Cover Image: Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea

Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea peers into the struggle that a marginalized group falls into when it comes the Western church culture. The LGBTIA+ community has seemingly always been a target for church leaders and attenders for simply choosing who they love. This book observes Biblical scripture and attempts to show where others may have gotten it all wrong in their perception of this group. 

I enjoyed this title as I am someone who identifies in the LGBTIA+ community and also was a high functioning member of a local church. I believe that there is so much work that needs to be done to break up years and years of misinformation and fearmongering. This book gives a peek into the explanation that God is bigger than rules and regulation. God is love and that is what this community is asking to be able to do.
Was this review helpful?
Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea is a fairly straightforward book addressing the Bible and the verses that are commonly weaponized against the LGBTQIA+ community. I am a bisexual woman who is still a believer, but I am also willing to think critically when presented with books like this, so I was very intrigued by what Mitchell Kessler had to say.

In the time since finishing this book, I can't count how many times I have referenced it in conversation or recommended it to others who find themselves in my position. This book gets straight to the point, and Kessler came with receipts. There is much historical context given as well as discussions of how not only homophobia has played a role in the current church, but racism, violence, and politically motivated manipulations of the Word. It was very easy to follow, and I can't say enough times how important I think this book and the work that was obviously put into it was. Reading it, I felt hopeful about my future in a spiritual setting for the first time in a long time, and for that I am greatly appreciative. I'd happily read Kessler's future work.

Thanks so much to Promethean Publishing Group as well as NetGalley for the opportunity to read a copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Was this review helpful?
As a queer Christian who has always struggled to reconcile those parts of myself, I appreciated the deep dive on the passages that have long been used to vilify me and those in my community. I think the book reads a little bit like reverse engineering on language and justification between two parts of a life that seem incompatible. But that's honestly what I needed, I think.
Was this review helpful?
Simply put, it's an essential guide for those who desire an honest, condensed, and intelligent approach to LGBT+ issues (and much more) in The Bible. 

As those engaging in what's been tagged as Christofascism obviously co-opt Christianity to their own (exclusionary and oppressive) ends, Kesller's work ends up being something far more Christ-like than those groups will likely ever produce: Something not just filled with acceptance and love, but invites thoughtful conversation, spiritual growth, and gives space for forgiveness of all kinds. 

It's not an expansive book, and that works to its credit: It starts out with the events that led to the project's conception, dives briefly into the minutiae of why certain banner/supposed anti-LGBT+ scriptures don't add up, and ends with concise, elevator-speech chunks for reiteration/re-visitation.

Not only worthwhile, but reinvigorating, restorative, and worthy of passing along at will. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Promethean Publishing Group for the read.
Was this review helpful?
I loved Kesller's writing style. It felt like he was in the room with me just having a conversation. He obviously did a ton of research on this book, but is able to distill it down to its essence and impart important truths . I especially enjoyed the little summaries at the end of each section. His empathy and intelligence and humor shown through on every page.
Was this review helpful?
The book was well-written, personal, and thought-provoking. I liked the memoir parts best. The description and explanations of the scripture seemed to be repeats of other analyses by religious people. While the telling of those stories was more approachable and made me smile at times, the basic information was pretty much the same.
Was this review helpful?
…this is one of those books that is difficult to review. I think the first thing to understand when reading this book (or in deciding whether or not to read this book) is that it is definitely written for a specific reader: the queer Christian and Christians with queer loved ones. That is who the narrative voice is addressing when it speaks to “you” and why there is so much of an undertone of spiritual consolation in the author’s words. (Oh, and, the author of this book also considers the Bible to be a sacred text, more or less dictated by God to His prophets as a guide to the spiritual education of His people. So. That’s an important thing to acknowledge too in the reading of this book.)

Basically this book is written as a genuine, heartfelt attempt to explain to Christians why homophobia is actually anti-Christian. So while it’s neither academic nor historically vigorous (though the research—particularly vis a vis the linguistic and historical, cultural context analysis of the material—that went into this book did seem to be fairly in-depth), and is written about at a highschool reading comprehension level (an intentional choice by the author), it is very clearly and honestly (and calmly, like, impressively calmly 😅) written and moves along at a good clip smoothly covering all the points the author wants to make.

