The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek

What did I expect from this book? I expected to read about the journey of a young, straight Christian male who decided to come out as gay so he can experience directly what it is like to be gay in a modern America especially in a Christian context. Unfortunately, I did not get that.

I applaud Kurek’s heart and his ultimate goal, but the experiment – not sure that is the right word to use – sort of falls flat. Kurek is nervous about his year long journey of being gay and putting his faith in the closet. That makes sense. However, throughout most of the book he seems more preoccupied with his dishonesty than the realities of separating his sexual orientation from his faith. Half way through the journey, his family discovers the truth which, in this story, is not a big deal since his entire family was fairly accepting – shocked but accepting.

He does have a few stories about his pastor rejecting him for coming out, but in the end – spoiler alert – the pastor apologizes and moves forward. Most of his time is spent in the gay community (nightclubs and cafes operated and frequented by gay men) and he discovers a great community there. I don’t think he needed to forge a gay identity to make uncover this.

I wish he had shared conversations with Christians during his time. I wanted to hear more from people close to him. I wanted to hear how Christian men and women could justify turning their backs on some amazing people simply because of a sexual identity. Having said that, I do need to give Kurek some credit, he did try to speak with people at an infamous church in the south and was vehemently rejected and threatened.

I just wanted more from this book. The stories uninteresting. The characters are boring. The stories feel fake, and don’t get me started on the number of typos in the book.

I don’t know what to learn from this story. This book was written 2011 or 2012 and fortunately a lot has changed since. Can society change enough in just a few years to make a book like this feel outdated? Good question.