I’ve read a lot of books over the years, some good and some bad, and Out of a Far Country by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan is one of the best. This true story chronicles the journey of Christopher as a gay man who experiences redemption in Christ and the parallel journey of Angela, his mother, as she experiences rebirth in Jesus, including a renewed marriage and new hope for the future.
I read this book in less than a day – I simply could not put it down once I started it. Page and page I wanted to see what happened next in the story – the story both of Christopher’s journey into deep and devastating sin and its consequences, and then the beautiful story of hope, restoration, and redemption. It was not an easy story to read, nor did the authors hold many punches when describing the life lived by Christopher; with frankness and honesty we read the stories of experiences that led to suicidal thoughts, anonymous sex, involvement with drugs, and even trouble with the law.
Chapters were written by either Christopher or Angela, offering each person’s perspective on the journey, each chapter switched from one to the other author. While many books I read in this format are hard to follow and frustrating to read, the flow of the book and the transition from one author to the other was absolutely seamless.
One of the most insightful chapters in the book was the one entitled, “Holy Sexuality”. In a world where both secular and sacred authors struggle with how to address the entire issue of homosexuality, Christopher re-focuses the discussion on what is important: Jesus Christ. He writes, “I had always thought that the opposite of homosexuality was heterosexuality. But actually the opposite of homosexuality is holiness. God never said, ‘Be heterosexual, for I am heterosexual.’ He said, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'” He then concludes, “So the question is, if I continue to have these feelings I neither asked for nor chose, will I still be willing to follow Christ no matter what?…God’s faithfulness is proved not by the elimination of hardships but by carrying us through them. Change is not the absence of struggles; change is the freedom to choose holiness in the midst of our struggles.”
Overall, I’m giving this book a 5/5 stars – it’s a must read for everyone. It offers hope and truth rather than condemnation and judgement for anyone willing to listen.
For the record, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily favorable, review.