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The Cross in the Closet

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  618 Ratings  ·  148 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
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by BlueHead Publishing
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Emma Sea
Straight, white, Christian pretends to be gay for a year, gets a book deal.

I am having some complex feels about this.

edit 3 Sept 2015

Having read the book, I can see Kurek is just so darn young when he did this (21-22) that pretending to be gay for a year seemed like an awesome idea to him, and he had absolutely no frame of reference in which to understand the deeper ramifications of what he was doing. He does at least seem to be honest about his own prejudices around anything that is not Souther
Jan 11, 2013 Beth rated it did not like it
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
Lauren Hidden
Oct 17, 2012 Lauren Hidden rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 11, 2012 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-52-in-52
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
Nov 04, 2012 Elliot Ratzman rated it really liked it
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
Oct 27, 2012 Rainbowbriight rated it it was amazing
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
Janice Eastburn
Nov 29, 2012 Janice Eastburn rated it really liked it
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
Aug 27, 2015 Borderstar marked it as to-read
Shelves: _to-read-maybe
Hmmm, I've seen this one flying around today on my notifications, but not sure what to make of it. As others have said, I can't decide whether to be impressed with the guy for "walking a mile in anothers shoes" and then writing about his experience, or whether to be upset by the deceit throughout the "social experiment" that he is then selling a book off the back of?!

Some more info on this here from the article Emma Sea posted earlier: Article: Straight Christian Pretends to Be Gay for a Year in
Feb 06, 2013 Cyndi rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, lgbt
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 "
Shelli Black Rose
Oct 21, 2012 Shelli Black Rose rated it really liked it
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
Oct 22, 2012 Rosemary rated it liked it
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
John Kusters
Oct 30, 2012 John Kusters rated it it was amazing
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
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
Nov 02, 2012 Ashley rated it it was amazing
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
Cheryl Corbin
Oct 16, 2012 Cheryl Corbin rated it really liked it
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
Oct 18, 2012 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
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
♞ Pat Gent
Jan 02, 2015 ♞ Pat Gent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt, archives
I think that this is a book everyone - EVERYone - should read. It's hard for me to rate it, however, because while I think the concept and topic are critical reading for everyone, the writing itself is not terrific. It's a book written by a "not a writer" writer, so it suffers from the limitations of its author. But its message is important and the concept behind it is more than noteworthy.

I admire and applaud Tim Kurek for leading us along the pathway the I honestly believe Jesus wants us to t
Oct 20, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it

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
Trey Mccain
Nov 12, 2012 Trey Mccain rated it it was amazing
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
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
Christina Lewis
Oct 25, 2013 Christina Lewis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic idea! I first read about this book in an article on and had to give it a read. I identified with the writer's background, though I didn't have to go through his incredible journey before coming to similar conclusions. Anyone who believes being gay is a choice- a sin- should read this book.

The only draw back, and reason I give this book 4 instead of 5 stars, is the terrible editing. His editors should have been fired! Maybe it's just me who is bothered so much by it, but it
Dec 01, 2012 Emmanuelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity, lgbtq
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
Le Doon
Nov 27, 2012 Le Doon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2013 Deborah rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning book: raw, honest, gutsy. Living through the year of his experiment changed Tim Kurek's life -reading this might just change yours. It has given me a bigger sense of life without prejudice, of accepting and loving people as they are.
Amy Parker
Nov 01, 2012 Amy Parker rated it it was amazing
An absolute lifechanger of a book. I laughed, I cried, I was completely humbled. I plan to do a huge review at some stage, but I don't have time today.
Rea Kovats
Jun 18, 2015 Rea Kovats rated it it was amazing
Finoman szólva nehéz ügy, ha valaki a saját neméhez vonzódik. 21. századi – elvileg – modern társadalomban élünk, ennek ellenére a szexuális orientáció még mindig negatív diszkriminációra adhat okot. Persze egyre többen ébrednek rá, hogy a heterotól eltérő párkapcsolatok semmivel sem ártalmasabbak vagy elítélendőek, azért a nagy többség megvetéssel vegyült undorral tekint egy kéz-a-kézben arra sétáló, magukat bátran felvállaló meleg vagy leszbikus párra. Mert mit gondolnak róluk? Szánalmasak. Be ...more
Andy Hickman
Jul 05, 2014 Andy Hickman rated it it was amazing
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
Matt Cresswell
Jan 20, 2014 Matt Cresswell rated it really liked it
The irony of reading this book is that back in November, when I first heard of Tim Kurek, the writer of The Cross in the Closet, my brother, a staunch conservative Christian, removed me from his facebook friends. This was prompted by my posting of a video about Tim’s book, and later criticizing a website my brother promoting ‘family values’—an anti-gay marriage organization. I objected to posting the organisation’s website to my newsfeed, and his defence was ‘I have to see all the pro-gay ones y ...more

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
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
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Timothy Kurek 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. His first book, The Cross in the Closet, released October 2012 and became a critical success, not just nationally, but internationally as well (it is currently available in Hungarian and ...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
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” —Anais Nin” 4 likes
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