Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea
by Mitchell Kesller
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Pub Date 30 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 15 Dec 2022
If you're a Christian and LGBTQ+, it can be difficult to reconcile your faith with your identity. In an era of misinformation and blind faith, "Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea" aims to explore one of Christianity's most marginalized groups--queer people--and break down exactly what the Bible says about queerness through a contextual, historical, and lexicological lens. The author looks past the superficial reading that so many today have embraced and brings about an academic approach to truly decipher the "gay-bashing" verses in the Bible today compared to its ancient context. Bridging the gap between identity and faith is possible when we conclude that perhaps the God preached on the Sunday pulpits isn't the whole truth of who He is. From an author deep in the trenches comes this hard-hitting book exploring our place in Christendom today.
What do you do when your identity directly contradicts your faith?
The Christian Church has long been one of the most influential institutions in society. Self-proclaimed as God’s representatives on earth, it is ironic to see how a faith of love and inclusion has been the source of wars, genocides, slavery, and oppression throughout the ages. In an era of misinformation and blind faith, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at the Bible and “judge by the fruits” of what is real and what is not. Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea aims to explore one of Christianity’s most marginalized groups and breaks down exactly what the Bible says about queerness through a contextual, historical, and lexicological lens. Bridging the gap between identity and faith is possible when we conclude that perhaps the God preached on the Sunday pulpits isn’t the fullness of who He actually is.
From an author deep in the trenches,
I’ve broken the bread,
it’s time to spill the tea.
"Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea is a great read for anyone who might be struggling with faith over their identity or for anyone who just wants to dive into a historical interpretation of some of the Bible's more controversial topics. I felt this book did a great job at blending factual academic writing with a friendly, approachable voice as a guide."
"This is an important book, especially for young adults/teens in the church who are searching for answers, but don't know where to go."
"Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea is a book that deserves to be on every queer household’s coffee table. Regardless of whether you’re religious or not, this book can equip you with biblical and historical knowledge that can put things into new perspective, answer any curiosities, reaffirm your identity or become the basis of a deep and interesting conversation."
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 72 members
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for allowing me to receive an arc in exchange for my honest review- all thoughts and opinions are my own!
As someone who is deconstructing her own faith- this hit hard. Beautiful, insightful, and backed up to easily pull your own research. I wish the author well- as well as anyone who is struggling. You are loved. So loved.
I discovered this book on NetGalley! I wish I had read it sooner.
I'm participating in a community group with Queer Christian Fellowship called "Deconstruction/Reconstruction".
Having read this book, I think it would be a very useful tool for guiding and affirming the deconstruction/reconstruction process.
I deeply appreciate the way that the author engages with the Biblical text, traditional perspectives, their impact, as well as the contextual and historical elements.
I loved the format of "The Church's Crumbs" and "Spilling the Tea." Very informative and accessible.
It is clear that a lot of research, personal reflection and time went into the compiling of this resource. I hope all Christian's have an opportunity to engage in this text, learn something new, feel affirmed, and challenge their inherited perceptions.
NetGalley ARC Educator 550974
It's time for the people to learn and search the holy scriptures and texts for themselves. It's past time for a book to delve into the topic of LGBTQ affairs as it relates to religion. God created and loves all, without regard to their sexuality. Hard to believe but this book gives evidence and back ups its exertions.
I hope this book gets into the hands of any questioning God's love for them. There are many accepting and inclusive ministries and more and more books exploring this topic.
“I would rather hold onto hope (even if it’s a sliver of it) than hopelessness.”
WOW!!!! So many important statements made throughout the book, but the author really emphasizes God’s love for ALL humans.
As a person that is overtly analytical, paying close attention to context & details, I found this book well researched & consistent to the matter being discussed. I often found myself thinking of Matthew 6:7, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” The author get’s to the matter at hand without being overly wordy or complex.
Such an amazing read that I look forward to re-reading again & again!
I thought this was beautiful and personal. This is the exact book I wish I had as a teenager begging to come to terms with my faith and sexuality.
I’m not usually one to read books like this but I was pleasantly surprised. Very insightful and a quick read :)
Source of book: Bought by me
Relevant disclaimers: None
Please note: This review may not be reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, without explicit consent from the author.
This is a charmingly written and accessible whistle-stop-tour through the notion that maybe, just maybe, scripture comes with a historical and cultural context and that maybe, just maybe, the Church—as a bastion of institutionalised power—has spent literally centuries stripping away those contexts as well as cherry-picking elements of the Bible that best advance a conservative, oppressive social agenda.
