cover image GAY RELIGION


, . . Rowman & Littlefield/AltaMira, $75 (454pp) ISBN 978-0-7591-0326-9

In their introduction, Gray and Thumma express a desire to steer away from "highlighting debates over the place of gay and lesbian believers in American religious life," preferring to examine "new and inventive forms of religious expression created in support of the diverse gay spiritual life in America." The mostly ethnographic research reported by this volume's contributors sometimes succeeds in this mission. René Drumm's fascinating piece about gay Seventh-Day Adventists chronicles the success of a national support group and the surprisingly accepting response many of them have gotten from the SDA community. And Jay Hasbrouk's essay about Radical Faeries explicates the little-known and even less understood communities of gay men who practice a mix of pagan and animistic rituals. Thumma and Gray separate the book's 21 essays into three categories, "Denominational Heritage Expressions," "Subaltern/Sectarian Expressions" and "Popular Expressions," and include an essay by Marie Griffith that challenges this taxonomy. While the sectioning of the book will probably work for most readers, the use of disappointingly dated research may not. In the first section, for example, Thumma's essay about gay evangelicals and Moshe Shokeid's essay about a gay synagogue both feature field work done between 15 and 25 years ago. In an anthology that does not purport to be a history, the absence of more recent investigations is frustrating. (Feb.)