I am a harsh critic of Christian books. I don’t like books designed to give warm fuzzies and a false sense of security to a bloated and yet anemic market of Christians clammering for mediocre works that don’t focus on Jesus Christ and his revolutionary Way.
I don’t like most Christian books, Sam-I-Am!
That being said, when I saw Christopher Yuan’s Out of a Far Country at Waterbrook-Multnomah’s Blogging for Books site, I knew I needed to read it. Yuan’s book, which is co-written with his mother Angela, is the story of his redemption from a particularly dark journey. It is the story of his family learning how to forgive, how to walk in truth, and ultimately how to be transformed.
I have gay and bisexual acquaintances and friends. They have been classmates, students and coworkers; but most importantly, they have been human beings and that means God loves them.
The typical evangelical responses to homosexuality are usually either a kind of awkward patronization or a reactive hatred. We are not really equipped to handle the idea of someone having an alternate sexuality. (It is perhaps bigger than evangelical circles, but I will restrict this statement to that niche for the time being.)
Yuan’s entire point in telling his story is not to condemn homosexuals. In fact, he still considers himself a homosexual. He tells his story to demystify this idea of “sexual identity” – a pop psychology concept that does far more damage than good. He explains quite plainly that we do not get our identity from our sexual preferences. We get our identity from God, and a heterosexual who is not committed to God is just as lost as a homosexual.
Christopher Yuan is still gay. He teaches at Moody Bible Institute.
Wait – think about that one for a moment.
Christopher Yuan has chosen God’s definition of holiness over his own sexual identity. God did not zap him straight, anymore than God zaps an adulterer married. Christopher has submitted his will to that of the Father, and he has chosen to be celibate.
As he puts it, “The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. The opposite of homosexuality is holiness.”
I won’t say that this book is perfect.
It gets a little bogged down in the middle where you get the impression that every homosexual is sexually reckless, drops Ecstasy every day and travels the country going from rave to rave. (They don’t. Most homosexuals live and work just like their heterosexual counterparts.) I felt that a little bit of a disclaimer in this section would have been in order, because it really does convey an inaccurate image of gay life. You can imagine the uproar if a homosexual author used Wilt Chamberlain as an example of the average heterosexual!
That aside, this book is an excellent starting point for evangelical Christians trying to wrap their minds around homosexuality. I would also highly recommend Who Is My Enemy? by Rich Nathan. The chapter on homosexuals is worth its weight in gold.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. There was no requirement placed upon me for the content of this review.