by Layton Williams, Westminster John Knox, 2019.
The subtitle of Holy Disunity plays with the words separate and save, two words not often paired. The author, Layton Williams, who is young and identifies as queer, begins her book with this sentence: “I have spent my entire life deeply loving people with whom I will never agree.”
If that resonates with you, as it does with me, I encourage you to buy this book and read it. You will encounter the 12 gifts that can be mined from being out of step with others — as long as we are intentional about our areas of disagreement. Some of these gifts are difference, doubt, tension, separation, failure, vulnerability, and uncertainty. Layton overturns each word — so often seen as negative — and exposes its underbelly to excavate its gift. As she does so, she hopscotches through scripture in the way of someone who engages deeply and lovingly with the text. She trusts scripture enough to believe what it says, that unity is found in the Spirit alone, and can never be forced. Her book suggests an approach to living in the tension when all is disunity.
If you keep a journal and are looking for fodder, this book is an ideal companion. I can imagine using a chapter as a conversation starter in a great variety of contexts, from the supper table to the church board room. If you’re a ministry leader, I encourage you to put a copy on a prominent shelf where the pretty cover will encourage someone to pick it up. You may find yourself engrossed in a surprising, challenging, and fruitful conversation.
I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.