Two weeks ago, I announced a contest to win a copy of Justin Lee's book Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate. It was an unusual contest because I asked people to categorize themselves before entering and for some people entering to make pledges about what they would do after reading the book. I'm very happy with how it turned out!
I owe a debt of gratitude to Rachel Held Evans because I tweeted the link to her and she RTed it. This brought me most of the giveaway entries, as well as a handful of new readers and Twitter followers!
I received no eligible entries in the "1" category (more on this in a moment), which was the LGBTQ/ally group who are not Christian. Given my readership -- and Rachel's -- this was not surprising, but a little disappointing.
On the plus side, this meant I had three additional copies to give to the "3" group (Christians who are not LGBTQ or allies), which was good, because I got a lot of entries! I wanted to pick the people I thought would benefit most from reading the book, and it was difficult to choose, but I narrowed it down to six winners:
- Christian, who shared how much the book Girls Like Us had changed his view of women, and wondered if Torn could do the same for how he sees LGBTQ people. "I'd love my heart to become softer towards the GLBT community," he wrote.
- Ruth, a pastor who admits she has been avoiding the topic of LGBTQ people after coming from a "super-conservative" tradition and now living in an area with a large LGBTQ population. "I no longer want to be on the sidelines, afraid to engage in conversations because I don't know," she wrote me. "I want to love people in a radical way just like Jesus does."
- Liz, a teacher at a Catholic high school who has actually shared some of my blog posts with her students (How cool is that?!?) and who wants to read the book and then contribute it to the school library.
- Jessica, who grew up in a church that led her to see gay people as "gross," but who questioned what she'd been taught after watching the movie "Blue Like Jazz." She says she doesn't know what to think now, and doesn't know how to relate to her aunt, who is a lesbian, but wants to find out.
- Leslie, who works at a church, has friends in the LGBTQ community, and feels conflicted. She said she went from thinking "they [LGBTQ people] should not sin as we should all try not to sin" to more recently thinking "we all sin, so it's ok..." but still doesn't think she has it figured out and wants to be challenged.
- John, pastor of music and worship at a Baptist church "that is struggling to learn how to serve the LGBT community." His best friend also recently came out.
I asked those in the "2" group to either tweet or write about the giveaway to spread the word. Surprisingly, I only got a handful of entries for this group. I used Random.org to select a winner, and it picked Rachel, who wrote about the giveaway on her book review blog.
The very first entry I received for the contest, and the only "1" entry, was from a guy in the UK (who hasn't replied with permission to use his name). I'd only opened up the contest to US residents because the gift card I got is only good for the US Amazon and there's big shipping costs to send something from US Amazon overseas. But I didn't feel right leaving him hanging, so I'm going to chip in my own money to buy him a copy of the UK version of Torn, which is called Unconditional, and have it sent to him from Amazon UK.
A big thanks to everyone who entered, especially those who took the time to write to me with their stories. If you haven't yet read Torn and didn't get a copy in the contest, may I sincerely suggest you get yourself a copy? I don't have any affiliation to Justin Lee or the book; I just really love it and want more people to read it. (Note that I've changed this to an Amazon Affiliate link and purchases made through this link will now support Faith Permeating Life.)
Contest winners -- I'll be placing orders this weekend, so you should get your book sometime next week.