The Cross in the Closet
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The Cross in the Closet

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  388 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Timothy Kurek, raised within the confines of a strict, conservative Christian denomination in the Bible Belt, Nashville, Tennessee, was taught the gospel of separation from a young age. But it wasn’t long before Timothy’s path and the outside world converged when a friend came out as a lesbian, and revealed she had been excommunicated by her family.

Distraught and overcome...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by BlueHead Publishing
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Lauren Hidden
I am a married woman, and I haven't been a churchgoer for years. I loved this book. A former member of a very conservative Christian church, I never could understand why gays were so ostracized by our church and so many others. Knowing many gay men and lesbian women over my life, I never bought into the theory that your sexuality is a choice. Of course, acting on it is, I suppose, but I don't believe you can control what gender(s) you are attracted to.

This was such a great idea for a memoir, an...more
Rainbowbriight
As soon as I heard about this book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Tim Kurek's book, The Cross in the Closet, is a book I have been spreading the word about since I read the very first page. It is the story of how Tim went from being a Devout Christian who was very anti-gay to a fierce LGBT advocate in 12 months by simply having the courage to question his religious upbringing, and the compassion to walk in the shoes of the people in the LGBT community -- starting with coming out to his...more
Terri
If I had an unlimited supply of money I would order this book by the case and pass it out to everyone I know. Timothy Kurek's account of his year living with the label "Gay" is one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever encountered of the reality of God's continuing ability to change hearts and minds about "the Other" as well as a powerful rebuke to those of us within the Christian church about how we treat those with whom we disagree. In the tradition of "Black Like Me", Tim's immersion i...more
Elliot Ratzman
Will gays—loving, suffering, blessing—show us how to be more Christian? In the tradition of undercover experiments like Nickel and Dimed, Black Like Me and People of the Abyss, Tim Kurek, a young Southern conservative Evangelical, decides he is going to experiment with the experience of being labeled ‘gay’ for year. This is no light-hearted “My gay year”; Tim comes out to his family, leaves his church and foreswears girls. He takes on a “boyfriend”, works in a gay coffeehouse and protests with S...more
Janice Eastburn
I have read a lot of LGBT literature in my time; both fiction and non-fiction. This book is one of the most powerful I have read. Timothy Kurek, the author, is a heterosexual man who was raised in conservative Christianity. He was raised to hate and shun gay people and admits to his own entrenched bigotry. When a friend comes out to him and tells him that her family has disowned her, it challenges Timothy's belief system. He then embarks on a year-long journey to learn "what it is like" to be ga...more
John Kusters
What happens when a very conservative Christian decides to spend a year as a gay man in order to understand the enemy? Not unexpectedly, he gains a great deal of insight and becomes a strong ally in favor of equality. That's the story told by Tim Kurek in "The Cross in the Closet", a book I recommend highly.

Tim grew up in a very religiously conservative family in Nashville, Tennessee. While attending Liberty University, the largest, private, Conservative Christian college in the US (if not the w...more
Beth
I really wanted to like this book because it seemed--at first glance anyway--a courageous effort on the author's part. But I ended up disliking it, for two major reasons.

This seems like an honest book, sometimes painfully so. I also think Mr. Kurek is sincere in his desire to understand people he used to hate as well as why he was taught to hate them. I don't doubt the journey.

The first reason for my dislike is that Mr. Kurek is almost obsessive in his reminders to the reader that he's not actua...more
Jim


I saw a very brief piece on CNN about Tim Kurek's book. I felt compelled to purchase a copy from Amazon immediately (Kindle version). My first concern with Tim's book was how it might make people who are identified as LGBT feel, having sort of a trespasser or "spy" among them, thinking he was being authentic with them and later finding that he'd lied... however good his intentions might have been. By the end of the book, that concern had disappeared, probably because that same concern seemed to...more
Cyndi
The author is an Evangelical Christian living in a conservative part of the United States. After some encounters with gay people he met, he realized his own bigotry and decided to embark on a year long experiment where he came out as gay and lived and worked in the local gay community.

Kurek is an excellent writer whose prose makes you want to keep reading. He doesn't hold back with his feelings and embarrassing moments. There is some mention of sex in the book, but it's mild. Although he had a "...more
Rosemary
My hat's off to Timothy Kurek - whatever your take is on the ethics of his idea, I think it was a pretty bold experiment. When I saw the trailer for the book and heard him speak so humbly and eloquently about his experience, I was interested enough to buy it.

