Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Transforming: The Bible & the Lives of Transgender Christians by Austen Hartke

This is an incredible book to read. I've read it twice already and I don't usually re-read my books. It's that good.

This book is divided into 2 parts. 

Part 1 talks about the landscape in America today regarding trans identity and how it intersects with the Christian faith, gives us vocabulary to help in the discussion and more. Chapters 1 talks about the landscape of the intersection between trans identity and the Christian faith in USA today. Chapter 2 gives us some vocabulary to help the uninitiated understand the terminology used by trans folk today. And Chapter 3 is a dissection of Mark Yarhouse's 3 frameworks.

Part 2 has theology interwoven with personal testimonies of different trans / non-binary / genderqueer folks.

My favourite chapter was Chapter 5 that featured Aidan Wang, a transgender man from Taiwan. 

This is because in the many LGBTQ+ books I’ve read that dealt with faith, I’d only come across one that featured an Asian American. So to read about an actual person from the queer community right here in Asia was quite a treat. Thank you for your radical inclusiveness Austen!

In addition, the detailed exposition of Isaiah 56:3-8 in Chapter 7 really blessed me. Austen really went into great lengths to explain how this chapter resonated with him when he encountered it afresh as he was finishing seminary. I liked how the chapter was almost a Bible Study where he gave us background info, historical facts, and set the context for us to interpret it accurately.

Get this book to help educate Christians leaders, parents, friends, and family. This is a useful resource in the Christian world that sometimes contains lots of misinformation and hate against trans folk. 

Check out my YouTube video where I talk about other aspects of the book here: 


  1. I admire you for doing a review on this book. Bravo. It's a topic many believers steer clear of. I have a book I would like to sub for review but couldn't find where to sub it to. I am a multi-pubbed Chr writer. The book is the Treasure Seeker. Here's a link. Just re-released it. Would love a review but couldn't figure out on your blog how to connect w you personally. https://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Seeker-Quest-Spiritual-Intimacy-ebook/dp/B00NY1YQC0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1528291798&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Treasure+Seeker++Teena+Stewart

    1. Hi Teena, you can drop me an email at rachel.tan.shiying@gmail.com with details of your book and I'll see if I can do a review. Cheers, Rachel

  2. Jennifer SolomonJune 21, 2018 at 1:28 AM

    Hi Rachel, how do we submit a book for review?

    1. Hi Jennifer, you can email me over at rachel.tan.shiying@gmail.com with details of your book. Thanks