This book was recommended by Rev Chris Chia during PSPC’s Men’s Retreat earlier this year. The topic of the Retreat was “Peacemaking in a Fractured World”. Chris did not say much about the book except that it was a “must read” and it was about a gay man finding Christ despite suffering from HIV.
The book is jointly written by Christopher Yuan and his mother, Angela. This is the perfect story of the “tiger mom” gone wrong. Born to non-religious and almost anti-Christian Chinese immigrants who emphasised education and worldly success, the book chronicles Christopher’s rejection of his parents’ wishes for him and exploration of his homosexual urges to his gradual introduction into a life of drugs. Faced with her failing marriage and hopelessness as a mother, Angela was led seemingly randomly to Christ and through her salvation, her husband and Christopher were ultimately saved. Today, Christopher is teaching at Moody’s Institute with a heart for those struggling with sexuality and those living with HIV/AIDS.
The book is easy to read and you feel gradually drawn in as Christopher makes one bad mistake after another. Reading it was almost like being on a roller coaster climbing slowly to the climatic plunge to the bottom. What makes the book even more insightful is how it is organised, with one chapter of the book in Christopher’s perspective and the next chapter in Angela’s perspective. This juxtaposition brings fully to bear how conversations, events, gestures can be misinterpreted and misguided expectations turned into self-fulfilling prophecies.
Reading this book left me reflecting on 3 points:
a. God’s love and forgiveness is deeper than we can imagine. It does not matter what we have done, regardless of how bad. God’s grace is always available. There may be earthly consequences that we have to live with but God will forgive us and accept us as His children, made new in Christ’s blood.
b. Never stop praying for and hoping for salvation in your family. Some of us who were born into non-Christian families and had the opportunity to learn of Christ. Even if our parents, grandparents, and siblings are not interested in learning more about our faith, do not give up. Pray and pray even more.
c. Every marriage relationship requires effort. We must make the effort to love our spouses and communicate, especially when there are differences. This can be difficult with other family pressures, work stresses and hurriedness that come with children. Satan wants to attack the marriage because he knows that is the foundation of the family.
I hope you have the opportunity to read this book. It is both an exciting read and will leave you with much to think about.
Dn Greg Tan