Being the Bad Guys: How to Live for Jesus in a World That Says You Shouldn't by Stephen McAlpine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I wasn't sure about this book at first, which is all about living as a Christian, in a world that has a negative view towards Christianity. I could tell that Stephen McAlpine is very conservative in his views, and the book contains a lot of criticism of gay and transgender rights, specifically the idea of having to accept or even promote LGBTQ+ causes, which could be seen as controversial, even inflammatory, as McAlpine constantly hammers home his point about how he doesn't agree with this, based on the Biblical text. McAlpine stressed at one point that the only reason he was mentioning sexuality and gender reassignment constantly was because they seem to be such big things in modern times.
I noticed at one point that he commented on how no one seems to mention the difficulty involved in transitioning between genders; I was reminded of a TV sketch I saw in the 1990s where Griff Rhys Jones said he was going to have a sex change, only for his comedy partner, the late Mel Smith, to explain in detail the entire process, and ulimately talking him out of it.
I realised that the big problem with this is that Mel Smith never had a sex change; to my knowledge, nor has Stephen McAlpine, so the only people who can really comment on what the process is like are those who have undergone the operation themselves.
When I got further into the book, I started to see this as less anti-gay or anti-trans, and the book even set out that it was okay to go out for a coffee with a gay friend. The best analogy that I found in the book was in the final chapter, where he compared living as a Christian in the world to China Mieville's "The City and the City" where two cities occur in the same space in time, but aren't allowed to acknowledge each other's presence, referring to Christians living quietly alongside the rest of the world, but not allowing the world's behaviour to influence them.
The book also made some good points about the modern phenomenon of "cancel culture" whereby celebrities get cold-shouldered after making a single divisive comment; not surprisingly, the book mentioned the fallout to J.K. Rowling's comments about trans people, and it also mentioned a story that I had not heard about the response to tennis play Margaret Court stating that she was against same-sex marriage. The book also was a good reminder that rejection of Christians is not a modern phenomenon; it has been going on in some form for many centuries; as Jesus said in the Gospels, Christians should expect to suffer for their faith.
It's probably not a book that I'd lend to someone who was just thinking about looking into Christianity, but it felt like a good book for more mature Christians.
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