“The book is a resounding success and it is a must-read for the thoughtful Christian or person of faith seeking to engage in conversations about gender and sexuality, or who just seeks greater understanding of the questions surrounding these topics.”
“Weaving biblical examples of gender nonconformity and transformation with the stories and voices of contemporary trans Christians, Hartke’s approach is both pastoral and prophetic as he addresses harmful Christian theology that has been used to further marginalize and exclude trans people. Hartke’s scriptural basis for a trans-affirming theology offers a healing balm for queer and trans people who have ever questioned that God loves them based on “what it says in the Bible,” while challenging progressive Christian communities to center trans perspectives in their efforts to become truly open and affirming.”
“Hartke starts teaching theology how I have always wanted to teach, but have never been sure I got right: teaching like Jesus. Hartke deftly weaves biblical stories with the life stories of real transgender people, including himself. It was here that I came to believe Transforming would be as outstanding a tool for cisgender parents and pastors as it would be for transgender Christians like me, who can use some tools to find their way in the Christian community. Through the next nine chapters, Hartke shows many ways the Bible urges us to embrace those who are not like us, just as Jesus did. That is, telling the parable and letting us find our own conclusion.”
“Hartke weaves stories together to paint a complex picture of the lives of trans Christians. Some characters are prominent activists, while others are young people in the early days of navigating their faith after coming out as trans. This patchwork of stories and scripture analysis creates a provocative narrative that holds much fruit, both for trans Christians and for our allies, as well as anyone else who seeks to understand how the church can advocate for trans folks.”
Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians
I'm so excited to announce that my first book, Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, is now available from Westminster John Knox Press! Order via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Powells, or request it from your local bookstore!
Praise for Transforming
"Writing as a white, bisexual, transgender man who happens to be a committed Christian, Hartke nevertheless confesses that to this day he feels just a little bit nervous when he walks into any unfamiliar church building. And no wonder, for, as he will point out, many churches in America are less than welcoming to the 1.4 million transgender adults in their midst, a staggering 41 percent of whom will have attempted suicide. In this connection, he points out the importance of finding a supportive faith community. He writes movingly about his own search for such an environment but also offers the perspectives of a wide variety of other transgender people, whose stories he generously shares. Along the way, he writes about such practical matters as definitions of gender identities and what parts of our gender identities are socially constructed and what may be biologically set in stone. He poses many questions about his subject, of course, and finds answers in the Bible, sometimes surprising ones, as his equation of contemporary transgender people with eunuchs, the gender-nonconforming people of the ancient world. He also discusses the corporeal nature of Jesus and extrapolates from that a discussion of embodied theology. But his leitmotif remains the search for a welcoming religious community. It's an informative and illuminating quest, supplemented by an extensive appended list of further reading and resources. This is an important book that fills an urgent need."
"What a powerful read! Clear, compelling, and profoundly moving, this book should be on the shelf of every pastor, every parent, and every Christian of good conscience who wants to engage the conversation around gender and sexuality with integrity. With the patience of a teacher and the humility of a fellow traveler, Austen Hartke carefully unpacks the terminology, sociological studies, and biblical and theological perspectives that most impact transgender Christians, and combines them with compelling personal stories including his own to point us toward truth. It s rare to find a book that manages to be this intellectually rigorous and this readable at the same time. But then, Austen Hartke is a rare talent, one we are so blessed to call part of the Body of Christ. I'll be recommending this book to friends and readers for years to come."
--Rachel Held Evans, author of Searching for Sunday and Inspired