Out of Focus
My Story of Sexuality, Shame, and Toxic Evangelicalism
by Amber Cantorna-Wylde
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Pub Date 24 Oct 2023 | Archive Date Not set
When a mass shooter killed five people in an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, grieving people graffitied James Dobson’s Focus on the Family headquarters with the words “Their blood is on your hands.” Such an accusation comes as no surprise to Amber Cantorna-Wylde, whose father is a Focus on the Family executive and cast Amber out of her family when she came out in 2012. From severed family ties to malicious murder, such enmity is the fruit of a religious movement that considers it more faithful to reject your child or even to kill than to accept and love LGBTQ+ people. Evangelical organizations like Dobson’s, along with pastors like Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, and Robert Jeffress, built an empire out of their conservative Christian beliefs and convinced millions of Americans that sexual purity, patriarchal families, and militaristic nationalism were God’s priority. Cantorna-Wylde shows readers how the political and personal intertwine to cause shame and suffering that Jesus would never desire, including the long-term effects of identity-repression, trauma, and family estrangement. A blend of heart-wrenching memoir and astute cultural analysis, Out of Focus will help heal individuals harmed by evangelicalism’s toxic influence and inspire Christian communities to pursue a path of love and inclusion.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 19 members
A raw, touching memoir about growing up in an evangelical household and her journey in coming out. I really enjoyed this. The whole section leading up to her coming out to her family really had me feeling anxious. I felt like I was in the room with her! I really enjoyed reading how the author navigated the conflicts within her and also externally. I'm glad the author was able to see her worth, and also find a supportive community. I would recommend this for anybody in the religious community who is also struggling with who they are.
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC of this book.