It took eight years for James Alexander Langteaux to write his latest book, Gay Conversations with God: Straight Talk on Fanatics, Fags and the God Who Loves Us All (April, Findhorn Press), but the long process had nothing to do with writer’s block. “It was more due to fear,” Langteaux says. “I was angry and hurt and wounded by a lot of ignorance among Christians, and didn’t think I could be gay and a Christian.” In addition, as a senior producer for a Christian television network, he knew the book could put his job in jeopardy.
Langteaux’s anger is evident in the explicit language and tone used at the beginning of the book, which he says is an effort to meet readers where they are. “I received e-mails from a lot of hurt, angry people,” he says. “If I didn’t get their attention by speaking their language, I would lose authenticity.”
But Langteaux, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., says that the ultimate goal of the book is to guide his readers—gay and straight alike—away from anger toward a real, meaningful conversation and an attitude of love and forgiveness. “I hope gay Christians will stop giving God the finger and instead give him their hand and allow a relationship to emerge as we are,” he says. Langteaux also hopes his book will speak to straight Christians who are conflicted about their church’s teaching on gay and lesbian people. “I want to give them permission to love gay people without quoting scripture or qualification,” he says.
Already the book has provided Langteaux with healing conversations in his own life. He resigned from his job two weeks ago, and says he was met with much “understanding and love” from network executives. Although staying in his position or even getting fired could have provided his book with publicity, Langteaux purposefully avoided creating a more sensational situation. “It could get good press, but it would be the antithesis of the book,” he says. “I believed it would be better to do the gracious thing.”
Langteaux doesn’t expect to find another job in Christian broadcasting, but he trusts that God will provide. “The message [of the book] is far too important to withhold due to uncertainty about my financial situation or future employment,” he says. “I hope the reader walks away knowing that they are loved, and that love will hopefully transcend and allow us to be able to love ourselves. Once you’re loved by the big guy, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”