Sorry, that’s coming across as sarcastic. Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea really is a sweet, sincere and potentially necessary book for anyone struggling with reconciling their faith, their community and their LGBTQ+ identity. It’s personal when it needs to be personal, detailed without ever becoming overwhelming, and never positions itself as an authority on the complexities of history Biblical scholarship it attempts to explore.
It's also the sort of book—the sort of faith, I suppose—where God directly speaks to people, makes them feel loved, and encourages them to do things in the world, which is personally rather alien to me (my own experiences of faith growing up were very much of God is an abstract dickhead who is judging you and finding you a failure like your actual father, except this one also died for your sins, yes yours personally, and what the fuck have you ever done, you worthless loser).
Basically, I’m happy this book exists. I want there to be more space in the world for the notion that LGBTQ+ identity and religious faith (whatever your particular branch of it) can co-exist very comfortably, actually. I didn’t especially connect with it, and it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but it was still reassuring to see such things discussed, interrogated and analysed in a non-intimidating way. I also appreciated that while the book was mostly focused on dismantling anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, it also rebutted elements of the Bible that are used to justify racism, misogyny and antisemitism.
Anyway, you’ll already know if this book is for you. It didn’t ever feel especially “for” me but that’s about me and not about the book. If you’re LGBTQ+ and Christian, and you’ve began to doubt your God’s love for you, then I hope Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea can help reassure you otherwise.
If you like these five things, consider reading this book:
- Religious nonfiction
- Theological arguments supported by historical context and multiple scriptural interpretations
- Inclusive religion
- Easy yet informative reads
- Support for the queer community
Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea is a strongly put-together argument against the Church's treatment of the queer community. The author systematically presents the verses typically used as arguments against homosexuality in the bible and provides context and translation that shows the true complexity of the verses. Additionally, the author presents some of the histories of the Church and its failure to love countless groups of people using scripture as a weapon. Overall, the message is that the Church is missing the point of God's love and using religion as yet another tool to oppress the queer community. I did feel like the book failed to address gender identity fully, which would have made this volume more complete for me.
If you are looking for a short, easy-to-read, well thought-out, and well-cited book that covers some Bible history and takes the clobber passages (verses traditionally used to say homosexuality is a sin) head on, back into their original context, then you should absolutely pick up this book. Kesller writes almost conversationally, making this book seem less overwhelming and technical, and more relational. I was really impressed by the research into Bible translation history, and the break down of context and original words used. This is the information I have been wanting to find but haven't had the mental energy to know how to begin researching it.
Thanks to Netgalley and Promethean Publishing Group for the e-ARC!
I read this over the course of a week, limiting myself to one chapter a day. The author is a Brazilian American who was raised in Boston, MA but has settled in Orlando, FL. He grew up immersed in the church in a family that spans generations of highly devout Christians. He has always had great faith in God, but was disillusioned by the church when they rejected him for being bisexual. It was a conversation with his Lesbian aunt that made him realize that he could spend all of his considerable knowledge of the bible and energy trying to win acceptance from the "Christian" and homophobic Brazilian culture, or he could use that same energy and knowledge to help the thousands in the lgbtq+ community find peace, guidance, acceptance, healing, and strengthen their faith in who God really is.
Not too long ago, our pastor led our church on a year-long journey where we studied scripture as a church and together decided we wanted to be a welcoming and affirming church. Much of what we studied completely agrees with what Kesller presents very clearly in this book. I found this book to be very accessible for all that Kesller claims to NOT be a writer. He writes in a straightforward fashion and goes through the "gay verses" one by one and gives us historical context and how that changes the meaning in a significant way.
Not everyone will be happy with what he writes here, but from our own experience, we did have some people leave our church after we made our decision, something we were expecting, although we were hoping it wouldn't happen. But as the author says in the beginning, this book is not written for those who have deliberately closed their minds to the idea that they could be wrong. This is written for anyone who is seeking or who is hoping, and who is willing to keep an open mind coming into this. This is also written for all those in the queer community who have spent their lives doubting their own worth and value in God's eyes. This book is worth reading and rereading and could be used as part of a study for a church that is also seeking.
