Book Review – Out of a Far Country

Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope.

By Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan
242 pages, WaterBrook, 2011
ISBN 9780307729354

Goodreads rating: 4.33 out of 5

Like it or not, the church and Christians will one day come face to face to the question “What is the Christian response to homosexuality?” No contemporary issue has divided the church more than the question of LGBTQ (that’s ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer’). Some argue exhaustively that homosexuality is a manifestation of an evil spirit (‘he / she needs to be delivered’), some say it is an entirely free will life choice (‘nobody is born gay’), while others argue that it is a sin no different from gluttony or anger, borne from our fallen nature.

Traditionally, most Christians have stuck to the principle of “Love the sinner, hate the sin” (spoiler alert – it’s not from the Bible, it is taken from St. Augustine) but I think there is a need to move further one than just an aphorism. How do we deal with same-sex attraction in our church youth group? Is sexual intimacy a right? If the homosexual relation is monogamous, is it still wrong in the eyes of the church? Is there a difference between sexual orientation and sexuality?  

Christopher Yuan is a son of Taiwanese immigrants to America, and his mother Angela, is locked in a bitter and loveless marriage. This book details both their story in alternating chapters. Christopher started exhibiting homosexual tendencies since young, and had always been rebellious. He came out (confessed his sexual orientation) to his parents while in college and broke away from his family after seeing their typical response, while his mother desperately clung on to a barest thread of relationship with her son. Finally set free, Christopher spirals out into a web of promiscuity, drug addiction, drug dealing, and finally prison. At the same time, mom Angela goes on her own hellish journey which ends up discovering God. It was in prison that Christopher finds out the dreaded final gambit of male homosexuality – that he is HIV positive.

The memoir while heart-wrenching to read is not without hope. Christopher finally accepts Jesus into his life while in prison, and was released after a reduced sentence. It is his struggle with his sexuality and the new Christian faith here that is eye-opening and thought-provoking. While he doesn’t claim to have all the answers, he does offer a way for others to follow. Perhaps this may serve as a comfort to those who suffer silently amongst us in PJEFC.


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