“All of us who are enjoying some measure of equality for LGBT people and the beautiful community it creates owe a debt of gratitude to John Shore.” — Rev. Colleen Ogle, King Avenue United Methodist Church, Columbus, Ohio.
John is co-founder of The NALT (Not All Like That) Christians Project (which was written about by TIME, The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, and others). He is also the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question; 7 Reasons Women Stay in Abusive Relationships (and How to Defeat Each One of Them); I’m OK—You’re Not; Penguins, Pain, and the Whole Shebang; and Comma Sense: A FUNdamental Guide to Punctuation.
He is best known for his sea-changing work inexhaustibly and methodically dismantling the Christian teaching that homosexuality is a sin (e.g., Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality).
John is also recognized for his seminal essays exposing and helping to weaken the authority of Christian fundamentalism (e.g., The Fundamentally Toxic Christianity; Waiting for Bob Jones’s Huge Gay Bomb to Drop; Bob Jones University Shuts Down Year-Long Investigation of Sexual Abuse on Its Campus; Only Psychos Feel Abused; The Southern Baptist Convention Throws Transgender People Under the Bus; Southern Baptist Pastor Accepts His Gay Son, Changes His Church), as well as for his influential debunking of the traditional Christian teachings of both hell (e.g., Is Hell Real? What Are We, Six?; Christian and Atheist Argue About Hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist Wins; What Christianity Without Hell Looks Like) and evangelizing (e.g., What Non-Christians Want Christians to Hear; When Bad Christians Happen to Good People; How Is, “Convert, You Sinner!” Loving?).
When, in 2007, John began using the platform of his blog to advocate for the full and equal acceptance of LGBT people within Christianity, literally no other Christian leader or blogger, “progressive,” “emergent,” or otherwise (let alone one who was, as he is, straight) would step up and help him fight for the cause of LGBT equality in which he believed with such unabashed, compassionate, and ultimately sea-changing fervor.
In private, they all told John that they believed in what he was saying and teaching. They just couldn’t say so publically.
“I did everything I could to get literally any leading progressive Christian leader with an online presence (being very nearly all of them) to join me in championing LGBT equality,” he says. “From publicly challenging them, to begging and cajoling each of them on the side, nothing worked. They wouldn’t join the cause. They were all too afraid of losing their speaking gigs at churches and Christian conferences, their Christian funding sources, their book deals, their wealthiest congregants. They were afraid of what supporting LGBT equality would cost them, literally. But I had no such concerns; I’m not a professional Christian, and am beholden to no one. I’m just a writer. So I did what I do. I kept writing.”
Mr. Shore’s work on the topic of Christianity and LGBT equality came to be featured by Dan Savage, Andrew Sullivan, GLAAD, Advocate.com, Towleroad, Joe. My. God., Good As You, and many others. Straight as he is, he was also a featured columnist for LGBTQ Nation.
Over the years, as post after post of Shore’s on the matter of LGBT equality went viral (e.g., What Would Jesus Do If Invited to a Gay Wedding?; Mr. Wallis and His Big Gay Waffle; If You Take Paul Literally on Homosexuality, Take Jesus Literally on Money; An open letter to Exodus International’s super-remorseful Alan Chambers; The Inevitability of the Rise of Progressive Christianity), things began to change. (“Viral” is here defined as shared on FB at least 25,000 times.) Slowly but surely, as the idea grew in popularity, first progressive Christian bloggers and then progressive Christian leaders felt increasingly safe affirming LGBT equality.
Many of Mr. Shore’s original and then-radical arguments in support of the Christian acceptance of full LGBT equality are now standard progressive Christian positions on the matter. To obey the “law” of condemning homosexuality is to egregiously violate what Jesus himself declared the Greatest Commandment. What anti-gay Christians are denying gay people—in direct defiance of everything for which Jesus stood and died—is nothing less than love. The blood of any gay person’s suicide is on the hands of all anti-gay Christians. Like it or not, every anti-gay Christian is, necessarily and by definition, a bigot. The very phrase “anti-gay Christians” as a means of keeping conversations on the issue singularly focused. All of these thoughts and ideas, and more like them, were conceived by Mr. Shore, first expressed on blog posts of his that went viral, and are now commonplace throughout progressive Christianity.
John is also widely and perhaps even best known for the advice he regularly offers on his blog to readers who write him of their deepest pain (e.g., To a Christian Woman Who Chose Abortion; Must I forgive the brother who sexually abused me for seven years?; Woman having affair with her pastor’s wife: “I ended it.” Chalk up 3 more lives decimated by anti-gay “Christianity.”; My Mom Died Last Night; I Fear She Is Now in Hell; ). Also beloved by John’s fans are his purely humorous posts (e.g., Ten Tips for Becoming an Amazing Husband; A New-Age Translation of the Lord’s Prayer; A Liberal Arts Education in 500 Words; How I Lost My Virginity to My High School Teacher), his relationship advice (e.g., Six Tests to Determine If He’s Mr. Right, What Does a Woman Really Mean When She Says, “I Need Space”?; 10 Steps to Winning Back Your Estranged Wife; 1 Man, 2 Women in a Polyamorous Relationship), and, perhaps most impactful of all, the work he has done on the subject of sexual abuse and forgiveness. — Danielle Wilks
What others have said about John
“John Shore is America’s preeminent non-douchey Christian. His blog is a must-read for anyone, Christian or otherwise.” — Dan Savage, internationally syndicated columnist (Savage Love); founder of the It Gets Better project; best-selling author (American Savage); executive producer of The Real O’Neals, the ABC sitcom based on his life.
“John Shore is awesome, and a brilliant writer. The minute I started reading his stuff, I knew he was a brother from another mother.” — Rob Bell, author of New York Times best-seller Love Wins; in 2011 named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
John Shore is a gadfly, calling the Christian Church everywhere to act the way it says it believes about love and justice, which of course makes him an uncomfortable presence in those churches that do not like to be forced to face reality. So were the prophets of old. So was Jesus of Nazareth.” — John Shelby Spong, author of Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, and others.
“Shore is a madman and a genius.”— Eric Metaxas, author of bestsellers Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, and, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, the Christian Booksellers Association 2011 Book of the Year.
“John Shore helps me un-learn something I shouldn’t have learned in seminary, which is that there’s a dichotomy between being pastoral and being prophetic. Watching him consistently do both of those at once reminds me that, yes, being pastoral to the victims and prophetic to those who have hurt them is how it ought to be. I’m a big fan and beneficiary of John’s writing.” — Fred Clark, a.k.a. Slacktivist.
“John Shore is funny as hell and smart as hell, which is good because I’ve heard that we’re both going to spend a long time there.” — Tony Jones, Theoblogy.
“John Shore’s unique, honest, and passionate writings draw us to dig a little deeper, to listen with the intention of truly hearing and understanding each other. He gives voice to those without a platform; he puts into words our latent questions/ observations about today’s topics that are begging to be addressed from the viewpoint of an informed Christian” — Spencer Burke, founder of TheOOZE.com
“Shore is a humorist whose work is more comedic than Donald Miller, and his appeal to Christians is more direct.” — Michael Spencer, a.k.a. The Internet Monk, author of the bestseller Mere Churchianity.
“John Shore is a genius.” — Stephen Arterburn, Every Man’s Battle.
“John Shore has been pioneering the slide down the slope for years.” Author, radio host, and career gay-basher Dr. Michael L. Brown, named by the Southern Poverty Law Center in September 2012 among the “30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right,” and profiled extensively to be among the groups and leaders that the SPLC considers to be hate groups.