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Jesus in Drag - the Trailer

Tim Kurek (a Christian author I follow over on FB) has a new book coming out. As he describes it:

In January 2009 I entered the closet a straight man and came out to my friends and family as a gay. I lived with the label for an entire year. After my life as I knew it had quickly unraveled into nothing, I began building a new one. I became a barista at a gay café. I played in a LGBT softball league. I protested in New York City with a group of gay activists that I had encountered years before while I studied Liberty University. And I even participated in a marriage equality event with the son on Jim and Tammy Faye, Jay Bakker. For a year I immersed myself, completely and utterly, in the small gay scene of Nashville, Tennessee, and experienced firsthand the agony of being isolated, repressed, and alone.

My book is the result of that year and it tells the story of the men and women that challenged, and ultimately changed my life’s path. It is a book about faith, and a book about doubt. But mostly it is a book about people, and how the men and women I’d always been taught to shun ended up saving my life.

He emphasizes that he is not writing about the gay experience, since (as he's not really gay) that's not a topic he feels competent to address. Rather, it's about a rather extreme exercise in empathy: a Christian trying to exorcise his inner-Pharisee, as it were, and to live with what many LGBT Christians live with "for real."

He's asking the same questions that spurred my own "evolution" on homosexuality, and changed me from someone who thought the Bible taught homosexuality was immoral to being convinced of the opposite. While I didn't go so far as Tim did (not nearly that brave, unfortunately!) I found myself asking questions like the ones that motivated his project. If I was gay, could I come out to my family and friends? Could I still be a Christian? What made any love I felt for another man better or more worthy of support than the love a gay friend of mine felt for his boyfriend? These on top of the obvious political problems of denying equal legal protections to anyone, based on a religious belief. It was this striving for empathy that really changed my position on homosexuality, and though this was private in my case - I lived with "what if's" rather than dealing with peoples' very real reactions to my actually coming out - I can definitely see the appeal of Tim's project.

Tim has a trailer out for the book...

... and he is accepting donations to help pay for a publicist and final book editing. Even if you decide not to donate (which I plan to, and encourage - this really is an interesting story that needs to be told), I hope you'll check out the trailer and think about the experiences he describes. It'll be four minutes well spent. The book comes out October 11.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2012 12:42 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, while I think that this project is very well-intentioned and the author certainly has his heart in the right place, I must say that it leaves me a tad uncomfortable. I appreciate him trying to live as one of the people he might have once been taught to shun, but even though he says he doesn't want to write about the gay experience (and I believe him), perhaps he could just have talked at length to various LGBT Christians and published these interviews instead? Because projects like those always feel a bit as though the writers wanted to talk for the people concerned to a certain degree, and even if they mean well (as most of them do), this can quickly turn gimmicky and/or condescending. (Also see: Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickel and Dimed, a book that was otherwise a good and thought-provoking read).
Jun. 7th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
You know, that point bothered me when I first heard about the project. It helps that the author has said again and again that he's not speaking for LGBT people, or even about LGBT people as a whole. He seems to be very self-aware of the fact that he can only describe his set of experiences. Of course I can't know how well that translates into a non-offensive book until I see the finished product, but the fact that he is so explicit that he's not doing that gives me high hopes.

But the "story that needs telling" I referenced above wasn't actually the story of the LGBT community, or of LGBT Christians. Rather, it's the story of how conservative Christians are "blinded" on this issue. The way I read what Tim's said about this book, it seems to be more about what it was like for him to experience the same things gay Christians live with, how that changed him and by extension what he was missing before he had this experience. That is a story he's qualified to tell, I think.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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