination of LGBTQ people, this book is a must read for those wanting to understand better ways of relating and building community.  It short, it helps all of us in learning how to love better.  This message needs to be heard.  I thank the authors for their courage and vision to see a world improved by creating richer, healthier, and more committed relationships in community.
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For quite some time, much of the conversation around faith and sexuality has centered on theology. The focus has been on Scripture and whether or not God supports the LQBTQ community. As laws and societal views have changed, people have felt increasingly safe and boldly come out of the closet. The question becomes, “Now what?” Even if they’ve settled their theology and reconciled their identity and faith, there’s no clear road map for how to move forward, especially in romantic relationships. In Modern Kinship, David and Tino Khalaf offer just that: a road map that, rather than being a one-size-fits-all approach, suggests possibilities and paths that might be taken.

Right away, the Khalafs are honest about the limit of their story: as two cisgender gay men, theirs is but one of the many stories of queer people. They counter this with various interviews, including the voices of women, transgender people, and people of color. This helps paint a broader picture of what it means to be queer, but especially a queer person of faith.

Their own story is bold, moving, and vulnerable. Where shame might prohibit certain conversations, they boldly speak up about sex and family wounds and much in between. It’s hard not to be moved, as their story resonates with any queer person of faith. From shame in dating to the rejection of loved ones, they grieve their hardships and offer hope to heal from them. Relationships and marriage aren’t “happily ever after,” affirmed by their vulnerability; yet even so, they suggest that healthy, God-honoring relationships are possible for any queer person. Even if you aren’t religious, there is much to be gleaned from their story.

If you’re interested in others’ stories, what life could look like as a queer Christian, and how thriving, queer relationships might work, Modern Kinship is a must-read. The Khalafs’ story is refreshing, paving the way for others on similar journeys. Their voice furthers an oft-neglected and much-needed conversation, one that has long been overdue.
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*I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from NetGalley and Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky as the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Book title        : A Queer Guide to Christian Marriage

Author             : David and Constantino Khalaf

Release Date   : 8 January 2019

Sexuality including sexual orientation is something unexplainable. It is not easy to explain the reasons how or why because it is something unfixed. A homosexual man for instance will never be attracted to any ladies. Yet people seem to forget that facts because they refer them as something abnormal according to the society. It is understandable because the society we are living in a heteronormative society. As LGBTQ is seen as something abnormal, the hetero society tend to generate some practices towards its actors as a kind of punishment and those religious institutions are without exception. The purpose is clear: to normalise them!

Concerning the LGBTQ in church as a religious institution, I believe that a Christian gay couple will likely have a dream to have a Christian marriage witnessed by God. This issue faced by the Christian gay couples is addressed by David and Constantino Khalaf from a “Modern Kinship” - marriage perspectives. They firstly refer marriage as:

“Marriage is not an inherently holy institution. And it cannot magically be made so by the government, a priest, or a catered event. Rather, marriage is a relationship that is made holy when it reflects the life-giving, self-sacrificing love of Jesus.”

In its relation to LGBTQ and same-sex marriage, they say:

“We believe God wants the marriages of LGBTQ people, like all marriage, to bear his image. We believe a marriage in God’s image is trinitarian; it brings two people together with Christ at the centre. Christian marriage, as we understand it, is a lifelong covenant reflecting the covenants the Lord has made with his people. It is through this covenanted union in the presence of God that a couple becomes a new unit of kinship. And for queer people who often lose that bond with the people who reared them, the promise of marriage- the hope of someday having kin again- becomes one of the most beautiful messages proclaimed by the gospel."

Their statement on LGBTQ marriage is what they refer as a modern kinship. Their foundation was taken from the Bible at Galatia 3:28 mentioning that

“there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female.”

I am not going to comment on Bible verse or LGBTQ in the religious arena as it is not my capacity to tell so. Yet this book may come out as an encouragement for Christian gay couple who may have difficulties in coming out of the closet. It is worth to read especially to those who look for several references on LGBTQ from the religious perspectives.

Full review is available at
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I definitely respect the authors' bravery to share their story in a sphere that is not always receptive to their love story. I think this book challenged potential prejudices and forced the reader to look within themselves to see what they actually believed and why. Challenging read!
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3/5* Interesting reading and insight into what being LGBT and Christian means to this couple, but, if I'm honest....

... it came across as a little preachy at times, and a lot 'me, me, me' from each guy's perspective. 

I didn't expect this to be what at times read like a marriage guidance book. I expected a book from the personal perspective of two guys who happened to be gay, who happened to find each other after several failed relationships and who realised that marriage and commitment, as well as their strong faith, were what were important to them, not just hooking up and having a good time. I got that, certainly, and I share many of their values, though I am a het female born from Mauritian parents, who's lived her life in the UK and considers herself a Christian, not a traditional Hindu. I just felt that at times the book felt as if it were telling us that the guys' rules are the right rules for marriage - in my book, pun unintentional, 'rules' is too strong a word for what it means to be married. Marriage is meant to be about 'we/us' and not I, I, I or me, me, me - which a lot of the time this book came across as. 

Yes, you might have chores such as in my household, where my husband does fewer jobs due to the hours that he works, but does all the yucky jobs that I don't want to do. At the same time, though I work fewer hours than him, I don't feel as if I need to make up for not working as much by rushing around and being a slave to the household and cooking and cleaning and whatever. I think the guys came across a little heavy handed about marriage and what it entails, as I think they only quoted their experience, their ups and downs and how they've come to what works for them, but you can't really make a blanket statement about marriage. I don't think they intended to come across like this, but they did preach, sorry. 

It is worth a read, but it didn't have the depth and the philosophy that I wanted and had been looking forward to from this book. I am not sure why the publishers chose them to write this book, as they did make it sound as if they'd been sought out, and not as if they'd written the book and gone looking for a publisher. I think this could have been a far better book, a far more insightful book, a far more 'gives pause for thought' book had the authors interviewed more couples. I have read Austen Hartke's latest book, which was a 5* read and he features briefly in this book - I wonder if that made the leads and their offerings/how they came across, seem a little lacking? AH did such an amazing job of his writing and telling us of his journey, that it made me google him, read more of his works and made me question how and why I do things, and hopefully I'm a more open, more understanding and more tolerant person for it. Here, I didn't engage with either lead, as it was all 'told' and not shown, which in my book, again, pun unintentional, goes against the strength and purpose of a book.

ARC courtesy of John Knox Press and NetGalley for my reading pleasure.
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This book made me really sit up and listen, I've always supported the LGBTQA+ community but this gave me a new set of things to consider. It gave me an insight into what it's like to be a gay married Christian couple. The questions to reflect on were helpful and were perfect conversation starters if you were to read it in a study group. I must admit, the proposal made me tear up. I wish David and Constantino all the best!
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