Arceneaux, Michael. “I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé”, Atria, 2018.
Michael Arceneaux has not had an easy life and he shares with us what it is like to grow up a as a creative, sensitive black man in a world that constantly tries to deride and diminish his humanity. He does this in a collection of very funny and soul‑searching sensitive essays. I think it is fair to say that we are all well aware that equality for LGBTQ people has come a long way yet voices of people of color within the community are still often silenced, and being Black in America is very definitely not easy. Those of you who are regular readers of my reviews know how often I bemoan the fact that we really do not have much writing from the Black LGBTQ community.
Michael Arceneaux writes with passion and freshness while still maintaining a sense of humor and he has no borders. He shares his journey of learning how to accept and embrace who he is even while the world told him not to do so. He shares his coming out to his mother and growing up in Houston, Texas where he was approached for the priesthood; he writes about his obstacles in embracing intimacy and the challenges of young people who feel marginalized and denied the opportunity to pursue their dreams. He is outspoken and I love him for that because you get nothing by being quiet.
Arceneaux tells the stories that need to be told and he writes about his life as he is— a black gay man with a strength of conviction and such fine wit. Here he struggles with the very things that shape our lives – “faith, family, and finding a way into the world he wants to be a part of.” His observations are keen and he sees beauty in ugliness and then puts it on paper. We see him in totality and we join him on his journey “toward contentment, wholeness and reconciliation with faith and family as an unapologetically black, queer and Southern man.”
Arceneaux strips bare his humanity and his hilarity revealing who he is and who we are as he carefully explains why it is important to be black, gay, young, and human today. He takes directly to the core of intersectionality to reveal personal and religious trials of faith