I'm a non-Christian lesbian, so I suppose I'm not the intended audience for this book. I certainly enjoyed reading about Kurek's crisis of faith and his subsequent desire to experience what it is to be "the other" in a way that most straight...more
Karen
Based on this book, Timothy Kurek seems to be a pretty incredible person. Raised as a very conservative Christian, he has an epiphany during his college years and decides to confront his hostile and judgmental view of gays. He 'closets' his straight nature and comes out as gay to family and friends. This serves a dual purpose: he experiences the ongoing difficulty of keeping his true nature closeted for a full year, and he is immersed in both the camaraderie of gay culture and the ostracism by p...more
Ashley
What better way to get as close as possible to truly understanding what members of the GLBT community go through than to attempt to replicate the process. Tim did a wonderful job of being respectful of the process and emphasizing that he now understands the variations of all coming out stories and experiences. He gracefully acknowledges that his story could have been worse and that there are many out there that are worse.

Aside from the occasional typos and the conversation with his Pharisee, (n...more
Cheryl Corbin
Initially, when I heard about this book, I was concerned that a social experiment that has gone a-gay. Why would a minister want to solicit his best big black friend to pretend to be his lover? Then I began to read more and it proved to be a learning experience for me as well. Timothy Kurek makes a powerful statement as a straight man that places his hetero sexual life in the closet so that he can understand how another may live.
It is not an experiment for the weak at heart but a lesson in lea...more
Emmanuelle
I loved this book! (I won't synopsize it, as many others have quite adequately done so.)
Author Timothy Kurek is one of the most courageous people I have read about in a very long time. He lost so much by living as a "gay" man for a year; yet as a result he gained a deeper and more authentic faith. I wish that more evangelical Christians had the openness of heart and mind that Tim has. I hope that many of them will be led to this book, and that through reading it find the courage to truly love t...more
Le Doon
The idea behind this book was relatively interesting but it was very simplistic and the writing was poor with so many typos. I think it would have been better if the author took a more objective stance than injecting personal emotion into every aspect of this book, turning it into a schmaltzy cringe fest and undermining some of the more poignant moments. I think it is great to confront some of this issues associated with the conservative churches but I found it hard to finish this book due to th...more
HTL


I like this book and it's message. Although I think it's important to understand about while Tim is talking and realizes that his journey is more about people and less about the GLBT community the whole book is written from his religious/Christian perspective so for those that would find that difficult to read keep that in mind. I think that it was a good experiment to begin with, a good social commentary and I also think that Tim was mindful of his privilege. He knew going in that this would o...more
Shelli Black Rose
Oct 21, 2012 Shelli Black Rose rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: LGBT community, Christians, atheists
Shelves: non-fiction
As soon as I saw this book reviewed in the news, I couldn't wait to read it! It not only lived up to the reviews, it went well beyond what I expected!

Timothy Kurek was raised in Bible Belt, and brought up in an extremely conservative church. He was taught the Christian fundamentals of bigotry and hatred toward anyone that didn't live up to the Evangelical standards. But he knew something wasn't right; he felt it in his core. So he set out to see if he could learn what his inner voice was naggin...more
Jenni Frencham
Tim, the author of The Cross in the Closet, realized that his conservative religious upbringing had turned him into an extreme homophobe, and to solve this problem he decided to go in the closet, so to speak: Tim came out to his family and friends as a gay man and for one year lived as part of the LGBT community. Tim was able to walk in the shoes of a gay person and experience the rejection from friends, family, and his faith community. Through his experiences, Tim gained compassion for the LGBT...more
Trey Mccain
Northampton, Massachusetts. Where I live and work, where I drink and eat, where I walk and gab and play and read. I’m really starting to like this town. Folks are friendly, kind, peaceful. Not quick to judge you at face value. People seem much less obsessed with their appearance here compared to back home. Folks are very comfortable with who they are. They don’t feel the need to hide behind make-up, the right clothes and that bright I’m-always-this-happy smile.

