Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Out of A Far Country by Christopher and Angela Yuan

Out of A Far Country by Christopher and Angela Yuan is a dual story about both a son's journey through a promiscuous homosexual lifestyle, drug abuse, and prison, as well as a mother's journey from hopelessness to redemption and restoration. Taking turns in alternating chapters, Christopher and Angela give their perspective on the journey they took over the course of about eight years, from the moment Christopher came out to his parents, to the moment he got out of prison and finally came home. Besides the story, the book contains an eight part study guide for both individual or group use.

This book is a very interesting and engaging read. The chapters are short, and both Christopher and Angela keep their side of the story short and sweet. The main difference between the two is that Angela records more what was going on in her heart, and Christopher records more what was going on in his life in general. Christopher's journey from the club scene, to doing drugs, dealing drugs, then prison is an honest look at how one bad decision can quickly snowball and set the course of a life. The story of Angela's dedication to seeing her son come to Christ is inspiring; her faithfulness in prayer, fasting, and even going so far as to ask a judge to send her son to jail long enough for him to find Christ are almost mind-boggling. That level of dedication and faithfulness is rarely seen, and convicts me about my lack of faithfulness in prayer for those in my life who don't know Christ.

One might think that a book from a Christian publisher about someone who is homosexual would end with that person becoming heterosexual. That is not the case with Out of A Far Country. Christopher's conclusion about sexuality and what the Bible calls for is more nuanced than simply being gay or straight, and involves one's identity as being defined as a child of God, more than simply as a gay or straight person. While some may disagree with his conclusions, I believe his conclusions about what he calls holy sexuality are consistent with Scripture. I applaud his openness about his life, and his willingness to have a nuanced discussion and stand for a position that many would condemn him for. These are the kinds of discussions that need to occur more often in the church.

The only complaint I have with the book is that the Yuan's important discussion about sexuality is confined to the last chapter. Hearing their story is great and important to provide context, but I don't fell as though their overall message was given enough space to do it justice. Their website (http://www.christopheryuan.com/) has much more information and better answers questions raised by Christopher's definition of holy sexuality. Overall I'd recommend this book to anyone willing to move beyond the basic straight/gay conversation, or anyone who'd like an insight into what its like to live in someone else's shoes.

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255