We’ve seen Rachel Held Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood and Ed Dobson’s The Year of Living Like Jesus, and now there a new “year of…” hitting the shelves. For one year, Timothy Kurek decided to live as a gay person. Kurek comes from an evangelical background, but he turned his life upside down in order to produce his new book The Cross in the Closet.
He did everything that a person would need to do in order to make himself appear to be gay. He had to “come out of the closet” to his family and friends. Which means that he lied to them for a year. He took a job at a gay coffee bar in Nashville, TN and began moving in gay circles. He did everything except actually have a gay relationship. The charade he put on was apparently pretty convincing because he fooled a lot of people.
What was his goal in all of this? To put his own evangelical convictions about homosexuality to the test. At the end of his project, he decided that he no longer believed homosexuality to be a sin. He no longer calls himself and evangelical, and he’s now looking to join the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. To read more about Kurek’s project and book, read CNN’s report here.
I have not read the book and do not plan to, but I do have a few quick thoughts about the premise of this project:
1. This was not a Christian posing as a gay person. This was a liar posing as a gay person. No person who would so fundamentally deceive and manipulate friends, family members, and the gay community could credibly be considered Christian (John 8:44; 1 John 1:6). The lie he perpetrated traumatized his parents and other family members. I can’t believe he kept this up for a year.
2. You don’t go to the gay community to form an ethical judgment about homosexuality. The bottom line for all of our views should be what scripture says. But that doesn’t appear to be the case with Kurek. It looks like his journey has led him to the dead-end of theological liberalism.
3. There are many people within the gay community who are not happy with Kurek’s project, and I don’t blame them. I didn’t like it when a non-Christian spent a year pretending to be Christian, and I don’t like it when a “Christian” spends a year pretending he is not. In both cases, deception and lies are at the core, and it’s wrong to treat anyone like that.
“He no longer calls himself and evangelical, and he’s now looking to join the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”
Um, does Timothy know what the “E” in ELCA stands for?
Mark Kim (Grace Toronto)
Umm, for your information rockstarkp, the ELCA is a mainline liberal Lutheran denomination in contrast to the more conservative and evangelical LCMS denomination. The “E” in the ELCA means nothing because their theological foundation now is very problematic.
Anything like this needs to be done honestly. I really like Jacobs’ “A Year of Living Biblically”. The reason why is because he is honest about what he’s doing. He doesn’t pretend like he is doing it the way it was done millenia ago. Jacobs is simply testing things on for size and discussing them as he goes. Stuff like this, the RHE hermeneutic experiment, or the atheist at Liberty, is just deceptive. Christianity, even liberal Christianity, should overwhemlingly reject this. Sadly, they will more likely than not applaud it.
Wow. I can’t imagine trying to keep up a lie of that magnitude. I’m sure he left a train wreck of hurt people behind him, both in the people he knew before the project and the people he interacted with for a year as “being gay.” At least RHE was upfront about what she was doing with the people around her.
Mark Kim (Grace Toronto)
I actually feel sorry for Timothy Kurek. The lie he put out for a year demonstrates that he was always a “Christian wannabe” (i.e., unregenerate) thinking he was a Christ-following evangelical all those previous years. The Apostle John was quite clear about the final destiny of those who practice lies and deception (Rev 21:8).
Not surprised to see a hearty recommendation from Brian McLaren on the cover.
I agree with your assessment 100%. He clearly was not a true Christian in the first place. What he did goes against the Bible in not only the ways that you mentioned, but in others that I can think of as well. He clearly puts his own “word” ahead of God’s.
It’s a gimmick in pursuit of a dollar. That’s all it is.
1. So a Christian could never be a CIA agent or support one in any way? do the ends justify the means?
2. Which is exactly why you treat gay people with disdain, Denny. Exactly why! You don’t really know any of them unless maybe they come to you on your terms.
3. Your stance is that it’s wrong, but you read the other book and reviewed it. You actually gleaned some insights. I’m surprised that you supported such deceit — I’m not surprised that you refuse to read this book, but don’t pretend it’s because of its deceitful foundation…
While we are on the topic of deceit — if you don’t foster an environment where gay people can safely be honest about themselves, then you are actually facilitating and approving of deceit.
Another post totally lacking in grace or love. Shocking.
That wasnt meant to be a reply to the above post. Meant to just be a general post. Sorry to above, i agree with your points. *embarassed*.
While I don’t like what Timothy Kurek did, and while I also have good reason to disagree with his results and outcome, I would stop short of saying he isn’t a Christian. From what I recall, a person’s claim to Christian salvation is their faith relationship with Jesus. And while there may seem to be plenty of evidence to make our human minds cast doubt on the voracity and even quality of his faith, we should all be careful about throwing around phrases like, “he wasn’t a true Christian,” which seems to call into question his salvation. To me, that’s stepping beyond what we’re given the authority to judge into what is God’s territory – and God’s alone.
Mark Kim (Grace Toronto)
I respectfully disagree, Andy.
Yes, God is the ultimate Judge and our minds will always be clouded by our human fallenness. However, Jesus clearly taught us that a tree is known by its fruit (doctrine and life) (Matt 7:17-18). Are you suggesting that a person who lies without batting an eyelash for a year can be considered a genuine believer? I hope not.
I’m suggesting that we typically find it very easy to determine who’s in and who isn’t. Would I caution anyone who wants to learn and grow in the Christian faith against following Timothy Kurek? Absolutely! Am I comfortable saying that he’s not a believer, or that he’s not a Christian? No. I believe, from what I can see, that his fruit is poor, so giving him credence is dangerous. But I think we throw around terms like “genuine believer” and “true believer” a little to easily. As I said before, my understanding of what makes a person a Christian is a faith relationship with Jesus, and the struggles and missteps each of us make fall under, to my mind, the realm of sanctification which is a day in day out journey until the day we die. Will I suggest reading his book to my youth group – nope! Will I cast judgement on where he sits with God – nope. Despite the doubts I have as to where he sits with God (and I certainly have them), that judgement is God’s and God’s alone. There are judgements for us to make, and his fruit helps us make them. I just don’t think the determination of where his soul sits in terms of salvation is one of them.
I’m glad you were respectful in your comments, I hope the same is true of me. 🙂
I haven’t read the book and I probably won’t. I may even agree with your thoughts, but the way you question his Christian belief is downright absurd.
What this man did was a living Psychology experiment. I do not agree with his conclusions and his methods are a little biased and unable to be duplicated, but he does deserve some credit for attempting such an experiment.
To say he is a liar and cannot be a Christian is equivalent to saying nearly every social, behavioral and cognitive research Psychologist a liar and unable to be a Christian. As you are aware, these researchers routinely use double-blind studies and trick their participants so that they can get true honest feedback.
Are you willing to tell your Psychology professor colleagues that their whole field of study is based on a bunch of liars? Probably not something that you want to hear.
A point to note that true Psychology research today is done with the consent of the participant. They willingly volunteer for the research and are told immediately following if they were tricked for a particular research endeavor.
What this man is guilty of is faulty and unethical Psychology research. Any true Psychologists would laugh at this as a serious attempt. Of course, he was going for the sensational populist book market.
He is ignorant and likes the sensational
But you really need to take a step back from calling him a liar and questioning his Christianity.
Then again, its pretty apparent that you enjoy the sensational just as well 😉