This is a book to be read critically, as well, as it is itself literally a book about reading critically versus reading traditionally—so while there were some claims and observations that I was raising my eyebrow at, overall I appreciated the points the author was making and acknowledged the steps the author as a Christian was making in their own spiritual journey both privately and in community.

“If Christians hope to get anywhere past a superficial understanding of God’s word, they need to surrender their simplistic views and literal interpretations of the Bible and dive deeper intro true understanding.”

The main thing that I liked about this book was how the author asks the question: “Is this interpretation of the text in line with Jesus’s character? his message of love, nonjudgment, and inclusion? No? Then what interpretation *would* be in-line with Jesus’s message? Because *that* is the interpretation that we should embrace.”

“…open discussions and theological debate should be occurring with the sole purpose of leading people to a deeper understanding of God and bringing them closer to His love… …if a particular doctrine or teaching tends to ostracize a group of people from His love, perhaps a closer look should be brought to the topic in question. …loving God and loving people are at the core of everything God commanded. It’s the overarching theme of the entire Bible.”

At times it definitely feels a little… evangelical? maybe, in its language, but essentially I found the Bible-reading work was well done and that’s what I was most interested in. As I said, this book is for Christians to aid them in their spiritual journeys, mainly, but I read it for the analyses of the various, commonly quoted(/weaponized) Bible quotes specifically to see which ones the author was going to highlight or explain so for that purpose it was excellent.

I will say that in order to make his point, the author does sort of gloss over other problematic elements of the religious texts he’s dealing with such as the rampant misogyny and xenophobia and the tenet that all non-Christians are damned 😬, and there are also moments of definite “it’s not anti-*gay*, it’s anti-*women*—there’s a dIfFeReNcE” (🥴) vibesss here soooo, yeah. This is not by any means a perfect spiritual or even philosophical text, but for its role as a work of Christian apologetics, it’s pretty interesting, even revolutionary.

Final thoughts: Ok yeah so there are still problems but like it’s the thoughtfulness and critical, benevolent curiosity with which the author engages with his subject matter that is what impressed me about this book.

I would recommend this book to readers who are queer and still want to make Christianity work for them. Also for the Christian loved ones of queer ppl of whom they have been “less than accepting” of their true natures.
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to like this book. However one of the main issues was for such a short book they spent most of it setting the context and minimal time on the meat of the book.

Also for a book that was supposed to be so affirming, in addition to using the appropriate LGBTQ+ they also used the “h-sexuality” word that comes with negative and pathological connotations and it was very distracting.
Was this review helpful?
If you've ever been claimed to be a "sin" or immoral based off of the Bible, this is the perfect novel to pick up. This goes to say, it can also be viewed as a way to help see the truth behind how homosexuality is written in the Bible. If you're ever struggling with your faith in these regards, it is written in such a personal way that you'll be able to feel the love you so desire.

Needless to say, Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea is more of a scholarly deep-dive into religion with light-hearted moments. Typically I wouldn't pick up anything so heavily religion based, but the way in which the material is represented seems to alleviate that overwhelming pressure you would find in most nonfiction religious novels.

The information is introduced exactly as the title goes
Was this review helpful?
Not my usual type of book. I saw it suggested on NetGalley and thought to check it out. 

Interesting and short read. 

I’d suggest this one to anyone looking for religious nonfiction.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Promethean Publishing Group for allowing this book to be available for review.

I really enjoyed Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea. I found that the author did a ton of research and I liked how scriptures were shown in the various versions to show how they're still interpreted differently. This had so much great info to disprove some of the current Christian thinking.
Was this review helpful?
Characters: 7 | Atmosphere: 6 | Writing: 7 | Plot: 7 | Intrigue: 8 | Logic: 6 | Enjoyment: 7
Total: 6.86 / 3 stars 
CAWPILE was tricky for this as it is a nonfiction book discussing the bible. 

