The idea of Jesus as an imaginary friend tiny enough to live in her heart comforted Barth as a child and would continue to do so throughout her life. His unqualified acceptance of her emerging sexuality so clashed with the fundamentalist church’s stand on homosexuality that she wondered if she could trust his friendship. Instead of embracing her friend’s encouragement, Barth found herself venturing into the very heart of enemy territory and the church’s false promises of altar calls and sexual cures. For years, she lingered there until all Imaginary Jesus had been trying to tell her about herself and about life becomes too compelling to ignore. My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus speaks to this disconnect between the radical and very human Jesus of history and the church’s supernatural savior. At once heartbreaking and hilarious, this book gives voice to the many LGBT people who have searched for sanctuary in a church that has largely rejected them and, in so doing, departed from the teachings of the Jesus it claims to follow.
Praise for My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus:
“My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus is a beautiful memoir of a young Christian woman’s determined but hopeless battle with her sexuality, and Barth’s narration is wise, honest, and frequently hilarious. Her struggle and triumph, so engagingly rendered, should resonate with anyone who has taken the long way to thoughtful self-reliance.”—Laura Moriarty, author of The Rest of Her Life and The Center of Everything
“This charming memoir, Barth’s first book, is an exemplary coming-out story as well as a wholesale indictment of the hypocrisy and false promises of many archconservative Christian congregations about sexuality – that love, when it happens between two members of the same sex, is a manifestation of broken “machinery in need of parts and service.” Barth’s recovery from self-loathing and anxiety is a very near thing, but this witty volume leaves her happily partnered and churched. VERDICT A lovely volume for readers who can’t get enough Anne Lamott or Mary Karr, Barth’s book is both revelatory and amusing.”—Library Journal