Of late, my reading selections have...more
Richard
I must admit, when I first heard about this book and the concept behind it, I was rather irritated and offended. I found something patronizing in the whole idea of this experiment-as though my friends and I are like some interesting new species of insect one studies in a biology lab, rather than fully formed human beings. THe idea of a straight man pretending to be gay to study the LGBT experience-it had a whole "life among the savages" feel to it I found distasteful. And I must admit, when I re...more
Heidi Gonzalez
Timothy made a brave journey that not only showed him what it was like to be gay but also what it was like to be in the closet as he hid his true heterosexual identity from his family and the others that he met. Similar to Morgan Spurlock's experiments in his movie Super Size Me and his TV show 30 Days: The Complete Series Timothy decided to "come out" to his family and friends and live as a gay man for 1 year to answer questions for himself about who he was as a person, his faith and how it fit...more
Sarah Mandl
The Cross in the Closet doesn't deliver the goods. I applaud Kurek's decision to live undercover for a year as a gay man. He brings to light much of the emotional pain and torment that one goes through by remaining in the closet as well as coming out. My heart sank while reading the accounts of the vile reactions by friends and family and the emotional and mental devastation those reactions had the individual. No one should be treated like that, and for that revelation, I am grateful; however, t...more
Fr. River
The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek

The Cross in the Closet is an excellent book, simliar to Black Like Me in which the author comes out as gay for a year to experience what it is like for L/G/B/T/Q's. He lived in Nashville and was open and honest about his struggles with discrimination and his own inner struggles with his theology. His book underlines how difficult it is for L/G/B/T/Q people to be open in their lives and the sacrifices they make. It underlines how the Church is one of the k...more
Jeffrey
I thought this was a very thought-provoking book. It certain twisted my world view around especially when it came to my own prejudices against extreme fundamentalist Christians.

The biggest compliment I can give this book is it was about religion without being preachy. As I am not Christian, I was hesitant to read it because I had feared it would spend a lot of time trying to convert me, but the opposite is true. In fact, the author himself comes the realization that proselytizing is not the answ...more
Jeff
When I first read about this book on Out.com, I thought, " I definitely have to read this." Since then I have read so much both positive and negative about Tim's journey/experiment from the LGBt community. Well, I have read the book and I am greatly impressed. I am impressed that this young man, raised a religious bigot, reached the point in his life to question himself and his religious upbringing. I am impressed that he realized that, for him, it wasn't enough to just question. I am impressed...more
Stephen Knauff
Very few books have had a dramatic change on me. . . this one definitely did! The author not only is able to show you what it is like to live in the closet (the loneliness, depression, anxiety, etc), but he's also able to paint a very vivid picture what gay people go through each day from a straight perspective. Sexuality aside, he really gets at the heart of Christianity is supposed to be and what the church at large has forgotten or missed from the teachings of Jesus. I highly recommend this b...more
Andy Hickman
Mind blown!!!

I have just completed reading Timothy Kurek's “The Cross in the Closet.” What a page turner! My roller-coaster of emotions concluded with tears of admiration and appreciation for a beautiful story about beautiful people.

A few pages in I came across a great sentence I wanted to type up as a quote for future reference. I wrote down the page number on my bookmark. I now have a bookmark that has page numbers all over the front and back. Here is one quote, “We don't get to choose who is...more
Glenn
I was skeptical about this book at first. What concerned me most was what he would find during his year long project; sometimes the wrong side of a community is the first one that is seen and it's good that Tim got a fairly complete sample of gay life. I found his approach sensitive and brave. This is precisely what is needed right now. Thanks, Tim, for having the courage to face your fears and share with all of us what you have learned.
Theresa Taylor
I'm not good at writing reviews. That being said, I practically inhaled this book. It was difficult to put down. My support for my friends in the LGBT community was never an issue, and to this day, really don't understand the whole concept of homophobia. Tim put himself out there, and now, not only does he walk the walk, but he talks the talk. This book should be mandatory reading for the entire Southern Baptist Convention!
Ethan Hval
What can I say? By the end of this I was weeping openly with tears of joy. Somebody else out there took the time to understand what thousands of young people experience in this country. This is truly a transformative and perspective shifting book that I recommend to all people gay, straight or bi - person of faith or not. No matter who you are this book will touch your heart because it is just drenched with love and it can only be described as ordained. I MUST own this book. It will be hard to f...more
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Timothy Kurek, a Portland, Oregon based author and speaker is tackling some of the front burner issues of our day. His unrestrained style of immersion lends a uniquely empathetic perspective, engaging his audiences with empathy, humor, and refreshing candor.
Timothy Kurek, raised within the confines of a strict, conservative Christian denomination in the Bible Belt, Nashville, Tennessee, was taught...more
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“You are the main character in the story of your life, but other people are the main characters of their own lives. And sometimes you can find healing just by playing a supporting role in someone else's experience.” 4 likes
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