Mitchell Kesller does a great job at addressing difficult topics with a gentle hand and a kind heart. This book is important for people to read, and is presented in a way that is digestible for the casual theological reader.  Yes, there were moments that seemed to contradict one thought to the next, rendering some arguments null. However, the intent there was as clear as day: Kesller wants one to know they are loved, and that the Church as an organization has historically been...well, wrong. 
While I am no longer Christian, and thus had to disconnect myself from some of the language around a loving god, this book would be a fantastic one for queer Christians who are struggling with feeling loved and accepted in their communities, or, are wanting to set healthy boundaries and have healthy discussions around these topics.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book. The plot was well paced and the characters were well developed. I would recommend this book to others.
Was this review helpful?
For a fleeting moment before I read the Bible for myself I allowed others to interpret the word for me. As a black feminine lesbian woman I have always felt loved by God. However when people attacked me with clobber Scriptures ( Scripture to beat me up) I listened went home and read their reference. Only to find out what Kesller shares mimic the interpretation I’ve come to know for myself. 
If you feel challenged by lining your faith up against your sexuality this book has insight that might ask you to dig deeper and look at why. Where is it coming from. I’m grateful the author wrote this book our LGBTQI family members are dying in large numbers because of the struggle. While this book was mostly focused on dismantling anti-LGBTQ+ bashing, it also broke down elements of the Bible that are used to justify racism and misogyny. 

This book might not be for you, but I bet it’s for someone you know. Kesller thank you for this work, I definitely appreciate your pen

Netgalley shared an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A valuable addition to the much-needed subgenre of Queer experiences in faith traditions, exvangelical narratives, and books that inspire you while also making you snort-laugh in public and tear up on occasion.
Was this review helpful?
This is a book that deserves to be on every household’s coffee table. Regardless of whether you’re religious or not, this book can give you biblical and historical knowledge that can put things into a new perspective, answer some curiosities, reaffirm your identity or become the basis of a deep and interesting conversation.

The author does a brilliant job of providing sources to back his claims and uses historical and linguistic knowledge to take you deeper into the potential misinterpretations of the church. It’s truly a means to help find peace with who you are in God’s eyes.

Thank you to NetGalley and Promethean Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher, and author, for the advance reader copy of this book.

“Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea” by Mitchell Kesller is an important and meaningful book for the queer Christian community, and its heart is in the right place. As a queer Christian myself, I appreciate the research and courage that Kesller clearly poured into the message behind his book, but some of it missed the mark for me. Perhaps I’ve lost something in translation between Kesller’s denomination and my own, but I found some sections of the book unfocused and contradictory, even when putting aside some of our theological differences (which I feel are unfair to hold against him, considering Kesller is not writing from a Methodist perspective, so some theological differences are simply to be expected). 

Before getting into my more negative thoughts, I want to make it clear that Kesller’s perspective is vitally important in the cultural discussion the wider Church is having about LGBTQ inclusion in Christian faith. The more queer Christian voices we have, the more likely it is for queer Christians to find the fellowship we hunger for. “Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea” is full of validation, personal growth, and research that is accessible to anyone. Reading books about these topics from religious leaders who attended seminary school is helpful (“Unclobber” by Colby Martin comes to mind), but laypeople often seek the perspective of other laypeople– and that is what Kesller provides in this book. I particularly appreciate the use of footnotes and references, which are often woefully often missing in this niche genre. 

The other thing this book does well is calling out the Capital-C Church as an institution, while still clearly loving the church as a fellowship. It’s a fine line to tread, and Kesller does a great job of it. My favorite parts of the book are the introduction, where he explains the history of knowledge and information sharing (or lack thereof) in the Church, and the end, where he describes the modern church as a group of people sharing faith and fellowship, free to access and understand information at will. As Kesller states in the book, “It is okay to think critically– you aren’t sinning in doing so.” If only every Christian could hear that message.

