“John Shore is America’s preeminent non-douchey Christian. His blog is a must-read for anyone, Christian or otherwise.” — Dan Savage, Savage Love, “It Gets Better,” American Savage.
“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, Love Wins
“John Shore is a remarkably gifted writer who knows exactly what he is doing.” — Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Twelve Times Blessed and The Breakdown Lane.
“The legitimate son of Kurt Vonnegut and Dave Barry, John Shore writes with a freaky energy and humor and imagination that illuminate his characters’ and readers’ hearts. He’s the real thing.”— Richard Lederer, author of more than thirty books on the English language, including the bestselling Anguished English series and The Miracle of Language.
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.
“John Shore is one of those rare writers who can make people laugh and think at the same time. He’s one of the most talented, funny, and deeply thoughtful writers I know. He’s a sincere pleasure to read.”— Richard Louv, author of international bestsellers Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle.
John Shore is a pioneer and leader of the progressive Christian movement. His writings are widely credited as being seminal to the emergence and popularization of LGBT-affirming Christianity. John, who is straight, is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (UC’s Facebook page; UC’s group blog) and co-founder of The NALT (Not All Like That) Christians Project (written about by TIME, The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, and others).
In 2014 John’s two blogs were viewed 3.7 million times.
He is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, I’m Okay—You’re Not: The Message We’re Sending Non-Christians and Why We Should Stop, Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang, 7 Reasons Women Stay in Abusive Relationships, Comma Sense: A FUNdamental Guide to Punctuation, and other books.
While well known 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), 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?), Mr. Shore is perhaps best known for his relentless, methodical, and ultimately permanent decimation of the Christian teaching that homosexuality is a sin (e.g., Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality).
When, in 2007, John began using the platform of his blog (and, later, as a featured writer for The Huffington Post) to advocate for the full and equal acceptance of LGBT people within Christianity, he shone alone in vast firmament of the Christian blogosphere. No other Christian 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.
“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. In what is surely a first for a straight Christian, he was a columnist for LGBTQ Nation.
Over the years, as so many of Shore’s blog posts on the matter of LGBT equality went super-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; Southern Baptist Pastor Accepts His Gay Son, Changes His Church; The Inevitability of the Rise of Progressive Christianity), things began to change. 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.
“I never doubted that the ideas I was was promulgating would prove victorious,” says John. “Right always wins. And I knew that, in this case, it would win quickly, too. Because I knew there were tens of thousands of Christians out there who thought and believed as I do. They just didn’t have a voice, a point of focus. No one was speaking for them. So, using the blogosphere, I did. And I knew that if on my blog I carefully, logically, and persistently made the arguments for why, say, the notion that being gay is a sin must be immoral, then popular Christian theology would change. Why? Because inevitably theology follows sociology. If enough people understand that something is wrong—no matter how entrenched that something may be—that thing gets changed. Religion isn’t inured from that truth. Once enough Christians believed that it’s no sin to be gay, the accepted Christian theology condemning homosexuality would most certainly change—the same way it did about slavery and women’s suffrage. Because, if nothing else, if there’s one thing pastors care about, it’s keeping people in the pews. And not even the most charismatic pastor in the world can sell something that no one’s buying anymore.
“A year or so into my work, regular, everyday Christians began rallying around it. My posts began pretty regularly going viral. Slowly at first, and then rapidly, progressive Christian leaders across the country began to understand that the crowd they were supposed to be leading was surging off without them. So they scrambled to catch up. And today you can’t hurl a stick without hitting four ‘progressive’ Christian leaders who vigorously support LGBT equality—and who will proclaim to have supported it all along, too. Which is perfectly okay with me. I’d rather have people show up to the party late than not show up at all.
“Because of the Internet,” continues Mr. Shore, “the sea-change in Christian beliefs about homosexuality didn’t take place over the decades or centuries that such transformations usually do. The Internet allowed this change to happen from the grassroots up, instead of, as has historically been the case, from the seminaries and pulpits down. Going upwards from the people is much faster than trickling downwards from the hallowed halls of academia. Social media allowed to happen in less than a decade change on an order that usually takes generations upon generations. I mean, think of it. Eight years ago I was alone. Today I’m just another voice in the roaring crowd. It’s fantastic. I’ve never in my life been so happy to be drowned out.”
Besides his work on the relationship between Christianity and homosexuality, on the Christian doctrine of hell, and on the Christian imperative to evangelize, 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.
He has recently finished writing his first full-length novel, which has nothing whatsoever to do with God, Christianity, or religion.
Before starting his blog in 2007, Mr. Shore was an editor and writer for various publications and websites, including San Diego Magazine, the San Diego Reader, KPBS Magazine, the San Diego Union-Tribune, E!Online, AOL, Microsoft’s Sidewalk San Diego, and others.
He has published fifteen short stories in various literary magazines across the country.
He lives in Asheville, NC, with Catherine, his wife of thirty-five years.
To keep up on the latest with John, sign up for his (free) email newsletter.
More of what others have said about John:
“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.
*Almost all of the posts linked to were originally published here on John’s erstwhile (and recently revived) blogsite, JohnShore.com. When, in late 2013, John moved his blog from here over to Patheos.com, the Share numbers for all of his pre-Patheos posts were eradicated. But all of the posts above, when first published here, were shared at least 10,000 times.