I received an advance review copy from NetGalley for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
What a wonderful summary of how much the Bible does NOT say on homosexuality. I greatly appreciate Kesller’s research and citations and his encouragement to study more on your own. I also really like the part where he talks about other times the Bible has been cherry-picked or otherwise misinterpreted. The fact that he explained his own past and how it relates to the subject is nice because it clearly shows this is a man who wanted to do this research and was willing to be found wrong. The bite-sized summations are logical and concise and it’s altogether a wonderful book on love.
Voting this one for title of the year. The book itself is a kind, generous, loving, enlightening of homophobia and Christianity, the damage it has done and the cultural biases and ignorance behind it. I was a young lesbian in a convent school in the sixties and the messages were terrifying. Now I know my God loves me but when we see the heartbreaking teenage LGBTQ suicide rate, added to the brutality of social media, and right wing propaganda many young people have internalized the homophobia in their lives and can’t. Let’s make this a banned school book to get the word out there, or maybe Biden could send it out with the next Covid tests.
I really enjoyed this read! As a member of the LGBT community, and a end of life care provider, I struggle with where faith fits in my life. I am sharing this with my friends and family
Mitchell Kesller writes a historical and philosophical examination of LGBTQ issues. It does succeeds in its exploring the disconnect between Christians and LGBTQ. As I read it, I though it was interesting how the Bible talks about queerness. It makes me think that what we hear at our Sunday sermons may be leaving something out. An interesting read that would be good for everyone to read.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found it to be a lot of information as well as a lot of interesting thought-provoking commentary from the author. The author both explains his own position on beliefs and his family history with both Christianity and their involvement in the clergy.
This is a relatively short book, but it's packed full of information, and it took me several days to get through the text. I loved how he not only dives deeply into the hermeneutics of each verse and the language and translation of each, but he also provides a skimmed-down synopsis of each of his points. This is an excellent reference, as well as an important offering for opening up, hopefully, educated and non-judgmental dialog on the scriptures used by the exclusionary narrative often spouted by the church.
I hope that the author writes more, and shares more of his own experiences in the future. I recommend this book for anyone who would like to look beyond the surface level verses and into the heart of the matter.
"Cheers to religious trauma!"
This book was not what I was expecting. Kesller is open, bold and vulnerable in Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea. It is part exploration of his own journey, part an examinations of the failure of the institution that is the Church, and part deep dive into some of the most classic and critical Biblical passages on LGBTQ+ issues.
The book is dense, but it is open, and Kesller has a truly driven and open heart in his writing. I found myself drawn in and relating to his own story. The biblical examination can get a touch on the drier side (but really, there's not a ton that can be done about that). This book is needed, this book is powerful, and this book is just the start of what will be a journey of healing for so very many people.
"Your existence is valid. You are loved. You are free."
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Broke the Bread, Spilled the Tea by Mitchell Kesller
Published: March 30, 2022
Promethean Publishing Group
KKECReads Rating: 4/5
I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.
Mitchell Kesller was born in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and later moved to Boston, MA. Raised Bostonian, he moved to Orlando, FL, fell in love with it, and refused to leave. Though Orlando is his homebase, you can also frequently find him traveling to Italy to explore more of the ancient and medieval history it holds. As such, he speaks English, Portuguese, and Italian.
A Philosopher in the word's original sense, Mitchell has never stopped chasing after wisdom and continued education. Though achieving two Bachelor's degrees in unrelated fields, his passion has always been to thoroughly study ancient history and religious topics. He and his fiancé, Daniel, currently live in Orlando. When they aren't traveling abroad, they enjoy exploring the city for its different restaurants and can often be spotted hanging out in the region's many theme parks.
“Please fasten your seatbelts as we may face a bit of turbulence.”
Written from a place of passion, compassion, and a desire to connect people, this book was well put together.
It’s clear that Mitchell researched this book and that he spent a lot of time putting it together. He is knowledgeable in his interpretations, and I felt he was respectful.
It was interesting reading a different viewpoint regarding the well-known passages used in this book. It’s always fascinating to me to see how other people process and interpret the Bible.
I enjoyed the conversational and friendly tone throughout this book. And that Mitchell explained things along the way that helped further understanding. I also appreciated that he encouraged the reader to do their research. To not just take his word (or any word) as THE word without doing some digging.
For a passion project that was anticipated to be received negatively, I applaud Mitchell for taking the time and bringing this to light.
The biggest takeaway from this book is that God loves all people. And that’s the tea.
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