Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Out of the Closet and into the Church

This week's book, Out of a Far Country: A Gay son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search for Hope by Christopher and Angela Yuan was a surprise feel good book. I stayed up til 2 in the morning last night because I was unable to put this book down which came as a huge surprise to me. I'm not going to lie when I received this book I was dreading reading it, it looked like another cliche "I stopped being gay for God" book. I really had no desire to read it. But once I started it sucked me right it. Each chapter is told through either the eyes of Christopher or his mother and it is interesting to see each of their different perspectives on the situation. When Christopher, Angela's youngest and closest son, tells his family that he is gay, she leaves him an alternative, to accept the family or the homosexuality. Christopher chooses his homosexuality and leaves home because he is tired of living a double life. Angela decides that she has failed as a wife and mother and plans to go visit Christopher one last time in Atlanta before killing herself. Her train ride down to Atlanta though takes an interesting turn when she picks up some christian literature and finds God. She accepts Christopher for who he is and makes it her life's goal to transform her husband's and her sons life through Jesus Christ. The story chronicles Angela's spiritual journey and Christopher's spiral into the gay community, into the HIV+ community, and finally into the drug community where he becomes a minor drug lord and ends up having to serve a few years in jail. While in jail his parent's badgering about Christianity slowly begins to take its toll and he becomes a completely different person. He decides that being homosexual wasn't what defined him and that God didn't hate gays, He only hated the act that gays performed. Christopher decides to remain celibate and to spread the word of God to the gay community and to anyone who listens. He still currently gives talks, lectures, and teaches, he hurries along before the AIDS makes him incapable to do so anymore. It was truly an awe inspiring story and I appreciated that it didn't have the usual "God hates fags" theme going on. I would definitely recommend this book. It is a fantastic read.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Faith and Politics: an Often Fatal Combination

I feel like it's been forever since I last posted, sorry for the delay!

This month I reviewed, Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics, by Alisa Harris a short quirky memoir about coming to terms with living out her faith. Alisa Harris grew up picketing abortion clinics, going to republican rally's, and debating her fellow home-schooled friends. She thought that being politically active was the best way to live out her conservative christian faith. As she gets older however she begins to realize that maybe no matter how hard you try you can't change the world if you're hiding behind your signs. You have to live it out in your actions every single day.

Overall, I felt that this was a very poignant well-written, and inspiring memoir, it's perfect for the ultra-religious, the non-religious, the politically savvy, the non-political, it's just really great for everyone. The stories that Alisa shares from her childhood are funny, sad, serious, inspiring and fulfill every emotional pull that you could possibly combine in a book. I would recommend this book to anyone, it illuminates an important aspect of our culture and tries to make sense of our hectic society. In an age where Jonesbro Church members picket army funerals and harass the public this book attempts to come to terms with this era's culture warriors. A must read for everyone!

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”