The main reasons that I felt the need to rate this book at only 3 out of 5 stars were because of sections of the book that I found unfocused or underdeveloped, and some ideas that edged slightly too close to eugenics for comfort. For the sake of brevity, I’ll only go into detail for one example: in Chapter 4, where there is a discussion of God’s creation as described in Genesis, and the existence of good and evil as opposing forces in the world. On one hand, Kesller wisely states, “As I said, our entire existence is too complex to place the blame, or lack thereof, on a single being; faithful believers still get cancer, innocent children still suffer, catastrophes still happen; that’s just the way we see life progress.” 

Then, in the same chapter, he seems to contradict this position when discussing The Great Flood. He first explains that there is some archeological evidence of major regional flooding, and themes of large flood stories span across cultures, similar to the Great Flood story in the Bible. What I expected was for Kessler to run with the idea that the Great Flood in the Bible is a story of how people at the time perceived a catastrophe within their religious and cultural understanding of God- similar to the flood stories found in other cultures and religions texts. Instead, Kesller turns to research on generational trauma and epigenetics (how external forces impact our gene expression and potentially inherited traits– which I studied briefly in college), to float an idea that I can only accurately describe as an act of divine eugenics, although I seriously doubt this was his intention. In his own words, “If further experimentation proves these theories to be true, what’s to say the “wickedness” of that previous generation of Noah’s time would have passed on its traumas to the younger generations? If we start looking at the big picture of lift itself, we can begin connecting the dots and make some sense of the questions we have about God’s motives.” 

I can’t get on board with this idea at all, and I struggle to excuse it as a minor theological difference. It goes against what I know is true about the nature of a loving God, even when we’re talking about the Old Testament, and especially as a disabled person. Unlike other theological differences we have (like Kesller’s belief in substitutionary atonement and my rejection of it), this isn’t something that I can overlook. I fail to see how it was truly relevant to the overall argument of the book anyway, despite his attempt to tie it together. There are other passages in the book where Kesller seems to waver between Biblical literalism and contextualism (and in that regard, I think his editor let him down a bit), but his inclusion of deluge theory (aka “flood geology” in Young-Earth Creationist circles) surprised me.

The TL;DR of my opinion: “Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea” is still worth a read, as long as you keep it under a critical thinking lens. Could the book have been clearer and benefited from longer explanations on some topics? Yes. Do I agree with every theological argument written here? No. Is it an important and worthwhile read for progressive Christians who want to understand the perspective of a queer Christian seeking better understanding of their own faith? Absolutely yes.
Was this review helpful?
We need more books in this area. The LGBTQIA movement has christian allies. This is such important work.
Was this review helpful?
If you've ever been claimed to be a "sin" or immoral based off of the Bible, this is the perfect novel to pick up. This goes to say, it can also be viewed as a way to help see the truth behind how homosexuality is written in the Bible. If you're ever struggling with your faith in these regards, it is written in such a personal way that you'll be able to feel the love you so desire.

Needless to say, Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea is more of a scholarly deep-dive into religion with light-hearted moments. Typically I wouldn't pick up anything so heavily religion based, but the way in which the material is represented seems to alleviate that overwhelming pressure you would find in most nonfiction religious novels. 

The information is introduced exactly as the title goes. It provides a short rundown of the topic, and then delves into the "tea" of it all. In reading these snippets, it leans towards a light-hearted discussion about certain verses that have been categorized as anti-homosexual. You'll find humorous moments depicting said events described, but also serious moments that clarify why these claims are false, why you shouldn't believe so heavily without researching, and why the latest texts have been translated in such a way to provoke such a claim.

All in all, Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea is most notably a way to help bridge the gap between identity and faith without becoming too personal by the author. For anyone struggling with this, I would highly recommend giving it a quick read.
Was this review helpful?
This is a unique perspective on how people use religion against LQBTQIA+ from a religious scholar. It shows how you can still believe and be your unique, individual self. Great read and I recommend it for anyone who loves someone or my ever interact with someone who is LGBTQIA+ and believes in the Bible.
Was this review helpful?