Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Between These Walls by John Herrick


Hunter is a Christian. Hunter is the man next door.

Hunter Carlisle is gay.

At 26 years old, Hunter Carlisle has a successful sales career, a devoted girlfriend, and rock-solid faith. He also guards a secret torment: an attraction to other men. When a career plunge causes muscle tension, Hunter seeks relief through Gabe Hellman, a handsome massage therapist. What begins as friendship takes a sudden turn and forces the two friends to reconsider the boundaries of attraction. Along the road to self-discovery, Hunter’s secret is exposed to the community. Now Hunter must face the demons of his past and confront his long-held fears about reputation, sexual identity, and matters of soul.

A story of faith, fire and restoration, Between These Walls braves the crossroads of love and religion to question who we are and who we will become.

Publisher's full disclosure to readers: This novel of faith occurs within a true-to-life context of redemption, and contains adult language and content. 


Published February 2015 by Segue Blue

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:

John Herrick, himself a Christian, bravely addresses taboo subject matter in this heartfelt, authentic novel. His main character, Hunter, is an extremely committed Christian with a vital relationship with God who also has always struggled with same-sex attraction, keeping it a secret under the surface, always afraid of being found out.

Having girlfriend after girlfriend, Hunter cannot find that sense of emotional closeness and genuine attract with any of them. He truly feels something for each girl, but those relationships don't exactly reach his heart. He's surprised to find that his new massage therapist is easy to talk to as well as attractive to him on many levels. Gabe is also a committed Christian who shares Hunter's struggles.

As the two of them try to decide what their relationship should look like (or if it should even exist) in light of their faith, they wrestle with their past, with family issues, and, of course, what having a "public" relationship might mean. For both men, the idea of violating their faith and a reluctance to displease God are major issues.

This is a much needed book because there are many Christians who deal with the complexity that comes from being attracted to the same sex and who want to stay true to their faith. I have not seen another LGBQT book that deals with this subject matter in a way that gets straight to the heart of this matter.

I also like the way the book addresses the issue of homosexuality in a biblical manner. It does not condone the practice, but it also does not judge those who deal with this struggle. God's grace is the central focus on how the characters deal with this issue. Hunter's pastor gives him wise counsel and assures him that God knew that the struggle would be there and wants to bring beauty from it. In addressing a very close-minded pastor up front, Hunter stresses that it's the kindness of God that leads men to repentance (Romans 2:4), poking holes in the man's reactionary, hate-filled mentality.

I believe this is an issue that churches need to address in a more vital fashion. Yes, the issue is complicated, but it's unfair, cruel, and unbiblical for pastors and teachers within churches to continue acting like those who struggle with same-sex attraction are hideous creatures from another planet and to make scathing, callous jokes. None of that is necessary to exposit what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. That attitude is not the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated when he came to earth. 

I have always hoped to have some sort of easy answer on this issue, but I don't. I just can't imagine Jesus dying on the cross for everyone "except" any group. Those who argue that people within the LGBQT community can't be saved before renouncing their lifestyle is not supported under the idea that "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13).

Source: Thanks for the author for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.

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